1. Zagreb Croatia
Voted two times in a row “European Best Christmas Market”, the capital of Croatia is for sure the best destination to celebrate Christmas in Europe. During this time of year the magic is everywhere in Zagreb. Come and see for yourself why is the Croatian capital visited by an increasing numbers of tourists during the time of Advent; get to know its idyllic side and partake in themed programmes which take place on the streets and squares around the city centre.
2. Strasbourg France
Rewarded twice “European Best Christmas Market” in 2014 and 2015, Strasbourg is the capital of Christmas in France. The oldest Christmas market in Europe, the Christkindelsmärik was first held in Strasbourg in 1570. With its 300 stalls, spread out over 12 locations in the city centre, the authenticity, warmth and generosity of Strasbourg Capital of Christmas form an Alsatian tradition which has been successfully maintained ever since.
3. Colmar France
Let’s go to Colmar, a city where the magic of Christmas can be experienced in its purest form for six entire weeks, since 17 years. Your way will be drawn by illuminations linking to the city’s five Christmas markets, in a labyrinth of small streets lined with century old half-timbered houses.
Nestling in town squares with their own special architectural features, these islands of togetherness are like the city itself: intimate and authentic. Each market is a mini-village, highlighting passionate and enthusiastic craftsmen. Most of them are from Alsace and have been chosen for the quality and the uniqueness of their products.
Next to that, you are invited to participate to a wide range of activities, making the Christmas in Colmar an uncommon experience: guided tours, wine-tastings, children animations, exhibition of traditional toys, as well as many shows and concerts.
4. Aachen Germany
Every year before Christmas the squares and streets round the Cathedral and the Aachen Town Hall are transformed into a paradise of lights and colours, festive sounds and seductive smells. The glorious fair in the Christmas City, which has been erected with great care and sentiment, fascinates both the young and the old. The enormous choice between original, stylish and precious goods makes small and big dreams come true. It is really no wonder why the Aachen Christmas Market has become an absolute “must” for all people of Aachen and Aachen fans as well.
The Aachen Market has become famous far beyond the boundaries of the Aachen region. This is due to its pleasant and familiar atmosphere. People come to the Christmas Market in order to meet their families, friends, acquaintances and colleagues.
5. Vienna Austria
From mid-November to Christmas, Vienna’s prettiest squares transform into magical Christmas markets. The aroma of Christmas bakery items and hot punch creates a pre-Christmas atmosphere.
One of the most well-known Christmas Markets is the traditional “Vienna Magic of Advent”, which turns the City Hall Square into a shining fairytale land. Christmas gifts, tree decorations, sweets and warming drinks are awaiting you as well as a carousel and craft fun Christmas Workshops for kids. The trees of the surrounding City Hall park are festively decorated and radiate in a sea of lights – a Viennese experience, you’ll definitely don’t want to miss!
6. Dresden Germany
If you like Christmas, you’ll love Dresden. A grand total of eleven completely different Christmas markets, from the by no means Dark Ages to the après ski charm of alpine huts, makes for wonderfully conflicting decisions.
Holiday sounds fill the air throughout the city. From the many oratorios, Advent, organ and gospel concerts, Dresden’s churches brim with festive insider tips.
Christmas tales also come to life in the city’s theatres whilst museums host special exhibitions and boats bejewelled with lights glide along the Elbe. If only Christmas could last more than just a few weeks…
7. Tallinn Estonia
For many years residents and guests of Tallinn are enchanted by the annual Tallinn Christmas Market. It is a true fairy-tale land – there is a tall Christmas tree on the historic town square surrounded by little houses shining with lights that sell Christmas delicacies and folk craft products.
Children will be happy to see merry-go-rounds and Santa Claus, the main stage will feature hundreds of singers and dancers performing, and amazing aromas of gingerbread and mulled wine will spread all over the square.
8. Prague Czech Republic
Christmas in Prague has an unforgettable atmosphere. The Christmas mood begins with Advent, when the city is festively decorated and at many places, esp. at historical squares, Christmas markets are held. Also, the cultural offer carries the spirit of Christmas and it is broad.
The unique atmosphere of the medieval central Prague makes the Christmas Markets at the Old Town Square very popular. In contrast to some bigger markets across the Europe, the Prague Christmas Market is sort of familiar, which makes the whole experience more intensive.
9. Budapest Hungary
The Advent Fair at the Basilica, the spectacular and event-rich meeting point of the Inner City will open on 25th November. In the joyful bustle of the fair magical Christmas ambience awaits visitors until 2nd January.
Every night the Basilica is illuminated with colourful lights, and vendors of special Christmas gifts are setting up their stands in the heart of the city. In the fairy-tale huts on Saint Stephen’s Square visitors can browse through the remarkable products of almost eighty craftsmen, and will find unique, hand-crafted works of folk and applied art, textile and leather goods, pottery and jewellery along with designer clothes and accessories, or works of photographers and graphic artists. This year again, the fair will offer a spectacular visual experience : a new, monumental 3-dimensional video mapping will charm the admirers of the festive Christmas atmosphere.
10. Brussels Belgium
Five weeks filled with enchanting encounters, perfumes, colorful stalls, fantastic gift ideas and original tasting sessions. Joy and lights sparkled, bathing visitors in the festive atmosphere embodying the event. Winter Wonders’ attractiveness is now legendary, making it a key event in Brussels during the festive season. This unmissable happening greatly contributes to make our capital city into a privileged city-trip destination. The ice-skating rink, a gorgeous Chistmas tree, a magical and original light and sound show, videomappings, a festive Christmas Parade, the traditional Ferris wheel, the merry-go-rounds… All these amazing activities enchant big and small alike and make the course unique.
11. Graz Austria
Discover Graz and its numerous Christmas markets, conveniently located within walking distance! The oldest Christmas market takes place around the Franciscan church. Styrian arts and crafts, regional farm products, hot punch and mulled wine warm the heart.
Close by is the Christmas market in front of the City Hall with the giant Christmas tree and the old fashioned merry-go-round for children. Watch out for the huge advent calendar on the façade of the City Hall.
12. Cologne Germany
Advent is the time for Christmas markets, and Cologne is no exception, the magic of Christmas will be felt throughout the festively decorated city. The aroma of baked apples, cinnamon biscuits and mulled wine will waft through the alleys, and many differently themed Christmas markets will invite people to stroll, shop and explore.
The larger Christmas markets are held in downtown Cologne, but Cologne’s smaller Christmas markets also have plenty to offer.
Cologne’s Christmas markets attract millions of visitors from all over the world every year. You too can savour the unique atmosphere of this metropolis on the Rhine at this special time of year. You’re sure to be enchanted!
13. Metz France
Get into the spirit of the festive season and enjoy the warmest of welcomes as you visit the Christmas markets on the city’s six main squares.
See the ice sculptures at the Frozen Fairyland, then warm up cold hands around a hot spicy drink or mulled wine.
Let the illuminations chase away the dark winter days, and enjoy traditional treats like the merry-go-round, a walk through the magic forest or take the chance to stock up on gastronomic Christmas essentials at the city market hall. An ice-rink and big wheel add to the leisure activities for young and old alike.
14. Madeira Islands Portugal
Madeira, a Portuguese island, celebrates to the fullest the arrival of Christmas season, with a traditional Christmas market, held in Avenida Arriaga central walkways, at the heart of its main capital – Funchal.
Discover the variety of products in display, exotic flowers and other traditional souvenirs, while experiencing and tasting some of the typical delicacies and drinks of this season, while enjoying the merriment and a very welcoming ambience. Partake in the glee of this season festivities, enjoy the daily activities and entertainment shows, such as Christmas Carols and performances by folklore groups.
15. Leipzig Germany
Leipzig Christmas market dates all the way back to 1458. Its six areas are set in chime with the fascinating historical scenery of the Leipzig city centre. With more than 250 twinkling stalls embedded harmoniously in the historic centre, Leipzig Christmas market is not only one of the oldest but also one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany. Visitors are offered a multitude of festive delights: indulge in numerous culinary delights or explore the city’s traditional medieval market.
16. Nuremberg Germany
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The enticing smells of mulled wine and rum punch, roasted almonds, Nuremberg bratwurst and gingerbread fill the air. And it’s not only tiny tots who will have their eyes all a-glow as the Nuremberg Christkind appears on the balcony of the Church of Our Lady to open the holiday season. Friday before the first Sunday in Advent is the day it all begins as she opens the world-famous Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt.
17. Rothenburg ob der Tauber Germany
The smell of “white” mulled wine and roasted almonds, the illumination by thousands of fairy lights and the festive music provided by local brass bands…
Once a year, the medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber transforms itself into a fairytale winter wonderland. Ever since the 15th century, the festive time prior to Christmas has been accompanied by a delightful Christmas Market. Looking back on over 500 years of tradition little has changed over the years and the historical customs have been closely followed.