Ready for Christmas? You will be once you visit a traditional holiday market in Europe. The good news is you can find one almost anywhere but here are a few suggestions (based on tips from friends and bloggers). We’re told the shopping is fun but the food is fabulous! Most markets open late November through New Year’s Day.
7 Good Christmas Markets in Europe
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- Amsterdam, Netherlands: Multiple markets selling everything from Christmas decorations, one-of-a-kind gifts, pastries, produce, and much more – plus skating, musical performances, and thousands of twinkling lights. Learn more here.
- Brussels, Belgium: One of Europe’s larger Christmas markets; this year’s festivities features more than 200 individual chalets (shopping stalls), a sound-and-light show, skating and the Winter Wonders Christmas parade. Learn more here.
- Copenhagen, Denmark: So many markets but don’t miss the Hans Christian Andersen Christmas Market on Axeltorv where each stall is named for one of the author’s fairy tales. Sip hot chocolate while you admire the jewelry and other fine gifts amidst a blizzard of Christmas lights. Learn more here.
- Edinburgh, Scotland: Plenty of food and shopping but you can also enjoy a breathtaking view of the city from the top of the Big Wheel. Stick around ’til New Year’s for the traditional Hogmanay street party, then on Jan. 1 watch some brave souls take a freezing dip in the Firth of Forth during the annual Loony Dook. Learn more here.
- Glasgow, Scotland: The biggest markets – in St. Enoch Square and George Square – attract traders from all over the world. Look for specialty wines and beer plus unusual hand-crafted gifts set in a what the city descibes as a ‘festive village of rustic cabins and stalls’. Learn more here.
- Munich, Germany: The city’s Christmas markets date back to the 14th century with row upon row of hand-crafted gifts and toys including one devoted to entirely to mangers. Then try some gingerbread, hot mulled wine and of course, the fine German sausages. Lots of kid-friendly fun, too, like cookie-baking workshops. Learn more here.
- Prague, Czech Republic: Dubbed the “most charming” Christmas market in Europe, it features thousands of tree ornaments and other decorative items plus all kinds of gifts from clothing to hand-crafts. When you need a break, refreshments range from ancient to modern; try some hot mead and sugar-coated roasted nuts but do not miss the bratwurst. When you’re tired of shopping, watch a display of sword-making or listen to carol singing amidst the lights in Wenceslas Square. Learn more here.
If you’ve found the perfect Christmas market in Europe – or anywhere else in the world – we’d love to hear about it.