Nothing says Christmas like strolling through the illuminated aisles of a market, mulled wine in hand while carols play in the background. Add a little extra magic to this holiday season with a visit to one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Wander through one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe, in Strasbourg, France. Shop for gifts and souvenirs at one of Berlin’s 60 markets (yup, 60). A trip to one of these 10 best Christmas markets in Europe will grow any Grinch’s heart three sizes bigger.
#1 Strasbourg, France
This Christmas market in Europe first took place 1570. While they’ve changed up a few of the attractions and stalls (since saddles are ‘so yesterday’), many of the traditional aspects still remain. You can still see the famed Christmas tree, sample spiced cake and mulled wine and pick up Christmas ornaments and souvenirs across themed areas and over 300 stalls. (image via Michal Osmenda, Wikimedia Commons)
#2 Viennese Christmas Market, Vienna, Austria
One of the most well known Vienna Christmas markets is the Viennese Christmas Market that takes place in front of City Hall. The unique City Hall backdrop makes it one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Join in the holiday fun and learn to bake cookies or make candles. Enjoy live music from international choirs singing your favorite Christmas carols. (image via VitVit, Wikimedia Commons)
#3 Bath Christmas Market, United Kingdom
Head to the award-winning Bath Christmas Market to explore to over 200 stalls featuring gifts, homewares, tasty food, accessories, and more. Find handicrafts and treats made by local artisans. Stop by for the opening ceremony to hear live music and bring the children for storytelling by Snowflake the Elf.
#4 Dresden, Germany
Most markets run until December 24
Scrooge’s beware—Germany is home to some of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Christmas markets happen all over the country and each city hosts multiple markets. Dresden has become synonymous with striezel cake, also called stollen. It’s a traditional Christmas cake and a must-try for tourists. (image via Daderot, Wikimedia Commons)
#5 Zagreb, Croatia
From December 2 – January 7
Zagreb was actually voted best Christmas market in Europe in 2016, so you know it’s pretty darn excellent. Events take place all over the city, turning Zagreb into a winter wonderland. See a live nativity scene next to a cathedral, take in outdoor concerts or enjoy a date night skating at the Ice Park.
From November 23 – December 31
With some 60 markets, Berlin is clearly big on Christmas. Berlin markets feature jugglers, acrobats, fire artists, dance troupes and choirs for an exceptional Christmas experience. (image via Pexels)
#7 Tallinn Christmas Market, Tallinn, Estonia
From November 17 – January 6
The Tallinn Christmas Market first displayed a Christmas tree in the Town Hall square in 1441, making it the first Christmas tree to ever be put on display in Europe. Savor Estonian delicacies like black pudding, sour cabbage, and gingerbread. You may even spot Santa with his reindeer!
From November 27 – December 24
Immerse yourself in the nostalgia of the Munich Christmas markets. Meander the laneways, surrounded by lit up trees that become a glittering forest at night. Tuck into Bavarian cuisine and homemade specialties. If you’re hoping to hit up more than one of the Munich markets, opt for a tour and learn about German holiday traditions at some of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
#9 Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, Prague, Czech Republic
From December 2 – January 6
You’ll find two Christmas markets in Prague within walking distance of each other so you can easily check out both in one day. Be sure to pick up klobasa (Czech sausage) and a cold Pilsner Urquell as you sit back and watch the tree lighting. (image via Hynek Moravec, Wikimedia Commons)
#10 Winter Wonders, Brussels, Belgium
From November 24 – December 31
The Winter Wonders event takes place in Brussels across various neighborhoods. Discover the 200 stalls that make this one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. With a Ferris wheel, light shows, ice rink and live music, this market is guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit.