One of the best things about the holiday season in Europe is Christmas Markets.
For several weeks each December, city centers across the continent transform into wonderful outdoor markets filled with unique gifts, sugary treat, savory eats and deliciously boozy beverages.
In Europe, we’re spoiled with some amazing options. From north to south, east to west, there isn’t a country without an unbelievably beautiful and festive Christmas market.
With so many Christmas Markets to choose from it can be hard to narrow down exactly which to visit. Well, lucky for you, I’ve taken on this tough job and today I’m sharing my top ten favorite Christmas markets.
Located in the heart of the historic town square, Tallinn’s Christmas market is all kinds of magical. A giant tree sits at the center and is surrounded by wooden houses adorned with twinkle lights and emitting delicious smells.
Spend a beautiful December night browsing through the stalls, sampling the gingerbread and mulled wine, and maybe pick up a traditional hand knit sweater or two.
The Tallinn Christmas Market runs from 18 November 2017 to 7 January 2018.
Throughout the month of December, Stockholm’s historic and stunning Gamla Stan is transformed into a winter wonderland. Little red houses dot the island’s main square selling everything from traditional Swedish sweets and gifts to local delicacies like reindeer and elk meat. Whether you prefer a traditional or modern Christmas, the Stockholm Market has something for everyone.
The Stockholm Christmas Market runs from 2-23 December 2017.
Get into the Christmas spirit with a visit to one of Central Europe’s grandest markets. This open-air market welcomes people of all ages to browse the stalls, picking up handmade gifts and sampling local delicacies.
Kick off your visit by snacking on one of the cities iconic chimney cakes coated in sugar and cinnamon, and cap off your night with a skate around the central rink.
The Budapest Christmas Market takes place 10 November 2017 to 1 January 2018.
The Zagred Christmas Market has TWICE been voted ‘“European Best Christmas Market,” so clearly, it’s not one to be missed. Each December, the Croatian capital turns into a veritable winter wonderland complete with ice rinks, Christmas lights and even snow. In addition to traditional Christmas market fares (cookies, glogg, etc.), the Zagreb market features a full schedule of entertainment including carolers, nativity plays, and even concerts. It’s a must visit for any Christmas Market fan.
Check out the Zagreb Christmas Market from 2 December 2017 to 7 January 2018.
Prague, Czech Republic
The Prague Christmas Market may not be as big as some of its counterparts, but what it lacks in size it makes up for with its cozy atmosphere. Brightly colored wooden huts fill Prague’s Old Town Square offering traditional Czech gifts and handicrafts and delicious foods and drinks. Once you’ve finished your shopping and satisfied your hunger, pick-up a hot drink, find a seat and enjoy the sound of local carolers.
The Prague Christmas Market runs from 2 December 2017 to 6 January 2018.
The Manchester Christmas Market is the biggest – and arguably best – market in the UK. Since it’s founding in 1999, the market has grown and now welcomes more than nine million visitors each year!
It boasts everything from a skating rink to nearly 300 stalls of various gifts, foods, drinks, sweets, gifts and more! The Manchester Christmas Market is the perfect destination for a festive day out.
Visit the Manchester Christmas Market from now until 21 December 2017.
Experience the wonders of the season set against the impressive backdrop of Hamburg’s Town Hall. Each year, approximately 80 tents and wooden huts fill the square selling local fares, traditional sweets, hot drinks and handmade crafts. To get you even more into the Christmas spirit, three times each day Santa and his reindeer fly above the market.
The Hamburg Christmas Market kicks off on 27 November 2017 and runs through 23 December 2017.
For one week only, the heart of Helsinki become Christmastown as it welcomes 140 vendors selling their handmade gifts, foods, drinks and sweets from their cute little huts. At the center of it all is a beautifully lit old-fashioned carousel that can turn even the biggest Grinch into one of Santa’s elves. The Helsinki Market is the perfect place to relax with family, indulge in delicious treats, and get in the holiday mood.
The Helsinki Christmas Market runs for a limited time, from 15-22 December 2017.
Kick off the Christmas season in the fairytale city of Ghent. Located in the center of the historic city, the Ghent Christmas Market is home to more than 130 wooden stalls. Wander among the pine trees and browse the stalls all while snacking on a delicious Belgium waffle.
The Ghent Christmas Market takes place 8 December 2017 to 7 January 2018.
Each year, the Gdansk Christmas Fair takes place along the Targ Weglowy in the Old Town. The market boasts a Venetian carousel with horses, an exhibition of Christmas trees from around the world and a skating rink alongside all the traditional market fare. Whether old or you, the Gdansk Christmas Market has something for everyone.
Visit the Gdansk Christmas Market from 2-23 December 2017.
What are your favorite Christmas Markets to visit?