Christmas Markets around Europe
Collected by Chris Ciolli , AFAR Local Expert
Europe in December can be chilly and grey, but the Christmas Markets make stuffing a winter coat into your carry-on well worth the effort. Stock up on local arts and crafts, feast on seasonal street food and drink, and get to know the ins and outs of regional customs and the holiday stories and characters that inspire them.
Graben, 1010 Wien, Austria
Vienna lights up with the warm glow of the Christmas season. Twenty official Advent Markets can be found throughout the city selling seasonal gifts, crafts and sweets, from City Hall to Maria-Theresien Platz to Schönbrunn Palace. Streets...
Spandauer Damm 20-24, 14059 Berlin, Germany
In West Berlin, the square and park in front of Charlottenburg Palace turns into an annual Christmas market, or Weihnachtsmarkt. One of the city's largest, it's also one of the most scenic. A light show is displayed on the front of the palace...
The Christmas Market, or Weihnachtsmarkt, at the Gendarmenmarkt plaza is one of the city's most scenic. Located directly in front of Berlin's concert house and in between French and German Cathedrals, the backdrop at Gendarmenmarkt is majestic....
Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain
Just off the Plaza Mayor is one of many meat shops that you'll find in Madrid. The Spanish really seem to love their ham and it is done in so many different ways, as you can see. You can even get a ham sandwich, with very thinly sliced ham,...
Wittelsbacherpl., 80333 München, Germany
It won't take more than a few seconds from entering the Middle Ages Christmas Market and you'll feel as if you've stepped back in time a few hundred years. Vendors are dressed in full medieval costumes selling primitive medieval wares and homemade...
Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona's Fira de Santa Llúcia may not be as big or diverse as some of the Christmas Markets in other parts of Europe, but it has some very unique decorations. There's the Caganer, a long-time figure in Catalan nativity scenes, that's most often...
Berlin’s Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg is home to one of Berlin's most hip Christmas markets: the Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt. Located on the grounds of a former brewery, the Lucia Christmas market is the “Nordic”-themed market in Berlin. You’ll...
Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København V, Denmark
Copenhagen explodes with Christmas markets the first weekend of December. Real-life cheer is everywhere, and it's not even freezing yet. In particular: there's the most epic artificial man-made Christmas wonderland that, despite being artificial...
Hauptallee 10, 01219 Dresden, Germany
Every other year my wife and I travel to Europe for Christmas Markets. Why? To begin with, most of these markets are traditions stretching back hundreds of years, so each market takes on it's own distinct personality. This trip we visited Erfurt...
Donegall Square, Belfast BT1 5GS, UK
The Christmas Market here is heavy in the food, which was great for us. We loved walking around tasting the cupcakes, sausages, nougat, crepes, burgers, cheese, chorizo etc .... Not to mention the mulled wine and special hot chocolates.
Piazza di Santa Croce, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
I studied abroad in Italy and, since they don't celebrate Thanksgiving, my friends and I dove right into Christmas as soon as November came around. I listened to my professor sing in a choir for a Christmas concert, attended the magical tree...
Šventaragio g., Vilnius 01143, Lithuania
Vilnius has amazing markets during warm weather months so I had high hopes for the shopping at the Christmas Market. Though the market had excellent snacks (cookies, doughnuts, coffee, etc.), I was disappointed by the options for gift shopping. I...
Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Staying in Innsbruck between 15 November and 6 January? Then visit the beautiful Christmas market in the medieval city of Innsbruck. Enjoy Glühwein (hot mulled wine) and eat a Kiachl (a typical Tyrolean specialty) like an Austrian.
Domplatz, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
After three Christmases and countless holiday markets since our move to Germany, the Erfurter Weihnachtsmarkt has definitely become one of our favorites. Whether it's for the impressive Dom overlooking the main part of the market, the Medieval...
6301 Valkenburg, Netherlands
Every year, the little town of Valkenburg creates a Christmas Market atmosphere in the municipal caves of Valkenburg aan de Geul. Considered the largest and oldest underground Christmas Markets in Europe, the caves are very inviting to visitors...
27 Rue des Cordeliers, 13100 Aix-en-Provence, France
Unfortunately, I haven't been to enough European Christmas markets to know whether this one is truly extraordinary, but I really love the marché de Noël in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. The little stalls are set up along the Cours...
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