10 Of The Very Best Christmas Markets Around The World

1. Strasbourg, France

Let’s start at the beginning. As one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets, Strasbourg first hosted an event in 1570. That means they’ve had plenty of time to perfect their art and earn their nickname as “Capital of Christmas”.

With over 300 stalls across 10 locations, Strasbourg tops it all off with an enormous Christmas Tree in the central Place Kléber. Not to mention the Living Nativity and a host of cultural and musical concerts.

So, if you like a bit of history, culture and tradition mixed in with your Christmas trip, Strasbourg could be the place for you.


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2. Vienna, Austria

If you like mulled wine, sweets and delicious Austrian sausages, then you need to pack your trousers with the elasticated waistband and head to Vienna this December.

Here you can enjoy a plethora of festive food in one of the safest destinations in Europe. This means you’ll feel totally free to wander about the city, gazing at the lights, trees and nativity scenes.

While you’re wandering can be totally random, do make sure to potter over to the City Hall Square as this area becomes “Vienna Magic of Advent” and is beautifully transformed into a fairytale style scene.

Or if you’d prefer a bit of outdoor ice skating, head on over to the Town Hall, where a large outdoor ice skating rink awaits you. But be sure to catch a ride on the reindeer first.


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3. Zagreb, Croatia

Now to a city you may not necessarily associate with Christmas.

If you think of Zagreb in Croatia, you might be thinking of hot sunny days, ice creams and stunning architecture. You might not be thinking twinkling lights, hot steaming food and Christmas choirs. However, if you head there in Wintertime, that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Often at very reasonable prices, Zagreb’s Christmas markets are becoming more and more popular with festive tourists. So why not join them in a glass of mulled wine or two?


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4. Manchester, England

It would be a sin to compile a list of Christmas markets and not include the first ever UK based one. First arriving at British shores in 1999, Manchester’s Christmas markets have really set the standard for the rest of the UK. And set them high at that.

Over 300 stalls pop up around the city center offering crafts, jewelry, leather goods and, of course, food. Lots and lots of food.

Plus if you head over to Cathedral Gardens you can have a go on the massive fairground that is erected there. Nothing says festive like a go on a Waltzer.

Sure, you could go to one in London. But as it’s argued that folk are friendly up north (and it’s universally agreed that it’s cheaper), why miss the opportunity for a bit of northern Christmas cheer?


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5. Seville, Spain

Ok, so you’re the sort of person who loves Christmas but also loves warm weather. What on earth are you to do? We know.

You need to get on a plane this instant and fly over to Seville (assuming you’re reading this at Christmas time).

This Spanish beauty is not only full of gorgeous old buildings and happy smiling people. It also plays host to beautiful Christmas markets set under a shining sun. Delicately made crafts are a specialty here.

So really, it’s the perfect place to grab those last minute Christmas gifts. You’d be a fool not to.


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6. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen may be famous for its Danish bacon but it’s not just bacon you’ll feast on if you visit Denmark’s capital at Christmas. Freshly made doughnuts dipped in hot chocolate, mulled wine, and more are all available at Tivoli Gardens. (Or, as it’s otherwise known, the city’s number one Christmas Market.)

So if you like good food, wine and company under the ethereal glean of half a million Christmas lights, then you know where to go.


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7. Tallinn, Estonia

Are you someone who feels the post-Christmas blues? Wish it could go on just a little bit longer? Do you always try to eek out just a little more Christmas cheer?

Well, good news!

The Russian Orthodox Church states that January 7th is actually Christmas day and that means that for the Estonian capital, Tallinn, Christmas markets continue well into the new year.

You can use all that extra time to enjoy some traditional Estonian Christmas classics. Such as black pudding and sour cabbage! …Or maybe just look at the enormous Christmas tree set up in Tallinn Town Square. It was the first ever to be displayed in Europe after all.

Is it any wonder that Santa Claus himself is rumored to have opened the very first Christmas market in Tallinn?


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8. Dresden, Germany

Ok let’s get properly traditional now.

Set in Altmarkt Square, the Striezelmarkt has been delighting visitors since 1434. So it would be rude not to include it on this list, especially given Germany’s stellar reputation for creating some truly amazing Christmas Markets.

Visitors here are free to enjoy an authentic glass of Gluhwein whilst listening to the concerts and choirs providing entertainment in one of the many churches. Or maybe you’d prefer to watch the boats dusted with Christmas lights, twinkling their way down the Elbe.

Ah heck, you’ve got time. Do it all. Cheers!


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9. Budapest, Hungary

Everything you normally enjoy at a Christmas Market is available in Budapest. The wine, the crafts, the lights, the slight gassiness after eating too many treats.

But what you don’t get at other Christmas markets is a 3D light show. Displayed on the side of St Stephen’s Basilica, this frankly modern twist gives a cutting-edge feel to a traditionally rustic event.

Of course, all this is to be enjoyed with a glass of wine and a slice of chimney cake or kürtőskalács, as it’s known by locals. This deliciously conical sweet is made by wrapping cake dough around a pole, baking it and then dusting in frankly obscene amounts of sugar and cinnamon.

A wonderful mixture of old and new makes for a memorable experience.


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10. Brussels, Belgium

Finally the last on our list is a biggun.

The “Winter Fun” festival is a spectacular event spread out across the city. With over 200 chalets serving up all the traditional fayre, an ice skating rink, a ferris wheel, merry go rounds and a light and sound show. All centered around a huge Christmas tree and of course lots and lots of Christmas lights.

What more could you want? What’s that? A Christmas Parade? Oh, go on then. Of course there’s one of them too!

Is this all a little overwhelming? Don’t worry there are guided tours of the festival for daunted yet excited English speakers, so you’ll feel right at home.


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Suggested next reading: 6 Best Places In The World To See The Northern Lights

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