8 most magical Christmas markets across Europe

8 most magical Christmas markets across Europe

Whether you're looking for local delicacies and handmade trinkets, or simply a steaming cup of hot wine and to soak up the festive atmosphere, Europe is home to some of the most magical Christmas markets in the whole world. 

Best European Christmas markets to visit

There's no shortage of Christmas markets in Europe, but these are just a few of our favourites that are all worth a yule time visit. 

1. Basel Christmas Market, Switzerland

Taking place in the spectacularly decorated old town of Basel, the Basel Christmas Market in Switzerland is one of the most authentic out there. The vendors and shops glitter with ornaments, creating a cosy ambience. There are many pine trees that border the streets with a massive Christmas tree in the middle of the Old Town. The next Basel Christmas Market will be held from November 23 until December 23, 2023.

2. Christmas Market Praga, Czech Republic

Visit this traditional Czech market to get your hands on Czech blown glass, glass pearls, straw products, hand-embroidered goods, wooden toys and many other things. The Christmas Market in the Old Town of Prague in the Czech Republic is one of the largest and most elaborate events in the country. For food, there are local Czech delicacies as well as traditional Christmas biscuits, and - of course - hot chocolate and mulled wine. The next Christmas Market in Prague will be open December 2, 2023, to January 6, 2024.

3. Advent Feast at the Basilica, Hungary

Featuring over 100 vendors offering regional specialities and handmade gifts, the Advent Feast at the Basilica Market in Budapest is rightfully considered one of the best markets in Europe. Together with the stunning decorations and the St. Stephen’s Basilica in the background, this is an event for all ages. The market displays an enthralling light show each day, along with other various fun activities throughout the season. For information on the next Advent Feast at the Basilica, check the official Advent Feast at the Basilica website.

christmas market hungary

4. Funchal Christmas Market, Madeira, Portugal

Experience Christmas cheer with the gorgeously mild weather of the Portuguese islands! The island of Madeira becomes a magical wonderland during the holiday season as the Avenida Arriaga in the centre of Funchal is covered with an abundance of stunning lights. Products such as exotic flowers, traditional Christmas ornaments, and local cuisine are offered at the many stalls that visitors can explore while listening to Christmas carols. The finale of the market includes a fireworks show. For more information on the dates for the next Christmas market in Madeira, check the official Madeira tourist information website.

5. Christmas Market Cologne, Germany

The Cologne Christmas Market is one of the most famous markets in the whole world and not one you want to miss. Located right in front of the gothic cathedral in the centre of Cologne, this market fits the Christmas season mood perfectly. The main highlight of the market is the fantastic Christmas tree at the centre, which is often ranked among the most beautiful Christmas trees in Europe. This delightful market is perfect for families with children, who will enjoy sipping on mulled wine and hot chocolate under the sweeping canopy of fairy lights.

cologne christmas market

6. Govone and Asti, Italy

Nowhere does Christmas quite like Italy. The Govone and Asti is the magical kingdom of Santa Claus, packed with culture and local cuisine, and is one of the Christmas season highlights in Italy. The main highlight of each day is the incredible Santa Claus musical show that is hosted at the picturesque Savoy Royal Castle. The fairytale setting is complete with the hundred or so wooden stalls selling plenty of products, from Christmas tree decorations to nougat to mulled wine. Head over to the official Govone and Asti website for more information on the next market.

7. Funky Xmas Market, the Netherlands

The Netherlands has its fair share of traditional Christmas markets to explore, but the Funky Xmas Market is a little bit different. The stalls are packed with witty decorations, unusual festive adornments, savoury dishes, tasty sweets and original gifts. There is also live music and fresh hot chocolate to enjoy while wandering through the stalls. Make sure to visit this market that is easily accessible via public transportation when visiting the Dutch city. Keep an eye out on the official Sunday Market website for the dates of the next Funky Xmas Market.

8. Christmas Market Manchester, England

One of the UK's largest and best Christmas markets takes place each year in the northern city of Manchester. With over 225 gorgeous stalls, an array of international food, and fantastic drinks, this market is the ideal place for a date or finding a gift for a loved one. The market is so large, that it has 10 unique, distinct sites that are all worth visiting. The next Manchester Christmas Market will be from November 10 until December 21, 2023.

manchester christmas market

Get yourself to a Christmas market in Europe this holiday season

Is there any greater joy than strolling through a Christmas market stall with a cup of mulled wine in your hand and Christmas carols in your ears? Plan a trip to one of these markets for the upcoming holidays!

This article originally appeared on IamExpat in Switzerland.

Eesha Wirk


Eesha Wirk

Eesha studied in the United States, obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience and Studio Art. She is currently getting her Research Masters in Cognitive Neuropsychology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In...

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