It is almost that time of the year! Winter wonderlands, twinkling lights, carols and hot beverages that warm up cold hands are about to take over most European cities. Christmas is a truly a magical time to visit Europe. So get ready to feel the cheer as you dive into our list of this year’s best Christmas markets in Europe. The magic of Christmas in Vienna, or some of the most beautiful Christmas markets in France like Strasbourg and Colmar. From Tallinn to Prague, Budapest, Brussels, Helsinki, to Manchester and Stockholm. Get in the holiday spirit and get ready for the best spots for mulled wine, Christmas shopping and Christmas treats galore.
If you are already wearing a Christmas sweater in October, then Dresden is the place for you. Christmas carols can be heard throughout the city as Dresden churches brim with festive cheer. It is a Christmas town through and through, with a total of eleven completely different Christmas Markets. The most famous market is, of course, Striezelmarkt, a medieval market held in Altmarkt square, with a 43 figure nativity scene.
Christmas tales also come to life in the city’s theatres while museums host special exhibitions. Dresden really makes you wish that Christmas was a year-round event.
When – From 29th November to 24th December 2017
Colmar, a city where the magic of Christmas can be experienced in its purest form for six entire weeks. With a total of five Christmas markets, in a labyrinth of small streets lined with century-old half-timbered houses. You are sure to feel like you’re walking through your favorite Christmas tale. Each market is like a mini-village, filled with unique products. They are all close by which makes it easy to navigate between them and join in on all the festive activities held throughout the town like guided tours, wine-tastings, children animations, exhibitions of traditional toys, as well as many shows and concerts. Christmas in Colmar is truly a magical experience.
When – From 24th November to 31st December 2017
Christmas spirit truly comes to life in front of Budapest’s grandest cathedral during the 7th annual Advent Feast at the Basilica, an open-air festive-season market. It welcomes visitors with delightful gift items, delicious Hungarian and international food such as the all-time favorite ‘flódni,’ the Hungaricum chimney cake.
From November 24 through January 1, discover this enchanted city. You can go ice-skating in a central ring that surrounds a towering Christmas tree, enjoy the best Hungarian contemporary handcraft products, concerts, and the impressive light shows that with 3D glasses will give a new dimension to the façade of St. Stephen’s Basilica, which will serve as the screen several times every evening.
When – From 24th November 2017 to 1st January 2018
Tallinn’s fairy-tale land Christmas market has been enchanting residents and guests for years. There is a tall Christmas tree on the historic town square surrounded by little houses with twinkling lights that sell Christmas delicacies and folk craft products, and the whole town smells of gingerbread and mulled wine. The main stage will feature hundreds of singers and dancers performing. There are merry-go-rounds and children can visit Santa Claus and hand deliver their letters.
When – From 17th November 2017 to 6th January 2018
Each year Vienna’s squares transform into magical Christmas markets. The scent of baked goods and hot punch fill the air, a sea of twinkling lights decorate the city, making the Viennese holiday experience one you don’t want to miss.
The most well-known Christmas Markets is the traditional “Vienna Magic of Advent,” held in the City Hall Square. There you can find the most unique Christmas gifts, tree decorations, sweets, and warm drinks, as well as a carousel and craft fun Christmas Workshops for kids.
When – From 13th November to 23rd December 2017
The Helsinki Christmas Market is like stepping into every Christmas movie ever made. Even the Grinch would be filled with Christmas cheer! The Christmas Market has around 140 vendors in cute little huts that offering everything from unique gifts to traditional ingredients for your Christmas table. The restaurants offer great food and naturally mulled wine and other hot beverages. To top it all, there is a beautiful old carousel in the center of the market area. Helsinki during the holiday season truly is about relaxing, enjoying good food and drinks, spending time with family and friends.
When – From 15th December to 22nd December 2017
Prague, Czech Republic
Christmas time in Prague is simply unforgettable. The beginning of Advent sets the mood for the entire city, as Christmas decorations take over especially the most historical squares, where Christmas markets are held. The unique atmosphere of the medieval city center in Prague makes the Christmas Markets at the Old Town Square very popular. Contrary to other Christmas markets across Europe which are much bigger, the Prague Christmas Market is smaller and has a sort of familiar vibe to it, which makes the whole experience that more enjoyable.
When – From 2nd December 2017 to 6th January 2018
Awarded with the “European Best Christmas Market” in 2014 and 2015, Strasbourg is the French Christmas capital. The holiday season is made up of a wide range of cultural and live music events like the incredible live Advent concerts and the living Nativity Scene. In Strasbourg you will find the oldest Christmas market in Europe, the Christkindelsmärik which was first held in 1570. It has over 300 vendors spread out over 12 locations around the city center. Strasbourg is truly a picture-perfect winter wonderland.
When – From 25th November to 31st December 2017
Brussels Christmas Market is the biggest in Belgium, with over 250 chalets selling all kinds of holiday souvenirs. It lasts for five weeks and some of its highlights include the fairy light Ferris Wheel, the vast Christmas tree (a gift from the city of Riga), the ice-skating rink, the Christmas parade, and the Sound and Light show at the Grand Palace UNESCO World Heritage site. Let the scent of chocolate guide you through this enchanting and magical place where you are sure to find the most fantastic gift ideas, great food, and tasty hot beverages. The festive atmosphere has become legendary, making it a key event in Brussels during the holiday season.
When – From 24th November to 31st December 2017