Planning to spend Christmas in Europe and looking for the best places to spend Christmas in Europe? In this article, we share some of the best Christmas markets in Europe that you will love.
If you want to see Europe at its best then the holiday season is the best time when you can see beautifully decorated Christmas trees, numerous Christmas lights illuminating the cobbled streets, squares, cathedrals, soothing sound of Christmas carols, and a magical view of fresh snowfalls.
To make this list even better with experience-based tips, I have asked travel bloggers to share their favorite Christmas markets in Europe that they visited. There is truly something here for everyone.
Families, couples, and groups of friends all can enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas at these markets that are full of Christmas trees, ornaments, delicious chocolates, roasted chestnuts, warm winter wear, and much more.
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1. Munich, Germany: Best Christmas Market in Europe
One of the best Christmas markets in Europe is held in Munich from 23 November to 24 December. This year, the market will be going ahead in a more intimate fashion. There will be a reduced number of stalls, extra distancing, and outdoor seating set up in restaurants.
A huge Christmas tree dominates the thoroughly atmospheric square of Marienplatz where a wide array of market stalls glow with Christmas magic. Find everything from traditional German decorations to artisanal crafts on display under rows of fairy lights.
The market has a traditional Bavarian character with a wonderful array of handmade items for sale. Select an ancient German Christmas decoration, beautiful hand-painted glass baubles, cozy sheepskin jackets, and nostalgia-inspiring colorful paper pictures.
With the imposing gothic Old City Hall as the backdrop, the Munich Christmas market has a medieval village feel that buzzes with mulled wine-fuelled cheer.
A fun activity not to be missed is the lively concerts encased in the party vibe at Winterollwood. Here, you’ll also find quirkier crafts on sale. Join in the spooky (but fun) tradition of the Krampus Run – the sullen assistant to St Nicholas who didn’t turn a blind eye when children we’re naughty. Wrap up an afternoon strolling the market and satisfy your sweet tooth with Fatschnkindl, a pastry shaped like the baby Jesus.
By Paul Healey, Anywhere We Roam
2. Cologne, Germany
Cologne has some of the best Christmas Markets in Germany and offers not just one, but seven markets located across the city.
The markets normally open around the end of November and stay until the beginning of January to see in the New Year.
During 2020 the beautiful market at Cologne Cathedral and the Heinzels Winter Fairytale in the Old Town will not be opening however some of the other Christmas markets located in the harbor and the park may still go ahead depending on the Covid-19 situation at the end of November.
The Christmas markets in Cologne are magical as they are traditional in décor. The wooden chalets are adorned with Christmas tinsel and even artificial snow and sell beautiful Bavarian gifts from hand-blown baubles to wooden nutcracker soldiers; you will definitely be returning home with lots of Christmas gifts!
Of course, you won’t want to miss the food stalls selling delicious warming Glogg, a red wine and fruit drink, bratwurst, local sausage and especially, gingerbread – a favorite food at Christmas time and sold in the markets and shops in Cologne.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay then may want to check out Motel One Koln-Neumarkt for a budget hotel stay in Cologne. It has great ratings and is in the center of the city.
By Angela Price from Where Angie Wanders
3. Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany
Nuremberg is home to the world-famous Christkindlesmarkt that typically takes place from late November until Christmas Eve each year.
Sadly the 2020 Christkindlesmarkt is cancelled due to the world pandemic.
Nuremberg is known as one of the most Christmassy places in the world and the attractions are spread throughout the old town area. The main hum of the market however is located in the Nürnberger
Hauptmarkt area next to The Church of Our Lady. The Church of Our Lady is a fantastic backdrop to the area and is home to the main stage for festive entertainment.
The main area of the market has constant entertainment, lots of stalls selling food or some very lovely gifts. Local specialties include the local Nuremberg Sausages which are a must-try for you, these
are served with sauerkraut or mustard in a bread roll and are absolutely delicious. The dominant smell of the market is the Christmassy spices of mulled wines, warm ciders, and gingerbread cakes.
The whole of the old town area of Nuremberg embraces Christmas while visiting you really should have an explore. The city walls are a great walk as are the many stunning churches and finally the castle that overlooks the whole of the old town.
If you are looking for a budget place to stay, the Invite Hotel Nuremberg City is a great option. It is a no-frills place to stay with clean rooms and located a short walk from the main attractions. As a bonus, they have a sauna and are dog-friendly if you are traveling with your pet.
By Richard from RJon Tour
4. Innsbruck, Austria
Innsbruck is a small, charming town that has many interesting things to offer to visitors. It’s the capital of Tyrol and the fifth-largest city in the country and considered one of the most popular destinations in Austria for winter sports enthusiasts.
With its colorful buildings set against the white backdrop, it’s a magical city to visit, especially during Christmas time, and the Christmas Markets in Innsbruck is considered one of the Best Christmas Markets in Austria. The markets open as part of the mountain Christmas from mid-November in 6 different locations in the city, and they remain open until January 6th.
Please, note that due to the current pandemic situation, and the measures in place to restrict the spread of the coronavirus, events may change or be canceled at short notice.
What makes Innsbruck Christmas so special is that the Christmas Markets take place against spectacular mountain backdrops and combine tradition and modernity, mountain adventure, and urban sophistication.
In the midst of the picturesque, medieval town center of Innsbruck, surrounded by majestic, snow-covered mountains with the option to take the Nordketten cable car that takes you comfortably from the city center to lofty heights of over 2,200 meters.
You can also stroll through the cozy alleys and let yourself be enchanted by the delicious smells of Christmas delicacies, and every evening there is live Christmas music.
Make sure to visit the famous Christmas Market on Market Square, which has a stunning 14-meter tall Christmas tree decorated with thousands of sparkling and glittering Swarovski crystals and is the place to go for families with kids.
If you are looking for great value accommodation during your visit to Innsbruck, Pension Stoi budget guesthouse is a great option, and it is located in the heart of Innsbruck.
By Paula Martinelli
5. Vienna, Austria
Vienna at Christmas is something special. From mid-November to early January, the Austrian capital’s Christmas markets transform some of Vienna’s prettiest squares into sparkling festive wonderlands. The biggest of these is Christkindlmarkt, in front of the city’s Rathaus, slap bang in the center of Vienna.
In 2020, Christkindlmarkt is scheduled to be open from November 13th until December 26th. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Austrian Government has announced a lockdown for the month of November. During this time, none of Vienna’s Christmas markets will be open.
Set against the magnificent backdrop of the city’s baroque town hall, for sheer size and beauty, Vienna’s Christkindlmarkt is amongst the best Christmas markets in Europe.
Stroll around this winter wonderland, a mug of glühwein in hand, inhaling the smoky aroma of roasted chestnuts. Tuck into Viennese Christmas market food, which includes sausages plenty and Bratkartoffeln, an addictive pan-fried potato dish. If you have a sweet tooth then why not sample the gingerbread, pancakes, or doughnuts?
Are you looking for tasteful souvenirs? If so, pick up an authentic snow globe – Vienna is where they originated – or an exquisite gingerbread house, just a few of the many choices available.
Vienna is not awash with budget accommodation options – and the budget is a relative term! – but Hotel-Pension Wild, within walking distance of the city center, will help you to keep these costs down.
By Bridget from The Flashpacker
6. Graz, Austria: Christmas in Europe
Even though Graz is Austria‘s second-largest city, many foreigners haven’t even heard of it. That’s a pity because it’s a really charming city with many great attractions. You can visit Graz all year round – it will never be boring.
However, it’s especially worth a visit in winter, when the streets are filled with mulled wine smell and magical Christmas decoration is everywhere. Make sure you don’t miss the fantastic Christmas markets in Graz.
This year, all of them will open on November 20th and will be open until December 24th.
Unlike all the years before, the advent markets won’t include gastronomy stands so you won’t have the pleasure to warm yourself with some hot wine, unfortunately.
The first one you should visit is the biggest and most popular Christmas market in the main square. It’s right in front of the city hall and hard to oversee thanks to a big Christmas tree. Moreover, it features a lovely carousel for children and some light projections on the stalls’ roofs give it a very special touch.
Another great and unique Christmas market in Graz is the “Aufsteirern” market at the iconic hill “Schlossberg”. Only a few footsteps from the city’s landmark “Uhrturm” is a former castle moat called “Kasematten”.
In summer mostly used as an open-air stage, this place turns into a festively decorated living room for Christmas. Usually, there are stands selling typical Austrian dishes and mulled wine, but this won’t be the case this year. It’s still worth visiting as you can find a lot of stalls selling different types of crafts.
Last but not least, check out the Christmas market at Färberplatz. There you’ll find handmade goods from local but also international craftspeople. Most of the things they present are made of wood, clay, glass, textile, or metal. From clothes to decoration stuff and even pet accessories – there’s nothing you won’t find there.
One of the best and cheapest places to stay in Graz is the a&o Graz Hauptbahnhof at the main train station.
By Alina from World of Lina
7. Chatsworth, The UK
Chatsworth House, situated in the heart of the UK’s Peak District National Park and home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, is one of the grandest estates in the UK. And when it comes to Christmas, they pull out all the stops.
The Chatsworth Christmas Markets generally run from mid-November to the beginning of December, although they have sadly been canceled for 2020. Entry is free, but you do have to pay for parking. Visitors can browse over one hundred stalls offering a range of Christmas gifts and decorations, sample delicious treats (including the famous Bakewell Tarts!), and enjoy a mulled wine at one of the outdoor bars.
If you visit later in the day, specifically at dusk, the whole setting feels even more magical with the twinkling lights set against the impressive Chatsworth Estate and amazing live music filling the air.
Whilst visiting the markets, you must venture inside the house to marvel at the festive transformation (pre-book tickets). Each year Chatsworth picks a specific theme and it takes a year of planning. Alternatively take a walk around the grounds (which is free) either along the River Derwent to spot deer, or head up to the Hunting Tower and through the woods.
A Peak District Christmas can make you feel like you’ve stepped into a Dickens novel; quaint limestone villages decorated in festive cheer and a dusting of snow on the hilltops. It’s worth visiting for at least a weekend and combine your visit to Chatsworth with some winter hikes along the Peak District’s impressive escarpments, such as nearby Baslow Edge or Stanage Edge.
For budget accommodation in the area, a great option are the YHAs. The nearest to Chatsworth are YHA Eyam or YHA Youlgreave.
By Jenny from Peak District Kids
8. London Winter Wonderland, The UK
Needless to say, London is a famous Christmas destination in Europe. Christmas in London is a magical time of year and the most famous market to visit in the run-up to Christmas is located inside Winter Wonderland, in Hyde Park, central London.
Winter Wonderland is open 10 am – 10 pm every day from around mid-November to the beginning of January (2020 Winter Wonderland is unfortunately canceled).
This free to enter large open-air festival has heaps of attractions and the large traditional German market is one of the highlights with over 100 fairy-lit Bavarian-style wooden chalets. As well as the market there are other festive things to do on the grounds including fairground rides, ice skating, Santa’s grotto, a Ferris wheel, shows/circuses, and themed bars with live music (many of these need to be paid for and booked in advance online).
You can buy handmade crafts and gifts, treats, and Christmas decorations from the market, plus enjoy delicious traditional street food including raclette, bratwurst, and mulled wine (glühwein). There is a huge variety of international food available, with plenty of vegetarian options.
The best way to visit is by public transport and there are several nearby tube stations and bus stops. We recommend visiting the venue outside of peak hours (evenings and weekends) as Winter Wonderland is extremely popular with both locals and visitors and can get very crowded at times.
There are many budget hostels located near Hyde Park. Highly rated hostels include Astor Hyde Park and Astor Kensington. Nearby cheap-ish hotels include the Lancaster gate Hotel and Blakemore Hyde Park Hotel.
By Caroline from CK Travels
9. Manchester Christmas Markets, The UK
If you love all things of Christmas, visiting Manchester in winter will be the perfect thing to do.
Manchester hosts 9 Christmas markets. They are scattered all around the city center. The best one is located in Albert Square. Not only is it the biggest one but it is also home to the German village and loads of food stands. It’s definitely the prettiest one as it features Manchester Big Santa in front of the stunning Town Hall.
The other markets are located on Cathedral Gardens, Market Street, Exchange Square, Exchange Street, Corn Exchange, New Cathedral Street, St. Ann’s Square, and Brazennose Street.
Manchester Christmas markets run from the beginning of November until the week of Christmas. Unfortunately, they are canceled in 2020 but it’s still something to add to your bucket list for next year.
The unique thing about Manchester markets is the fact that they are literally everywhere. No matter where you go, you will find them! There are bars serving German beer and mulled wine everywhere! They are very convivial and locals love to spend time there. The markets in Cathedral gardens are also home to the ice village and an ice-rink. Children always love this part.
In terms of food, you are in for a treat! There are dozens of food stalls. The most popular things to eat are German wursts, dutch pancakes, pulled pork baps, and cheese. Make sure to also grab a hot chocolate or mulled wine.
Each year, Manchester makes new mugs. Each mug costs £1 but it’s refundable if you bring it back. That having been said, most visitors keep them as a souvenir.
Most places don’t accept cards so it’s always good to carry cash. Make sure to withdraw money beforehand as the queues to the ATMs in town are very long.
EasyHotel Manchester is a good place to stay if you are on a budget. Although the rooms are pretty small, it’s very good value for money and is well located.
By Pauline from Beelovedcity
10. Zurich Christmas Market, Switzerland
Zurich is one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland and a magical European city to visit at Christmas. Every year, Switzerland’s largest city holds three main Christmas markets, as well as several smaller ones.
At the same time, the whole Zurich dresses up for the season with wonderful lights and decorations, carols playing, and the scent of mulled wine around every corner.
The Christmas Market Dörfli, in the Niederdorf quarter of the Old Town, is the city’s oldest Christmas market and, so far, the only one confirmed to take place in 2020.
This romantic outdoor Christmas market stretches along the picturesque Niederdorfstrasse and Hirschenplatz. Take your time to browse the beautifully decorated wooden stalls, shop for gifts, from traditional Swiss clothes, arts and crafts to modern design items, drink a delicious mulled wine, have a taste of a typical raclette or cheese fondue, or simply take in the spirit of the season.
You can visit the Christmas Market Dörfli from November 19 to December 23, from 11 am to 9 pm, Monday to Saturday, and 11 am to 7 pm on Sundays. Food stalls are open till 10 pm and 8 pm, respectively.
The other two largest Christmas markets in Zurich are the Christkindlimarkt and the Wienachtsdorf. Unfortunately, both were canceled for 2020.
The Christkindlimarkt is held at Zurich’s main station and one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe. Its top attraction is the 15-meter tall Swarovski Christmas tree, decorated with 6,000 sparkling crystals. The Wienachtsdorf, or Christmas Village, takes place in front of the Zurich Opera House, including an ice rink and a fondue chalet, and is one of the most atmospheric Christmas markets in the city.
If you’re looking to visit Zurich during Christmas time, I recommend staying at Hotel Montana, which offers great value for money and a perfect location just a 5-minute walk from Zurich central station.
By Vanda from The Yogi Wanderer
Related Post: 8 Most Beautiful Christmas Markets in Switzerland
11. Montreux, Switzerland
If you’re looking for a great Christmas Market in Europe with bucket loads of Christmas ambiance, you can’t go past Montreux on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. This is one of the biggest Christmas Markets in the French-speaking area of Switzerland and it has it all.
The Montreux market is situated on the lakeside promenade on the shores of Lake Geneva complete with a medieval castle and towering mountains. It is a fairytale wonderland. Every evening you can gasp in awe as Santa Claus flies out over the lake in his reindeer-driven sleigh.
If you have a plan for a honeymoon in Switzerland, Christmas can be an ideal time to visit Montreux. You can board the cogwheel railway that twists and turns its way up the very scenic Les Rochers de Naye mountain to visit Santa in his mountain top grotto. There is an amazing interactive pedal-powered light display that illuminates the fir trees near the giant reindeer.
The market usually opens at the end of November and you can wander through the 170 market stalls sampling the traditional Christmas food and drink or finding unique Christmas gifts and the best Swiss chocolates as souvenirs. Take a ride on the big wheel for great views of Montreux and all its Christmas lights.
Chillon Castle holds a medieval festival with plenty of medieval events and activities such as pottery, cooking, and candlemaking workshops to participate in. Elves Square is set up to keep the children busy and the Lumberjack Village log cabin is the place to go for delicious food and hot drinks.
Unfortunately, due to the Covid 19 Pandemic 2020, the Montreux Christmas market and all related activities have been canceled but the castle will still be open for regular visits. But do make sure that you put Montreux on the top of the list of Christmas markets in Europe for 2021 and beyond.
By Maureen Spencer from “So Many Places! So Little Time!”
12. Zakopane, Poland: Best Christmas Markets in Europe
There are many things to do in Zakopane and celebrating Christmas makes Zakopane a perfect Christmas destination in Europe. Polish Christmas traditions and markets are the reasons to plan with your family and friends to spend a few days in Zakopane.
The Christmas market in Zakopane is open from 29 November to 26 December 2020.
As Zakopane is not a very big town, the Christmas crowd is not too much. The Polish Christmas markets are growing and are getting better each year. Also, Poland is so much more affordable European country than its neighbors Germany and Austria so it’s definitely worth considering Poland for Christmas.
Gubalowka market is the main Christmas market of Zakopane and has something for everyone. This is a permanent marketplace in Zakopane which has some really beautiful and unique traditional Polish souvenirs, some of them are handmade, along with clothing and accessories, food, and much more. The wooden craft items are a must buy.
You can easily lose yourself for hours wandering the streets and shopping. At Christmas time there are a lot of stalls, moveable and stationary, that come up along the main street as well, selling roasted nuts and delicious treats, or Christmas wares and gifts.
Among the local food to try, Oscypek smoked cheese from Zakopane served with cranberry preserve is a must-try. You can also buy it as a food souvenir to take back home. Hot mulled wine, meat dumplings, and soups are some of the other stuff to try out.
By NISHA & VASU from Le Monde, the Poetic Travels
13. Moscow Christmas Market on Red Square, Russia
Moscow’s most famous Christmas market is located in the heart of the city right in Red Square. This magical market is set against the magnificent onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral as well as The Kremlin and the beautiful GUM Mall, which is covered in strings of twinkling lights. Many of the best things to do in Moscow are located right by this popular European Christmas market.
The market itself hosts a large ice skating rink, festive carnival rides, and dozens of vendor stalls selling all kinds of traditional Russian gifts and treats. You can indulge in many kinds of grilled meats, blini (Russian pancakes), cookies, and more. Be sure to also grab a glass of mulled wine to keep you warm.
The variety of gifts and souvenirs available at this Christmas Market won’t disappoint! You can find everything from Matryoshka dolls (Nesting dolls) to Ushankas (Russian fur hats) to Podstakanniks (Russian Tea Glass Holders) and more.
You’ll also have plenty of time to plan your visit to the Moscow Christmas Market on Red Square, as it is open from November 30 to February 28. (There are not any current updates as to whether or not COVID will affect these dates.)
By Lindsey Puls of Have Clothes, Will Travel
14. Belfast Christmas Market, Northern Ireland
Located in the heart of Northern Ireland quant capital, the Belfast Christmas Market is found smack in the city center on the historic grounds of Belfast City Hall. A building that not only makes for the perfect backdrop to the festive continental market, but it also adds incentive in itself with free tours of the grounds, buildings, and exhibits inside.
This is one of the best Christmas markets in Ireland. Traditionally, each year, the market will set up in mid-November and remains open right up to Christmas Eve (closed for 2020 due to Covid-19).
As a market, it will always be central to the festive season in Belfast where people visit for the warmth and famous ‘craic’ (banter) in the historic pubs and bars found in the surrounding quarters.
It will also mark the start of a night out in the city where the market is centered around 2 heated beer tents where people congregate with steins of beers and enjoy their festive snacks from the various food stalls dotted throughout the market.
Some of the favorite annual stalls include the ‘Meats of the World’ which offers odd burger fillings like Kangaroo and Ostrich burgers, as well as the annual Hogs Roast.
Belfast is a small city that can easily be covered on foot so any accommodation is also within walking distance, although the Jury’s Inn is always a popular choice.
By Allan Wilson from Bangorni
15. Prague Castle Christmas Market, Czech Republic
The Prague Castle Christmas market takes place inside the Prague Castle complex. It belongs to the prettiest Christmas markets in Europe and should be on top of anyone’s list when visiting Prague in winter.
The Prague Castle Christmas market usually opens a week before the end of November and stays open until January 6th. During that time it’s open every day with the exception of December 24, when Czechs celebrate Christmas. For the winter season of 2020/2021, it’s highly unlikely that the market would take place since other bigger markets in the city have officially been called off.
To have the Prague Castle grounds as a setting for a Christmas market couldn’t be more fairytale-like. The market is squeezed on the small St. George’s Square, right by the St. Vitus Cathedral. There’s a large tree put up and a few stalls selling the usual Christmas foods and trinkets.
You should definitely warm yourself up with a cup of mulled wine, hot mead, or grog. When it comes to food, you can try e.g. the popular Trdlo, a.k.a. Trdelník, a sweet chimney cake originally from Transylvania. Count with slightly higher prices at this Christmas market, but they are quite justified given what a popular attraction the Prague Castle is.
The recently opened hostel called The RoadHouse Prague is a good accommodation choice. You’ll have Prague Castle, and most Prague attractions, within a walking distance.
By Veronika Primm, Travel Geekery
16. Seville, Spain
Seville is one of the most important and famous travel destinations in southern Europe. The city follows different cultures throughout the year and with its intense culture, the historical and artistic heritage is born. It is also one of the cheapest cities in Western Europe to reside in.
As the year touches the month of December, Seville starts to sparkle in whole fairy lights celebrating the traditional Christmas month. The warm winter in Seville is ideal for walking on the sprawling streets with family and friends.
The Christmas markets in Seville bring a special kind of magic. The corners of the market are filled with nativity scenes, musical choirs, and a bunch of sweet shops.
This year, you can visit outdoor Christmas markets in Seville where you can find everything from a gift for yourself and your loved ones. The huge market will last from 5th December 2020 to 5th January 2020.
One of the best Christmas Markets in Seville is Mercado Navideno de Artesania that is located in front of the Town Hall in the city Centre. The markets are open this year and this one would take place from 14th December and will last till 5th January.
Christmas Markets in Seville is the best because the locals celebrate it with enthusiasm. You can immerse yourself in the tradition on Three King’s Day in January.
Get yourself ready with a list of gifts because you can get everything you want from here. Also, do not miss the chance to try the local food in these markets. You can stay in local hotels like Hotel Alfonso XIII and can walk down from your room for enjoying the street food. You may also look for neighborhoods of Seville to stay near the beauty.
By Paulina, Pauline on the Road
17. Gothenburg, Sweden
Gothenburg is home to the largest Christmas Market in Sweden. Held at Liseberg theme park, this Gothenburg Christmas market is originally planned to open from mid-November until the end of December, but is currently closed and awaiting permission from the Swedish government to reopen.
In past years the Christmas market has included thrilling roller coasters, Santa’s workshop, a festive-themed ice skating show, and over 80 Christmas market stalls – selling both traditional and modern designer goods. The Christmas market is unique as it is decorated by over 5 million lights that are all sustainably powered by the theme park’s own wind turbine (which also powers some of the rides!).
Other than purchasing cute Christmas gifts, and festive home decor, the best stalls to visit at Liseberg have to be the food ones! There are plenty of choices, selling festive Swedish favorites such as a sweet mulled wine called glogg and thin gingerbread biscuits called Pepparkaka.
For those who are really hungry, there is even a restaurant serving a traditional four course Swedish Christmas buffet dinner. It includes specialties such as pickled herring, saffron buns, cured salmon, and a long table full of sweets and chocolates are known as a gottebord.
The buffet is the best way to end your day and warm you up (just remember to book a slot that gives you enough time to ride the rollercoasters first!).
The city of Gothenburg has a great tram service, and Hotel Bellora is just a short ride away from Liseberg amusement park, making it a great choice if you are visiting for a Christmas market weekend.
By Roshni from The Wanderlust Within
18. Warsaw, Poland
Warsaw is an amazing city to visit at Christmas time. From amazing little markets in most of the town squares to the Christmas Lights displays located around the city, there is something for everyone in Warsaw.
You can start your Warsaw Christmas market fun at the main square. Castle Square has an amazing huge Christmas tree in it and from there you can wander from the Old Town to little market.
A great way to see where the Warsaw Christmas markets are is to do a free walking tour of the Warsaw old town with Orange Umbrella during the day. It will give you a great guide as the where the best ones are in the Old town area for your visit that night. Or you can visit the ones that are open early in the afternoon.
In the Old Town area, you can sample some great for not only from the market stalls but from some of the little shops as well. Zapikanka (like a toasted sub with bacon, cheese, mushroom, and some other assorted toppings that you can choose) and Gofry (waffles with different toppings) were our favorites as well as grilled Kielbasa (sausage) with mustard and bread. One thing you must try is a shot of Vodka (offered at only select stalls in certain areas) or a Grzane Piwo (hot spiced beer).
The Christmas Lights in Warsaw are also an amazing Christmas treat. From the giant Christmas tree in Castle Square, you can walk along the Royal Route to see all of the different Christmas themed setups.
The lights and the markets are normally set up at the start of December and run through until the end of the month. Unfortunately this year the markets will not be running.
A great place to stay that will give you easy access to the Warsaw Christmas markets in the Old Town area is the Safestay Warsaw. Located only meters from Castle Square you can walk you the front door and be right in the action.
By Bec from Poland Travel Expert
19. Sibiu, Romania
I’m sure you’ve heard of the western European Christmas markets in France and Germany, but have you heard of Romania’s Christmas Markets? While many of Romania’s cities put on beautiful markets, Sibiu by far outranks them all. Voted as one of the 20th best Christmas markets in Europe for the family by Conde Nest Traveler.
This small Transylvanian city oozes medieval charm – think fairy tales and castles. Now add to that sensory delights in the form of light shows, carols, and the smell and taste of local delicacies.
The Sibiu Christmas Market is located in Piata Mare, meaning Big Square. Surrounding the square, the buildings are covered in festive projections, a glittery fairy light canopy crosses overhead and over 100 stalls sell unique local and international goods.
One thing you’ll love is how varied the items are from the run-of-the-mill stalls in other markets. A beautiful carousel stands bright and center and you’ll also find Santa, nativity shows, and an ice-rink.
Usually running from mid-November to the start of January, this year has been suspended due to current world conditions. You can check back and find further updates on the Romania Insider website.
The markets are in the heart of the Old Town, which is generally a more upmarket area. You can find some great budget hotels and Airbnb’s a few blocks away from the center but still within walking distance to the Piata Mare.
By Erinorris from Curiously Erin Blog
20. Strasbourg, France
Christmas in Strasbourg is a magical time. Small stalls line the street around the Cathedral selling everything from beautiful Christmas decorations to mouth-watering food.
Being part of the Alsace region of France the wine and the cuisine draw people from all over the world to sit in this beautiful fairy tale city in any season. Its buildings are known over the world for their beauty and people flock to Strasbourg for it.
At Christmas time it’s the market they come for as well as the food and drink. To wander the streets decorated in all of the Christmas spirits is wonderful. To hear children and adults alike laughing, enjoying themselves is a true gift.
You can enjoy a Vin Chaud as you wander the market or sit at a restaurant for a hot Flammkuche (a traditional Alsatian type pizza) whatever you chose you will be delighted.
The Strasbourg Christmas Market is scheduled to start on the 20th of November this year and would normally run until the 30th of December, at this time there could be changes and the market may not run.
If you have more time in Strasbourg, you can do some of the most amazing day trips from Strasbourg that also include some more amazing Christmas markets or just more gorgeous towns to find a picture-perfect place to warm your hands with a cup of Vin Chaud.
By Mark from Wyld Family Travel
21. Tuileries Christmas Market, France
Paris at Christmas time is a wonder and if you are spending 3 days in Paris or more take a break from sightseeing to visit some of the Christmas markets in Europe.
The Tuileries Christmas Market is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Paris and also one of the biggest. It is located inside the famous Tuileries Gardens, just in front of the Louvre, which means it is very central and close to everywhere.
The Tuileries Christmas Market is quite recent (it’s only two years old) and it replaces the Christmas Market along the Champs Elysées which no longer exists. The new location has many obvious advantages: the wooden chalets are less spread and they all are inside a fenced, car-free space.
To reach the Tuileries Christmas Market you have the metro line 1, metro station ‘Tuileries” which stops just in front of the entrance of the Tuileries Garden. If possible, avoid going on the weekend, when it is more crowded with tourists and locals.
If you still have some Christmas shopping to do, the Tuileries Christmas Market is definitely the place to go! Inside, more than 300 traditional wooden chalets sell all kinds of Christmas gifts like Marseille soap, perfumes, decoration objects, scarves, and more. Also, there are some chalets selling quick eats like hot dogs, raclette or crêpes, and drinks like beer, mulled wine, or even champagne.
This Christmas market is so big that there’s an area with a funfair and an ice rink so it is a fun place to visit with the whole family.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the Tuileries Christmas Market won’t take place this year so we will have to wait until 2021 to enjoy this market again.
By Elisa from World in Paris
22. Christmas Market in Old Town Square, Prague, Czech Republic
There’s no better time to visit the Czech capital than Christmas. The main Christmas markets in Prague are found in the Old town Square. They’re in a great location if you’re looking to see some more of Prague’s attractions such as the astronomical clock or the Church of our Lady before Tyn. You’ll also get to see Prague’s world-famous Christmas tree and lights displays!
The center of Prague comes to life and is filled with small food stalls, gift shops, and bars serving Medovina (Honey wine). You’ll find locals singing and playing music in the street, showing you the true Christmas spirit of the Czech people.
The Christmas Markets in Prague are usually open from late November to early January. This year they were planned for 28th November to 6th January. Unfortunately, the markets have been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
You should definitely make sure to try Pražská Šunka (Prague Ham), which you’ll be able to smell all around! If that’s not your thing then go for a more traditional Klobasa (Grilled sausage) which is similar to what most westerners would call a hotdog!
If you’re looking for gifts, then you’ll probably want to head to the markets in the afternoon and pick up some beautiful handmade baubles, glass ornaments, or traditional puppets! For food and drink head to the markets at night when the square will be full of locals and tourists enjoying the festivities.
The Czech Republic is one of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe. Finding affordable accommodation won’t be a problem here. For a great stay, the Old Town is probably your best bet. It’s right in the center of all the festive action and you can find some pretty cheap accommodation if you look around.
By Danny Grainger from Danny Explores
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