The Top 10 Christmas Markets to Visit in Europe This Winter

The Top 10 Christmas Markets to Visit in Europe This Winter

Advent calendars are opening, Christmas trees are getting decorated, the countdown to Christmas has begun! We’re sure you behaved yourself this year and deserve the best prezzies and loveliest fairs. Indeed, we’ve put together a selection of fairs for you! 

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Vienna, Austria

Viennese Christmas markets are scattered across the city, so you can alternate the hubbub of markets with leisurely walks. The shining Rathausplatz square facing the Vienna City Hall (Wiener Rathaus) welcomes you with stalls, thematic installations and a big ice rink.

Even such an imposing and stern building as the city hall becomes cozy and fairytale-like when encompassed by glistening trees and cottages with toys and handicrafts. An exhibition of nativity dolls is usually displayed on the staircase gallery, while the city hall itself hosts classical music concerts and entertainment programs for children.

At the Old Viennese Christmas Market, located on Freyung Square, you can find Christmas tree decorations, candles, handicrafts and presents for your nearest and dearest. Oh, and make sure to take a walk to Belvedere Palace, a Christmas village with a wonderful castle in the background that will delight everybody.

The shining Rathausplatz square facing the Vienna City Hall welcomes you with stalls, thematic installations and a big ice rink. Photo: Muellek / Shutterstock.com

Prague, Czech Republic

The Christmas Market on the Old Town Square is the main fair in Prague. The square is intimate and cozy. Here you can try traditional Czech dishes (home-cooked sausages, chestnuts, almonds and beer) and buy a take-home souvenir made of Bohemian glass or a little wooden statue. The illuminations on the main Christmas tree are turned on every evening—it’s an impressive sight.

You can take a seat in one of the carriages and ride around the Old Town or treat yourself to a performance. During the festive days, there are concerts by modern and classical musicians, as well as theater troupes. Puppets portraying Biblical scenes are set up throughout the square, while a religious service is held on Christmas Eve in the open air — it’s totally free to join. If you will be in the capital on 1st January, then make sure to view the fireworks.

At Wenceslas Square Christmas Market, you will observe blacksmiths working and meet the famous Czech trinity: Santa Claus, the Little Devil and Angel. They walk around the square, handing out sweets to kids, but only to well-behaved kids. Instead of a lovely boiled sweet, a naughty boy or girl gets… a potato! Fairs are also held on Peace Square and Republic Square, as well as in Prague Castle.

And if you have made up your mind to take more yummies home with you, then take a look at Havel’s Market. Here you can try carp with potato—a traditional Christmas dish—and stock up on confectionery and souvenirs.

The Christmas Market on the Old Town Square is the main fair in Prague. Photo: ecstk22 / Shutterstock.com

Valkenburg, Netherlands

Unlike other fairs, the festive bustle in this Dutch town moves to an underground cave! The cave itself is located right under the castle around which the town was established.

Everything inside—souvenirs, Christmas tree decorations and confectionery—is rather traditional. Except that they probably won’t be of any interest to you in the first half hour, as you will be wandering as though enchanted under ceilings thousands of years old, studying the labyrinthine pathways, seeking out grottos, and admiring frescos and sculptures, all this in the light of endless garlands and bulbs.

Unlike other fairs, the festive bustle in this Dutch town moves to an underground cave! Photo: IgorLukin / Shutterstock.com

Wroclaw, Poland

Everybody knows about Wroclaw’s real winter’s tale and huge festivities. The nicely decorated Christmas tree on the main square Salt square (Plac Solny) isn’t any smaller than those in the world’s biggest capitals. It’s surrounded by fireplaces that are set up throughout the square, and artisan schools are rolled out.

A three-story fairytale house will be built in the center of the square with a viewing platform and a clock tower. The guests will also be able to explore an ice labyrinth, listen to a choir singing Christmas carols, and buy handcrafted souvenirs made by artisans: artists will paint a Christmas decoration for you, while an engraver will make a lucky coin.

A dwarf is also here, and he is just as popular as Santa. They say that if you touch his hat three times, your wish will come true. However, given that you can catch the dwarf only at the markets, people are always out hunting him.

Everybody knows about Wroclaw’s real winter’s tale and huge festivities. Photo: ecstk22 / Shutterstock.com

Edinburgh, Scotland

The festive market in Scotland’s capital traditionally transforms into a musical festival, so you have the chance to take in two big events at once. The fair, roundabout and Santa Claus’s house on Princes Street, the food market on George Street, and the oval ice rink on St. Andrew Square, acquire a particular charm against the background of this impressive city (and, naturally, with the sound of bagpipes). 

This year’s program includes an entirely new show, Community Christmas, during which festive projections will be shown in several parts of the city.

Seeing out the old year in Edinburgh would be incomplete without the ancient Scottish holiday Hogmanay. You can view a detailed events program on the official site.

The fun then continues into the first day of the new year: drama and dancing events will be organized on a number of squares throughout the city. Icy water fans will go dancing on the beach in quaint costumes—a good old first of January tradition.

The festive market in Scotland’s capital traditionally transforms into a musical festival. Photo: Philip Birtwistle / Shutterstock.com

Brussels, Belgium

The Winter Wonders fair is held on one of Europe’s most picturesque squares, the Grand Place. The illuminations and festive decorations transform it into a shining precious stone in the center of the city. A massive Christmas tree is placed here, an ice rink is set up, and scattered all over are stalls with national dishes and chocolate — well, there’s no doing without the latter!

You can view the Christmas market from above, sitting in a big wheel. In that case, you must get here in the evening; as darkness falls, a light show appears on the facades of the ancient buildings, while concerts and other performances are held on outside stages.

Apart from all that, you can take unusual photos from 2nd December 2022 to 8th January 2023 in the Bois de la Cambre park with huge Christmas tree decorations. So, bring some film along! 

The Winter Wonders fair is held on one of Europe’s most picturesque squares, the Grand Place. Photo: Panomsak Aod / Shutterstock.com

Berlin, Germany

Berlin never disappoints when it comes to Christmas fairs. There are so many of such events and it’s hard to catch up with all of them. Many of them are rather conveniently located near famous tourist sites. It’s best to start with Gendarmenmarkt Square, where a big ice rink is set up and souvenirs are made to order. To appreciate the scale of this winter tale, climb up to the bell tower in the French Church.

The Christmas market in 2022 will take place at Bebelplatz square, where the Strasbourg Opera House, St. Hedwig’s Cathedral and the National and University Library are all located. Just imagine such a historical atmosphere opposite Humboldt University.

An entire host of events to cater for any taste is held every day on the stage of the main square — acrobats, angels on stilts, choirs and music and dance troupes, as well as famous artists will all be present to showcase their skills.

You can listen to street musicians on Rotes Rathaus and grab some souvenirs at the Christmas market, while you can go tobogganing down the icy mounds on Potsdamer Platz. Thereafter, you can warm up yourself with punch or mulled wine at the market near Charlottenburg Palace.

Berlin never disappoints when it comes to Christmas fairs. Фото: mkrberlin / Shutterstock.com

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg is known as the Christmas capital and rightly so. It hosted the first Christmas market in Europe far back in 1570, and it has maintained its standards since then. Every year it puts on a big celebration, attracting more and more guests to the capital every year. Hundreds of pavilions and all sorts of events (live music concerts, exhibitions and shows) present a wonderful opportunity to walk around the city and enjoy the holiday atmosphere to the fullest.

You will no doubt discover something new at the Strasbourg Christmas market, be it amazing handicraft by artisans made before your very eyes, or surprising taste combinations that you can try only here and only at this time. 

The embankment is also decorated for Christmas, with light bulbs and stars. You can walk along the bay admiring the half-timbered buildings and medieval streets or take a bike ride. And, of course, don’t forget about the markets: culinary, charity, book, artisan — plan your itinerary so that you have time to visit everywhere.

Strasbourg is known as the Christmas capital and rightly so. Photo: Leonid Andronov / Shutterstock.com

Vilnius, Lithuania

The festive mood hits Vilnius on 26 November, when the lights on the city’s main Christmas tree on the Cathedral Square are solemnly turned on. The Christmas market opens that same day: lots of little wooden buildings where you can choose presents and souvenirs to remember your trip. If you want designer goods, then head to Vincas Kudirka Square.

A Christmas tale will be demonstrated on the walls of the Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Ladislaus of Vilnius: colorful projections will circulate on the main square and buildings. This is one of the impressive festive performances and it attracts over 120,000 spectators every year.

By the way, regarding the festivities’ main attribute, the Christmas tree in Vilnius has been recognized as the most beautiful in Europe for several years now; so surely that in itself is a good reason for a holiday there? 

The festive mood hits Vilnius on 26 November, when the lights on the city’s main Christmas tree on the Cathedral Square are solemnly turned on. Photo: Giedrius Akelis / Shutterstock.com

London, England

The annual Christmas market will be held in Hyde Park as part of the Winter Wonderland festival. An ice rink will be erected at the park where kids can go skating and also take a couple of free lessons from professional figure skaters. This year, an entire kingdom with ice figures will open in the park — 500 tonnes of ice has been spent creating them. Just imagine: life-sized wolves, bears, unicorns, eagles and deer (tickets start at £5)!

Moreover, the fair will host workshops on creating ice sculptures — you can try to create your own hero of the Ice Kingdom.

A big wheel, as well as an ice bar will be working at the park. The ticket price includes one free drink. The menu features both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails.

The annual Christmas market will be held in Hyde Park as part of the Winter Wonderland festival. Photo: Alexey Fedorenko/ Shutterstock.com


No matter which Christmas market you choose, a festive mood, fairytale atmosphere and lots of events await you in every city; hotels await you on ZenHotels. 

Eat doughnuts and wash them down with mulled wine

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