8 European Christmas Markets to Visit This Holiday Season


With the holiday season fast approaching, now is the time to book a festive getaway to visit some of Europe’s renowned Christmas markets. Enjoy a river cruise with stops at antiquated cities to admire local holiday traditions, or hop around to different countries to experience a wider variety of Christmas customs.  Europe offers hundreds of Christmas markets in dozens of countries, each with its own special customs and opportunities.


Manchester, England

November 10-December 21

The first and largest Christmas market in the United Kingdom is situated in ten different locations across Manchester, each with its own unique ambiance.  Try a variety of European dishes such as bratwurst, paella, or goulash before strolling the stalls for Christmas gifts handmade by local craftspeople.

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Edinburgh, Scotland

November 17-January 6

Visit two festive markets located on George Street and East Princes Street Gardens.  Sample local cheeses and enjoy a hot whisky while watching the light show at the George Street market.  Then, head over to the sprawling market at East Princes Street Gardens to buy local handicrafts, munch on roasted hazelnuts, or sip on a cup of mulled wine.  East Princes Street Gardens also has a children’s area complete with rides and personalized tree ornaments.

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Strasbourg, France

November 25-December 31

Over 300 wooden stalls line the Strasbourg markets containing traditional holiday decorations crafted by local vendors.  This year, Strasbourg is opening the Icelandic Village to celebrate the thirteen day celebration of Christmas in Iceland.  The Icelandic Village will display the country’s unique Christmas tradition, like the worship of thirteen Santa Clauses, as well as Icelandic folklore.

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Dresden, Germany

November 29-December 24

Among the aroma of baked apples and the sounds of Christmas music dancing through the air, Dresden’s eleven markets each provide visitors with a distinctive take on holiday tradition.  From traditional to baroque to medieval styles, each market contains unique trinkets and activities to entertain any guest.  

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Prague, Czech Republic

November 29-December 24

Festively decorated historical sites provide the backdrop for Prague’s Christmas markets.  The most popular market is in Old Town Square, where visitors can admire wood carved toys and intricate glassware, or try one of Prague’s famous beers.

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Innsbruck, Austria

November 15-January 6

Surrounded by the snowcapped Alps, Innsbruck’s Christmas markets offer traditional Austrian crafts and food.  Buy a fur-lined hat to protect your ears from the nippy mountain air and bite into a crispy fried spiral potato seasoned with smoky paprika.  Later, take a ride up the mountain on the funicular, where a quaint market overlooks the city.

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Budapest, Hungary

November 10-January 1

Indulge in a cinnamon-coated chimney cake and spiced mulled wine while exploring Budapest’s charming stalls.  Expertly crafted leather goods and handmade pottery are a great option for a special Christmas gift.  At night, the illuminated Basilica lights up hundreds of stalls and a skating rink, making the city square sparkle.

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Zagreb, Croatia

December 2-January 7

Winner of “Best Christmas Market” in 2016, Zagreb offers a more active spin on European Christmas markets.  All are invited to sing, dance, and view local entertainment, as well as visit Advent-themed art exhibits that reflect the city’s artistic culture.  By incorporating northern European tradition with local flair, Zagreb’s markets allow visitors to experience a side of Christmas they have never seen before.

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