Top Five European Christmas Markets

"Christmas Market"
Berlin, Germany has over 60 Christmas markets.

It’s that time of year again!  Get into the Christmas spirit – take a city break and visit some of the European Christmas markets where you could combine your holiday shopping with a culture trip as well.

With the sound of carol singers, the smell of roasting chestnuts and mulled wine to fuel you up from the inside, there is no better way to get into the Christmas vibe than visiting one of the many Christmas markets there are on offer.

Originating from Germany, the ever increasing popularity has meant many countries have introduced their own versions so here are our top five European Christmas markets that we feel are worth a visit.  You can hop on the Eurostar or take one of the many cheap flights on offer for that true Christmas experience.

Berlin, Germany

With over 60 Christmas markets, there is plenty to choose from in this fascinating contemporary city.  With textiles, paintings, jewelry and more traditional gifts, you could get all your Christmas shopping done in one go, and still have time to enjoy a drink and see some of the sights on offer.  The most popular Berlin markets include the largest market situated next to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and Weihnachts Zauber on the Gendarmenmarkt,  Held from 26 November – 31st December 2012.

"Belgian Chocolates"
Who can resist Belgian chocolates?

Brussels, Belgium

Held from 23rd November – 1st January, this market attracts more than 2.5 million visitors a year.  This is more than a Christmas market, Brussels Winter Wonders Christmas market also hosts an ice rink, sleighing run, and hundreds of chalets selling traditional Christmas gifts.  There is also a Ferris wheel so if you are with the family, there are plenty of things to do in Brussels and the  kids will be thoroughly entertained.  Being famous for its cuisine, this market is also a good choice for foodies.  Stalls are packed with mulled wine, Belgian chocolates and speculoos (gingerbread Santa Claus!)

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Vienna, Austria

This market is situated on the square in front of the wonderful Town Hall.  With rows of wooden huts, trees decorated with theme lights, and stalls selling hand crafted decorations, this market is one of the best known and most visited in Europe.  This is a great choice if you are with the kids and you want to do your shopping. In the Vokshalle, in the Town Hall, daily workshops are put on for children, so parents may enjoy shopping in peace.

Christmas markets in Prague are typically low key and family-friendly.

Prague, Czech

Vanocni trh (Christmas markets) in Prague are usually fairly low key and family friendly.  The Czechs take Christmas seriously so this market is a colorful show of stalls, plenty of mulled wine, as well as theater shows and folk displays.  The main ones are found at Wenceslas Square and the Old Town square.  You’ll find Prague markets running from 1st December – 6th January.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Open from 16th November – 30th December, Copenhagen’s Christmas Market at Tivoli Gardens is a truly remarkable market. You will find Christmas trees, a theme park with roller-coasters, and plenty of food stalls and an abundance of ‘gløgg’, a hot and spicy mulled wine drink.  The lake is transformed into an outdoor skating rink and all around the edge you will find stalls selling locally produced arts and crafts and porcelain or wooden dolls.

So take a break before the Christmas buzz, and head to one of the many delightful Christmas markets Europe has on offer.  Book a city break, do your holiday shopping and enjoy some Christmas festivities.

Where are your favorite Christmas markets?

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6 thoughts on “Top Five European Christmas Markets”

  1. I’d also add Stockholm to the list. It’s a beautiful city anyway but Christmas is just magical. There are several markets to choose from, Gamla Stan is very nice but Skansen is even better. And don’t overlook other towns in Germany – there are great Christmas markets in Hamburg, Munich and many others.

  2. Vienna is really special, particularly with the advent calendar that they do in the windows of the town hall.

    I also loved the ones in Strasbourg, which we spent about 5 hours and 3 trains traveling to – and it was well worth it – the mulled wine also helped things along!

    I went to the tiny, but still special ones in Heidelberg and Mannheim when I was studying in Mannheim about 10 years ago and loved them.

    Living in Australia, Christmas in Summer just doesn’t feel like Christmas after a few Christmases spent in the cold climates and special markets environment of Europe.

  3. @Ellie
    I know what you mean about celebrating Christmas in a warm environment. Living in California, we typically have sunshine, not snow, on Christmas. Thanks for stopping by.

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