Top 10 Christmas Markets in the World to Visit At Least Once

0
Strasbourg decorated for Christmas

European Christmas markets are one-of-a-kind events that truly capture the spirit of the holiday season. With a merry tapestry of twinkling lights, fragrant evergreens, and soul-warming cups of cocoa and coffee, each city’s market provides an experience you won’t soon forget.

Time-honored traditions converge with modern delights in the world’s best Christmas markets. Whether you’re after the craftsmanship of Munich or the contemporary buzz of New York’s Winter Village at Bryant Park, these Christmas markets set the stage.

They are a haven for shoppers and world-renowned celebrations where you can indulge in the seasonal tastes, sounds, and sights that define the Christmas experience. Our team has traveled the world and walked dozens of Christmas markets row by row, and here are our favorites.

The World’s Best Christmas Markets

1. Strasbourg and the Entire Alsace Region

Strasbourg Christmas Market and Christmas Lights in Alsace Region
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Picked By: Brittney Liu

Charming half-timbered houses, delicious mulled wine, and cozy festive vibes… what more could you want in a Christmas market? The enchanting Alsace region is home to some of the world’s most epic Christmas markets.

The Strasbourg Christmas Market is one of the largest and oldest Christmas markets in Europe, with a history dating back to the 16th century. Expect your tastebuds to be delighted with regional food and wine, including flammekueche, choucroute, and bretzels.

My go-to Christmas market meal is a wood-fired sausage in a pretzel bun topped with melty raclette cheese. So good! Pair it with mulled wine (vin chaud in French) or hot apple cider for the perfect French winter meal. Voila!

Many towns throughout Alsace hold Christmas markets, but you can find the best ones in Strasbourg, Colmar, and Mulhouse. Each city is easily reachable by train from Paris, making a terrific base for exploring the rest of this magical region.

Alsace Christmas Markets
Location Dates
Eguisheim 23 Nov – 13 Dec
Colmar 23 Nov – 29 Dec
Mulhouse 23 Nov – 22 Dec
Kaysersberg Vignoble 23 Nov – 16 Dec
Riquewihr 24 Nov – 19 Dec
Strasbourg 23 Nov – 23 Dec
Obernai 23 Nov – 30 Dec
Soultz sous Forêts 24 Nov – 16 Dec
Niederbronn les Bains 24 Nov – 16 Dec
Haguenau (Noël au Pays de Haguenau) 23 Nov – 29 Dec
Haguenau (Marché de Noël) 23 Nov – 29 Dec

2. Paris

Christmas Market by the Hôtel de Ville in Paris
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Picked By: Kyle Kroeger

During the festive season, Paris transforms into a winter wonderland courtesy of its enchanting Christmas markets. The Tuileries Christmas Market, packed with festive spirit ornate stalls, spans from November 18, 2023, to January 7, 2024. This market merges traditional charm with fairground mirth in the Tuileries Garden.

Paris Christmas Markets
Location Dates
Jardin des Tuileries Nov 18 – Jan 7
Forum des Halles Nov – Dec

Indulge in hot mulled wine and seek exquisite French ornaments. Les Halles Christmas Market offers a more intimate setting, accented by its prodigious tree and ambient lighting display. Whether savoring vegetarian delights or exploring artisanal crafts, your yuletide cheer will find a kindred spirit in the heart of Paris. Read our full guide to activities in Paris during Christmastime to make the most of your visit.

See Related: Where to Stay in Alsace

3. Prague

ViatTravelers writer 
 in Prague Christmas Market
Lana Valente / ViaTravelers

Picked By: Lana Valente

When Christmas comes around, the Czechs bring their A-game. With mulled wine, traditional streetside Trdelník (Hungarian chimney cake), and countless arrays of bright lights and puppets, Prague is a must-see on your European holiday tour.

The Christmas markets in Prague are open daily throughout the season (early December-January) in Prague Castle, Old Town Square, and Republic Square. Here, you’ll find tasty street snacks, gift shops, local artisans, and sparkling lights amidst well-known attractions such as the Astronomy Clock.

Old Town Square (or Staroměstské náměstí) boasts its own Christmas tree, standing tall and bright in the center of the town hall square. It’s illuminated every night and occasionally accompanied by theater, live music, or nativities as the season progresses.

For the gastronomical tourist, spiced wine with Trdelník is a personal favorite. The latter is sweet dough rolled in sugar and butter, then spit-roasted over embers to create its tube-like shape. Talk about delicious!

Prague Christmas Markets
Location Dates
Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square 2 Dec to 6 Jan
Republic Square 25 Nov to 30 Dec
Na Kampě Square by Charles Bridge 3 Dec to 1 Jan
Havel’s Market, Old Town Market is year-round
Peace Square 20 Nov to 24 Dec
Tyl Square 26 Nov to 24 Dec

4. London, England

Camden Lock Market during Christmas time, London, United Kingdom
Maurizio De Mattei / Shutterstock.com

Picked By: Amanda Finn

In London, over a dozen Christmas markets are sprinkled throughout the city. The most extravagant (and famous) one is the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, which is more of a winter carnival than a traditional Christmas market. Meanwhile, the Leicester Square Christmas Market, with its stalls of food and handicrafts, will more closely resemble a German-style Christkindlesmarkt.

You’ll find most of these markets throughout the city from mid-November, usually until the first week of January. The more lowkey Chelsea Physic Garden Christmas Fair falls just on the final weekend of November.

If you want to see a special holiday display, head to the Trafalgar Square Christmas Market. The market’s tall, lit tree, more closely resembling pixel art, is an annual gift from Norway. Since 1947, Norway has been donating a fir to the city to celebrate the holidays as thanks for the country’s allyship during WWII.

London Christmas Markets
Location Dates
Southbank Centre 2 Nov – 26 Dec
Covent Garden From 7 Nov
Leicester Square 8 Nov – 7 Jan
Trafalgar Square 10 Nov – 2 Jan
London Bridge City 14 Nov – 1 Jan
Spitalfields 15 Nov – 24 Dec
Greenwich From 15 Nov
Kingston 16 Nov – 31 Dec
Hyde Park/Winter Wonderland 17 Nov – 1 Jan
King’s Cross 23 Nov – 23 Dec
Borough Market 28 Nov – 9 Jan

5. Zagreb, Croatia

Christmas Lights and displays at Zagreb, Croatia Christmas Market
Natlia / Adobe Stock

Picked By: Stuart Jameson

Croatians are serious about Christmas. And when I say serious, I mean borderline obsessive. The Zagreb Christmas Market was voted the best Christmas market in Europe for three years while I lived there (a coincidence). Several spectacular markets are spread citywide, turning the Croatian capital into a winter wonderland that smells of chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

Beginning at the end of November and running through to January, the city’s old town squares, parks, and gardens are packed with craft and food stalls, live music and dance events, ice skating rinks, rides, and so many lights it’s a wonder the rest of the continent has any power left. More than 25 individual markets are running simultaneously, and they blend seamlessly.

Head to Strossmayer Square for the annual Fuliranje street food festival, serving everything from Croatian delicacies to international fare. Keep an eye out for traditional hand-crafted Balkan wooden toys and musical instruments.

And try to avoid every street corner vendor selling something that lights up. Best of luck if you have kids.

Zagreb Christmas Market
Location Dates
Throughout Zagreb 2 Dec – 6 Jan

6. Munich

Munich Christmas Market in front of a historical church
Cat Kontalis / Viatravelers

Picked By: Cait Kontalis

Munich’s Christkindlmarkt has been a well-honored tradition since 1757. Today, the former city hall hosts a variety of Christmas markets in over ten locations throughout Munich.

The most popular, of course, is the one held in Marienplatz Square. The market sits beneath the iconic neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus. In addition to its vendors selling traditional Bavarian crafts and ‘noms (Gluehwein, anyone?), the Marienplatz location is considered the largest market in Germany for buying various nativity scenes and set pieces.

Just steps away from the famous Hofbrauhaus, the Christkindlmarkt is the perfect opportunity to smell, taste, and experience the best of Bavaria in one place. I spent hours going from stall to stall, tasting roasted nuts, sipping mulled wine, and snacking on Spritz Cookies. The Munich Christkindlmarkt leaves you feeling like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale.

Munich Christmas Markets
Location Dates
Marienplatz 27 Nov – 24 Dec
Viktualienmarkt 22 Nov 2023 – 5 Jan 2024
Karlsplatz-Stachus 24 Nov 2023 – 15 Jan 2024
Munich Residenz, Odeonsplatz 23 Nov – 22 Dec 2023
Sendlinger-Tor-Platz 27 Nov – 22 Dec 2023
Wittelsbacher Platz 27 Nov – 23 Dec 2023
Isartor 27 Nov 2023 – 7 Jan 2024
Theresienwiese 23 Nov – 23 Dec

See Related: Best German Christmas Markets to Visit

7. Bryant Park, New York City

New York Christmas Market  and Christmas Village
Francois Roux – stock.adobe.com

Picked By: Sandy Allen

With festive lights, dazzling window displays, high-stepping musical shows, and 80-foot-tall Christmas trees, New York City is one of the best places in America to get into the holiday spirit. The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park brings a European-inspired vibe to the middle of the Big Apple. There’s even ice skating!

Located along the park’s plazas, avenues, and terraces, you’ll find more than 180 food and gift vendors. Custom-designed “jewel box” structures hold treasures from local and international artisans. Shop for Christmas ornaments, artwork, apparel, leather goods, toys, jewelry, spices, and more.

Indulge your culinary side by checking out eateries like the Baked Cheese House, German Bratwurst, the Crepe Café, Babka Bailout, and Palenque Empanadas. Bao by Kaya was my cuisine of choice. I can’t pass up a fluffy bao bun filled with anything.

Other fun winter activities include an ice-skating and ice rink show, a curling experience, bumper cars on ice, and an open-air lodge where you can dine on s’mores, Irish coffee martinis, Mexican pastries, and mulled wine. You can also rent a cozy igloo to hang out, sip hot chocolate or cider, and snack on Bavarian pretzels, charcuterie trays, or sweet treats.

New York City Christmas Markets
Location Season
Columbus Circle 28 Nov – 31 Dec
Union Square 16 Nov – 24 Dec
Bryant Park 27 Oct – 2 Jan
Grand Central Terminal 13 Nov – 24 Dec

8. Dresden

Shoppers and tourists browsing the Dresden Christmas Market in Germany
dtatiana / Adobe Stock

Picked By: Lisa Merten

If you’re venturing to Germany during the holiday season, the Dresden Market is a must-see experience. Although I visited the iconic Altmarkt area on a weekday, it was still pretty crowded.

There were endless wooden stalls and stands selling everything imaginable. I browsed through handmade crafts, wooden decor, natural soaps, and body care products. Since Germans love their Kaffee und Kuchen, a few stands had beautiful matching sets of teapots, cups, and saucers for sale.

It is heaven for foodies like me, especially those with a sweet tooth. With the aromas of gingerbread, Naturally, I had to make a pitstop at Steffi’s Baumstreizelei for a quick snack.

I tried the Almond Streizel, and it was to die for. The Streizel is warm and soft, and the little crunchy bits of almond were the icing on the cake.

Dresden Christmas Markets
Location Dates
Striezelmarkt 29 Nov – 24 Dec
Augustusmarkt 29 Nov – 07 Jan
Neumarkt 30 Nov – 07 Jan
Winterlichter 30 Nov – 23 Dec

9. Piazza Navona, Rome

Aerial view of Piazza Navona, Rome Christmas Market
e55evu / Adobe Stock

Picked By: Douglas Weissman

When I lived in Rome, I searched for an “authentic” Christmas Market where I could find handcrafted gifts or unique ornaments. In the end, there’s a reason Piazza Navona tops Christmas Market lists in Italy. It’s the perfect Christmas Market experience when visiting the Eternal City.

The Piazza Navona Christmas Market is full of people! It’s full of holiday aromas! It’s filled with exciting and joyful life! It’s stuffed with teenagers marveling at the lights and sipping thick, slightly bitter, and definitely heart-warming hot chocolate. It smells of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Each stall resembles a mountain hut glowing with light, adding to the joyful ambiance of the holiday market. From vendors roasting chestnuts to selling traditional panatone—Italian fruit cakes— displaying holiday puppets to Christmas ornaments shimmering with Italian glamour, the market is an eruption of seasonal and festive cheer, crowned with the music from the dancing holiday carousel.

Rome Christmas Markets
Location Dates
Piazza Navona 1 Dec – 6 Jan
Piazza Mazzini in Prati 8 Dec – 24 Dec 2023
Rome Auditorium 2 Dec – 6 Jan 2024
Christmas Land in Rome (Ragusa Off) 2-3 Dec 2023, 8-10 Dec 2023, 16-17 Dec 2023

10. Edinburgh, Scotland

Everything to Know About Christmas in Germany
Danilo Y Fotos / Adobe Stock

Picked By: Woodrow Matthews

The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, hosts the Christmas market that’s my favorite in the entire UK. Open this year from November 17 to January 6, it’s also one of the longest stretching, making it easier to add to travel plans during the season.

The market takes place in the East Princes Street Gardens, which is about as central as it gets in the city, sitting next to the train station and right between the Old Town and New Town. There are about 70 stalls selling hot wine and cider, all kinds of tasty European food, and little souvenirs from Scotland.

This is where I first tried “chimney cakes,” a traditional Hungarian dessert in the shape of a hollow cylinder that puffs steam. While Edinburgh may be far from Budapest, this treat keeps your hands toasty warm on a northern European night!

The atmosphere is very happy and family-friendly, but adult visitors should find plenty of adult beverages, perhaps including some local Scotch whiskey. Don’t leave Edinburgh without doing The Scotch Whiskey Experience near the castle!

Edinburgh Christmas Markets
Location Dates
East Princes Street Gardens 17 Nov – 6 Jan
West Princes Street Gardens 18 Nov – 6 Jan
St Andrew Square Winter Garden 18 Nov – 6 Jan
George Street West & Castle Street 18 Nov – 6 Jan

Related Resources

Kyle Kroeger
WRITTEN BY

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *