Top 10 Most Beautiful European Christmas MarketsRuss Bily
Christmas in Europe is a magical time. Decorated Christmas trees appear on the central squares, the streets are lit with glowing lights, music is playing, delicate aroma of mulled wine, fresh baked goods, and roasted meat are floating in the air. Christmas Markets open and it is almost impossible to leave it with empty hands and a full wallet.
Today we selected for you Top 10 Most Beautiful European Christmas Markets worth visiting at least once!
So, let’s start!
Prague Christmas Markets
You can visit the most famous Christmas Market of the capital on the Old Town Square, next to the Town Hall, where the Orloj astronomical clock was recently returned after reconstruction. It is noisy and crowded here. The main Christmas tree of the country shines with lights. There are concerts and theatrical performances in the evening.
The smell of baked meat, sausages, traditional sweets called trdelnik, mulled wine, grog and mead are coming out of the numerous tents with food. Puppets, Bohemian glass products, paintings and Christmas decorations are sold at the gift shops. We recommend to pay attention at the last item: among the consumer goods, you can find handmade products that are not ashamed to bring as a gift to relatives or for yourself.
Be aware that on the evening of December 24, most of the tents are closed, and before the rest of the tents people are lined up. Between money and the opportunity to celebrate Christmas with the family, the Czechs definitely choose the second one. But Prague Christmas Market will pleasure the tourists until early January.
01.12.18 –01.01.19, from 10:00 to 22:00 (tents with food are open until midnight).
Alternative: if you don’t like crowds of people, look for another Christmas Markets. It is not necessary to depart far from the center: take a look at the Peace Square (20.11-24.12.18) or the site at the Anděl metro station (11.24-23.12.18). In such places it is less crowded, the atmosphere is more soulful, the food is tastier, and prices are lower than on the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square.
Related: Travel from Krakow to Prague
Vienna Christmas Markets
The biggest Christmas Market works at Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz, in front of the Town Hall. This year there will be 152 tents with sweets, food, drinks, and souvenirs, as well as a 3000 m² skating rink (buying tickets online, you will save 10% off the regular price and you will not have to stand in line at the entrance).
For parents with children, workshops on Christmas baking, decorating toys, and creating Christmas-tree decorations are planned. It will take place in the building of the Vienna City Hall, participation costs € 2-4, you do not need to register in advance.
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, guests of the Vienna Christmas Market can enjoy carol songs by performers from different countries for free. Try the famous Viennese sausages, mulled wine (here its name sounds different – gluhwein) or punch. Hot drinks are poured not only into disposable dishes but also into souvenir cups, which for € 4-5 can be left as a souvenir.
16.11–26.12.18, from Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 to 21:30, on Friday and Saturday from 10:00 to 22:00.
December 7, from 10:00 to 22:00, December 24 – from 10:00 to 18:00, December 25, December 26 – from 11:00 to 21:30.
Alternative: 23.11-26.12.18, at the Belvedere Palace complex (Prinz Eugen-Straße 27) will be a “craftsmen’s village” where you can buy handmade goods and traditional delicacies.
Related: Travel from Prague to Vienna
Nuremberg Christmas Markets
Christkindlesmarkt, located on the Hauptmarkt Square next to the St. Sebaldus Church and the Town Hall, is one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets (first mentioned in 1628). The symbol is Christkind, with white curls, in golden clothing. The performer of this role is chosen from among the young citizens once every 2 years and opens Christkindlesmarkt on Friday, preceding the first Sunday of Advent.
If you are hungry taste Nuremberg sausages, made from minced pork with marjoram, served 6, 8, 10 or 12 with horseradish or mustard, or put 3 pieces of each into buns (this dish called Drei im Weggla or “Three in a bun”). The recipe and format of these sausages(7-9 centimeters, 20-25 grams) have not changed since 1497!
Another local specialty is gingerbread Lebkuchen, baked here for over 600 years. Every year in Nuremberg sells about 70 million gingerbread. If you get cold, mulled wine will warm you. It can also be poured into a souvenir mug (its design is changing every year). According to statistics, 80% of the souvenir mugs visitors take with them.
There will be Children’s Christmas Market at Hans-Sachs-Platz. Little visitors can ride the carousel and the train, talk with the Christmas Angel. Workshops on baking gingerbread (€ 3), decorating candles or glassware (€ 2), making cards and Christmas gifts (from € 1), making sand paintings (€ 5) will be available for them. Children can also send a letter to relatives, visit St. Nicholas and get warm in the free Bruder game room.
30.11–24.12.18, from 10:00 to 21:00.
December 24 will be open until 14:00.
Alternative: Christkindlesmarkt has visited annually by about 2 million people. You can escape from a large number of tourists in one of the neighboring small towns: Bamberg, Erlangen or Forheim.
Related: Day Trip from Munich to Nuremberg
Budapest Christmas Markets
Budapest’s oldest Market is located on the Vörösmarty square. This is a paradise for gourmets; you will not leave this place hungry. Visitors can taste cinnamon pastry Kurtoskalacs, similar to Czech trdelnik, sausages or goulash in bread. Meat-free meal dodolle, langos or roasted chestnuts are suitable for a light snack. And of course traditional mulled wine.
A light show on the façade of the Gerbeaud cafe and free concerts of folk, jazz, indie, blues, and pop music will be available for you at the evening.
9.11–29.12.18, from Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 to 21:00, on Friday and Saturday from 10:00 to 22:00.
Tents with food will be open until January 1st.
Alternative: Christmas Market will take place on the square in front of the Basilica of St. Stephen from 23.11.18 to 01.01.19. From Monday to Thursday from 10:00 to 21:00, from Friday to Sunday from 10:00 to 22:00.
Here you can buy souvenirs made by Hungarian craftsmen or skate, and every day each hour from 16:30 to 22:00 you can see the video projected to the front of the building of the Basilica, this year in the 3D format for the first time.
Related: Travel from Prague to Budapest
Helsinki Christmas Markets
St. Thomas Christmas Market in the center of the capital, on the Senate Square, is an integral part of Pikkujoulu, “little Christmas”. According to the Huffington Post, it entered the list of 15 most popular Christmas Markets in the world in 2015.
There are 120 tents where you can buy jewelry, dishes, toys, garlands and much more. There is an old carousel in the central part of the Market, pleasing visitors of any age.
Here you can meet Joulupukki, the Finnish Christmas figure, buy a sweater with deer for yourself or your family and get warm with spiced tea or glogg (this is an analog of mulled wine, sometimes vodka or Madeira are added to it for the fortress). If you are hungry, get a look inside one of the tents to buy sausage or joulutorttu, puff pastry with jam.
1–22.12.18, from Monday to Friday from 11:00 to 20:00, on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 19:00.
Alternative: from November 26 to the end of December you can visit the Market in the medieval town of Porvoo, located half an hour from Helsinki. Traders in old-fashioned costumes offer works by local craftsmen, residents skiing and sledding, small houses are decorated for Christmas … Walking along the narrow streets, you travel back in time for a while, escaping from the noise.
Copenhagen Christmas Markets
The most popular Copenhagen Christmas Market is located in Tivoli Gardens (Vesterbrogade 3) – the third most visited amusement park in Europe. In the days of Advent, in the historical park, you can see wooden decorated houses, Santa’s deer (he also will be there), snow-covered trees illuminated with lights of garlands. There are many cafes, usually equipped with heaters, or guests are offered blankets.
Warming wine-based drink is called glögg. You should take a red wine, add raisins, cinnamon, almonds, cloves, and schnapps or aquavit. If you prefer beer, look for the Christmas beer brands, that Tuborg and other manufacturers start brewing in November.
Taste traditional pastries Ebleskiver – something like donuts in powdered sugar, often served with jam. You can also buy rye bread sandwiches with pickled herring Smorrebrod, sandwiches with baked duck meat, roasted chestnuts and almonds.
Price: 120 DKK = € 16. Before Christmas, it’s better to buy tickets online in advance to avoid queues.
Alternative: from December 8 to December 20, you can visit Christiania Christmas Market, partly self-governing “state in the state.” It would be interesting to buy handmade souvenirs, including jewelry, mirrors, candlesticks, Christmas-tree decorations, clothes, leather goods, and other interesting things. It is held at the Gray Hall (Refshalevej 2).
Tallinn Christmas Markets
The Christmas Market takes place in Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats), the place of the main Christmas tree of the country from 1441. Handmade souvenirs, goods made from sheepskin, local honey, mulled wine and hot spiced beer are sold in wooden houses. If you are hungry, taste blood sausage, also called “black pudding”, sauerkraut, and for dessert – gingerbread.
The entertainment program for adults and children: riding on the carousel, on weekends concerts with Estonian and foreign performers and the opportunity to visit the house of Estonian Santa Claus (here they call him Jõuluvana), where every young guest will receive a gift.
16.11.18–01.01.19, from 10:00 to 20:00.
Drinks are sold from Sunday to Thursday until 22:00, on Friday and Saturday – until 23:00.
Accompanying program: on Friday from 17:00 to 19:00, on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 14:00.
Alternative: On December 15, in the village Vanamõisa, located near Tallinn, you can visit the Christmas market for children of 3-5 years old. A festive show-program, craft workshops, riding the train and talking to animals are planned, and in case of favorable weather, building the construction of a snow town, sledding, skiing, and skating.
The price for adults is € 8, a family ticket costs € 24.
Stockholm Christmas Markets
Stockholm’s main Christmas Market is located on thein Stortorget Square in the Gamla Stan district, a few steps from the Royal Palace. Here the works of Swedish craftsmen are presented, for example, hand-painted Christmas-tree decorations, angels and straw gnomes. Here you can also buy ceramics, jewelry, spices, soap, clothes, cheeses, and other delicacies.
Stop near the tents with food and drinks, and buy waffles, gingerbread, hot chocolate, and those who do not like sweets can order sausages or venison. There is, of course, a glogg, mulled wine, as well as a hot beer with spices.
24.11–23.12.18, from 11:00 to 18:00.
Alternative: 24.11–16.12.18, on Saturdays and Sundays, the Christmas Market will also take place at the Skansen open-air museum (Djurgårdsslätten 49-51). There is tradition to decorate houses since 1903. Numerous tents sell sausages, cheeses, jams, marmalades, sweets, pastries, spices, Christmas-tree decorations, children’s books, and handmade souvenirs.
Entry fee: 125 SEK (€ 12) for an adult, 60 SEK (€ 6) for a child of 4-15 years old.
Bolzano Christmas Markets
It is worth visiting one of the most beautiful and visited Christmas Market in Italy. In this market, you will find only local products: wooden toys, knitted clothes, Christmas-tree decorations, musical instruments, decorated candles. You can also see the craftsmen at work, ride the carousel, or mini-train, visit the puppet theater.
You can eat at one of the three gastronomic stands, where you will be offered pancakes, strudel with various fillings, a cake with dried fruits and candied fruit Zelten, mulled wine, here called Vin Brulè, or apple juice.
22.11.18–01.01.19 from 10:00 (12:00) to 19:00 (21:00).
Alternative: There are other Christmas markets in the nearby towns of Merano (11.22.18-6.01.19) and Lagundo (11.23.18-1.01.19). It is easy to get from Bolzano by car.
Strasbourg Christmas Markets
You can also visit the oldest in France and one of the largest in Europe Christmas Market. For a month and a little, the city turns into a decoration for a movie about Christmas: everything shines, sparkles, traditional songs are heard on the streets, the air smells of mulled wine, chocolate, pastries and apples in caramel. There is a Christmas tree on the central square of Place Kléber.
There are about 300 wooden houses with food, drinks, and souvenirs before Christmas in ten city squares (most of them on Place Broglie). Here you can buy Christmas-tree decorations, dishes, toys, towels and tablecloths with traditional patterns, garlands and much more interesting.
23.11 –30.12.18, from 11:00 to 20:00. On Fridays, the kiosks will be open until 21:00, and on Saturday – until 22:00.
Alternative: there are several thematic markets in addition to the traditional Christmas Market. For example Marché des Saveurs Alsaciennes (“scents of Alsace”) at Place des Meuniers, Comptoir des Rois Mages (“market of the wise men”) at Place Benjamin-Zix, Marché des Bredle (here you can buy traditional Alsace pies) on Place d’Austerlitz. You can also visit Christmas Markets in Colmar, Mulhouse, the villages of Kaysersberg, Ribeauville, Wesserling, Riquewihr.
Right now you know Top 10 Most Beautiful European Christmas Markets and you only need to make a plan and visit at list one of this place this year.