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The 11 Best Christmas Markets in Europe 2024 (+Map)

Disclaimer: Real-life human experiences. Written by a human. Created for humans. (Travels at Missy does not use AI for our articles. All posts and information are 1st hand experience. AI data-scrapping tools are expressly forbidden from using Travels with Missy content for AI Training).

Once you’ve discovered the magic of the Christmas Markets in Europe it becomes like an obsession, you’ve suddenly got to experience them all. Or maybe that’s just me. Each Christmas Market in Europe brings its own flavor, with different traditions, foods, and setups. 

If you’re struggling to get into the Christmas spirit or heck even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, visiting any of the best Christmas Markets in Europe will instantly make you excited for the winter

And as someone who detests the months of January and February with every fiber of my being, visiting some of the best cities in Europe for Christmas in November and December lifts my spirits before it all goes to hell when the new year rolls around.

Seriously does anyone like January, aka the longest and most miserable month of the entire year? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

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What to expect at some of the best Christmas markets in Europe

Well for one thing you will certainly experience a lot of festive cheer. It’s hard not to get into the holiday spirit when you’re surrounded by delicious food, warm alcoholic drinks, gift ideas, and lots of Christmas trees and decorations. 

Aside from how quaint some of the Christmas markets are, I think one of my favorite aspects is trying all the different foods available at the markets. Whether you’re in Germany nibbling on thick German wursts, or in Antwerp and knocking back Jenever, there is something new to try for out-of-towners like you and me.

Also if you are someone who likes to collect souvenirs, then you’ll find adorable mugs and glasses in the European Christmas Markets that make excellent presents and collectibles.

Souvenir mugs from Cologne Christmas Market

When planning your visit to some of the best European Christmas Markets make sure to plan in advance, book your accommodation, and travel from each destination. Renting a car is a great way to get from some of the smaller cities and means you can almost do two markets in a day if they are close to one another. 

Top Tip: Bring cash. Depending on the market, they can sometimes be cash only. 

Bonus tip: Bring wet wipes. Between the food, drinks, and lots of people, it can get sticky pretty quickly. Throw a packet of wet wipes into your pocket. 

To view a list of each pinned location, click the icon at the top-left corner. For an expanded view, click the button located at the top-right. To save to your personal Google Maps account, simply click the star icon. Once saved, access the map by opening Google Maps on your device, clicking the ‘Saved’ button, selecting the “Maps” icon on the bottom of the screen, and then choosing you’ll find this map listed.

French Christmas markets

Strasbourg Christmas Markets

Self-proclaimed the ‘Capital of ChristmasStrasbourg is arguably one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe and a fantastic experience for everyone. Wander around one of France’s most beautiful cities and discover almost a dozen Christmas Markets dotted around the city.

Gaze in wonder at ‘Le Grand Sapin‘, an enormous 100-foot Christmas Tree which has over 4 miles of fairy lights adorning its branches. Nibble on some delicious cookies known as Bredle that come in dozens of flavors and shapes. Or sample plenty of excellent ‘le vin chaud‘ aka mulled wine. The Strasbourg Christmas Markets have so much to offer and it’s worth spending at least 2 days exploring all the offerings.

  • The Strasbourg Christmas Markets run from the 24th of November to December 24th, 2023.

The Strasbourg Christmas Markets are also a great base for exploring the Alsace region which has to be one of the most festive areas in Europe. 1 hour away by car you’ll be contemplating a move to one of the adorable Christmas villages of Riquewihr or Eguisheim and wondering if a village can be this beautiful.

The nearby Colmar Christmas Markets are also an hour’s drive by car or 30 minutes by train.

  • The Christmas Markets in Strasbourg & Colmar are worth renting a car and exploring the nearby cute villages with over 60 Christmas Markets in the surrounding area.

Colmar Christmas Markets

Spoken in revered tones, Colmar Christmas Markets do not disappoint. With 6 markets around the town of Colmar, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale, complete with gingerbread houses, children’s choirs on small canal boats, and teddy bears adorning windows. It’s incredibly dreamlike and worth the high praise.

  • The Colmar Christmas Markets run from 23rd November until December 29th, 2023.

The town of Colmar is located in one of the most beautiful areas of Alsace. With Strasbourg an hour’s drive away, you can easily base your stay in Colmar and visit 5-6 excellent Christmas Markets in the area. The superb Christmas Markets of Basel, Switzerland are a 50-minute drive away too.

Colmar is more than just the town, it’s also the nearby villages of Ribeauville which has a medieval Christmas Markets on 2 weekends in December, or Eguisheim which is based on the village Belle from Beauty and the Beast lived in but also condescendingly referred to as ‘little town full of little people’. It’s much nicer in real life.

If you’ve been seeking the best Christmas markets in Europe that are closely packed to one another then you cannot beat the Christmas Markets of Alsace.

German Christmas Markets

Cologne Christmas Market

The best Christmas Market in Europe is located in Cologne, Germany. Not only is there not just one large marketplace, but you’ll find up to 5 other Christmas markets around the city of Cologne.

I visited the Cologne Christmas Markets last year and they made a huge impression on me. They are hands down one of the best European Christmas Markets that I’ve ever been to.

The largest underneath the Dom (the magnificent Gothic Cathedral in Cologne) is the centerpiece of the Cologne Christmas Market and hugely impressive. The Weihnachtsmarkt am Kölner Dom (aka the Dom Christmas Markets) includes a whopping 150 stalls, and whilst impressive, the best Christmas markets in Cologne are located just around the corner. 

Read more about the Cologne Christmas Markets in my detailed post on what to eat, see and do when visiting the Cologne Christmas Markets in 2023. 

Heumarkt & Alstadt Markets are the prettiest Christmas markets in Cologne and are worthy of a fairytale. If you’ve ever imagined a European fairytale come to life, then Heinzels Winter Fairytale is it. Adorable wooden chalets selling beautifully handcrafted trinkets, delicious food, and lots and lots of alcohol. 

Dates for the Cologne Christmas Market start from November 23rd, 2023 until 7th January 2024. 

Where to stay in Cologne

You cannot beat the location of the CityClass Hotel Residence am Dom! Immediately outside the front door, the hotel is Heinzels Winter Fairytale. 

Looking for a bigger space? Check out apartments on Vrbo that are in Cologne City Center.

Getting to Cologne

Airport: Whilst Cologne-Bonn International Airport has connections from around Europe, most travelers will arrive in Frankfurt Airport. The high-speed train from Frankfurt to Cologne takes 1 Hour.

Check flights to the Cologne Christmas Markets on Skyscanner.

Trier Christmas Market

One of the oldest Christmas Markets in Europe, Trier Christmas Market is a great first-timers visit to experience the magic of what a Christmas market can mean.

The beautiful German city of Trier is gorgeous and even more beautiful lit up with all the Christmas lights and festive stalls that sell everything from Gluwein to Reibekuchen (potato cakes), and of course a wonderful selection of presents and gifts from the wooden chalet stalls. 

Trier Christmas Market is located near the border of Luxembourg which means you can easily visit the Luxembourg Christmas Markets which just happen to be next on the list. For a more detailed post on the Trier Christmas Markets click here.

If you’re eager to combine 2 European Christmas markets in a single day, then I would definitely consider the Trier & Luxembourg Christmas Markets.

Dates for the Trier Christmas Markets run from 24th November 2023 to 22nd December 2023.

Luxembourg Christmas Market

Luxembourg is a small gem of a country. It packs a punch and often slips under the radar for Christmas Market visitors. Which is a shame as the Luxembourg Christmas Markets are really worth visiting. 

Spread out across Luxembourg City, the free use of public transportation means you can easily hop across the city (or walk – Luxembourg City is tiny) and visit all the different sections of the Christmas Markets. 

The setting of the main market is beautiful, located on Place de la Constitution which overlooks the deep valley that cuts through the center of Luxembourg City. 

For a more detailed post on the Luxembourg Christmas Markets click here.

Dates for the Luxembourg Christmas Markets in 2023 run from 24th November 2023 to 7th January 2024.

Belgian Christmas Markets

Antwerp Christmas Market

One of the best Christmas markets in Europe flies very much under the radar – the Antwerp Christmas Markets are a hidden gem and perfect for those heading to Belgium for some supreme Christmas festivities. 

The Antwerp Christmas Market is beautiful (and if this is your first time visiting Antwerp you are in for a massive treat), with the Grote Markt set up with dozens of chalets that sell the traditional Christmas market goodies. The enormous Christmas Tree is the star of Grote Markt and one of the most impressive sights in a city that is jaw-droppingly incredible. 

In the Groenplaats you’ll find a large covered ice rink with stalls around the perimeter of the rink. 

A must for those visiting the Antwerp Christmas Market is to try Jenever, a gin-based liquor with numerous flavors. 

Dates for the Antwerp Christmas Market run from December 8th, 2023 to January 7th 2024.

Where to stay in Antwerp: You can’t beat the location of the Hilton Antwerp Old Town which overlooks the ice-rink of Groenplaats.

Brussels Christmas Market

The largest Christmas Market in Belgium is perhaps the most beautiful and visited one. The Brussels Christmas Market takes place in the absolutely stunning Grand Place, one of the most remarkable squares in Europe. 

And as you walk around Brussels you’ll find the street decorations embrace the season with festive windows and string lights adorning pretty much everything. Even the Manneken-Pis (little peeing boy) enjoys the festivities. 

The Brussels Christmas Market spills from the Grand Place to adjoining streets and squares of Rue de la Bourse, Place de Brouckère, Place Saint-Catherine, and a few more areas. 

Like most of the European Christmas markets on the list, they’re best visited in the early evening as the winter sun sets and the illumination begins.

Enjoy over 200 stalls, a Ferris wheel, and lots of events that occur from the 24th of November 2023 until the 31st of December. The markets will shut down on the 31st, but there will still be some festiveness around Brussels in January.

Bruges Christmas Market

The Bruges Christmas Market may not be the most impressive Christmas Market on the list but it is one of the most romantic of settings. Beautiful Bruges is dreamy at the best of times, but it particularly shines in the winter months. 

The Winter Glow as the Bruges Christmas Markets are marketing themselves as takes place from the 24th of November 2023 to January 7th, 2024

The beautiful light installation returns for another year at the Bruges Christmas Markets and illuminates parks, waterways, buildings, and much more.

Throughout the city of Bruges, you’ll find 2 Christmas markets, ice-skating rink, winter bars, and lots of opportunities to shop till you drop. 

Where to stay in Bruges: Hotel de Orangerie oozes romance in the historic center of Bruges. The perfect place to base your stay in Bruges. 

Austrian Christmas Markets

Vienna Christmas Market

The Vienna Christmas Markets have been voted the best Christmas Markets in Europe several times and it’s easy to see why. Set all across the city of Vienna, visitors will have their choice of numerous European Christmas Markets to enjoy. 

The Vienna Christmas Markets are one of the earliest Christmas markets to start in early-November, 11th of November 2023 through to the end of December depending on the market. The Vienna Christmas Markets are spread out across the city and are some of the earliest European Christmas Market start dates.

The Viennese Dream Christmas Market takes place in front of the City Hall and has a huge collection of wooden chalets offering typical Christmas Market fare – Gluwein, Cookies, Wursts & Gifts.

The Christmas Village Belvedere Palace may have one of the most breathtaking settings of all the European Christmas Markets on this list. Located in front of the stunning baroque Belvedere Palace, you’ll find 40 stalls here selling everything from handmade gifts to mulled wine.

Top Pick: Vienna Christmas Market Walking Tour

There are a lot of Christmas Markets in Vienna to explore so don’t miss one of the best ways to discover everything the city has to offer with a Guided Walking Tour of the Vienna Christmas Markets.

The Christmas Village on Maria Theresian Square is also incredible, and throughout the city of Vienna you’ll keep stumbling across smaller and more intimate Vienna Christmas Market stalls and squares.

The Vienna Christmas Markets start from November 11th, 2023 until December 26th, 2023 (each market has its own start and end date). Some even finish on the 4th of January 2024. Check out my post on the Vienna Christmas Markets here.

Salzburg Christmas Markets

One of the oldest Christmas Markets in Europe is the Salzburg Christmas Market. Located beneath the beautiful Dom (Cathedral) and in the center of stunning Salzburg, the markets date back to the 16th century. 

Nowadays you’ll find the typical Christmas market complete with mulled wine, wursts, potato pancakes, and other deliciousness. The Salzburg Christmas Markets have over 100 stalls and numerous events throughout its duration including sing-along choirs and guided Christmas tours. 

The Salzburg Christmas Markets are operational from November 23rd, 2023 to January 1st, 2024. 

Italy Christmas Markets

Rome Christmas Markets

You’ll find the Piazza Navona Christmas Market the hub of the Rome Christmas Markets. One of the most famous piazzas in Rome hosts over 30 stalls that sell all the traditional fares from yummy Christmas staples to gifts.

You may not experience snow, but you’ll encounter a live Nativity set, an enormous Christmas Tree at the Pizza Navona Christmas Market. It may not have the cute chalets of German or Austrian Christmas markets, but come on, it’s Rome!

Rome is endlessly magical and incredible with every turn and makes for one of the best European cities for Christmas. The Rome Christmas Markets run from December 1st 2023 until January 6th, 2024.

Other Christmas Markets of Note

This year I had a whole notepad full of Christmas Markets that I intend to tick off including Strasbourg Christmas Markets, Colmar Christmas Markets & Riquewihr Christmas Markets in France. (Spoiler Alert! I visited them & they were amazing!) I’ve also got a trip to Prague booked for mid-December to capture what I think might be a new favorite Christmas Markets in Europe in 2023.

With each passing year, cities like Madrid and London have started focusing on their winter tourism and creating rival Christmas Markets. It’s one of the most magical times to visit Europe, and even a humble Christmas market in a small town can lift even the Grinch’s spirit.

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