10 Best Christmas Markets in Europe

Here's a look at the best Christmas markets in Europe to visit this year, from Germany to the United Kingdom.

Europe Christmas Markets

Adri / Getty Images

Colorful rows of glittering fairy lights surrounding charming cobblestone streets and small wooden figurines ready to come home in your suitcase — it sounds like a dream.

The holiday season is one of the best times to go to Europe, with the festive spirit in full swing and the cold weather just mild enough to walk around. And Christmas markets, found in towns large and small, are one of the best ways to soak it all in.

Drink mulled wine and nibble on petite cookies as you meander your way through the stalls and chalets from Strasbourg to Berlin to Amsterdam and beyond. Whether you prefer to stuff your suitcase with figurines made of prunes in Germany or collect tartan Christmas ornaments in Scotland, here are ten of the best Christmas markets in Europe, all of which take place from late November to late December or early January.

Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market: Berlin, Germany

Europe Christmas Markets

ullstein bild / Getty Images

Marvel at the fairy lights that illuminate this historic market in Germany's capital city of Berlin, where you can shop for traditional blown glass, wood carvings, and more. Head to the heated tents for some food and fill up on Bavarian treats. On New Year's Eve, be dazzled by the fireworks from the celebratory tents, ringing in the new year with cheer.

La Défense Marché de Noël: Paris, France

Europe Christmas Markets
Getty Images

This market is the biggest in the Paris area, with more than 350 chalets showcasing crafts and thousands of square feet of merry decorations, all located underneath the Grande Arche de la Defense. After a long day of shopping, go ahead and indulge in some cheese, chocolates, or hot mulled wine from one of the stalls — you are in France, after all.

Strasbourg Christmas Market: Strasbourg, France

Miles of fairy lights illuminate this city along the Rhine River, with its Christmas market dating back to 1570. Shop for wooden toys and blown glass candles from the more than 300 market stalls, where you can find the perfect souvenir. After your shopping spree, dig into some Alsatian bredele (traditional small cookies), or foie gras in true French fashion.

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park: London, England

Sip hot chocolate topped with marshmallows or mulled wine in London's Hyde Park Winter Wonderland as you shop for candle votives, ornaments, crafts, and gourmet food. After some much-needed retail therapy, go ice skating or choose from different roller coasters before meeting Santa.

Edinburgh's Christmas: Edinburgh, Scotland

Load up on sweets like cinnamon and sugar chimney cakes and cotton candy at this joyous celebration in the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh as you shop for hand-carved wooden candle holders and traditional Tartan ornaments. Later, spend a few hours in Santa Land in the West Princes Street Gardens, where you can take on the candy cane bungees (trampolines) and bumper cars.

Salzburg Christmas Markets: Salzburg, Austria

Europe Christmas Markets
Getty Images

These historic Advent markets, which happen in several places throughout the city, date as far back as the 15th century and turn the foot of Hohensalzburg Fortress and the area near the Cathedral of Salzburg into a winter wonderland with over 95 different exhibitors. Breathe in the smell of hot chestnuts and mulled wine as you wander the city's charming markets.

Plaza Mayor Christmas Market: Madrid, Spain

Europe Christmas Markets

Mario Guti / Getty Images

Pick up traditional Belén figures (small handcrafted figurines of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and other people and animals typically featured in nativity scenes) as well as intricate ornaments to decorate your home with at this centrally located Madrid market. While there, soak up the history of this large plaza, dating back to when King Philip II moved his court to Madrid.

Mercatini di Natale: Milan, Italy

Europe Christmas Markets

Flavio Vallenari / Getty Images

Stroll underneath the magnificent gothic-style Duomo cathedral with a warm drink in hand as you browse the charming stalls and small huts set up in long rows at Mercatini di Natale, a Christmas market held each year in Milan's Piazza del Duomo. Shop for Italian cheeses and Yuletide souvenirs as you take in the spirit of the city — the perfect way to cap off a day of sightseeing.

Basel Christmas Markets: Basel, Switzerland

The Basel Christmas Markets take place each year in the city center's historic Old Town, with 155 wooden chalets set up between Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz selling everything from waffles, mulled wine, and grilled sausages to Swiss raclette and Basel-style Basler Läckerli (spiced bread similar to gingerbread). Shop for hand-painted Christmas ornaments, handmade toys and jewelry, and anise flavored cookies. Don't forget to sample some feuerzangenbowle, a traditional German drink that involves a rum-soaked sugarloaf being set on fire and melted into mulled wine.

Het Amsterdamse Winterparadijs: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Europe Christmas Markets

Robin Utrecht / Getty Images

This "winter paradise" market in Amsterdam is a sport and entertainment dream with Christmas spirit and seasonal delicacies built right in. Try your hand at a game of curling, have a snowball fight with real snow, or go snow tubing. Later, warm up by roasting marshmallows on the fire or heading to the winter cinema for a nostalgic Christmas movie.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles