European Christmas markets have been popular for centuries, so much so, that imitations are beginning to pop up all over the United States. While you may find a Christmas market close to where you live, we guarantee that it will be nothing like the ones you can wander through over in Europe.
Read more: Best Winter Sun Destinations In Europe
The Best Christmas Markets in Europe
1. Chester, United Kingdom
Not many people think about the Christmas markets in the UK, but Chester’s offers enough magic to make shopping a delightful experience. There are at least seventy wooden cottages surrounding the massive tree and you can purchase everything from handmade crafts and clothes to stocking goodies and hot mulled wine.
Read more: 20 Things To Know Before You Visit London
2. Basel, Switzerland
This Christmas market can be found in what is considered the largest Christmas city in the country. You will find this huge Christmas market in both Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz, which are right in the middle of the city. The Basel Christmas Market cannot be missed within the beautifully decorated Old Town.
3. Metz, France
There are six Christmas markets in Metz and there is no way that you can say that one is better than any of the others. Therefore, it is extremely important that you take the time to wander around them all! In between your shopping adventures, you can taste delectable gingerbread, do a little ice skating, take a spin on the merry-go-round, walk through the trails of lanterns, and sip some mulled wine.
4. Brussels, Belgium
The Christmas market in Brussels is called Winter Wonders and it definitely lives up to its name. As you are doing a few cultural activities, you will see magical lights and festive costumes. This is the best place to find some original gift ideas, so make sure you have your list handy for all your friends and family back home.
5. Poznan, Poland
The Poznan Christmas Market is filled with snowflakes, ice, and a lot of Christmas décor and you will find it in both the Poznan Old Market Square and Freedom Square. The one unique feature about this Christmas market is the Ice Sculpture Festival and this is where you can watch people take these large blocks of ice and turn them into gorgeous masterpieces.
6. Vienna, Austria
The beautiful squares in Vienna turn into fabulous Christmas markets for the holiday season, but the best of them all is the Vienna Magic of Advent. This magical market has a carousel, gifts galore, decorations, crafts and fun, plus enough warm drinks and sweets to keep you going until you are finally ready to leave.
7. Budapest, Hungary
Advent Feast at the Basilica is a favorite Christmas market in Budapest. Christmas spirit is everywhere in front of the stunning cathedral, although you may be too busy purchasing the Hungarian chimney cakes and other international cuisines to notice at first. The Christmas tree is surrounded by the ice-skating rink, but don’t worry if you do not ice skate, because there are many other free activities that you can join in on the fun with!
8. Tallinn, Estonia
The Tallinn Christmas Market is one of the most sought-after Christmas markets in the world, so be prepared for lots of people when you choose to visit. You will get to see multiple medieval buildings and experience traditions that the locals have had for generations. Carousels will keep everyone entertained, as will Santa when he is in his little home handing out candy and listening to children tell him how good they have been this past year. All your holiday shopping can be completed at this market, so make sure you have your list handy. Just don’t forget to take some time out to enjoy a Christmas roast and maybe some gingerbread to go with it.
9. Bratislava, Slovakia
The main Christmas market in Bratislava can be found within Old Town. As you are wandering through the stalls and tables, you will find that you are constantly stopping to make a purchase or grab a bite to eat or drink. While you can see everything in the market from the ground, climbing up to the top of the Old Town Hall Tower will have you seeing things from a different perspective.
10. Dresden, Germany
The Christmas market in Dresden is huge and you will find it in Altmarkt, which is one of the oldest squares within the city. Kids of all ages will love riding the Ferris wheel and merry-go-round, while adults will love the items that they can purchase and cross off their lists. Don’t forget to arrive at this market hungry, because there is plenty of German sausages for you to taste in between sips of traditional punch.
11. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
In Amsterdam, the Christmas market is called ICE Village and it is quite a magical destination. This quaint Christmas village offers live entertainment, an ice-skating rink, and numerous activities. Add in the multitude of vendors to shop at, and the delicious food, and you may find that you can spend hours at this holiday destination.
These are the best Christmas markets in Europe and if you have never been to any of them, you really must add them to your list of things to see at least once in your lifetime. We recommend starting to make plans now, so you can either see one this year or at least know which one you will visit next year when the holidays come around once again.
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Author's Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the company in question before planning your trip.
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