Best Christmas Markets Around the World
Every December, cities embrace the holiday spirit as Christmas markets transform the historic town squares into a magical winter wonderful. Town squares are adorned with glimmering lights, the smell of chestnuts roasting and holiday cheer. Crowds gather to listen to Christmas carollers, indulge in gingerbread treats and sip on hot chocolate and hot apple cider. Whether you are satisfying your sweet tooth with a Christmas treat (gingerbread & candy canes anyone?) or taking in the large sparkling Christmas tree, you can’t help but feel the spirit of the holiday season at some of the best Christmas markets around the world.
1. Nuremberg, Germany
No one does Christmas quite like Germany & at this time of year, Nuremberg feels like something straight out of a fairy tale. Every year Germany’s most famous Christmas Market opens its stalls for visitors from all over the world. This market has more than 180 stalls with traditional Christmas ornaments, toys, games and delicious holiday treats and drinks. More than 30 of these stalls even date back to 1890! Don’t miss out on trying original Nuremberg grilled sausages, sweet gingerbread, Blueberry Glühwein
2. Dresden Striezelmarkt, Germany
Dresden is Germany’s oldest Christmas market and attracts millions of visitors from around the world. The market is named after the city’s most famous culinary creation - a delicious and rich Christmas Stollen, a traditional German fruitcake. This beautiful market is in the heart of the baroque city with over 100 events, stalls showcasing intricate crafts and an endless choice of festive specialities such as glazed apples, sugared dough balls and of course, Stollen.
3. Strasbourg, France
There are many markets that take place in the numerous town squares but the most well-known market can be found near the majestic Cathedral of Notre Dame. Strasbourg hosts one of Europe’s oldest market and continues to uphold traditional Alsatian traditions. More than 300 traditional wooden chalets take over Place Broglie and wind through the cobbled streets throughout 11 sites within the city center. You’ll be sure to find an array of handcrafted gifts while enjoying live carolers and the festive light show.
4. Viennese Christmas Market, Vienna, Austria
The Viennese Christmas Market is an unforgettable experience. Vienna offers an enormous variety of markets not too far from one another so spend a day following the smell of fragrant chestnuts roasting and baked gingerbread and see what the different markets have to offer. The baroque palaces Schloss Schönbrunn and Schloss Belvedere are two scenic backdrops that gives the markets an added charm. Typically the closer the Christmas markets are to the main city sights, the more expensive the purchases at the stalls will be.
5. Budapest Christmas Fair, Hungary
The Budapest Christmas Fair takes place in the historic city center in Vörösmarty Square. The area is completely transformed into a magical space with quaint cottages decorated in lights and over 100 wooden stalls lining the cobblestone streets. You’ll have an opportunity to sample traditional cuisine such as pork knuckle and stuffed cabbage while picking up handcrafted gifts and sipping on mulled wine.
6. Grand Christmas Market, Montreal, Canada
This German-style Christmas market completely transforms Place Des Arts every year with food trucks, a Santa’s Cabin Elves Workshop, and Santa’s Sleigh. You can expect performances from carolling to karaoke and story time. Some other fun treats include cocktail spaces, glowing cotton candy and locally made & product arts, crafts and cheese.
7. Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, Prague, Czech Republic
Prague’s christmas markets are the country’s most impressive. They light up the city and bring people from all over the world together in a magical winter wonderland setting. The main markets in Prague are the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square (5 minute walk from each other); however, there are also several other smaller markets, including one in front of St George’s Basilica at Prague Castle. You can pet the animals at the stable, sample local food and drinks and shop for ornaments, wooden toys or candles.
8. Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham, UK
Birmingham hosts one of the largest authentic German market in the world, outside of Germany and Austria. The market hosts a large selection of beautiful hand-crafted items at the Christmas Craft Fair featuring crafts by local & international artisans. Enjoy authentic German specialities such as German sausages (bratwurst, currywurst, krakauer, kasewurst, feuerwurst) as well as Berliner doughnuts, pretzels, and schnitzel while riding the big wheel in Centenary Square or sipping on a hot chocolate after skating on the outdoor rink.
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
For a Nordic themed Christmas, check out Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen. This Christmas Market embodies the concept of hygge - locals and visitors enjoy themselves surrounded by loved ones in an intimate and cozy setting. The park is offers 50 stalls selling arts, decorations and treats to satisfy your craving, decorated with Christmas lights, and the lake is transformed into an ice skating rink.
10. Christkindlmarket, Chicago, Illinois
Chicago’s Christkindlmarket brings a long-standing German tradition across the world and is one of the largest outside of Europe. The market has grown tremendously with more than half a million people attending each year. One of the most anticipated attractions is the official Christkind, a young woman from Nuremberg, Germany dressed in traditional holiday attire and commissioned to serve as an ambassador for the event. There are also many vendors offering demonstrations and selling hand-brown ornaments, nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, toys jewelry and more. Enjoy the ultimate European Christmas market experience by sipping from traditional beer steins, eating an authentic German bratwurst and indulging in candied treats.