This year the Christmas Markets of Europe are back and for those who love to soak up the festive season as much as possible, they are a must do. All across Europe, cities transform once the Christmas season arrives and the result is twinkling lights, warm apple ciders, excellent shopping and an atmosphere that will warm your heart. If you’re thinking of going to a Christmas market this year and you’re not sure which one to choose, we are here to help! Here are 10 of the best European Christmas Markets.

1. Prague

Prague Christmas Markets are always a firm favourite for two reasons. One, they’re really great value to get to but also, the choice and size of the markets here make them very popular. Prague Christmas markets will begin on December 2nd 2023 and run until January 6th 2024. The two main markets take place in the heart of the city in the Old Town Square and also Wenceslas Square. These two markets are the largest and throughout, you will find brightly decorated wooden huts, all offering a huge array of gifts, treats and cuisine.

Wooden toys, candles, Christmas tree ornaments and so much more will be on offer, giving you plenty of choice. And, if you fancy even more market exploration, check out some of the smaller markets which will take place at Republic Square, Kampa Island and at Havel’s Market. While there, be sure to try some local Czech sweet treats and local beer. For even more festive magic, be sure to check out the Old Town Square in the late afternoons when school choirs and folk groups dress in traditional costume to perform enchanting Christmas carols.

2. Vienna

Vienna is one of the most iconic Christmas Market destinations and the city is home to a huge selection of markets to choose from. An age-old tradition, Vienna Christmas Markets date back to 1296, the Middle Ages when Albrecht I granted the city’s citizens the honour of holding a market. The tradition carried on over the centuries and now, over 20 official markets take place across the city. Most of the Vienna markets open from mid-November, around the 19th and run until December 26th 2023.

Some of the best ones to visit include the Viennese Dream Christmas Market which takes place in front of City Hall. This festive market will lure you in with its delicious aromas and fantastic stalls. Christmas Village Belvedere Palace is another fantastic market with over forty stalls, set against one of the cities key attractions. Christmas Village on Maria Theresien Square, Christmas Village Campus University of Vienna and Christmas Market at Schönbrunn Palace are just a couple more for your list.

3. Berlin

A long time German holiday tradition, the Christmas markets of Berlin are world famous and for good reason. Across the city, you will find a huge selection of markets all which offer a unique festive experience. The markets begin in Berlin on the 27th of November and run until December 31st, 2023. Some of the city’s best markets include Christmas Markets on Gendarmenmarkt, which is based at one of the most beautiful squares in the city. Christmas Market at Berlin City Hall is another popular option and famous for its Ferris Wheel and its Old Berlin style market alleys and culinary delights. There is also a circular ice rink located at this market. If you’re with your kiddies, Christmas Market on Alexanderplatz is a must see with its traditional market, funfair, and it’s fun party vibe.

If that is not enough, there are so much more to see from Christmas Market in Spandau to Lucia Christmas Market at Kulturbrauerei and Christmas Market at Charlottenburg Palace.

4. Budapest

Budapest is one of the most popular Christmas market destinations from Ireland and with its markets being renowned for being some of the most beautiful, it is easy to see why. In fact, one of the city’s best Christmas markets, Advent Feast at the Basilica has been named as the Best Christmas Market in Europe for this year. The markets run from November 17th right through to December 31st 2023 and they are each home to stunning crafts, gifts, jewellery and so much more. Other popular markets worth checking out on your trip include Budapest Christmas Fair in Vörösmarty Square and Erzsébet Square Christmas Market.

5. Krakow

Another fantastic Christmas market city is Krakow. While it might be home to a smaller number of markets that some of its European counterparts, it doesn’t make it any less inferior. In fact, Krakow Christmas markets are hugely popular because of their festive charm and their delicious, unique, culinary delights. The market in Krakow takes place on Rynek Glowny, which is a 13th century square in the centre of the Old Town. Timber huts adorned with twinkling lights really set the scene against their incredible backdrop of St Mary’s Basilica and Cloth Hall.

At the Krakow markets it is all about the experience as much as the gift buying. While there, be sure to enjoy some delicious grilled and smoked specialities as well as slow cooked soups and goulash. In terms of authentic gifts that you can purchase, Krakow is a dream when it comes to buying for little ones as the market is packed full of gorgeous wooden toys and polish dolls. Krakow Christmas markets begin on November 24th and run until December 26th 2023.

6. Wroclaw

Another fantastic Polish Christmas market destination is Wroclaw. Also regarded as one of the best Christmas markets in Poland, Wroclaw markets run from November 24th until December 31st 2023. At this market you can expect gastronomy that is not only local to Poland, but also hugely inspired by international cuisine from Turkey, Spain and Alsatian.

Along with the delicious delights and beautiful stalls full of gifts and crafts, you can also enjoy a huge selection of Christmas themed entertainment at the Wroclaw markets. From the traditional Christmas parade with Santa Claus on December 9th to carol singers and magical fairy-tale re-enactments, you will be immersed in the festivities everyday of your trip. The main Wroclaw Christmas market is held on Rynek Marquet Square and on the Place Solny.

7. Edinburgh

A little closer to home, the Edinburgh Christmas markets are world renowned. Beginning on November 24th and running through to January 3rd, 2024, these fantastic markets are a must do. Located in East Princes Street Gardens, the Edinburgh Christmas markets are right in the heart of the city. With everything from crafts and Christmas tree decorations to Harry Potter themed gifts and handmade produce, you will be able to clear your Christmas gift list pretty easy. These markets are also fantastic for some festive treats and the cuisine is largely German inspired with delicious German sausages and beer to try, as well as much, much more.

8. Cologne

Cologne is often described as the best decorated Christmas market in Germany and the city is home to several of these beautiful markets to explore. All markets offer the usual Christmas delights such as gorgeous gifts and delicious smelling foods, but some are also themed and a little extra special such as the angel themed Markt der Engel which has hundreds of gorgeous stars lit above you as you wander through the stalls. Some of the markets in Cologne are even created as Christmas villages with the Nicholas Village Christmas Market being a highlight for families. Another unmissable market is one of the city’s most historical and that is the Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market which takes place right in the shadow of the city’s famous cathedral.  The Cologne Christmas markets begin on November 23rd and run until December 23rd 2023.

9. Munich

Munich is another European city with a history of Christmas markets dating back many years. In this case, to the 14th century. Munich Christkindlmarkt at Marienplatz is the city’s main market and is located with the most romantic of backdrops. This gorgeous market is also Germany’s largest Nativity scene market and if you have nativity scenes in your home, this is where to go to find everything you could need for your display. Munich is also home to a Christmas food market known as the Viktualienmarkt. Here you can enjoy endless tasty treats as well as mulled wine, beer and so much more.

Other popular markets include Christmas Village in the the Kaiserhof of the Residenz and Christkindlmarkt at Sendlinger Tor. The Munich markets kick off on November 27th and run through to December 24th 2023.

10. Bruges

The medieval city of Bruges turns into a fairy-tale wonderland at Christmas with its wonderful Christmas markets. With the scent of fresh Belgian waffles, gorgeous gingerbread style houses and fairy lights everywhere you turn, you will have that warm, fuzzy feeling the entire time during your Christmas market break in this gorgeous city. The markets in Bruges begin on November 23rd and run until January 7th 2024, so they are one of the longer running markets in Europe.

The main market takes place in Grote Markt and is packed full of wooden chalets offering you all kinds of goods to buy and taste. There is also a glittering ice rink here if you fancy trying your hand at some skating. Another market takes place near tree-lined Simon Stevinplein and is surrounded by tempting chocolatiers and cosy cafes. Bruges is a smaller Christmas market city but that doesn’t take away from the experience. In fact, it is considered to be one of the most romantic and charming Christmas markets in Europe.

So, there you have it, 10 of the best European Christmas markets. If you would like more information on any of the destinations above, you can contact our festive travel experts seven days a week on 01-6995329.