Europe is the place to be for Christmas Markets. From hot, mulled wine to cheesy, delicious treats, you will find everything you need to get yourself in the Christmas spirit and find the perfect gifts for your loved ones. Take your pick from this list of the best Christmas markets in Europe to visit this December or even better, try to squeeze in more than one!
Most Christmas Markets in Europe begin towards the middle/end of November, which means now is the perfect time to book up a last minute trip. Read all about the markets below and then see my trip planning advice for routes and the best modes of transport.
Strasbourg’s Christmas market is the most famous in France and is located in the Alsace region. What makes Strasbourg an interesting place to visit is that because it is on the French-German border, you will find a mixture of French and German when you visit as well as a mixture of traditions. Be sure to look out for spiced wine and a Strasbourg speciality, spicy hot orange juice.
Vienna’s Christmas market is home to over 150 stalls of Christmas related goodness. From hot gluhwein (mulled wine) and chestnuts to hand made decorations and gifts, it has everything you would want from a Christmas market. If you have time to travel, you could also try heading to Salzburg in Austria to visit one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe. It’s not as big as Vienna’s market, but it doesn’t make it look any less like a fairytale.
You can find the Christkindlesmarkt (Christmas market) in Nuremburg on the main market square in the old quarter. This market also has a children’s market called Kinderweihnact, which has an old-fashioned carousel, ferris wheel and steam train, as well as a Nativity scene running between the two markets. Not only that, but the stall holders regularly compete with each other to be voted the most beautiful stall each year, meaning that in a nutshell, it’s pretty damn magical to be around.
The Brussels Christmas market features an ice skating ring in the middle of the market, which is perfect if you love to skate or you feel like taking a break from shopping to admire/giggle at ice skaters, depending on their talent! This market has many live attractions and also features a giant ferris wheel. What more could you want to get into the Christmas spirit whilst you shop?
This Christmas market is considered to be the prettiest and largest in Switzerland. It is made up of two markets in the same city and highlights two of the best areas in Basel, the old town and right next to the city’s most well known landmark, the cathedral. Head to either of these markets to feel like you’re part of a fairytale wonderland and be sure to check out the Christmas tree, which is “designed by a Christmas tree specialist”. Yep. You’ll only see that once in your life!
Plan Your Trip
If you are looking to take a tour of several Christmas markets this year, then I would recommend your trip route look something like this (for the most efficient route): France – Belgium – Germany – Switzerland – Austria.
Whilst some of these trips will be cheaper as flights, which you can check out via Skyscanner for the cheapest deals, you may also find other methods of transport to be cheaper. Check out my top money saving travel tips for flying for the alternatives, particularly for transport between Switzerland and Australia as well as France and Belgium.
I’m hoping to visit Nuremberg and Paris this year to do my Christmas shopping because I can not get enough of Christmas markets! There is something about hot wine, cold noses and lots of red, green and gold that just makes me feel warm inside. Actually, it’s probably just the hot wine.