12 Christmas Markets in Europe That You Must Visit This Winter!

Come winters and the whole of Europe dazzles with Christmas markets that offer you a perfect way to enjoy the festival in true colours. The red and golden lights against the snowy backdrop make for a beautiful landscape full of energy, awe and merriment. The glitter of Christmas presents, the sweet sounding bells and that fragrance of cakes and pastries will transfer you to a magical landscape, stuff that dreams are made of. Let us look at 12 among all European destinations whose Christmas markets shall enamour you.

12 Christmas Markets in Europe

1. Innsbruck, Austria - Traditional Christmas Market

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

When: November 15 - January 6

The fascinating city of Innsbruck is even more special in Christmas time, thanks to four different Christmas Markets spread all over the city. The city of Innsbruck, solemnly decorated in every nook and cranny, offers various possibilies regarding leisure time activities. Even more possibilities are offered in Christmas time, when Innsbruck makes you taste Christmas bakery, mulled wine, local delicacies such as Kiachln and Spatzln at one of the four Christmas Markets. 

2. Vienna, Austria - Buy gifts for your Loved ones

Image Source: charley1965/flickr.com

When: November 14 - December 24

Vienna's Christmas-market tradition goes back to the 13th century. It now has around 10 markets. More than 150 stalls fill the Rathausplatz in front of the neo-Gothic City Hall. Buy miniature wooden houses, puppets, gingerbread hearts, leather clothing and woollen hats. Or try the atmospheric lanes of the Spittelberg market near the Museums Quarter for handblown glass, silverware and ceramics. Don’t miss: a stroll in Rathauspark, with its carousel rides and light-bedecked trees and pavilions.

3. Prague, Czech Republic - Most beautiful christmas shops

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

When: November 28 - January 6

Prague looks especially romantic and particularly friendly during the time of Advent and Christmas. Maintaining its rich advent tradition, very popular in Prague. Open Air concert performances by registered ensembles will be held in the Old Town Square, enhancing the seasonal magic of Prague Christmas.

4. Strasbourg, France - best european city for Christmas shopping

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

When: November 27 - December 31

Strasbourg scores for Old World charm, but during Advent, the capital of Alsace is even more magical. Half-timbered houses sport giant red-and-white hearts; stars, angels and snowflakes garland the cobbled streets. No wonder Strasbourg has won the title of 'Best Christmas Market in Europe' two years running. But locals have plenty of practice in throwing a Yuletide party the Christkindelsmärik dates back to 1570 and even the towering fir tree on the Place Kléber is a 400-year-old custom. Check out the 11 different 'villages' but do not miss the 'bredele'. These special biscuits come in all shapes and flavours, from hazelnut, orange and cinnamon to walnut, coconut and praline. 

5. Hamburg, Germany - Most Unique Christmas market across Europe

Image Source: Mark Michaelis/flickr.com

When: November 23 - January 6

For sheer diversity, Hamburg is hard to beat among all other Christmas markets in Germany. In this historic port, 15 different markets cater to all tastes. Traditionalists head for the square in front of the grandiose city hall, where the rows of stalls are themed, from sweet treats (cakes, chocolates and more) to crafts (leather, silver, tree ornaments). Children are entranced by the Spielzeuggasse, the Toy Street, full of playthings from around the world. Romantics opt for the Jungfernstieg market, whose focus is on posh food and gifts; crowd-avoiders choose the smaller Fleetinsel market by the water, where fairy lights twinkle on two antique sailing vessels. Strictly for over-18s is the risqué Santa Pauli market on the X-rated Reeperbahn.

6. Nuremberg - The best German Christmas market

Image Source: Pixabay.com

When: November 25 - December 23

The tempting aromas of mulled wine, sweet roasted almonds, Nuremberg sausages and gingerbread create an unforgettable atmosphere in the Old Town decorated in its Christmas regalia. The world-famous Christkindlesmarkt Christmas Market in Nuremberg southern Germany lies right at the heart of it with its more than 400 years of tradition. The Christkindlesmarkt is a child‘s fairytale dreamland with a magnificent two-tiered nostalgia carrousel based on old originals with reindeer and Father Christmas sleighs, plus a mini Ferris wheel, a steam railway and a small merry-go-round. Santa Claus listens to the children’s wishes and poses for photos with the little ones.

7. Worms, Germany - Best place in europe for Xmas Shopping

Image Source: LenDog64/flickr.com

When: November 24- December 23

An hour south of Frankfurt and claiming to be 'Germany’s oldest city', Worms proves that small really is beautiful. The action is on and around the market square, where strings of lights fan out above the 50 stalls. Ice skaters show off their skills on the temporary rink, while children pet the real animals in the 'living manger' and clamour to see Santa.

8. Cologne, Germany - Fantastic festive shopping experience

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

When: November 23 - December 23

Not one but seven Christmas markets. Head to the Old Town’s cobbled Alter Markt and Cathedral markets for candles, tree decorations and handmade lacework. The fairy-tale St Nick’s Village on Rudolfplatz is good for wooden toys, and locals’ favourite Neumarkt’s Angel’s Market for Dresden Stollen cake. Among the trees of the Stadtgarten is an 'alternative' market selling Mongolian slippers, jewellery and dozens of different honeys. It’s a peaceful spot to sit with a mug of glühwein. Don’t miss: panoramic city views from the 300ft south tower of the Gothic cathedral.

9. Bologna, Italy - Best for Christmas decorations and souvenirs

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

When: November 17 - January 7

Spreading alongside the 12th-century San Pietro Cathedral is the Fiera di Natale; the smaller Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia centres on the cloister of the Santa Maria dei Servi church. Although fun things to buy include glass Christmas decorations and mechanised Nativity scenes, Bologna is synonymous with good food.

Must check: Christmas markets in Italy

10. Stockholm, Sweden - One of the oldest Xmas market

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

When: November 21 - December 23

Although the first Christmas market on Stortorget square in Old Stockholm was held 500 years ago, the modern event dates back 'only' a century. In front of the Nobel Museum, close to the Royal Palace, the cheerful stalls are filled with crafts made only in Sweden, such as glass, pottery and jewellery. Grown-ups sip glögg (mulled wine); everyone munches pepparkakor, thin ginger biscuits. With a dusting of snow, it all looks like a Christmas card, Scandinavian-style. Be sure to bring home a taste of Sweden: saffransbullar (saffron buns) and vacuum-packed sausages made of don’t tell the children reindeer meat.

11. Trondheim, Norway - Take a trip back through time

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

When: Month of December

This Arctic Circle city makes a beeline for Torvet, the main square, where you’ll find clusters of wooden chalets and traditional Sami lavvos (tepee-style tents). Burning braziers and horse-and-sleigh rides add to the charm. Buy woollen jumpers, hand-woven scarves and ceramic wine goblets, or take home berry-flavoured cheeses and dried reindeer meat. Refuel with moose burgers, waffles with sour cream and blueberries, and mulled wine around an open fire in the café in one of the lavvos. Don’t miss: a walk across Gamle Bybro (Old Town Bridge) to the brightly painted timber houses of Bakklandet, the city’s former working-class district.

12. Budapest, Hungary - Shop, Eat and Drink

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

When: November 13 - January 6

Visitors to Budapest will find 100 wooden pavilions in Vorosmarty and St Stephen’s Square. Among the piles of sweet Hungarian pastries are crocheted items, traditional fur hats and gloves, pressed-flower jewellery, 'good-luck' garden pixies and handmade chocolates and honey cakes. Eat and drink mulled wine, cinnamon-pastry chimney cakes (kurtoskalacs) and toki pompos, a Hungarian-style pizza topped with bacon, onion and cream. Don’t miss: a glass of Hungarian sparkling wine in Varosliget café overlooking the ice rink.

So which of these Christmas markets would you like to visit this winter? 

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