The best Christmas markets in Europe

Sian Pages – Travel Planner

Europeans truly know how to celebrate Christmas. From December to January, Christmas markets across Europe offer a perfect blend of tradition and delicious food.

Picture charming wooden chalets in medieval squares, angelic choirs, snow-covered cathedrals, and trees adorned with twinkling lights.

The festive atmosphere includes log fires and, most importantly, a delightful array of seasonal treats—both savoury and sweet. And let’s not forget the abundance of hot mulled wine.

In no specific order, here are a few of my favourite Christmas markets in Europe.

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki Christmas Market

It stands out for blending modern and traditional elements, and it’s committed to being eco-friendly.

You can do a variety of activities, from playing bingo for a vegan ham to enjoying a dog holiday outfit contest. But it’s not all whimsical – choirs perform Christmas carols on weekends, and you can leisurely walk among brightly lit stalls while sipping hot mulled wine. Treat yourself to artisan cheeses or indulge in candied nuts and jam-filled pastries.

And if you want a truly Finnish experience, unwind in the centrally located wood-heated unisex sauna right in the heart of Senate Square.

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels Christmas Market

Each December, boasting over 200 wooden chalets, a covered ice rink, a Ferris wheel, and a captivating light and sound show on the Grand-Place, the event offers something for the entire family.

Delight in crispy fries with mayo, savor tartiflette (a French potato casserole), relish Belgian chocolate (of course), and enjoy waffles adorned with pearl sugar.

Afterward, explore the numerous stalls offering locally-crafted and artisan goods for your Christmas shopping pleasure.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Christmas Market

Prague’s Old Town and Wenceslas markets epitomize the enchanting Christmas spirit in a city already renowned for its Gothic architecture and inviting mulled wine stalls.

Immerse yourself in the warmth of traditional fish soup, cheesy langoš flatbreads, and savoury smoked meat dumplings. Indulge in the aroma of roast ham and the delightful trdelník, a chimney cake rolled in cinnamon and sugar, cooked over a grill.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen Christmas Market

This sparkling theme park, the real-life inspiration for Disneyland, is the world’s third-oldest operating amusement park and a favorite among tourists and locals.

During winter, it transforms with over 500,000 fairy lights for a festive atmosphere.

Listen to the Tivoli Youth Guard’s music while warming up by a log fire. Kids can have a blast on rollercoasters, followed by family-friendly stage shows inside the Glass Hall Theater and Tivoli Concert Hall.

Treat yourself to Danish delights like aebleskiver, small pancake puffs with powdered sugar, or honninghjerter, a dense honey cake resembling German gingerbread.

It’s the epitome of hygge comfort.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna Christmas Market

When adorned with a blanket of snow and twinkling white lights, Vienna is truly enchanting.

The Viennese Dream market offers a delightful mix of experiences, from reindeer rides to an ice rink for skating and curling, along with a classic ferris wheel and merry-go-round.

Savor cheesy sausages, vanilla crescent cookies (vanillekipferl), and warm mulled wine – it’s a quintessentially timeless winter experience.

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn Christmas Market

Tallinn’s market is a magical haven, resembling a fairy-tale village adorned with snow-dusted stalls and sparkling lights.

Beyond savoring traditional Estonian Christmas dishes like black pudding and sour cabbage (trust me, it’s delightful), there’s the added charm of Santa arriving by reindeer-pulled sleigh.

The highlight is the historic Christmas tree, displayed in front of the town hall since 1441 – the first in Europe. After a merry-go-round ride, treat yourself to gingerbread and mulled wine.

It’s a heartwarming experience that captures the true spirit of the season.

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Happy Adventures!