Rathaus and christmas market in Vienna, Austria

10 of the best European Christmas markets

Ready to start feeling festive? Consider planning an amazing trip to some of Europe’s best Christmas markets. The mingled aromas of glühwein and gingerbread, thousands upon thousands of starry lights, stalls that are heaving with handcrafted gifts… believe us, there’s nothing like a Christmas market to put you in the festive spirit. Here’s our pick of the best…

And if you are already sold on a winter break to Europe, then head on to Cheapflights.co.uk to search for flights, hotels and car hire…

Start your search

1. Cologne, Germany

Cologne's Beautiful Christmas Market

The mother of all German Christmas markets, Cologne’s Christmas market is considered to be one of the largest in the world. There are several different markets dotted throughout the city and each market has a different flavour and atmosphere. The largest one sits in the shadows of Cologne Cathedral and boasts over 160 stalls selling everything festive – from different flavours of glühwein to personalised Christmas snow globes.

Search for flights to Cologne

2. Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg at Christmas time

Strasbourg is Christmas central, quite literally. It’s the largest and oldest Christmas market in France and has been dubbed as the Christmas Capital of the world. Here you can buy one-of-a-kind gifts made from wood and glass, and you can eat your way around Strasbourg’s medieval streets, gorging on Christmas cakes and gingerbread. It’s everywhere and it’s delicious. Don’t forget to warm up with a  mug of steamy vin chaud- Strasbourg’s answer to mulled wine. Strasbourg’s location near the German and Swiss border means you can visit one of the other famous markets in the area, such as the ones in Stuttgart and Basel.

Search for flights to Strasbourg

3. Salzburg, Austria

A snowy scene of Salzburg

This is what winter wonderland dreams are made of. Salzburg literally looks like it was specially created and designed for the sole purpose of Christmas. Sitting below an imposing Baroque cathedral, looked over by a medieval hilltop castle and squeezed in between a medieval fortress, Salzburg’s old-world charm makes it an atmospheric venue for a charming Christmas market.

Search for flights to Salzburg

4. Prague, Czech Republic

Christmas Market in Stare Mesto old square in Prague

While there are lots of markets around town, we think the best is in the heart of the old town. Rows of colourfully decorated huts organised around a giant Christmas tree sell a mix of hand-crafted wooden toys (including classic Czech puppets), handmade jewellery, candles and crystals. Be sure to try the medovina, a honey wine known as mead in English.

Search for flights to Prague

5. Bremen, Germany

Bremen's city square packed full of Christmas stalls

Home to not one but two famous Christmas markets. Bremen’s old Christmas market has over 170 food and craft stalls and is considered to be one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany. But Bremen is also home to the Schlachte Magic on the Weser river embankment. Not your typical Christmas market, it is nonetheless a very magical one – the whole waterfront turns back the clocks to become a medieval fair full of food, music, and shows which hark back to the jugglers and street entertainers of the Middle Ages.

Search for flights to Bremen

6. Tallinn, Estonia

Traditional Christmas market in Tallinn old town.

No, this isn’t the town from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. This is a real place, it’s Estonia’s capital Tallinn. Having one of the prettiest and most picturesque Christmas markets in Europe, Tallinn’s medieval old town transforms itself into a true Christmas wonderland. Tallinn is also home to Europe’s first public Christmas tree and if you get tired of the shopping and drinking mulled wine, you can enjoy some outdoor ice skating in the heart of its old town.

Search for flights to Tallinn

7. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen's Tivoli gardens with rides and Christmas stalls

Tivoli Gardens, Europe’s oldest amusement park, becomes adorned with thousands of lights and packed with hundreds of trees to host the city’s Christmas market. Frozen over, the park’s main lake is also turned into an ice-skating rink. The food and drink here is as much a draw as the atmosphere and arts and crafts on offer – particularly the glögg (spiced mulled wine) and hot apple dumplings.

Search for flights to Copenhagen

8. Vienna, Austria

Vienna's Christmas market

The Christkindlmarkt on Rathausplatz starts earlier than most, in mid-November, and is one of the biggest Christmas markets in Europe. Almost 200 stalls dominate the square, selling traditional decorations and hand-crafted gifts as well as scrumptious, melt-in-the-mouth Viennese pastries and Weihnachtspunsch (a spiced punch).

Search for flights to Vienna

9. Edinburgh, UK

Christmas market in Edinburgh

Christmas in Edinburgh sees Scotland’s capital wake from a post-summer Fringe Festival slumber with a series of events across the city centre. Along with a calendar of shows and performances, as well as an epic lights and music display (The Street of Light), the arrival of its Christmas Market on Princes Street marks the beginning of the city’s festive season, which culminates in the world-famous Hogmanay Street Party. Wander around the market’s food stalls, pop-up bars and craft stands and be sure to take a ride on the Ferris wheel for epic views of Edinburgh Castle and the old town.

Search for flights to Edinburgh

10. Dresden, Germany

Christmas comes alive in Dresden's Christmas market

Striezelmarkt is one of the oldest markets in the world; the first mention of it cropped up in the 15th century. Artisans from all over Germany gather to sell some of the best crafts Germany has to offer. Regional specialities include the famous blue-and-white ceramics, crafts from the Ore Mountains, blown glass from Lauscha and much more.

Search for flights to Dresden
Travel Inspiration See all
Christmas in Iceland

Christmas in Iceland

Search flights to Reykjavik   Some Northern Hemisphere types choose to avoid the iconic snowy season and head somewhere sunny...
Kara Segedin
Rathaus and christmas market in Vienna, Austria

10 of the best European Christmas markets

Ready to start feeling festive? Consider planning an amazing trip to some of Europe’s best Christmas markets. The mingled aromas of...
Tomas Dano
Our travel picks: 5 cheap places to fly to this winter

Our travel picks: 5 cheap places to fly to this winter

Winter is coming… And we’re pretty happy to use it as an excuse to start planning another trip. Whether you’re...
Kirsten McCroskrie
Travel tips See all
Know your passenger rights in case of an airline strike

Airline strike – what are your rights as a passenger?

Picture this: You’re in a taxi to the airport, totally glowing and zen after a week on a Barcelona beach...
Young women friends with headphones and digital tablet on airplane

How to score cheap last-minute flights

Travelling last-minute can be exciting. It’s a great way to shake up your routine, inject some spontaneity into your life...
Oonagh Shiel