Backdropped by some of the world’s most iconic storybook destinations, Christmas in Europe is as magical as it can get. If you’re considering jetting off this season to celebrate Christmas a little differently this year, there’s no better place to head to than to European cities that take the festive spirit to a whole new level.
With the aroma of spiced wine and home-baked goodies filling up the air, twinkling lights all over, and a ton of activities to keep you lingering a while, attending a Christmas market in Europe is a must on every traveller’s bucket list.
Whether you’re on the lookout to explore the classics like Vienna’s centuries-old markets or you’re more on the mood for an off-the-beaten-path destination, these are the best Christmas Markets in Europe you can’t miss!
Viennese Christmas Market, Vienna, Austria
Held every year since the 13th century, the Viennese Christmas Market is set up in front of Vienna’s iconic City Hall. While here, you’ll be able to taste authentic gluhwein (mulled wine), try scrumptious Austrian treats, and go crazy over all the handmade goodies on sale to bring back home. Plus, there’s a humongous ice-skating rink set up every year in the dreamiest of settings!
The market takes place from 17th November 2021 to 26th December 2021.
Looking for more things to do in Vienna? Check out these tours:
Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, Germany
When it comes to storybook-like locations and dreamy Christmas markets, Germany is king. Nuremberg just happens to be the ideal destination to start exploring the country’s Christmas market scene because it’s one of Germany’s oldest and most traditional ones, dating all the way back to the 16th century.
While exploring, you’ll get to walk through a maze of almost two hundred stalls selling handmade Christmas goodies (fun fact: mass-produced items are a no-no at Germany’s Christmas markets) and the most delicious homemade treats.
The market takes place from 26th November 2021 to 23rd December 2021.
Looking for more things to do in Nuremberg? Check out these tours:
Tallinn Christmas Market, Estonia
Dreaming of a white Christmas? Tallinn may not be the first city you think of when you picture Christmas markets, but the capital of Estonia is a real treat for those who crave some serious snow during the holiday season.
Held annually on Tallinn’s main square, this Christmas market boasts huts showcasing handmade trinkets and an array of traditional Estonian cuisine you won’t be able to get enough of. Another highlight? A gigantic tree towering high over the market and the Town Hall Square, which was the first Christmas tree in Europe and has been set up in the exact same spot every year for over five centuries already!
The market takes place from 1st December 2023 to 7th January 2024.
Looking for more things to do in Tallinn? Check out these tours:
Winter Wonders, Brussels, Belgium
If exploring one market simply doesn’t sound like enough, Brussels is your go-to. Come winter, the Belgian capital turns into a winter wonderland with an array of markets popping up all over the city.
Grab a glass of mulled one to get enough energy to explore a sea of festive cheer. Among the major sights spread all over the city during Winter Wonders, make sure not to miss the Bourse, the Grand Palace, and the Marche aux Poissons for some serious festive lights!
The market takes place from 26th November 2021 to 2nd January 2022.
Looking for more things to do in Brussels? Check out these tours:
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Think half-timbered houses, the aroma of roasted almonds filling up the air, and thousands of twinkling lights illuminating the way to get a pretty good picture of what a Christmas in Germany’s top medieval town is like!
Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s first Christmas market was held over five centuries ago, and not a lot has changed since then. If you’re on the lookout for old traditions and a storybook setting like no other, Rothenburg is bound to please.
The market takes place from 26th November 2021 to 23rd December 2021.
Looking for more things to do in Rothenburg? Check out these tours:
Advent Feast at the Basilica in Budapest, Hungary
We can’t think of a better place to spend Christmas Day than inside Hungary’s largest church. What better way is there to feel closer to god, especially on Christmas? Starting on November 19th 2021 through to 2nd January 2022, visitors are invited to Budapest’s Basilica for an annual Advent feast of cakes and cookies.
The market takes place from 19th November 2021 to 2nd January 2022.
Looking for more things to do in Budapest? Check out these tours:
You can’t visit Dresden during winter, without stopping by its Christmas Market. In addition to shopping and sipping glühwein, you can also indulge your sweet tooth with a bite of traditional German gingerbread or a locally baked stollen. And every year from November 22nd through December 23rd, there’s even an International Ice Sculpture Competition held within Dresden’s historic city centre.
The market takes place from 22nd November 2021 to 23rd December 2021.
Looking for more things to do near Dresden? Check out these tours:
Trier Christmas Market, Germany
Christmas markets are a German institution, and what better place to get a taste of one than Trier? Dating back over 800 years, it's considered one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany. The market comprises over 300 timber stalls selling regional specialities such as smoked ham, mulled wine and gingerbread. Of course, being a German market there's also plenty of beer on offer!
The market takes place from 27th November 2021 to 7th January 2022.
Looking for more things to do near Trier? Check out these tours:
Madeira Christmas Market, Portugal
This two-week celebration takes place in Funchal, Madeira’s capital, with its centrepiece being a large Christmas tree erected at Praça dos Maritinhos. The market sells delicious Portuguese delights including Caldo Verde (potato and kale soup), Pastéis de Nata (egg tarts) and lebkuchen.
The market takes place from 1st December 2021 to 9th January 2022.
Looking for more things to do in Madeira? Check out these tours:
Porto's Christmas Market in Portugal
With its beautiful old town, narrow streets and gothic architecture, it’s not hard to see why Porto made it onto UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. Every year in December, locals and tourists alike flock to one of Europe’s best Christmas markets in Porto’s public squares for mulled wine and Christmas treats. Get into the Christmas spirit with carols by candlelight! Buy yourself some local artisanal food or a festive souvenir from a booth along Rua Santa Catarina before heading home on a coach tour that has a live commentary on all of Portugal’s most popular attractions.
The market takes place from 24th November to 30th December 2021.
Looking for more things to do in Porto? Check out these tours:
Manchester – England's Biggest Christmas Market
Every year Manchester hosts one of Europe’s biggest festive markets and the biggest in England. With over 80 wooden huts selling every sort of gift, you could possibly want. With mulled wine, hot chocolate and plenty of mince pies to keep visitors warm. The stalls are located between St Ann’s Square and St Peter’s Square.
The market takes place from 12th November to 22nd December 2021.
Looking for more things to do in Manchester? Check out these tours:
Whether you are looking for ornaments, decorations or just a place to pick up some unique gifts, there is something for everyone at these beautifully decorated markets. Be sure to get your very own Glühwein from one of the hot-drink stalls and enjoy it as you listen to carolers singing around an open fire or watch people dance together. Make sure to visit the Magic Kingdom Wine shop where you can taste local, Italian wine. There's also a musical show, held at the Royal Castle of Govone every day while the market is taking place.
The market is open from 13th November to 19th December 2021.
Looking for more things to do near Govone? Check out these tours:
Bath Christmas Market in England
**Bath Christmas Market is cancelled for 2021**
Bath Christmas Market is a wonderful way to get into that festive spirit early. In addition to allowing you to partake in some seasonal shopping, it also showcases live music performances from talented local singers and musicians. You'll also have a chance to explore this beautiful Georgian city and its rich Roman history.
While the market is closed for 2021, there's still tons of things to do throughout Bath and plenty of independent shops you can purchase gifts in as well as other, smaller markets taking place throughout the festive period. There will also be a Christmas light trail throughout the city from 25th November 2021 to 2nd January 2021. and other forms of entertainment. From 26th November through to 19th December you'll also be able to find gifts created by Artisan Makers at Bath Abbey Quarter. Bath Artisan Market is also running from 20th November to December 19th 2021.
Bath Christmas Market is hosting a virtual market hosted online, so you can purchase gifts from independent sustainable retailers from 1st November through to 31st December 2021. The virtual market features over 160 artisan makers from the South-west of England.
Looking for more things to do in Bath? Check out my guide, or how about these tours?
Advent Zagreb Christmas Market, Croatia
This beautiful Croatian city comes alive during Advent when its charming baroque-style town square becomes home to a Christmas market. Advent Zagreb is one of Croatia’s biggest Christmas markets, which makes it an ideal destination for travellers looking for seasonal activities away from home. Advent Zagreb features over 100 stalls that sell Christmas decorations and crafts. You can also enjoy hot mulled wine while listening to live music at popular bars surrounding the market area. You'll also be able to ride, the Merry Christmas Tram that connects Ban Jelačić Square to Zrinjevac.
Looking for more things to do in Zagreb? Check out these tours:
Vilnius Christmas Market, Lithuania
Europe’s densest collection of Christmas markets can be found in Lithuania, with around 100 spread out across Vilnius and Kaunas. There’s something for everyone, too – whether you’re looking for delicious locally-made products, artisanal gifts or want to sit down for a hot drink by a cosy fire. Outside of December, many Lithuanian Christmas markets turn into fun open-air summer cafes so there’s plenty of scope for day trips all year round.
Looking for more things to do in Vilnius? Check out these tours:
I hope this list of the best Christmas markets in Europe helped you pick the perfect destination for you! What are some other amazing Christmas markets in Europe that are worth a visit? Let us know your favourites in the comment section down below.