Looking for the biggest Christmas Markets in Europe this year? Wondering which European city is best at Christmas? Don’t worry- we’ve done the hard work for you. Here are 10 of the biggest (and best!) European Christmas Markets to get you in the festive spirit.
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Which are the best & biggest Christmas Markets in Europe?
Hands up if you love Christmas Markets?
Hands up if trying to decide which European Christmas market is best makes you feel a little overwhelmed?!
I know exactly how you feel. I remember trying to choose our FIRST Christmas market experience; wanting to get it ‘just right’ and make sure we weren’t missing out on anything. But then came the decisions.
Do you pick the biggest Christmas market in Europe? Or the oldest? Or the most famous? Seriously, how are you supposed to decide this stuff when spending Christmas in Europe?
So, here’s a quick run-down on some of the best & biggest Christmas Markets in Europe and what makes them awesome. And then you have to choose one.
If you’re in or visiting the UK, here are some of the best UK Christmas markets (updated for this year).
Which is the biggest Christmas market in Europe?
Believe it or not, Nuremberg in Germany is home to the biggest Christmas market in Europe, and in fact the WORLD. (Or at least, it was last year. I suppose someone could be building a bigger one somewhere this year!)
Why should you visit the Nuremberg Christmas Market, Germany?
As well as being the biggest Christmas Market in Europe, for me, the Nuremberg Germany Christmas market is one of the most intriguing! I LOVE the story about how the locals pick a girl to be the ‘face of Christmas’ (Christkind).
She must be blond, local, 16-19, and not afraid of heights!! On the opening day of the Market, she is the most important person there. Santa who?
What will you find at Europe’s Biggest Christmas Market?
Apart from that, you’ll find hundreds of beautiful wooden market stalls, selling everything from traditonal Christmas gifts, handmade crafts, local delicacies, food (mmmmm) and glühwein (like mulled wine).
The Glühwein mugs are unique each year and become collector’s pieces. They also make great stocking fillers for people back home! (After you’ve finished the wine, of course!)
The best thing about visiting the biggest Christmas market in Europe is the atmosphere. Germans know how to party anyway, but the scale of the festivities gives it a uniquely awesome touch.
All the locals gather in the town hall square after work and party into the evening- it becomes a fun place to hang out, which is why this is easily one of the best Christmas markets in Germany. We highly recommend planning a motorhome trip to Germany to visit here- there’s plenty of parking nearby.
When is the Nuremberg Christmas Market on this year?
You can find all the dates and opening times of the Nuremberg Christmas market here, including the opening ceremony
Where is the oldest Christmas market in Europe?
Dresden, Germany boasts the title of the oldest Christmas market in Europe. It’s apparently also the oldest Christmas market in the WORLD- dating back to 1434!
Strasbourg (see below) is regularly (and wrongly!) touted as the oldest Christmas market in Europe, but its Christkindelsmärik only goes back to 1570. Pfft.
Why should you visit the Dresden Christmas markets?
Dresden has over 11 different Christmas Markets and each one has its own appeal. I particularly like that you can watch the artisans at work – glass blowers creating Christmas baubles, bakers plaiting Christmas wreaths- it adds to the atmosphere and traditional feel.
They also boast the World’s Tallest Christmas Pyramid and the world’s biggest Nutcracker! So definitely be sure to visit one of the best Christmas markets in Germany during November and December.
Dresden is also just over 2 hours from Berlin so, if you’re lucky, you can visit the Berlin Christmas Markets as well. Winner.
When is the Dresden Christmas Market open this year?
You can find all the opening times and dates for the Dresden Christmas Market here.
Which is the most famous Christmas Market in Europe?
This is a tough one, as fame fluctuates, but the market known as the ‘Capital of Christmas‘ is Strasbourg, France. I’ve asked several people which is the best Christmas market in Europe and they’ve mentioned Strasbourg and Christkindelsmärik every time.
The sheer scale of it makes it one of the biggest Christmas markets in Europe, and every street is full of wooden stalls, lights, beautiful decorations and festive cheer!
Why should you visit the Strasbourg Christmas Market?
Strasbourg really goes ‘all out’ at Christmas. Every shop, street and alley has christmas decorations, lights, ornaments, and often some type of nativity scene or animation. It’s a feast for the senses in every way, all set against the backdrop of the beautiful city of Strasbourg and the incredible Strasbourg Cathedral!
Strasbourg is one of the biggest Christmas markets in France and dates back to 1570.
It is also one of the best Christmas markets in France since there are over 300 wooden chalets spread across the city in 10 different locations, selling traditional food, drinks, chocolates and an abundance of cheese! There is also an ice rink, live music performances and cultural events arranged throughout the festive period.
What dates is the Strasbourg Christmas Market this year?
You can find all dates and opening times for the Strasbourg Christmas Market here.
If you’re visiting Strasbourg with a motorhome, this page is very helpful!
Want to tie in a trip to a Christmas Market with another activity? Why not hire/ bring your motorhome or camper and go motorhome skiing!
Other best & biggest Christmas Markets in Europe to visit this year
Ahhhh, Munich. My very first Christmas Market destination in Europe and it was AWESOME! The sheer overwhelming size (Munich is spread out across several sites in the city), the amount of food and beer being consumed and the happiness of everyone was totally addictive.
Munich is a great first Christmas market to visit. It’s not TOO big and there’s something for everyone. The old town square is full of your traditional stalls, bratwurst sausages, gingerbread, glühwein, cakes, waffles and beer. The HUGE advent Christmas tree is a fantastic backdrop to all the festivities, and you need to stop and watch the Glockenspiel while you are there too.
We also loved the Munich medieval Christmas market, which was a LOT of fun and had a different range of stalls and goods if you’re looking for that perfect gift while strolling through one of the best Christmas markets in Germany- it was like a fairytale.
Dates for the Munich Christmas Market this year
You can see all the dates and opening hours for the Munich Christmas Market here.
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen has the biggest Christmas Market in Denmark, at Tivoli Gardens winter wonderlands. Each year, they use over 120,000 Christmas lights!! (Just think of the electric bill!!!)
I love the backdrop of this Copenhagen Christmas Market against the water of the sea, canals and the lakes – the whole city shimmers. There are around 100 stalls and you’ll see a distinctly Nordic range of gifts, clothing and food being offered!
There are also carousel and fairground rides and light shows taking place in the park and often live music throughout the holiday season.
Don’t miss St Lucia’s Day, where there is a procession through the city by girls carrying candles and singing.
How much does it cost to visit Tivoli Christmas Market?
Copenhagen Christmas Market Entrance to Tivoli Gardens is around £20
When is the Tivoli Christmas Market open this year?
You can find all the opening hours and dates for the Christmas Market here.
Dates November 23 to December 23, 2023
The Basel Christmas Market is the largest in Switzerland, with 160+ pretty wooden stalls and chalets selling all sorts of delights. You’ll find a wide range of foods, including authentic Basel Lackerli (a local version of gingerbread), traditional sausages, festive fondue & raclette, plus hot chocolate, warm spiced wine and plenty of beer.
There are two different areas to explore- Barfuserplatz and Munsterplatz. Barfuserplatz is famous for handmade toys and local crafts, while Munsterplatz has a festive forest straight out of a fairytale, full of activities for kids, (such as gingerbread decorating and christmas carols.)
There are plenty of great UK Christmas markets, but Edinburgh has a wonderful edge as it brings Christmas and Hogmanay together.
In the city centre you’ll find a huge amount to enjoy, including fairground rides, an ice rink, Santa’s Grotto and plenty of stalls selling all manner of goods and gifts.
There’s also a Christmas Tree Maze with a special surprise hidden inside and local delights such as Harry Potter-themed gifts and mulled Irn Bru.
If you’re there later in the day, you can enjoy illuminations and special projections, musical performances and the famous , and fairy lights of George Street. Don’t miss a trip to the Royal Botanic Garden to marvel at the Christmas illuminations.
If you can, stay until the end of December to experience a truly Scottis welcome for the New Year, including fireworks, a ceilidh and Hogmanay street party and the New Year’s Eve concert in Princes Street Gardens.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is one of the most beautiful and romantic Christmas markets in Europe. Set in the heart of the city, with views over the famous 15th-century astronomical clock and the twin spires of Our Lady, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.
You’ll find all the traditional things; wooden chalets, handmade gifts and traditional christmas decorations plus plenty of delicious food (including pancakes, gingerbread and cinnamon buns), plus the local festive drink svarak- a citrus version of grog (rum, water, lemon and sugar) instead of mulled wine.
If you have children, don’t miss the Old Town Square where there’s often a live nativity and animals including a donkey, goats and sheep happy for pats and attention from tourists.
If you want festive lights and Christmas illuminations- head to Budapest.
There are two Christmas markets in the city: Vorosmarty Square and Basilica.
Vorosmarty Square is right in the city centre and is Budapest’s oldest Christmas market. Here, you’ll find plenty of traditional stalls and handicrafts, plus food stalls and free music concerts.
The Basilica Christmas Market has something a little different: laser projections and illuminations onto the Basilica itself and a beautifully festive ice-skating rink that encases a grandly decorated Christmas tree.
Winter Wonders, Brussels, Belgium
The Brussels Winter Wonders is the biggest Christmas market in Belgium and has one of the best party atmospheres of them all! There are more than 200 chalets serving glühwein, crepes, bratwurst and of course lots and lots of Belgian beer!
The wonderland is spread across several areas in Brussels and includes a Ferris Wheel, ice skating, light shows and a HUGE Christmas tree to enchant the 2.5 million Christmas visitors!
If you’ve never been. Brussels is a beautiful European city anyway, but the real draw of one of the best Christmas markets in Europe is that you have the chance to see the…err… Smurfs??!!! (Nope, I have no idea why they are the star attraction – but they are!)
When is the Brussels Winter Wonders Christmas Market open this year?
You can find all the information for the Brussels Christmas Market here.
Rathausplatz In Vienna, Austria
Vienna has the largest Christmas Market in Austria and receives nearly 3.5 Million visitors per year! There’s a Ferris wheel, fair ground rides, ice skating rink, and hundreds of stalls selling presents and food. They also have one of the best light displays in Europe!
What are the Vienna Christmas Market dates this year?
There are several markets in Vienna. You can find all the opening times and dates for visiting here.
Most markets are open between midday (some open at 10am) and close around 9pm.
Considered one of the prettiest Christmas markets in Europe, Tallinn’s Christmas Market is set in the heart of the medieval town, often with a dusting of snow covering everything.
You’ll find the Town Hall Square packed with over 60 wooden stalls, selling everything from handmade wreaths and sweet, local crafts, and also music. There’s usually a brass band or bell ringers players and countless traditional dance groups.
Santa can also often by found greeting the children at his winter grotto (with an authentic reindeer sleigh!)
You can also marvel at Estonia’s biggest Christmas tree. One has been put up in front of the town hall every year since 1441- making it one of the first Christmas trees to be displayed in Europe.
So, which city is home to the BEST Christmas market in Europe?
I’m sorry, but there’s no way I’m making that decision. I highly recommend you visit them ALL and decide for yourself. And then let me know!
But seriously, don’t worry too much. Just pick one. Pick the one with the cheapest flights, or the best deal or the one closest to you if you’re driving! (Heck, if you’re driving, you could visit them all and make a real road trip out of it! while you visit some of the best European cities to visit in winter or discover some of the warmest places in Europe in February!)
Either way, you’ll have a fantastic time. I promise.
Want to remember these Christmas Markets? Pin it to your Christmas in Europe boards!
Kat never planned to buy a motorhome. She also never planned to quit her job as an air traffic controller, go touring around Europe in said motorhome, start one of the UK’s largest motorhome travel websites… or get a cocker spaniel.
If you’d like to connect with Kat, send her an email or follow her adventures on social media.