Lights, handmade trinkets, hot pretzels and mulled wine. The best Christmas markets in Europe offer wonderful experiences around the holidays, which you can discover by visiting them.
The Christmas markets in Germany are probably the most famous, but a holiday in Prague, Tallinn or Nottingham will surely also delight those looking for stunning architecture, historical places or unique gifts and special traditional foods.
So, you can try the specific Christmas sweets in Copenhagen, buy traditional decorative objects in Colmar or go ice skating in Budapest, as well as many others, here is some information about the best Christmas markets in Europe for 2023.
Prague Christmas Market
The picturesque square of the old town of Prague is transformed, every year, into a winter wonderland during Christmas. Here visitors can shop for all kinds of handmade ornaments and enjoy traditional Czech food and drinks such as Trdelník and mulled wine with honey. The square also houses an ice rink, next to the huge fir tree, creating the perfect festive setting for a walk through the historic center of the city.
Seville Christmas Market
The Christmas markets in Seville conquer the streets and spaces that the city has prepared for this occasion.
Either to bring to life (masterfully) the Nativity scene, or to admire and buy the beautiful specific objects sold by the merchants, a walk here is a must. During this period, numerous activities and parades are always planned, as well as a Christmas concert performed by the Municipal Symphony Orchestra.
Nottingham Christmas Market
Nottingham hosts one of the best Christmas markets in the UK. It takes place in Old Square and has stalls selling unique gifts, such as jewellery, ecological art objects, Lego objects or retro fashion. Also here, visitors can treat themselves to specific foods and drinks, such as mulled wine, pies with minced meat or roast pork. The market also includes an ice rink, carousel and Ferris wheel, and live performances take place throughout the day.
Edinburgh Christmas Market
Edinburgh has some of the most delightful Christmas markets in the UK. Here there are over 100 stalls with handmade festive products and Scottish delicacies, such as shortbread or haggis bon bons. For a truly magical experience, head to the Christmas Tree Maze in Edinburgh, where you can live a real experience in a maze of twinkling lights and festively decorated trees.
Gdansk Christmas Market
Organized in the historic center of the Polish city, the Christmas market in Gdansk is a magical winter wonderland, with touches of romance that can be found in every corner (there is even a place that has been set up so that lovers can kiss under Basque, in the hope that they would enjoy a long life together). Also here you will witness the elf parade, you will see a talking elk and you will meet the Snow Queen and her carolers.
At the Christmas market in Gdansk you can buy original jewelry, beautiful ceramic objects or recycled clothes, such as hats and knitwear, or you can treat yourself to a wide variety of delicacies from around the world, including traditional Polish cuisine.
Colmar Christmas Market
Christmas in Colmar is one of the most magical places where you can spend this time of the year, every square centimeter of the city being decorated to the maximum. Colmar has a total of six Christmas markets to explore.
Each of the six Christmas markets in Colmar is a separate mini-village, which has its own collection of specific objects sold by passionate craftsmen. Installed in squares with their own architectural signature, these festive "islands" reflect the character of the city that hosts them: friendly and authentic. Exhibitors participating in this event-experience, most of them from Alsace, are selected based on the quality and originality of their products.
Copenhagen Christmas Market
The amusement park Tivoli, in Copenhagen, is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year, but especially during the holidays. Every year, the park comes alive with twinkling lights and picturesque wooden houses offering seasonal items such as woolen knitwear, Christmas tree decorations, chocolate and more.
This year, many of the exhibitors' stands are set up in old-fashioned train cars placed in a station (the central theme of this edition). There is no shortage of typical seasonal decorations, snow or the towering Christmas tree, which shines with its ornaments.
Cologne Christmas Market
Cologne, the city that gave birth to the delicious mulled wine, welcomes its winter visitors to a fairytale land of Christmas markets. Each fair - among those organized here - has its own charisma.
Probably the most impressive of all is the one set up near the charming Gothic Cathedral of the city (Cathedral Christmas Market), where over 160 stalls full of life and magic seduce visitors with an excellent range of arts and crafts. With the same charm, but a different magnificent backdrop, the Old Christmas Market in Cologne stands out for its rustic appeal, which perfectly complements the Alter Markt.
The Christmas Market of the Angel on the Neumarkt, the Christmas Market in the Port - overlooking the Rhine or the idyllic Christmas Market, resembling a village, at the Stadtgarten are equally delightful.
An unmissable Christmas experience in Cologne are the tours that combine Christmas markets with Kölsch beer! You can start at a historic brewery, with local appetizers and a pint of beer, and then explore the lively markets with music, crafts and mulled wine. The tour can be concluded in another comfortable brewery with a delicious dinner. It's the perfect mix of holiday magic with local flavor!
Bruges Christmas Market
Bruges has a slightly different approach to its Christmas markets this year. Known as the "Winter Glow", they aim to include people of different religions.
The heart of the fair is in the Grote Markt, the main square of the city, where different sellers are gathered and a lot of games are displayed. Also, those who love skating can visit Minnewater for its floating ice rink and winter bar.
Tallinn Christmas Market
Considered one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, Tallinn's festive offering is a thriving business, nestled in the heart of its beautiful medieval city, where the roofs of buildings and cobbled streets are covered in snow.
The Town Hall Square, which hosts the fair, is full - not only with wooden houses selling handmade fir wreaths, local arts and crafts, sweets, honey and traditional carpets - but also with brass bands, bell ringers and numerous dance groups. In this place, the biggest Christmas tree in Estonia has been placed every year since 1441, being one of the first places in Europe where the tree was "made".
Budapest Christmas Market
The newest Christmas market in Budapest is located in front of St. Stephen's Basilica. It was opened for the first time in 2011 and has an amazing atmosphere.
Here you will find traditional Hungarian handicrafts, but also a wide variety of delicious food. In addition, you can find a small ice rink set up in the middle of the market. This market is also known especially for the very beautiful lights that you can admire while visiting the area in the evening.