Final Information for The Greatest Christmas Markets in Europe


Do you scent that? It is sizzling spiced wine wafting by the air combined with roasting sausages and nuts. It is Christmas in Europe which suggests some of the festive methods to get into the spirit of the season: Christmas Markets! Ornately adorned stalls nestled collectively in metropolis squares promoting hand painted glass ornaments, seasonal meals, and all-around yuletide cheer. Rising up in America (Texas to be precise) I by no means skilled the magic that’s Christmas in Europe.

Now that I’ve had the pleasure of going to a number of the greatest markets throughout Europe I am creating my final information to the European Christmas Markets! I made it my mission to go to a number of the greatest in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and past. I’ve bought you lined in your final information for the most effective Christmas markets in Europe.

*Utterly up to date for 2023!

In the case of Christmas I all the time really feel like a child once more. However Europe appears so as to add an additional contact of magic. Strolling into the markets is simply an amazing sense of enjoyable, associates, and happiness. For this itinerary, I am breaking down the most effective Christmas markets in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria and past. I’ve additionally bought a breakdown of what to purchase, eat, and I am exhibiting you a typical route as a way to get probably the most out of your time!

See my picks for the greatest Christmas markets in Europe and my present Christmas market highway journey itinerary!

What to anticipate

Europe’s Christmas markets are steeped in historical past. The primary market was mentioned to be held in Vienna, Austria relationship again to 1296, however the first “winter market” was in Munich, Germany in 1310. The primary “official” market was Dresden’s Strietzelmarkt in 1434. Christmas markets are also called Christkindlmarkt, Christkindlesmarkt, Christkindlmarket, Christkindlimarkt, and Weihnachtsmarkt and happen in the course of the begin of Creation. Every market has it is personal traditions, decorations, and meals. Germany’s markets are typically extra conventional whereas Austria’s are typically a bit extra elaborate. Most markets finish simply earlier than Christmas, however in cities corresponding to Speyer, Germany they extend the celebration. You will see pretty stalls (or chalets) promoting handcrafted ornaments and crafts, native meals, and sizzling, mulled wine referred to as glühwein.

Keep away from the crowds: Europeans take Christmas markets very critically. Keep away from crowds and features by going in the course of the day, or go for going in the course of the week, Mondays or Tuesdays are greatest.

Good to know

Lots of the stalls promoting glühwein (and a few meals) can have one thing referred to as a “pfand” that is extra cash that you will pay for the cup, often a couple of euros. As soon as finished along with your drink you possibly can hold the cup (often they’re an awesome memento as they are saying the placement and date) or return it to get your a reimbursement.

Carry money, most sellers will solely take money at a Christmas market. The winter markets may be chilly, so be sure that to carry one thing heat and comfy sneakers. You will more than likely be in your ft to peruse the stalls.

Most main European cities have Christmas markets, and they’re all pretty. However, I’ve been to dozens so I am pulling out the most effective Christmas markets to get the “actual” expertise together with an itinerary that can assist you in your manner.

Greatest Christmas Markets in Germany

The German Christmas markets are the unique and the most effective. Since they date again to the 1300s, most of the German Christmas markets nonetheless rejoice traditions from the previous days. You will discover richly adorned Christmas stalls and conventional Christmas meals like bratwurst and kartoffelpuffer. I recommend beginning your journey in Germany. My recommendations for Christmas markets in Germany are: Heidelberg, Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, Munich, Nuremberg and Dresden. Most cities in Germany, together with the smaller ones, will all supply a Weihnachtsmarkt, so you actually cannot go fallacious!

See my full information to the most effective Christmas Markets in Germany right here.

Nuremberg is steeped in custom and you will find an enormous market with tons to see, do, and eat. However my favourite is the extra laid-back Heidelberg. The markets are all through the Haupstrasse (the lengthy pedestrian avenue) and make it simpler for crowds to ebb and movement by the road. You will discover ornately adorned stalls, roasting meats, and a car-free avenue to skip alongside from market to market. It exudes a small city and welcoming feeling.

Munich began one of many first Christmas markets, so it is a disgrace to not go right here. They exit of their approach to beautify and even have themed markets, corresponding to their “pink” Christmas market. Bavaria tends to do issues just a bit bit in another way and Munich actually takes Christmas up a notch.

Christmas Market Dates in Germany: Heidelberg – November 27 December 22, Munich – November 27 – December 24

Discover my full information to Heidelberg right here and Christmas Markets right here. Additionally information to Nuremberg’s right here.

❄️ Europe Packing Record Should Haves ❄️ 

🧥 Coat – A must have for any winter journey! This one doesn’t disappoint
👖 Thermal Leggings – Retains you heat all day.
👕 Thermal Undershirt – Added Heat
🥾 Boots– These hold you comfortable and are sturdy sufficient to put on within the snow
🧦 Wool Socks– hold your ft heat and dry
🧤 Telephone Appropriate gloves – These work so you possibly can nonetheless take footage of the Christmas lights!
🧳 Baggage – That is my go-to carry-on!
🔌 Universal Adapter – Greatest for nation hopping
👜 Crossbody Bag – The perfect for holding you fingers free and your stuff protected
☃️ Beanie – A should for holding heat (and looking out cute!)
🔥 Hand heaters – The key to by no means being chilly!
🧣 Scarf – So key to packing much less is to have equipment like scarves to change it up!
Get my full packing checklist right here!

Greatest Christmas Markets in France

Going to France is like stepping right into a Currier and Ives print. The peerlessly positioned real-life gingerbread homes surrounded with Christmas stalls, music, and sweet-smelling pastries are a feast for the senses. Essentially the most stunning Christmas markets are in Strasbourg and Colmar within the Alsace area.

Strasbourg’s Christmas markets are sprinkled all through town and every one is prettier than the subsequent. The decor is over-the-top however a lot enjoyable. The background of the overwhelming Notre Dame cathedral makes a grand assertion over the sq.. However the actual spotlight is the 30 meter tall Christmas tree! They name Strasbourg the Capital of Christmas and it all the time proves its level as the most effective place to spend the vacations.

In the event you suppose the decorations in Strasbourg have been elaborate, wait till you get to Colmar. Each constructing appears to be adorned with lights, ornaments, and even teddy bears! All over the place you flip is a half-timbered panorama of uneven, multicolored homes. It actually appears extra like a doll’s playhouse.

Christmas Market Dates in France: November 24 by December 30

Discover the information to Strasbourg’s Christmas markets right here.

Greatest Christmas Markets in Switzerland

The right place for a winter wonderland is certainly in Switzerland. You will discover ski chalets nestled subsequent to Christmas markets and, in fact, the beautiful alps. You will enjoyment of artisan items and a few of my favourite treats. The perfect markets are in Basel, Bern, Lucerne, and Zurich. After touring by France it’s extremely straightforward to get to Switzerland. The gap from Colmar to Basel is about an hour and a half by automotive.

Basel is a reasonably metropolis overlooking the water and a number of Christmas markets all through the big squares. The decor right here is vibrant and wonderful and the markets are all inside strolling distance from each other.

My favourite market in Switzerland isn’t too removed from Basel in Lucerne, Switzerland. Located on the lake, you will discover extravagant shows and a number of the greatest cheeses on the earth. All of the outlets and shops are decked out for the vacations with blankets and sheepskin stools.

Christmas Market Dates in Switzerland: Lucerne – December 1-20, Basel – November 23 – December 23

Greatest Christmas Markets in Austria

Austria has many pretty Christmas markets and small cities. You will discover them in Salzburg, Ellmau, Graz, and Kitzbuhel, however the most effective is in Vienna. The Vienna Christmas markets are some of the well-known and standard in all of Europe. It is no shock why: the elegant chandeliers mild up the streets and paint an image of wealthy opulence. I discover the markets in Austria to be pretty, romantic, and an awesome mixture of conventional and trendy refinement.

Greatest Christmas Markets in Vienna

There are a number of markets all through town however my favorites are Rathaus, St. Stephen’s Sq., Maria-Therea Sq., Schönbrunn Palace, Belvedere, and Altes AKH. Take a experience on the Ringstrasse on Tram 1 to map out each the place you’d wish to cease. You will discover that the buildings function unbelievable backdrops for the Christmas decor. At Rathaus (Metropolis Corridor) there’s an enormous, lit tree, an ice skating rink, and even a stage for stay music and performances. Do not forget to go contained in the Rathaus for a wonderful view.

Do not miss St. Stephen’s and the magnificent church. You actually cannot miss it, the steeple is that top. Take a stroll alongside Kärtnerstrasse to see the unbelievable chandeliers. Try the Altes AKH to see the College campus remodeled right into a Christmas wonderland. The museum quarter already boasts pretty structure nevertheless it packs an added punch with the market in Maria-Theresa-Platz. That is additionally a great place to cease and have a standard strudel.

For an over-the-top market have one exterior a palace! Two alternatives for this at Schloss Belvedere and Schönbrunn. Each are stunning and the palaces solely add to the ambiance.

Christmas Market Dates in Austria: Vienna – Late November – December 23

Your European Christmas Market Route

Fly into Germany – I recommend Frankfurt. This can be a main airport hub and makes it straightforward to go to your subsequent vacation spot. From right here, you possibly can take a prepare or a automotive (I discover automobiles are best and make it so you possibly can cease off at any time). From right here, take a prepare or automotive to Heidelberg, Germany. This can be a typical Christmas market and can put you proper within the spirit. Subsequent, we’re heading to France! Strasbourg is simply about an hour and a half away from Heidelberg. After you get your fill of Glühwein our subsequent cease remains to be in Alsace: Colmar, France. An precise gingerbread city, it is one of many cutest locations I’ve ever stepped foot in!

After France, we’ll cross one other border and head into Switzerland. Right here we’ll go to Basel then Bern and if time permits we’ll go to Lucerne and again north to Zurich. This itinerary is ideal when you’ve got 5-7 days. Have extra time, or simply wish to see extra? Carry on going! From right here you possibly can return into Germany for Munich’s markets or go straight over to Austria. In the event you’re driving, cease off in Salzburg. However since it is a lengthy journey, I recommend flying to Vienna. Subsequent, you possibly can both head to Prague (my private favourite) or east to Budapest.

Pictured: Prague’s Christmas Market in Outdated City Sq.

Different nice spots for Christmas are London, Nuremberg, Dresden, Paris, Copenhagen, Brussels, Budapest, and Zagreb.

What to eat at Christmas Markets

Schokokuss – one of the best ways to explain this dessert is to take marshmallow fluff, then cowl it with chocolate, and eat a dozen. Actually, these are cheap and are so mild and fluffy. I get one virtually each time I’m going to a Christmas market.

Bratwurst – Genuine German meals is bratwurst and Rostbratwurst roasting frequently. Every Christmas market does it a bit in another way so attempt one wherever you go. You may get it with bread and I all the time load up on mustard and onions.

Kartoffellpuffer – Take potatoes, fry them. It sounds easy however they’re completely divine. Normally served with applesauce (bizarre however good) or garlic sauce. Give these a attempt!

Gingerbread – Often known as Lebkucken, you will discover each gentle and laborious gingerbread offered. Additionally they wish to promote it in coronary heart shapes, wrapped in plastic, with phrases written on the cookie. I am unable to say these are very tasty, however they’re fairly!

Crepes – In the event you’re within the temper for one thing candy that is the right Christmas market meals. Rolled up with Nutella, cinnamon, sugar, or honey, anybody can get their fill from this straightforward traditional.

Frikadella – One in every of my favourite meals on the Christmas markets are these hamburgers made with pork. Normally served with onions and mustard they make for the right hearty meal. Do not forget to seize some fries or pommes frites!

Candied nuts – the right heat Christmas market deal with to pop in your mouth as you amble from stall to stall. These aromatic nuts will make you whip your head round as you stroll previous! You can even attempt roasted chestnuts aka “maroni” if you would like as nicely.

Germknödel – This standard spherical dumpling is a German traditional and often stuffed with jam and topped with vanilla cream sauce. It is not overly candy however a pleasant addition to your mulled wine.

Glühwein – You can not go to the Christmas market with out glühwein! I am completely hooked on this sizzling, mulled wine made with spices. It is going to hold you heat inside as you drink this candy liquid. Some markets additionally serve Feuerzangenbowle which is a mix of punch and glühwein and topped with a rum-soaked sugar dice then set on hearth. Go forward, order two. In the event you’re alcohol free you may also order kinderpunsch!

See the 25 issues it is best to attempt at a Christmas Market right here!

What to purchase on the Christmas Markets

Every thing sheepskin is on the market – gloves, hats, rugs and extra.

Maintain your glühwein cup as a enjoyable memento. If you wish to hold with the alcohol development, many stalls supply liqueurs in fairly bottles which can be a great gift.

Most markets have their very own traditions and issues on the market. For instance, in Nuremberg they promote dolls made from dates! Most objects on the market at Christmas markets are handmade and top quality. You will not essentially discover the most affordable objects however you will see one thing particular that can final.

Everybody deserves a winter wonderland break and Europe’s Christmas markets make for the right magical escape. Christmas markets in Europe are a number of the greatest recollections of my life, and I am already counting down the dates till subsequent yr!

Want extra Christmas markets? Try much more posts!

15 Greatest Christmas Markets in Germany

25 Issues to Eat at A German Christmas Market

25 Photographs That Will Encourage You To Spend Christmas in Europe

Information to Heidelberg’s Christmas Markets

Greatest Facet Journeys for Christmas in Germany

Issues to Do in Strasbourg, France at Christmas

Christmas Time in London

My First Christmas Overseas

This is a useful infographic and transient have a look at the most effective of Christmas markets in Europe: