This is your ultimate guide to the best Christmas markets in Europe! I've traveled to hundreds of Christmas markets to bring you the best places for Christmas Markets in Europe for 2023.
Picture this: You’re walking the ancient cobblestone streets, on either side warm lights of cafes and shops beckon you inside, you have a slight chill despite your warm winter coat. You see a castle in the mist on the hill ahead of you. Could today get any better? Yes, yes it could.
As you turn the corner you’re first hit with the smell. It’s a mixture of true merriment: candied nuts roasting in sugar, mulled wine being poured into a tall coffee mug, and roasted meats over the open fire.
Next you’re hit with the noise. Christmas carols sung in German, laughter of all ages, and people greeting each other at the top of their lungs.
You round another corner and there it is, shimmering and glittering as the sun sets: thousands of twinkle lights strewn along fresh cut pine trees. Hand carved wooden stalls selling food, drinks, and handmade trinkets line the street, each one more decorated than the next.
It’s Christmas Markets in Europe and it’s the most joyful place on earth!
I like to think of myself as a Christmas market expert having lived in Germany, where Christmas markets really started, I spent years going again and again to Christmas markets across Europe and writing about my finding.
One things for sure: it’s worth it. I know that many don’t think about visiting Europe during the holiday season, but I find it truly sensational. It’s such a sense of community and joy, everyone in town gets together, despite the chilly weather to celebrate Christmas and share their handmade wares and delicious family recipes of traditional food.
I'm sharing the best of the European Christmas markets so you can ensure to make the most of your time.
- Best Christmas Markets in Europe 2023
- Strasbourg, France
- Cologne, Germany
- Vienna, Austria
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Basel, Switzerland
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Helsinki, Finland
- Ribeauvillé, France
- Heidelberg, Germany
- Colmar, France
- Budapest, Hungary
- Munich, Germany
- Innsbruck, Austria
- London, England
- Nuremberg, Germany
- Metz, France
- Trier, Germany
- Bruges, Belgium
- Aachen, Germany
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Zagreb, Croatia
- Christmas Markets in Europe Map
- Christmas Market Top Tips
Best Christmas Markets in Europe 2023
I have tons of guides to Christmas markets in Europe! From itineraries, maps, and individual guides to each place! I hope to make planning your Christmas market trips a breeze. For all my posts on Christmas markets in Europe click here.
Strasbourg, France definitely deserves its nickname as the “Capital of Noel”! This city has one of the best Christmas markets in all Europe and it's an incredibly festive place to visit during the holiday season. With beautifully decorated stalls and open every day from November 24th to December 24th, you'll find yourself surrounded by twinkling lights and decorations galore. The Strasbourg cathedral towers over the market and there's even a real 30 meter tall tree in the square!
The streets are BURSTING with decor, from the teddy bear half-timbered hotels, the lit up Notre Dame Cathedral with angels that line the streets, and of course vin chaud- mulled wine! Lots of great food, drinks, and hand crafted gifts. Take your time here, there are markets throughout the city. There are over 300 stalls so you're in for a treat!
PRO TIP: If you have time, head into the Vosges mountains, where the huge tree of Strasbourg is grown, and go to some Christmas markets there! The towns of Ribeauvillé, Kaysersberg, Eguisheim and Riquewihr are absolutely magical for Christmas! You can see my full guide to these Alsace villages at Christmas here.
Starsbourg Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 25th through December 26th, 2023.
Cologne, Germany is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Europe and for good reason! With seven markets, all with different themes, throughout the city, you'll find no shortage of things to see and do here. Large, lavishly decorated Christmas markets sparkle throughout the city.
Some of my favorites are the Cologne Cathedral Market, this is the largest and takes place outside the impressive cathedral with live music, a huge tree, and gluhwein (hot, mulled wine!). I also adore the Angels' Market where you'll find it in Neumarkt Square and is one of the original markets that features women dressed in angel costumes handing out sweets to children. There's also a beautiful carousel and gorgeous mugs that are perfect to take home as souvenirs. I adore the one in the Old Town because it's filled with what looks like gnomes, but it's so much more! The Alter Markt calls itself the Home of the Heinzelmännchen (who were little creatures from a Cologne legend who used to do all the housework until they were annoyed by an inquisitive housewife).
And Nikolausdorf or “NicholasVillage” in Rudolfplatz is also well worth the stop! Many half-timbered structures make this feel like a real village. It's always amazing to me that this will come down come January!
Cologne Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 21st through December 23rd 2023.
Since 1296 Vienna has hosted an amazing Christmas market- one of the first ever! You'll see gorgeous buildings decked out in bows and ribbons. But you also get incredible Christmas markets! I've been to markets all throughout Europe and I can tell you, the ones in Vienna are some of the best.
There are several large markets located around the city, each with their own unique feel. The most popular is probably at Rathausplatz in front of the beautiful Town Hall. With over 150 chalets, this is one of the largest in Europe. It's perfect for picking up gifts and grabbing a bite to eat. The Glühwein here is some of the best I've ever had!
If you want a more traditional feel, then head to the Spittelberg Weihnachtsmarkt market (Weihnachtsmarkt means Christmas in German). This is located in a pedestrian zone in the Spittelberg district and is made up of small, individual chalets. This market has a really cozy feel and is perfect for a romantic stroll.
And finally, my favorite market in Vienna is the Altwiener Christkindlmarkt at Freyung. This market is located in a lovely park and has a really relaxed and charming atmosphere. It's the perfect place to grab a cup of hot chocolate and a slice of Sachertorte (a chocolate cake that is a Vienna specialty!)
Vienna Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 12th through December 24th, 2023.
Tallinn looks like a snow globe come to life! Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is a medieval city with a fairytale feel. And during Christmastime, it's even more magical! With twinkling lights, snow-dusted rooftops, and Christmas carols in the air, Tallinn feels like something out of a storybook.
The main market is located in Town Hall Square, in front of the gorgeous medieval Town Hall. This is one of the largest markets in Tallinn and is perfect for picking up gifts and souvenirs. You'll find handmade Estonian crafts, decorations, and plenty of places to grab a bite to eat. The gluwein here is also excellent! This is a great place to pick up a handmade wool sweater, and stick around for live music and entertainment at night.
If you're looking for something a little different, check out the Rotermann Quarter. This market is located in an old salt storage building that has been converted into a shopping center. It's a really unique setting for a market, and you'll find plenty of great gifts and souvenirs here.
I highly recommend taking a walking tour* to get a feel of the history in Tallinn! We went on a themed walking tour and it was a highlight of my time in Tallinn. See my full guide to Tallinn at Christmas here.
Tallinn Christmas Market Dates for 2023: December 1st through January 7th, 2024.
Basel, Switzerland is a charming city located on the river Rhine and is known for its beautiful Old Town, medieval architecture, museums, and of course Christmas markets! This city has one of the longest running Christmas markets in Europe as it dates back to 1521.
The main market is located in Munsterplatz and is filled with beautiful handcrafted goods, a large selection of food and drink, and twinkling lights. Be sure to try the delicious Basler Läckerli, a spiced gingerbread-like biscuits that are a local specialty. I also love the mulled wine here, it's some of the best I've ever had!
There are also several other markets located throughout the city including one in the square in front of Basel's beautiful red sandstone cathedral. This is a great place to do some Christmas shopping as you'll find everything from jewelry to wooden toys.
PRO TIP: If you're looking for something a little different, be sure to check out the Advent Calendar House. This is a house with 25 windows, each with a different surprise behind it!
Basel Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 24th through December 23rd, 2023.
Prague, Czech Republic
If you're looking for a market with a more medieval feel, then Prague is the place for you! With its lovely Gothic architecture and cobblestone streets, Prague lends itself perfectly to a festive atmosphere. The markets here are some of the most unique in Europe with beautiful handmade goods on offer.
The main market is located in Old Town Square where you'll find a stunning Christmas tree and the impressive Tyn Church in the background. This is a really popular spot, so be prepared for crowds, which is why I recommend weekdays. But it's definitely worth braving the masses to see the beautiful decorations and grab some traditional Czech food.
For something a bit more low-key, check out the markets at Wenceslas Square and Havel's Market. These are both located in more modern areas of the city and offer a refreshing change of pace from the Old Town.
Prague Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 27th through December 24th, 2023.
Helsinki, Finland is a unique Christmas market experience because it's not only about the market stalls, but also the ice skating rink that sets up in Senate Square. It's so festive and lovely to skate around with the Helsinki Cathedral in the background.
The market itself has Finnish crafts and design, along with traditional foods like reindeer meatballs, which you can find at the Old Market Hall. This is one of the few markets where you can find food indoors, so it's perfect if you're visiting in colder weather or if you just need a break from the cold. You'll also find handcrafted Christmas decorations, glassware, and textiles.
I loved the saunas located right by the Christmas market glog stalls (glog is their version of mulled wine.) So you might see someone hop out of a sauna in just a towel, grabbing a mulled mug of steaming wine!
Helsinki Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 27th through December 22nd, 2023.
This market is small and only offered for a couple short weekends but SO WORTH IT. It's one of the most unusual markets I've ever been to in the most charming way. The entire town dresses up and participates. There are people dressed up, on stilts, wise men with real camels, fires in the middle of the streets to warm up and medieval traditions.
This area is well known for its charming half-timbered houses but the Christmas market makes it feel like you've entered a completely different, medieval world.
You'll find all the usual Christmas market fare here like mulled wine, gingerbread, and roasted chestnuts. But Ribeauvillé is also known for its excellent local wines, so be sure to pick up a bottle or two to take home with you. You'll also find plenty of handmade goods on offer
Ribeauvillé Christmas Market Dates for 2023: December 3rd, 4th, 10th, and 11th – as you can see it's a super short season but so worth it!
The Heidelberg Christmas market is one of the oldest markets in Germany, dating back to 1398! The main market is located in Heidelberg's old town, throughout the Hauptstrasse. This is a bit different than some of the other markets, and I find it a joy! You can walk nearly a mile and enjoy different Christmas festivities along the way. I'm biased since I lived in Heidelberg, but with a beautiful 16th century buildings, the castle towering over the skating rink, it's just magical.
It's a truly charming place with around 100 beautifully decorated stalls. You'll find plenty of mulled wine and traditional German food like bratwurst and pretzels. The views of the castle lit up at night are simply stunning.
There's also a market in nearby Mannheim which I also recommend checking out if you have time. It's a short drive or train ride away!
Heidelberg Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 21st through December 22nd, 2023.
Nestled in the Alsace region of France, Colmar is truly a fairytale town and its Christmas market does not disappoint. With over 300 stalls, this is one of the largest markets in France. The setting couldn't be more perfect either, as the market is located in the beautiful old town, which is full of half-timbered houses, canals, and cobbled streets.
The market itself is incredibly festive, with a huge Christmas tree, a life-sized nativity scene, and an impressive light display. You'll find all the traditional French Christmas Market favorites here, from vin chaud (mulled wine) to pain d'epices (gingerbread), to baeckeoffe (a delicious Alsatian stew). There's also a wide variety of handmade gifts and decorations on offer.
When in Colmar, one of my favorite French restaurants cannot be beat! Winstub de la Petite Venise. This Michelin star restaurant offers a 35 euro plat du jour that makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
Check out my Christmas market road trip itinerary here.
Colmar Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 24th through December 29th 2023.
Budapest's Christmas Market is one of the most beautiful in Europe and takes place in Vörösmarty Square in front of the magnificent 19th-century Gerbeaud House. With over 100 beautifully decorated stalls, a giant ferris wheel, an ice rink, and a nativity scene, it's easy to spend a few hours here.
There's also a beautiful light show every evening at 7 pm on the facade of the Gerbeaud House that's definitely worth sticking around for. The market is open from November 11th to January 1st, so you have plenty of time to visit. And don't forget to try some traditional Hungarian dishes like lángos (a deep-fried flatbread) or kürtőskalács (a chimney cake)!
Budapest Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 4th through December 31st 2023.
Munich is renowned for its amazing Oktoberfest celebration, but did you know that it also has some of the best Christmas markets in Europe? The markets here are large and lively with a great atmosphere.
The main market is located at Marienplatz in the heart of the city. This is a really popular spot, so be prepared for crowds. But it's definitely worth braving the masses to see the beautiful Glockenspiel show that takes place every day at 11 am and noon. There are also a number of other markets located throughout the city, so you're sure to find one that suits your fancy.
There are many markets in Munich, but be sure to start at the iconic Christkindlmarkt located in Marienplatz. From there, you can choose from the classic Neuhausen Christmas market or go for something different like the Wintertollwood Festival held on Oktoberfest grounds.
And if you're looking for an authentic Bavarian dining experience, be sure to check out Hofbräuhaus, one of Munich's most famous beer halls. It's a great place to try some traditional German dishes like Weißwurst (veal sausage) and Leberkäse (a type of meatloaf).
Munich Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 21st through December 24th, 2023.
Innsbruck is a charming city located in the Austrian Alps and its Christmas market is nothing short of magical. With over 80 stalls, it's one of the smaller markets on this list, but it more than makes up for it with its stunning setting. The market takes place in the old town square against the backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.
What I love most about this market is that it has a real traditional feel to it. You'll find all the usual Austrian Christmas Market staples like Glühwein (mulled wine), Lebkuchen (gingerbread), and Maroni (roasted chestnuts). But you'll also find some more unusual items like Krapfen (fried dough balls filled with jam) and Kernöl (pumpkin seed oil).
Innsbruck Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 15th through December 23rd, 2023.
I love London for Christmas as all the stores are decked out and there's a feeling of joy everywhere! While London might not be the typical spot, Christmas market is definitely worth a visit. Located in Hyde Park, Winter Wonderland is one of the largest markets in Europe and it's completely free to enter!
Once you're inside, you'll find an array of attractions like an ice rink, a giant ferris wheel, and a German-style market with over 200 stalls. And if you're feeling really festive, you can even visit Santa's Grotto!
Winter Wonderland is open from late November until early January, so you have plenty of time to enjoy all the fun. And when you're ready for a break from the cold, head to one of Hyde Park's many cafes for a cup of tea or some traditional English fare.
If you have extra time, head to Bath,a quintessential town in the United Kingdom that's also got a wonderful Christmas market!
London Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 18th through January 2nd, 2024.
Nuremberg is a beautiful medieval city located in the German state of Bavaria – since 1313. It's best known for its traditional Christkindlesmarkt, which is one of the oldest and largest markets in Germany.
The market is spread out across the city center with over 180 stalls, so there's plenty to see and do. You'll find all the usual German Christmas Market staples like Glühwein, Lebkuchen, and Maroni. But you'll also find some more unusual items like Nürnberger Christstollen (a type of fruitcake) and Nürnberger Rostbratwurst (a grilled sausage).
If you visit Nuremberg Christmas Market on the first Friday before Advent there's an amazing opening ceremony with performances and live music.
Nuremberg Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 25th through December 24th, 2023.
Metz is a beautiful city located in the northeast of France, close to the border with Germany. It's best known for its large Christmas market, which is one of the largest in Europe.
The market is spread out across the city center with over 200 stalls, so there's plenty to see and do. You'll find all the usual French Christmas Market staples like vin chaud, pain d'épices (gingerbread), and chocolates. But you'll also find some more gormet food like foie gras, tarte flambée (a type of pizza), and quiche Lorraine.
Cathedral Saint-Étienne de Metz dates back to the 11th century has a lovely Christmas market just outside the doors complete with a ferris wheel. Inside are beautiful stained glass windows that were built by famous artists like Marc Chagall and Jean Cocteau. Metz has plenty of other places worth visiting as well – Notre Dame d'Auschwitz, the modern art center Centre Pompidou-Metz, and Le Temple Neuf is a beautiful church that looks more like a castle.
Metz Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 19th through December 30th, 2023.
Trier is a beautiful city located in the southwest of Germany, close to the border with Luxembourg. Trier is known for it's romantic setting and with the Christmas market's backdrop of the gorgeous cathedral, it's a lovely spot.
The program at the Trier Christmas Market changes daily, offering a variety of entertainment for the whole family. From historical puppet theater to star tenor and songsmiths, there is something for everyone to enjoy. With delicious food and drink on offer, plus arts and crafts from around the world, the Trier Christmas Market attracts visitors from far and wide.
To get a view from above like I did here, head to the DE store right before you enter the market.
Trier Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 18th through December 22nd, 2023.
Bruges is a beautiful city located in the northwest of Belgium. It's best known for its canals, cobbled streets, and medieval architecture. The Christmas market is located in the historic city center and is one of the most atmospheric markets in Europe.
You'll find all the usual Belgian Christmas Market staples like Belgian chocolate, waffles, and beer. But you'll also find items like gingerbread houses, candles, and handmade wooden toys. Every year Grote Square is transformed to Bruges' largest Christmas market and in the center you'll find a skating rink. You can also head to Stevin Square for even more Christmas festivities.
Bruges Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 25th through January 8th 2024.
I just went to Aachen last year for my first time and absolutely loved it! Not only is Aachen full of important history, it's got an incredible Christmas market that's been named one of the top Christmas Markets in Europe over the years.
Aachen Christmas Market is located in the historic city center and is one of the oldest markets in Germany. It dates back to 1434 making it even older than Nuremberg! You'll find all the traditional German Christmas Market staples like Glühwein, Lebkuchen (gingerbread), and Bratwurst.
But what I loved most about the market were all of the Aachener Printen on offer. Printen are a type of gingerbread that originates from Aachen. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and are absolutely delicious!
Aachen Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 18th through December 23rd 2023.
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and is located on the eastern coast of the country. The city is full of charm with its canals, cobbled streets, and historic buildings. The Christmas market is located in the heart of the city at City Hall Square.
You'll find all the traditional Danish Christmas Market staples like æbleskiver (a type of pancake), Gløgg (mulled wine), and Danish Christmas beer. There are also plenty of stalls selling handmade Christmas decorations, toys, and gifts.
Tivoli Gardens is a famous park and it's a must for Christmas as it's set up like Santa's village- you can even ride the Polar Express! Also, Kongens Nytorv is one of the most beautiful squares in Copenhagen and it really comes alive during Christmas time. And don't forget to head to iconic Nyhavn where you'll also find a market.
Copenhagen Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 4th through December 21st, 2023.
Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and is located in the northwest of the country. The city is full of culture and history with a beautiful old town that's perfect for exploring. The Christmas market is located in Tomislav Square in the center of the city.
At the Zagreb Christmas Market, you'll find all the traditional Croatian Christmas Market staples like mulled wine, sausages, and pancakes. You can also find handicrafts, jewelry, and pottery. Be sure to try the strukli which is a type of pastry that's popular in Zagreb.
And if you want to get a birds eye view of the market, make sure to head to the Zagreb Eye which is a giant Ferris wheel located in the heart of the city.
Zagreb Christmas Market Dates for 2023: November 26th through January 7th, 2024.
Christmas Markets in Europe Map
Here's a map of all my favorite Christmas Markets in Europe. I've mapped out not only the top 10 Christmas Markets in Europe from this guide, but some of my favorites all over the continent!
Christmas Market Top Tips
As your resident expert on Christmas in Europe, here are some of my top tips for making the most of your Christmas market trip!
Which country has the best Christmas Markets? This is obviously up for debate, but the award has to go to Germany! Germany has some of the oldest and best markets around. The tradition runs deep and even small cities and villages participate. See the best Christmas markets in Germany here.
Which country has the best decorations for Christmas? France! France goes all out for decorations. It doesn't hurt that the Alsace region already looks like a perfect gingerbread village!
What's the best time to go for Christmas markets in Europe? I think December is your best bet to ensure you see the Christmas markets but many start in late November. Some markets do go until January as well.
Here are some more helpful guides:
So there you have it, my list of the best Christmas markets in Europe for 2023! Which one are you most excited about- if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram @heleneinbetween – I answer all my DMs!