Top 10 Best Christmas Markets in Europe 2021
Its coming to that time of year again, and for us there’s nothing that quite gets us in the Christmassy mood like going to a good Christmas Market. Now there are some good ones in the UK up and down the country (and we will be doing another list purely on the UK), but this article will be focused on Europe and where you can nip away for a quick city break before Christmas to really soak up that Christmas feel. We won’t be including any in warmer climates just because in our eyes a Christmas market has to be a little chilly (although to be fair that doesn’t rule out much of Europe at this time of year) however, if you are looking for one in warmer climes, Funchal’s – the capital of Madeira is the way to go in our opinion. Now a warm weather Christmas is something different entirely but anyway we’re losing track of ourselves, so without further ado here is the Top 10 Best Christmas Markets in Europe (in no particular order).
1 - Edinburgh
Now we know we said the UK would have its own separate list but this one is too good to not recognise. Edinburgh’s world-renowned Christmas Market mixed with it’s Hogmanay celebrations makes for great festive atmosphere across the city for the two months its on. Taking up the entirety of East Princes Street Gardens which sits between the old and the new town makes for an incredible visual display of lights and decorations and that’s before you step in. A number of rides and attractions line either side and stand over the sprawling market. The market has something for everyone with local produce and bespoke and handmade gifts to mulled Irn Bru and warm tasty treats. The Christmas celebrations in Edinburgh are limited to the market as well theres Lidl on Ice on George St, A Christmas Tree Maze and a Santa’s Grotto amongst other things.
Edinburgh’s Christmas Market opens 20th November to 4th January 2022.
2 – Budapest
Budapest has not one but two Christmas markets, the most well-known of which Advent Basilica is a unique Christmas Fair. Vorosmarty Square is the older of the two Christmas Markets yet the Basilica has outgrown it in popularity, both are only less than 10 mins walk away from one another. The Basilica open-air festive market is full to the brim with stalls selling artisan craft products and delicious food. As with the past few years, there are lights and projections onto the Basilica’s entrance which even has an interactive self point where you can create your own background to have your photo against. There is also a free ice rink which circles around a giant Christmas tree, which just adds to the atmosphere making it one of the best in Europe.
Budapest’s Christmas Market runs from 19th November to 2nd January 2022
3 – Vienna
Vienna is one of those cities which just looks great in the winter time and the number of Christmas Markets sprawling across the city certainly helps, that and the snow caped buildings which seems almost strange to us in the UK. The city’s many squares make the perfect setting for its Christmas markets, the most famous being in City Hall Square. The unique backdrop gives a very Austrian feel, of course Vienna is one of the forerunners of the Christmas Market, their first one dating back to the 13th century. Vienna’s Christmas markets have a number of activities from learning how to make cookies to buying traditional handmade toys which really help it stand out from the rest.
Vienna’s Christmas Markets begin on the 12th November with most ending just before or just after Christmas.
4 – Brussels
Brussels’ Winter Wonders market get 2.5 million visitors every year and is the best Christmas market in Belgium. For many on the list part of the atmosphere its created by the city’s beautiful architecture, Brussels is no different. The gothic architecture of Grand-Place and the way its lit really add to the Christmassy feel, as well as the giant Christmas tree in the centre. Giant is the optimum word for Winter Wonders. Along with the Christmas tree, main features are the Ferris Wheel and the ice skating rink not to mention the almost 240 chalets which serve classic Belgian delicacies such as beer and waffles along with handmade gifts and chocolates.
Winter Wonders runs from the 26th November to 2nd January 2022.
5 – Talinn
Named Best Christmas Market in Europe in 2019 by European Best Destinations, its easy to see why. The capital of Estonia’s snowy streets are home to the Advent market in its Town Hall Square. Centred around a large Christmas tree (the first-ever Christmas tree displayed in Europe was at this market in 1441), stalls producing smells of traditional Estonian dishes and gingerbread cookies circle it and fill the square with festive spirit. Tradition is on full display here with the stalls selling crafted gifts, foods and sheepskin rugs but there is also brass bands, bell ringers, a train and Santa riding round on his sleigh.
Tallinn’s Advent Market runs from 15th November 2021 to 7th January 2022
6 – Prague
Like Budapest, Prague is home to two great Christmas Markets. The first in Wenceslas Square and the second in Old Town Square. Both are full of brightly decorated wooden huts selling everything from ceramics, jewelry and other local artisan gifts to delicacies such as hams, sausages and beer. There’s only a 5 minute walk between the two and both are pedestrianised and easy to get around. Set against the Church of Our Lady before Tyn and the Prague Astronomical Clock, the Old Town Square market is truly a beautiful sight both in the day time and lit up. Here as well there are also many nativity scenes, school choirs and stables of farm animals for the children to stroke.
Prague’s Christmas Markets run from 27th November to 6th January
7 – Nuremburg
Nuremburg’s Christkindlesmarkt is taking on a slightly different form this year, yet it does not mean it will be any less magical. Being spread across the Old Town rather than more focused to keep it as safe as possible. With the market taking its name from the Nuremburg Christkind, an iteration of a gift giver created by Martin Luther, this market now spreads across the northern part of the centre – the Old Town and will be in a number of locations such as the Main Market Square, Rathausplatz and more. Nuremburg’s Christmas Market is home to some of the best food on this list such as the Nuremburg Bratwurst and it’s gingerbread.
The Christkindlesmarkt runs from November 26th to December 24th 2021
8 – Cologne
Germany is the only country with more than one market on this list. The country is synonymous with Christmas Markets so much so that many of our ones in the UK are based off them. We tried to put one from a different country on this list but there had to be two from Germany. All in the shadow or light should we say of its Magnificent cathedral, the Cologne Christmas Market is everything you’d expect from a German Christmas market - gluhwein, artisan gifts, great food and festive lighting. It also has Nikolausdorf (Saint Nicholas’s Village) aimed at children and a massive number of live performances from gospel singers and other Christmas musicians.
It runs from November 25th to December 22nd 2021
9 – Strasbourg
France’s oldest and best Christmas Market, Strasbourg has so much to offer. With over 300 traditional Christmas stalls sprawled across the city’s squares Strasbourg is truly France’s ‘Capital of Christmas’ and gives you a perfect Alsatian Christmas experience. Christmas lights hanging from buildings and draped over streetlights Christkindelsmarik is like something out of a fairytale. Amongst everything there are loads of events going on to watch and take part in.
Christkindelsmarik runs from 26th November to 26th December 2021
10 – Copenhagen
Copenhagen is home to a number of Christmas markets which are spread across the city in popular places such as King’s New Square and High Bridge Square. The most popular however is Tivoli Gardens, a home for seasonal celebrations galore. These gardens come to life at Christmas when the darkness of highlights the beauty of the lights throughout the gardens. More than just beautiful Christmas garden walks, Tivoli is home to countless stalls serving sweet treats and more while bands play you around.
Christmas Markets in Copenhagen begin from November 12th and finish just before Christmas
Which one do you want to go to first? This has put us in the festive spirit just writing about these so we can wait to get going to some of them in the future. If you’re looking to tie in a city break with a Christmas market get in contact on 0115 784 3388 or email email@example.com. Looking to stay closer to home? Check out our list of the Best 10 Christmas Markets in the UK 2021