The Best Christmas Markets in Europe

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Getting in the mood for that special time of the year? Well, Christmas markets are one of the most atmospheric ways to see in the festive season.  

Whether you are looking for gifts, or to enjoy the delightful food and drink, Christmas markets have it all.  

We have put together a list of some of the best Christmas market in Europe this Winter.

Country: Austria 

City: Vienna 

Dates: 8th November 2018 – 6th January 2019 (Varied across different markets)

Explore The 9 Best Christmas Markets in Vienna 2018:

Karlsplatz 

In front of the famous church, Karlskirche, you will find an alternative Christmas market full of arts and crafts. There is also a huge live nativity scene.

Take a wander down the little streets and you'll be able to explore local food and drink. You must try a “Raclette Brot” (proper bread with warm cheese from the Alps) and the “Schilcher Glühwein” (mulled wine from Styria).  

Spittelberg 

This Christmas market on Spittelberg is perfect to buy unusual Christmas gifts. The small idyllic alleyways are filled with lots of stalls of artisan’s ware.

It is in the middle of a Biedermeier heritage district, which is the hip neighbourhood of Neubau. With lots of trendy bars and restaurants surrounding it the atmosphere is quite unique, and you won’t be disappointed.

Museums Quartier 

Drinking mulled wine to DJ sounds, this place really has a cool vibe!

You will love the huge courtyard between the museums with different ice pavilions dotted around. These include punch specialities, a curling lane and video projections on facades.  

Sounds amazing, right?

Maria – Theresien Platz 

You will find this market between the impressive buildings of the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art and it is just two minutes away from the Museums Quartier.

The former Austrian monarch statue will look at you from the centre of the square. Explore the decorated market stalls and sample the delicious food. Try “Kiachl” from Tyrol, which are like doughnuts, but with cranberry jam or sauerkraut.

Rathausplatz 

The internet says it’s one of the most touristy Vienna Christmas markets around, and it’s true! It’s like being in a fairy tale.

The stalls are full of Christmas knickknacks. 

Try the chocolate covered fresh fruits and take a walk around and be amazed by this magical place and spectacular City Hall. 

Don't forget your ice skates for some fun on the beautiful ice rink in the middle of the market.

Belvedere Palace 

Baroque at its best! It’s the perfect place for a tranquil evening as it is not as crowded as Rathausplatz.  

With lots of stalls with handcrafted goods and culinary delights, you’ll fall in love with the breath-taking building and the beautiful garden.  

Make sure you explore the Belvedere Palace also in the daytime.

The Old AKH 

This market is another alternative to the more traditional Vienna Christmas markets.  

The former main hospital is now the campus of the University of Vienna. This makes it a popular meeting point for the younger crowd. Follow the small paths and discover fascinating stalls. 

Don’t forget to try the “exotic” punch like “Apfelstrudel” (apple strudel) at least once!

Freyung

The oldest existing Christmas market is in the city centre. First taking place in 1772, there has been a number of changes over the past 300 years. Nowadays you can buy handicrafts, glass decoration and ceramics.  

Don’t forget to explore the centre of Vienna too.

Schönbrunn 

Last, but not least, Schönbrunn.  

This is one of the main attractions you shouldn’t miss while you’re in Vienna. It’s a tourist hotspot but the locals also LOVE Schönbrunn.  

The famous palace is gorgeous and with the smell of hot punch in the air you will certainly have an unforgettable evening.

Country: England 

City: London, Hyde Park 

Event: Winter Wonderland 

Date: 22nd November 2018 – 6th January 2019

From thrilling fairground rides, ice skating, family shows, an observation wheel, and a whole host of other festive fun and activities all add to the charm of this Christmas market.

Join in the seasonal fun and Christmas spirit as Winter Wonderland returns to London's Hyde Park.

Country: Germany 

City: Munich 

Event: Tollwood Winter Festival 

Date: 23rd November 2018 – 31st December 2018

Discover something you've never seen before at the market of ideas. A gorgeous Christmas market in Munich and a very special celebration of New Year's Eve both of which create an unforgettable holiday spirit. 

Every year in winter the territory of Theresienwiese hosts this unique event. Over 600,000 people come to visit.  

The Tollwood Winter Festival is a huge platform dedicated to cultural, political, and environmental topics.  

The various themed tents keep you warm and engaged. Weltsalon is where you find lots of scientific, political, and cultural workshops and events. The Theaterzelt hosts different performances like circuses, plays, concerts to name but a few. 

Every year the performances change, and the events are either free or cost very little, so everyone can afford it.   

Being held inside a giant tent, it is much more comfortable during frosty winter evenings.  

Here you can also find some unique gifts and just enjoy the warming Christmas food and Gluhwein. With lively entertainment it is the  perfect place to spend your time with friends.

Country: Germany 

City: Bremen, City Centre 

Date: 26th November 2018 -23rd December 2018

The city centre of Bremen is transformed during the period into a magical sight of festive lights. The lights cast a warm glow over the streets and building of the city.

Decorated alleyways, and special Christmas window displays in shops offer an international selection of goods. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the historic city centre and find perfect gifts for the whole family. 

Schlachte – Zauber – On the Embankment of The River Weser, turns into a hive of festive activity. Boats shimmer in the blue light at the quay, and the air is filled with wafting aromas of smoked fish and freshly baked bread.  

From the end of November and through December, the “Schlachte – Zauber" will take up residence on Bremen's river promenade. This Brings with it a historic, wintry and maritime atmosphere.  

Make your way past the defence towers, behind the impressive wooden palisades, to find yourself transported straight back to the Middle Ages.  

A bustling village scene is brought to life by the Fogelvrei performing group. 

You will be able to smell spice merchants' stores filling the air with a heady blend of frankincense and oriental spices, mingling with tempting aromas of roasting meat. 

The pounding of the blacksmith's hammer rings out loudly. Other craft workers, from potters to felt makers and turners, go diligently about their tasks.  

Visitors can sip mead, fruit wine or even a love philtre in the taverns and listen to the minstrel's songs. All accompanied by the atmospheric creaking of the wooden boards of historic ships on the river. 

Industrious craft workers, grumbling innkeepers, jugglers and minstrels, are all just a glimpse into the city's past. This gives you a sense of travelling back to the days when cogs laden with precious cargo used to dock in the Hanseatic city. 

Food huts in the beer gardens of surrounding restaurants are lovingly decorated in a rustic style. An ideal place for a warming mulled wine.  

The city's famous Böttcherstraße provides a scenic and direct route from the Schlachte river promenade to the Christmas market in the square.

Country: Belgium  

City: Bruges 

Date: 23rd November 2018 – 1st January 2019

Christmas is the special time of the year in Bruges. The medieval and ancient centre of Belgium becomes a beautiful Christmas decorated holiday destination.

You will fall in love with its holiday atmosphere. Stalls can be found on the Markt Square and on the Simon Stevinplein square you'll find an ice rink. 

The cosy Christmas atmosphere helps make Bruges Christmas Market one of the most vibrant in the country.  

Belgium, famous for its food, will also offer several different treats to visitors. Waffles and a hot chocolate will keep you warm. And let us, of course, not forget the famous Belgium beer! Find some great pubs and enjoy the tastes of the finest beers of the region.

Like every other market, the one in Bruges also has all kinds of handy crafts. Be sure to take some gifts home to remind you of the wonderful time you spent in this fairy-tale city. 

Country: France 

City: Strasbourg 

Date: 23rd November – 30th December

Strasbourg is considered by many to be the best city in France to visit over the festive season. 

The markets date back to 1570. This makes it the longest running in the whole of France. 

Markets are found near the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Place des Meuniers, the Three Kings market and the Carre d'Or market located respectively in Place Benjamin-Zix and the Place du Temple Neuf.

Country: Germany 

City: Nuremberg 

Date: 30th Novmeber 2018 – 24th December 2018

Christkindlesmarkt Christmas market is held annually and attracts around two million visitors! 

The market in Nuremberg is one of the largest in Germany and one of the most famous in the world. It takes place during Advent in the Hauptmarkt. This is the central square in Nuremberg’s old town, and in adjoining squares and streets.  

Perhaps the scents from your childhood come to mind when you remember aniseed, cinnamon and carnations? 

Maybe you get a warm, comfortable feeling inside, thinking of the candlelight? 

Well, a visit to Nuremberg throughout the Christmas period will arouse your warmest memories. Nuremberg, in the run up to Christmas, is the anticipation of quiet hours with your family and friends, because Nuremberg is a Christmas city. 

For some, it's the delicious aroma of far-eastern spices in the world-famous Nuremberg gingerbread. 

For others it's the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt. Here you can take part in a hunt for glass Christmas tree baubles, hand-made gold foil angels or nativity figurines and nutcrackers made of wood.  

Lovers of Christmas music can enjoy the many high-quality concerts. For the passionate international shopper there are many exclusive boutiques and shops where you can find original ideas for presents. And for little ones there is the children's Christmas and the Sternenhaus (House of Stars). 

If you're lucky it might even be snowing on your stroll through the festive illuminations. If you take a break from the walking along the way, do so on one of the many bridges over the river and see how the snow settles on the roofs of the centuries-old houses. And perhaps a street musician will be playing an old Christmas song in the background.  

Later, in the evening, you may see the Nuremberg children with their home-made lanterns during the annual lantern procession, or even the Christmas story in living images at the foot of the Castle.  

One thing is certain; You will take unforgettable memories back home with you. There are 1001 reasons to fall in love with the Christmas city of Nuremberg.  

Country: Germany 

City: Berlin 

Date: Various

You’ll be spoilt for choice when looking for Christmas markets in Berlin.  

From around the end of November, usually the 25th, great smelling food and drink of the stalls entice visitors to spend the evening exploring the sights and sounds on offer.   

The Berliner Weinachtszeit is located behind Alexanderplatz. It is an excellent place to soak up the Christmas spirit. 

You'll enjoy discovering rides, mulled wine and traditional toys among many other gifts.  

WeinachtsZauber at the Gendarmenmarkt is another institution of Berlin Christmas markets, and can be found in the cultural district housing the Konzerthaus and cathedrals.  

Späth'sche Baumschule dates from the 18th century and is particularly great for kids too. 

Opening 17th November 2018: Christmas Botanical Garden Wonder

A fantastic winter walk and light experience in the Berlin Botanical Garden.  

You will be taken on a two-kilometre-long circular trail. This leads past 30 individual light installations integrated into the diverse nature of the Botanical Garden and characterised by a unique Christmas flair. Millions of light points and colourful illuminations bathe the Botanical Garden.

Country: England 

City: Manchester 

Date: 9th November – 22nd December. Albert Square market open unitil 23rd December.

Britain's third most visited city, Manchester, has seven Christmas markets throughout its centre. Because all are in close proximity, be sure to explore them all.  

There are many stalls selling arts, crafts, food, pottery and many more ideas for festive gifts.  

If you are looking for a European feel, there are German and French themed markets too.  

As well as the markets you have other attractions including fairground rides and an ice rink at Cathedral Gardens. This is ideal for children if you are looking for something which can include all the family.

There are many more Christmas markets throughout the cities of Europe which provide many great memories for the whole family. 

Which ones have you been to? We'd love to know!

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