The oldest Christmas market in Europe since 1570 is in Strasbourg, France, and is often elected the best. It is locally called Christlindelsmärik, and Strasbourg is called the Christmas capital, as it holds that Christmas market.
However, there are great Christmas markets everywhere in Europe and in the world, see below our favorites.
Christmas markets 2018
Christmas markets usually start 5 Fridays before Christmas, end of November, and either end on Christmas day, the 24th of December, or sometimes extend up to New Years Eve or the week after, but no later.
They are the occasion to drink hot chocolate or mulled wine, usually by cold weather, enjoy outdoor animations, such as concerts, ice rinks, or Ferris wheels, and local specialties, food and drinks.
It is also the occasion to get the traditional Christmas tree.
Strasbourg Christmas market
The best Christmas market is the one in Strasbourg, France, not only because it has the longest tradition in Europe, but because the whole city transforms itself for the occasion.
The romance can be felt in all streets of Strasbourg, and the kris kringle market
actually takes place everywhere in the city with several spots composed of market booths.
During kris kindle market time, the square in front of the cathedral, former tallest building in the world for two centuries, is the most central one, but not the only one.
Having a mulled wine while while walking in the streets of the old town makes you feel like being in another time, and other local specialties are prepared right in front of you, such as “flammbaguette”, which means flambé pie on baguette, will surely ravish you!
They also have a tradition of “crèpes”, French pancakes, which are best enjoy with home made marmalade or chocolate and fruits.
Vienna Christmas market
One of the most popular one, Vienna Christmas market takes mostly place around the cathedral, and surely is a great one.
It attracts thousands of people, and might seem a bit overcrowded.
The great thing is that Vienna is a very large touristic city, and even during this period it is relatively easy to find a place to stay at, for a reasonable price, as they do not go up that much compared to standard time.
Bratislava Christmas market
Only 80 kilometers, or an hour drive, from Vienna, Bratislava Christmas market is relatively cozy and comfortable, as it isn’t that crowded, but has the full ambiance from big ones.
It takes place all around the old town, and the local specialty, langos, which is a kind of flat bread with sour cream and cheese, is a ravishment by cold weather, along with a mulled wine.
Prague Christmas market
One of the best European destinations in winter time, for its romantic ambiance, beautiful middle age old town, cheap prices and accessible airport, is Prague, in Czech republic.
Their christkindlmarket tradition is very strong, and they can be enjoyed in most of the city center.
Budapest Christmas market
One of the best Christmas markets in Central Europe, Budapest Christmas market is famous for being close to the Danube, being easy to reach, and being hosted in a cheap medieval city.
Some peculiar things to do, is to hop out of the Christmas market in the heart on winter, and go to swim in one of the city thermal baths.
Munich Christmas market
If you have to choose one Christkindlemarkt in Germany, opt for Munich!
The German city, capital of Bavaria, is situated south of Germany, close to the Alps mountains, and feels like another town in winter time.
The Christmas market tradition is also strong there, and they even have a Christmas market at the airport, right outside on the whole main square.
It is therefore a plane connection Christmas market, no need to even go to the city, while connecting in Munich in December, simply step out of the airport, and enjoy a great Christmas market experience!
Brussels Christmas market
The Belgian capital hosts a very large Christmas market on its main square, the Grand-Place.
Hosting more than 200 chalets, or market booths, it is great to spend a whole day walking around the Christmas magic.
With a Ferris wheel, it is even possible to have an awesome sight on the market and whole city in general during magical winter time.
Krakow Christmas market
The Polish city has a huge advantage over the other Christmas markets, which is most of the Christmas tree decorations sold there are actually hand made in Poland, mostly near the mountains in Zakopane.
This fact alone makes Krakow Christmas market a bit more authentic than others, and the ambiance in the medieval town is more enjoyable in winter time, under the snow on the main old town square.
Lincoln Christmas market
One of the largest Christmas markets in Europe, and probably the best in England, is the one held in Lincoln.
It attracts up to 250 000 visitors during the winter time, spreading around the castle and the cathedral.
Contrary to most markets that start about 4 weeks before Christmas, this one starts three weeks before Christmas.
Berlin Christmas market
The kris kringle market in the German capital is one of the main attractions of the city of the year, with many popular markets around the huge city.
Amsterdam Christmas market
Start a week earlier than usual markets, mid November, the Christmas in Amsterdam has a very peculiar ambiance, as it spreads around the city.
Warsaw Christmas market
Small and cozy, the Christmas market in the old town of Warsaw has a great village like ambiance, which is pretty unusual for a European capital city as big as this one.
Dusseldorf Christmas market
With over 200 decorated huts, it is a popular destination even for locals during winter time, to enjoy a good mulled wine or a sausage.
Christmas markets 2018
We hope this guide will have helped you choose which Christmas markets to visit. But, at the end, what matters is to have the Christmas spirit, and enjoy a great winter time!