Christmas markets are a beloved tradition across the world, bringing shopping, entertainment, food, drink, and holiday cheer to millions. Christmas markets can be found everywhere, but the best known (and arguably most beautiful) are in Europe. Want inspiration for planning your own Christmas market?
Here are 10 of the best Christmas markets across 10 European countries.
1. Budapest, Hungary - Advent Feast at the Basilica
Budapest offers one of the world’s most stunning Christmas markets in St. Stephen’s Square. The Advent Feast at the Basilica, voted Best Christmas Market in Europe in 2022, boasts a truly stunning atmosphere, offering vendors of food, drink, and handcrafted goods, incredible music performances, and rotating exhibitions. This is an especially wonderful market for children who can meet Santa Claus and ice skate for free. A mesmerizing light show illuminates the basilica each day. Attend the market on Sundays to witness the traditional advent candle-lighting ceremony.
2. Nuremberg, Germany - Christkindlesmarkt
The main Christmas market in Nuremberg, Germany – Christkindlesmarkt – is one of the oldest and best-known markets globally. It’s known for its array of handcrafted goods for sale and for its fantastic German Bratwurst, gingerbread, and other traditional treats. A unique aspect of the Christmas Market is the Christkind herself – a fictional gift-giver who is played by a young woman. Every other year since 1989, an election process has taken place to choose the next Nuremberg Christkind!
As well, the Christkindlesmarkt is planned perfectly for little ones with tons of activities for kids. Hands-on booths offering crafts and activities, a merry-go-round, and magical visits from the Christkind (the traditional Christmas gift-bringer in many European countries) are among the market’s many kid-friendly elements.
3. Vienna, Austria - Belvedere
Vienna boasts multiple renowned Christmas markets. Among them is an especially picturesque market at Upper Belvedere Palace. Situated between the baroque-era palace and a stunning lake, this market is a hot spot for couples seeking out a romantic atmosphere. The market is a bit out of the way, with smaller crowds than the central markets
4. Krakow, Poland - Christmas Market
The Krakow Christmas market is located in the historic and beautiful Rynek Glowny, Krakow’s central square. Vendors sell traditional Polish hand-painted glass baubles as well as more modern goods. Traditional food and mulled wine will warm you up as you wander the square, and you’ll likely get to hear local musicians filling the air with Christmas tunes. While the market is free to enjoy, you can pay for a tour with a local guide to learn more about the market’s vibrant history.
5. Prague, Czech Republic - Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square
In Prague, you’ll find two of Europe’s best Christmas markets within five minutes of each other in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Both markets are full of fantastic food. From traditional Czech Christmas fish soup made in huge, steaming batches to the crowd favourite trdelnik, a traditional hand-held pastry coated in a sugar mixture. Czech beer, honey wine, and mulled wine are among the beverages famous at the Prague markets. You can also buy various handcrafted goods like wooden toys, ceramics, and jewellery!
6. Basel, Switzerland - Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz
The market in Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz is situated in the center of Basel – a place that is as charming as it is majestic. Pine trees line the streets, lit up by the glowing Basel cathedral. Each of the 130 market stands are unique, decorated with care by the vendors. Of course, handcrafted goods, mulled wine, and food are all available, but the real allure is the setting!
7. Metz, France - Christmas Market
Our next stop is in France. In the country’s southeast region, you can find one of Europe’s favorite Christmas markets in Metz. The market is located in Saint-Louis square, a historic place with buildings dating back to the 13th century. Unique features of the market include a ferris wheel and an enchanting trail of lanterns by the Moselle river. This is one of the best Christmas markets for foodies! Visitors can enjoy mulled wine, crepes, and waffles among other treats. Local restaurant owners set up shop in the late afternoon, serving beautiful French dishes. At the nearby Republique, Metz’s largest square, there’s a skating rink for visitors to enjoy as well.
8. London, England - Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
Winter Wonderland is the ultimate Christmas destination in London for the past 15 years. Located in Hyde Park, the festival runs from mid-November to early January. Winter Wonderland is a market as well as a fun fair with carnival rides, ice skating, shows, roller coaster rides, street food stalls, festive bars, and live music. It also included a German-style large beer tent with bratwurst stalls and more.
9. Govone & Asti, Italy - Magico Paese di Natale
The Magico Paese di Natale in Italy is becoming one of Europe’s largest Christmas markets. It all started in the Village of Govone, among the hills of Langhe-Roero, where Santa Claus’ Magical Christmas Village comes to life every year. In 2021, in an attempt to come back bigger and better after the pandemic, the Christmas market expanded to Asti. In Asti, people from all over Italy are invited to exhibit the best that their region has to offer. Over 200 exhibitors from across the country attend. Langhe-Roero is one of Italy’s famous wine regions – so visitors of the Christmas market can expect to drink great wine along with Italian street food. The market has also expanded to the nearby Prato Nevoso ski resort, and a live nativity scene can be found in the town of San Damiano. This market keeps getting bigger and better.
10. Edinburgh, Scotland - Christmas Market
For our last stop, we head to Scotland’s enchanting capital of Edinburgh. This is another city worth visiting year round, but the annual Christmas market is an extra treat for tourists and locals alike. This market is filled with unique activities along with the usual food, drink, and gift shopping. At the foot of Castle Rock, Santa Land is the perfect place to entertain children with rides and other entertainment. Shop for local goods and maybe some Harry Potter paraphernalia (Edinburgh is where the series was written). The specifics of this market change every year, but it’s sure to be sprawling with fun for visitors of all ages!
Planning a Christmas market? OnePlan is the only software designed to plan Christmas Markets. OnePlan allows you to create a detailed, highly-accurate site map that can be easily shared with partners and stakeholders, and OnePlan’s Christmas pack provides a group of customized objects specific to Christmas-themed events. Learn more at oneplanevents.com