Nothing is more likely to get you in the mood for the festive season than European Christmas markets. With exactly 100 days left until Christmas, we wanted to round up the very best of the best.
Many people now choose to make a weekend trip out of visiting European Christmas markets. A quick city break to get some shopping in, have a few drinks and soak up the festive delights.
Most of the markets kick off in late November, with many running until early January. So it’s time to get planning, grab a few friends and visit one of these super European Christmas markets.
Mulled wine, gifts for loved ones and that wonderful Christmas feeling here we come…
Best European Christmas Markets 2019
One of the best European Christmas Markets is in this pretty Swiss city. Basel Christmas Market is spread across three sites: the largest is on Barfüsserplatz in the old town; Münsterplatz, in front of the historic cathedral in one of the most beautiful squares in Basel, and a smaller market on the right bank of the Rhine.
Over 180 traders and artisans have goods for sale in small, rustic wooden chalets that makes Christmas shopping an absolute joy.
2019 Dates: 28th November – 23rd December
Located in the heart of Gothenburg, this amusement park turns into Sweden’s largest Christmas Market, decorated with five million twinkling lights and 700 Christmas trees. Liseberg has more than 70 rustic market stalls, selling everything from arts and crafts to seasonal foods such as traditional Swedish marinated herring, marzipan pigs and roasted reindeer.
The fact that the first snow has usually fallen in time for this market really adds to the festive atmosphere.
2019 Dates: 15th November – 30th December
Each year, Amsterdam’s Museumplein transforms into a charming Christmas village, with an ice rink, live entertainment, market stalls and plenty of festive food and drink to keep you warm. Take a spin on the ice, or play some human bowling at this spectacular event.
Warm up with glühwein and oliebollen, find the perfect gifts for friends and family, and just take in all the festive charm of the city.
2019 Dates: 13th December – 26th December
The Christmas Market in Salzburg has been taking place as far back as the 15th century, and is a must-see Austrian tradition. It’s located at the foot of the Hohensalzburg fortress, in front of the Cathedral. With over 95 vendors, live choir singing and a wind instrument orchestra, there’s plenty to see here.
The smell of freshly baked gingerbread hearts, nativity figures, Christmas tree ornaments, toys and snug knitwear are irresistible.
2019 Dates: 21st November – 26th December
Christmas in Helsinki is usually a quiet family celebration, so people make the most of pikkujoulu – ‘little Christmas’ – during which they party in bars and restaurants – and this great Christmas Market .
The market consists of 100 stalls selling handicrafts, lanterns, Christmas decorations, food and hot drinks. The most unique thing about Helsinki Christmas Market? You can enjoy special Christmas Karaoke in the middle of Senate Square!
2019 Dates: 6th December – 22nd December (closed on Mondays)
The pretty Christmas Market is in front of the historic Cologne Cathedral, with a tremendous Christmas tree. Christmas music, arts and crafts, toys, Christmas decorations and the scent of the goods from bakeries fills the air.
You’re sure to find plenty of fantastic gifts here to bring home for family and friends.
2019 Dates: 25th November – 23rd December
According to Italian tradition, 8th December marks the start of this Christmas market, which ends with Epiphany, the evening between 5th and 6th January, when grown-ups and children await the arrival of the Befana (a kindly old witch bringing gifts).
It’s one of the most beautiful Christmas fairs in Europe, with ancient fountains surrounding the square, fairylights and wooden crib scenes. There’s also live music and plenty of tasty things to eat.
2019 Dates: 8th December – 6th January 2020
Wenceslas Square is one of the most popular tourist areas in the heart of Prague, so it’s the perfect place for a Christmas Market. This market has it all: wooden chalet stalls for gifts, a huge Christmas tree that’s beautifully decorated and even a live animal stable Nativity Scene.
As well as delicious Christmassy treats such as mulled wine and gingerbread cookies, you can soak up the festive atmosphere of live classic musical and dance performances.
2019 Dates: 30th November – 6th January 2020
This charming Christmas Market in the Town Hall Square has a real fairytale vibe. As well as chalet stalls, there’s a magnificent Christmas tree. It has been set up in Town Hall Square since 1441, making it the first Christmas tree ever to be put on display in Europe.
You can chow down on traditional Estonian Christmas cuisine, from black pudding and sour cabbage to gingerbread and hot Christmas drinks, as well as browsing local handicrafts and gifts.
2019 Dates: 15th November – 11th January 2020
The most beautiful Budapest Christmas Market is the Christmas Market on Vorosmarty Square. Feast on typical Hungarian dishes such as sausages and stews, as well as sweet funnel cakes and drinks.
There’s over 100 stalls in the square, with local trinkets, craft workshops, children’s puppet shows and much more to explore. It’s no wonder so many people consider this one of the best European Christmas Markets.
2019 Dates: 8th November – 5th January
The Christmas market in Copenhagen’s iconic Tivoli Gardens is a real classic. There’s 27 fun rides and a lively Christmas market with handcrafted gifts, decorations, snacks, cookies, sweets and hot drinks.
The historic gardens are extra stunning at this time of year: decorated wooden houses, snow-covered trees, Santa’s reindeer, Christmas lights, and a real Nordic Christmas atmosphere. Grab a glass of gløgg (mulled wine) while you wander!
2019 Dates: 16th November – 5th January 2020
There is no single Christmas market in Berlin – you can visit over 70 of them here, but our favourite is the Gendarmenmarkt, which is the most famous one in the city. Stroll around stands with glassblowers, winter delicacies and origami art and sip on spicy mulled wine.
The backdrop of the Französischer Dom and Deutscher Dom (French and German churches) make it extra special. Plus, jugglers, fire-eaters, choirs and classical, jazz or Gospel choirs provide entertainment programme on each market day!
2019 Dates: 25th November – 30th December
This lovely Christmas Market is in the middle of Krakow’s Old Town, next to the majestic Renaissance Cloth Hall and the towering St. Mary’s Basilica. Discover beautiful Polish Christmas traditions like Christmas carols sung by performers on the market square and sample authentic Polish bites to eat.
A real highlight is the famous Krakow Christmas Crib Contest, which has been held annually in the city at the beginning of December since the 19th century.
2019 Dates: 29th November – 7th January 2020
Explore local crafts, regional produce and traditional Christmas decorations, visit the majestic Cathedral and stroll through the historic Petite France quarter at this charming market.
There’s 300 wooden chalets set up in the city’s historic centre with a magical Christmas tree at the heart of it all. Taste Alsatian delicacies and shop for wooden toys and blown glass candles.
2019 Dates: 22nd November – 30th December
If you’re lucky enough to be in Brussels during winter, you’ve got to get into the Christmas spirit at the city’s Winter Wonders markets.
While the heart of the Christmas markets is at the festive Big Wheel at Place Sainte-Catherine, there’s over 250 wooden chalets spread across the city.
There’s a great mix of crafts and food options, including Raclette, salmon smoked over open fires, mulled wine and deliciously boozy hot chocolate.
2019 Dates: 30th November – 7th January 2020
Edinburgh’s Christmas is a spectacular, six-week season of festive entertainment in the heart of the city. Just like the city itself, the festival is vibrant and exciting. Enjoy views of the capital from the top of the Big Wheel or brave a twirl on the 60-metre-high Star Flyer.
There’s also craft stalls, a Christmas tree maze and plenty of tasty food and drink.
2019 Dates: 16th November – 4th January 2020
The Germans do a great Christmas market and none more so than in this famous market town.
The squares and alleyways around the city centre are taken over by traders, bars spilling out into the roads and a general sense of merriment. You’ll never want to leave this wonderful European Christmas market.
2019 Dates: 22nd November – 23rd December
This lively market is an annual institution in the city at this stage and very much part of the social scene from November onwards.
The markets are as much about eating and drinking as they are about buying gifts, with people spilling into local restaurants and bars and making a night out of their visit. There’s nearly 350 beautiful stalls and chalets in 10 distinctive market sites across the city centre.
2019 Dates: 9th November – 22nd December (23rd December for Albert Square)
The streets are filled with the aromas of roasting chestnuts and the bars do a brisk trade in alcoholic punch and beer.
Vienna is such a beautiful city and the historical backdrop and lights only brighten things up further, making it a stunning place to walk around. If you can’t get into the Christmas market spirit in Vienna you never will!
2019 Dates: 22nd November – 26th December
This beautiful market has consistently been voted the best Christmas market in Europe and it isn’t hard to see why.
The whole city is taken over by a Christmas spirit, with an outdoor ice rink, lots of trees and lights, as well as rides for the kids.
With some great street food stalls and local crafts, this is the sort of market that you could easily return to for a couple of days in a row.
2019 Dates: 30th November – 7th January 2020