The top Christmas markets to visit

Christmas markets in Northern Europe

If you’re looking for a truly fairy-tale Christmas, Northern Europe is guaranteed to be your best bet for classic snowy mountain tops and frozen lakes. The Nordic region has long been a favourite for festive getaways, and their Christmas markets don’t disappoint.

Oslo Christmas market in Norway is one of the longest running in Europe, open to the public from early November through to January. Meanwhile, the neighbouring capitals of Copenhagen, Denmark and Helsinki, Finland, both offer everything from live shows to festive hot food. Or, for an outside choice, you could always head to Gothenburg, Sweden, where Liseberg Amusement Park famously transforms into a magical open-air Christmas market, with fun for all the family.

Christmas markets in Central Europe

Wherever you land in Central Europe, you’re likely to find a Christmas market – and not only in the capital cities. In fact, the markets in Cologne, Germany are often named some of the best in Europe, complete with mythical themes and outdoor ice-skating. Nuremberg, Germany is another favourite German destination, while Gdansk, Poland offers a nice alternative to the Polish capital, Krakow.

For carol singing and handmade stocking fillers, the Christmas market in Salzburg, Austria is wonderfully traditional, with free daily concerts in front of the cathedral. Or, for Christmas culinary treats, Bratislava, Slovakia and Basel, Switzerland are together thought of as the go-to Christmas markets for foodie delights. 

Christmas markets in Western Europe

Christmas in Edinburgh, Scotland is the perfect way to feel magical this December. Explore the Edinburgh Christmas market with a castle backdrop and if you’re lucky, you might even hear the unique sound of bagpipes playing Christmas jingles.

Over in Brussels, Belgium, Christmas is all about the chocolate. Easily reached by Eurostar, Brussels Christmas market has over 200 illuminated stalls, a Ferris wheel and all the chocolate covered waffles you could ask for. Or, to celebrate outside the capital, Bruges offers a great low-key alternative.

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Updated January 2024

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