Europe’s best Christmas markets

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Europe’s famous festive markets are a great way to infuse a little tradition, magic and authenticity into your Christmas (shopping). Here’s our pick of the best

Europe’s famous festive markets are a great way to infuse a little tradition, magic and authenticity into your Christmas (shopping). Here’s our pick of the best. The featured image of the Swing Carousel in Tivoli is by Stig Nygaard.

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Dresden Christmas Market, Germany
Dresden Christmas Market. Photo by Paleontour

Dresden – Münzgasse

The oldest in Germany, Dresden’s Christmas market has been going almost 600 years. Craftsman from the region flock to its 250 or so stalls – as a result the wares here are more traditional and unique than most other markets. The highlight is annual fruitcake (stollen) festival held on the second Sunday in December.

Tivoli at Christmas, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tivoli at Christmas, Copenhagen. Photo by Mollenborg

Copenhagen – Tivoli Gardens

Europe’s oldest amusement park is dressed with hundreds of Christmas trees and thousands of lights for its Christmas market. Frozen over, the park’s main lake is 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.

Christmas in Austria
Christmas in Austria. Photo by Outburner

Salzburg – Cathedral Square and Residence Square

One of the most important aspects of a Christmarket is its sense of occasion. Loomed upon by an imposing church, looked over by a medieval hilltop castle and centred on a two-storey high fountain encased in an avant-garde glass cone, Salzburg’s market certainly has that. All floodlit, they make the perfect backdrop for browsing arts and crafts.

Prague Christmas Market, Czech Republic
Prague Christmas Market. Photo by kimkubrick

Prague – Old Town Square

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.

La Grand-Place, Brussels, Belgium
La Grand-Place. Photo by Nenyaki

Brussels – Grand-Place

With around 240 wooden chalets, Brussels’ market is nothing short of expansive. Many countries are represented here, though many of the stalls offer similar crafts and Christmas decorations. The real attraction is the traditional Belgian food: Waffles, doughnuts, free mussels, caricoles, you name it they’re all here, ready to be washed down with a typically strong local beer.

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Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

Europe’s best Christmas markets was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Brett Ackroyd
Author: Brett Ackroyd (631 posts)

Brett hopes to one day reach the shores of far-flung Tristan da Cunha, the most remote of all the inhabited archipelagos on Earth…as to what he’ll do when he gets there, he hasn’t a clue. Over the last 10 years, London, New York, Cape Town and Pondicherry have all proudly been referred to as home. Now it’s Copenhagen’s turn, where he lends his travel expertise to