Europe’s Christmas Markets

Most people look to Germany and Austria for Christmas markets, but Europe is a treasure trove of wonderful markets to lure travelers. We did the research for you and found these Christmas markets for you to enjoy. Most open at 10 or 11am and end around 9pm, from mid-to late November through December.



Starting at the end of November lasting till Christmas Day you can find a Christmas market on nearly every corner of most Austrian cities. Small tents provide you with Christmas gift shopping opportunities, food and “Glühwein”, hot, sweet mulled wine.

Vienna (Wien)

wienkarte061.jpgThe “Christkindlmarkt” on the square in front of the City Hall (Rathausplatz) is Vienna’s classic Christmas Market. Beautifully decorated trees offer a wonderful Christmas atmosphere and perfect spot for a souvenir photo.

Schoenbrunn Palace
The festively illuminated Schoenbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the Austrian Emperors, provides a spectacular backdrop for an idyllic Christmas village full of the scent of mulled wine and ginger bread. And almost every day, festive concerts spread Christmas mood!

In this lovely historical quarter both traditional and original handicraft is sold on narrow alleyways, niches and courtyards. It’s Vienna’s most authentic Christmas market.

salzburg1.jpg Salzburg offers many markets, large and small to tempt the winter visitor.

Old Town
Every year, Salzburg’s most famous Christmas Market Salzburger Christkindlmarkt, located in the squares of the Dom and the Residenz Palace, opens its doors five weeks before Christmas. Visitors enjoy choirs, musicians and pastoral plays while strolling among the specially designed wooden market stalls where artisans, confectioners and other merchants offer gingerbread hearts, sweets, figurines for the nativity.

Hellbrunn Castle
The fantastic scenery of Hellbrunn Castle makes this market extra special along with the oversized Advent calendar consisting of exactly 24 windows of the castle’s façade. The reindeers, sheep and goats, and the crafts exhibition are among the biggest highlights of this market.

Mirabell Castle
In the heart of the city, this small market is a little treasure for the visitor.



Alstadt (Old Town)
The medieval old town with its pretty arcades, century-old houses and the famous Golden Roof, has a traditional Christmas Market with lighted Christmas trees, a carved manger with life-sized statues and numerous lovingly decorated stalls selling traditional food, drinks, souvenirs, Tirolean handicrafts, and Christmas decorations. The majestic, snow-capped mountain peaks provide the perfect backdrop for this charming Christmas Market. Every day at 5.30pm there are musical performances beneath the Christmas tree.
Mid-November until just after Christmas

Marktplatz (Market Square)
Mid-November until Christmas eve

End of November until Jan 6


 Belgium has many markets, the most comprehensive of which is held in Brussels.

Brussels holds its annual European Christmas market on the Place St. Catherine, where an array of products will be available along with its cheerful lights, delicious aromas and a vast number of stalls. In addition to the Christmas Market the ice skating rink offers fun for all. This year for the first time a separate small skating rink invites toddlers to enjoy this wonderful winter sport too. And the holiday atmosphere would not be complete without a visit to the Grand’Place decorated in festive lights for the occasion.
December 1 through January 1

Czech Republic

By the first week of December, Prague’s Christmas markets are bustling spots, sprawling across the city’s largest plazas–the biggest and best of which can be found on Old Town Square (Staromestke Namesti), Wenceslas Square (Vaclavske Namesti) and the Square of Peace (Namesti Miru).
But each one certainly has its own unique character—and flavors.


Not to be outdone by the rest of Europe, England has its own Christmas markets.

bath-market.jpg Since its beginnings in 2001, the Bath Christmas Market has grown in both size and stature and has now established itself as one of the highlights in Bath’s annual events calendar. With the famous Bath Abbey and Roman Baths providing an amazing backdrop to this event, you will know that the festive season has really arrived in Bath. This years expanded market will accommodate 123 wooden chalets, showcasing many of Bath and beyond independent retailers with a wide variety of original hand crafted gifts, decorations, cards, toys and much much more
27th Nov – 7th Dec

Operating from mid-November to late December, over 75 stalls fill Victoria Square and the upper part of New Street. The Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham is the largest outside of Germany or Austria.

This outdoor Christmas market at Cribbs Causeway features 21 small wooden chalets outside The Mall. A range of traditional German handicrafts, as well as mulled wine and food is on offer.

Bury St Edmunds
With lots of colorful stalls from all over the UK, dozens of traders from mainland Europe, Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre offers a varied collection of fairground attractions, some great on-stage entertainment and Bury’s cosmopolitan town center, it’s a great day out.

The Lincoln Christmas Market is located in a cobbled square overlooking a floodlit 12th Century cathedral. Bringing Lincoln to life, the smell of chestnuts roasting, mince pies and hot mulled wine prevails.

The Manchester Christmas Markets incorporate a traditional German Market, a European Market and an Arts and Crafts Market. Located in St Ann’s Square. Albert Square and Exchange Street, the stalls sell a variety of crafts and traditional Christmas gifts. Not to be missed are the hot chestnuts, marzipan stollen and Gluwein stall!

Start your festive season with a day out to A Victorian Festival of Christmas at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. There is a host of Victorian entertainment and colourful characters, the largest Christmas market on the South Coast.

The Winchester Christmas Market is located around the Cathedral and features 75-100 log chalet style stalls. The whole area is beautifully lit and the market will be accompanied by a programme of activities every evening outside and inside the Cathedral.

Several markets are held during the Christmas season, Including German ‘Christkindlesmarkt’ . The market is an important part of Advent celebrations in Germany and traditionally sells arts and crafts, along with seasonal food and drink. Enjoy a feast of Christmas treats and stop for a Glühwein or two before noshing on wursts, stollen and Lebkuchen.
Dec 6 to 22


Throughout France, Christmas markets bring communities together for rejoicing, shopping, visiting Santa, sampling the local goods and listening to festive music.

Alsace on the France-Germany border is known for its many Christmas markets. The most famous is the Strasbourg market



Ever since 1570, each year Strasbourg has hosted its Christmas market, the famous “Christkindelsmark”, making this the oldest Christmas market in France! The magic begins as evening falls. The windows sparkle with their Christmas lights, the facades are brought to life by the decorations and the streets are filled with the delicious aromas of spices and cinnamon. In Place Kléber, the huge Christmas tree erected there from mid-November onwards never fails to delight strollers.


montebeliard.jpg Montbéliard is illuminated by thousands of lights for its own Christmas market. Nestled near St Martin Church, about a hundred craftsmen offer gifts, flavours and scents. The town enjoys musicians and artists performing in the streets
End of November to December 24.

Amiens (Picardie)

The largest Christmas market in northern France, the Amiens Christmas market offers caroling, shows, over 110 chalets in the city center, 500 merchants for all your holiday shopping needs and more.
End of November to December 24.

Avignon (Provence)

The Place de Horloge in the center of town is where you will find Avignon’s Christmas market. Tradespeople set up little chalets to sell santons, gifts, regional products and food items. There will be musical performances, traditional folk dances and costumes, parades and games for all to enjoy.
December 3 to 31,

Dijon (Burgundy)

The spirit of Christmas is in the air, with spices drifting on the breeze as the week-long Spice Festival takes place, filling the streets of Dijon with the aroma of baking gingerbread. Also, visitors can skate at the ice skating rink at the place de la République. In front of the Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne there will be more than 60 chalets offering regional products and tastings.
From December 2 to 24


At Christmas, Germany reveals its most Magical side. More than 2,500 Christmas markets invite you to share in the joy of the Christmas season and enter into Germany’s festive spirit.

Baden Baden

One of the region’s largest and most beautiful Christmas markets, Baden-Baden’s enchanting Christkindelsmarket is held in the famous Lichtentaler Allee park, against the backdrop of the spa assembly rooms which are lit up by thousands of candles and lanterns. On November 23rd, the Christmas Angel arrives by carriage and on December 6th at 5pm, St. Nicholas drops in by hot-air balloon to hand out small gifts to the children.
End of November to December 24.

Gendarmenmarkt, one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, is the beautiful setting for Berlin’s historical Christmas market, one of many Christmas markets in the city. There are lots of tents where you can get warm and browse round the craft stalls. And there’s a great cultural program to put you in a Christmas mood.

koeln.jpg Koln (Cologne) boasts six Christmas markets. They are located near the cathedral, at Alter Markt and at Neumarkt. Rudolfplatz offers a fairytale- themed version. A medieval market is held outside the Chocolate Museum. One of the Rhine cruise ships holds a floating Christmas market. Enjoy the season with countless stalls, delicious treats from around the world, Christmas concerts, stage shows, Nativity displays and a festive boat trip on the Rhine.
End of Nov. to Christmas eve.

Dresden’s Striezelmarkt, established in 1434, is one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets. Its name comes from Hefestriezel, renowned as the original Dresden Christstollen. Every year on the 3rd Saturday before Christmas, a Stollen festival and grand festival parade are held in its honor. Traditional hand-crafted goods from Dresden and the surrounding region include pyramids, incense burners, decorative arches, pottery and hanging stars.
End of Nov. to Christmas eve.

Düsseldorf’s beautifully illuminated Koenigsallee is a perfect introduction to the holiday season. You’ll find Christmas markets in several locations in this city. There’s the Art Nouveau-style “little angel’ market in Heinrich-Heine-Strasse. Or, you can browse the traditional stalls in front of the historical town hall, where you’ll find a local craftsman carving Nativity figures from olive wood.
End of Nov. to Christmas eve.

frankfurt.jpgFrankfurt am Main
Frankfurt’s Christmas Market, one of the oldest (1393) and prettiest in Germany, attracts more than three million visitors every year. On Romerberg square, Paulsplatz and Mainkai quay, 200 stalls offer arts and crafts and festive food and drink. The season features Advent concerts, trumpet-playing from the balcony of St. Nicholas’s Church and the carillon on the 30-metre-tall Christmas tree.
End of Nov. to Christmas eve.

Hamburg is renowned for its wonderful Christmas markets, which are sheld in many of the city squares. Located opposite the impressive town hall, the prettiest of these was established by Roncalli’s Circus. It has nostalgic carousels and stalls laden with confectionery, toys and crafts. A visit to Hamburg’s Christmas market is something you’ll never forget.
End of Nov. to Christmas eve.


Hanover’s three Christmas markets will get you into the Christmas mood. Set in the historical old quarter around the Market Church, the traditional Christmas market has 150 stalls for shopping and eating. In the historical Christmas village, you can relive Christmas in a medieval world where glassblowing, pottery and candlemaking still flourish. The Finnish Christmas village on Ballhofplatz, offers unique cultural specialities.
End of Nov. to Christmas eve.

Heidelberg’s Christmas market is a charming mix of tradition and romance. Seven squares around the old quarter feature a number of stalls and the traditional Christmas pyramid. There are sheep and donkeys, traditional food and drink from the region, gift ideas and entertainment. Enjoy “Christmas on Ice” at one of Germany’s loveliest ice rinks with great views of the beautifully lit castle.
End of Nov. to Christmas eve.
Daily: 11am – 9.30pm

Leipzig’s Christmas market began in 1767 and is held on the market square against the backdrop of the old town hall. Annual attractions include a fairytale forest for kids, the “old Leipzig” medieval market and the “Bethlehem Bazaar”. You can also watch the Erzgebirge miners’ parade, an established tradition in the region. Enjoy the delightful trumpeters, festive concerts by the renowned St. Thomas’s choir and performances of Bach’s Christmas oratorios in the city’s churches.
End of Nov. to Christmas eve.

Munich’s traditional Christmas market – whose roots go back to the 14th century – is held on Marienplatz square in the heart of the city center. The Kripperlmarkt, one of Germany’s largest markets specializing in Nativity scenes, is on nearby Rindermarkt. Every day there is live Alpine Christmas music from the town hall balcony. “Heaven’s workshop” offers creative activities for children free of charge.
End of Nov. to Christmas eve.

The Christmas Angel opens Nuremberg’s ever-popular Christkindlesmarkt on Hauptmarkt square. Enjoy the medieval atmosphere and delicious aromas of gingerbread, bratwurst, roasted almonds and glühwein. The children’s market has a traditional carousel, Ferris wheel and steam train. Between the two markets is the Nativity trail, taking visitors on a tour of the city’s many Nativity scenes.
End of Nov. to Christmas eve.

stuttgartxmasmarket.jpg With more than 270 decorated stalls, Stuttgart’s Christmas market is one of the oldest, largest and most attractive in Europe. Beautifully presented stalls adorned with angels, reindeer, Father Christmas, fir garlands and Christmas decorations are illuminated to transform the city center into a Christmas wonderland. The Old Castle, the collegiate church and the baroque grounds of the New Palace adds to the medieval feel.
End of Nov. to Christmas eve.


Italy has its own Christmas traditions; these markets show visitors the skills and handiwork of Italian craftsworkers.

Every year Piazza Santa Croce has a popular German Christmas market with many booths.

the San Gregorio Armeno market is just the place to watch skilled craftsmen at work, as they make their wonderful cribs.

The best-known Christmas market is in Piazza Navona, where you’ll find presents from the Befana, a kind old witch who traditionally brings children toys at Epiphany.

venice.jpg Close to the Piazza San Marco is the picturesque Christmas market, with its unique stalls made from wooden crates. Here you can buy the famous Murano glass, handmade scented soaps, candles and Carnival masks.

Written by Terri Fogarty for

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  1. Nancy Sanders says

    Your description of the towns and activities made me feel like a child waiting for Santa to come. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be to be there and actually experience the tastes and sights-
    so totally different from my own.

  2. says

    Brilliant excuse for a city break! I did my Christmas shopping in Manchester last year as a change from London but might choose somewhere more exotic for 2010!

  3. says

    I think the Italian list needs some editing: Rome’s market is really bad with very low quality, mostly plastic, products, while our best Christmas markets are in Bolzano and Merano, near the Alps, in South Tyrol

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