The Crème de la Crème: Best Christmas Markets in Europe + (10 Day Market Christmas Itinerary)

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It’s that time of year again. When beautiful European cities transform into winter wonderlands. If you’re after heavenly seasonal treats, unique artisanal goods, and a joyful and cosy atmosphere then let me share with you the best Christmas markets in Europe. These cities sell out fast so don’t wait too long to start planning your magical winter.

BONUS: If you’re interested in exploring European Christmas Markets by Train, I have included a 10 day Christmas market itinerary (at the end of this post).

This post may contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small commission. This allows me to keep this blog going and provides you with free content. All opinions are my own.

Best Christmas Markets in Europe

#1 Dresden, Germany:

dresden christmas market

The Striezelmarkt Christmas market is one of the oldest you need to visit. Stroll among local products, decorations, and traditional delicacies. For the little ones, there are rides, a small train, a fairy tale house. Ooh magical.

Date:  November 29th – December 24th

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#2 Strasbourg, France:

strasbourg christmas market france

Strasbourg is home to one of the oldest and best French Christmas markets. Wander through the 300 chalet booths amongst the scent of “pain d’epices” and chestnuts. Look up and admire the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral overlooking the city’s Alsacien architecture. A guaranteed “Dépaysement total”.  

Date: November 24th – December 24th

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#3 Vienna, Austria:

vienna austria christmas market.jpg

Vienna’s Christkindlmarkt at Rathausplatz is one of the most stunning Christmas markets. Located in front of the stunning City Hall, there are over 150 chalet booths for you to discover. You can even find awesome attractions for kids like: a reindeer train and an ice skating rink. Don’t miss the tree of hearts- a popular attraction for lovebirds.

Date: November 10th – December 26th

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Wondering where to stay in Vienna for Christmas markets?

#4 Brussels, Belgium:

bruxelles belgium christmas market light show.jpg

The Winter Wonderland is back in the capital of Belgium. Put on some skates (or you know rent them) and head to the ice skating rink at Place de la Monnaie. Then go for a spin at the Ferris wheel and enjoy the view of the city with the gorgeous twinkling lights. Best of all: Head to the Grande Place for an amazing Light Show to end the evening.

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Date: November 24th – December 31st

#5 Frankfurt, Germany:

frankfurt germany christmas market .jpg

This impressive market is another of the best Christmas markets in Germany. Admire the massive Christmas tree and enjoy the dozens of booths offering yummy seasonal food and drinks.

Date: November 27th – December 21st

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#6 Copenhagen, Denmark:

Christmas at Tivoli Garden in Copenhagen

It’s time to spend a Scandinivina Christmas in Copenhagen at the Tivoli or should I say the oldest amusement park in the world. During the holidays these gardens totally turn into a winter wonderland with festive lights, and decorations. You will be welcomed by the Orchestra of Tivoli Park, with the sound of Christmas pieces. Walk through the different stalls and make sure you don’t miss the fireworks show right above the Tivoli Gardens.

Date: November 17th – December 31st

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#7 Brugge, Belgium:

brugges belgium Christmas market

Brugge is a small and charming town that truly transforms itself during the Christmas holidays. Wander around the different booths, enjoy the food and grab some gifts for your loved ones. Don’t miss the chance to go ice skating on the Minnewater, also known as the Lake of Love.

Date: November 24th – January 7th

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#8 Prague, Czech Republic:

prague czech republic christmas market

Decked out the old town square, the Prague Christmas market is set against the backdrop of the city’s charming architecture. You can find handmade crafts, local foods, and traditional Czech Christmas decorations. Be sure to tune in to the Christmas carols at the mini concerts that take place every day at the main stage.

Date: December 2nd – January 6th

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#9 Stockholm, Sweden:

stockholm sweden christmas market.jpg

The Old Town Christmas Market in Stockholm, also known as Gamla Stan, is famous for its festive atmosphere. You’ll be able to enjoy Christmas decorations, handmade Swedish products and yummy delicacies.

Date: November 24th – December 17th

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#10 Zurich, Switzerland:

Festive Christmas markets in Zurich at night

The Christkindlimarkt in Zurich is one of the biggest indoor markets in Europe with 150 chalet booths. Walk through the different booths and admire the big Christmas tree.

Once you’re done walk outside guided by the twinkling lights and head to the second outdoor market: the Wienachtsdorf. It is situated right in front of the opera house. You’ll find more stalls with goodies to keep you warm. Enjoy a warm drink then head to the ice-skating rink or take a ride on the merry go round. You can never be too old. Forrealz.

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Date: November 23th – December 24th

#11 Nuremberg, Germany:

Christkindlesmarkt Nuremberg christmas market

The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is one of the most traditional markets in Germany. Wander through the 180 chalet booths offering Christmas biscuits, handmade local items immersed in this medieval charm.

Date: December 1st – December 24th

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#12 Budapest, Hungary:

budapest hungary christmas market

The Budapest Christmas Fair at Vörösmarty Square is a popular market for the holidays. It’s got an unmissable ice skating rink  as well as traditional Hungarian crafts and seasonal foods you will love. Don’t miss the projection of animated movies on the basilica’s façade.

Date: November 17th – January 1st

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European Christmas Markets by Train

Exploring European Christmas markets by train can be super magical way to experience the festive season with the convenience of travelling to each city by train. Europe has a very good train system and you can find yourself in a new city each day.

Here is a Christmas Market Itinerary by Train. I didn’t want to include an itinerary with more than 5 hrs train ride. I find this unrealistic and too tiring. You can probably play around with this more to fit your description and pace, but it gives you a rough idea of what you can expect.

European Christmas  Markets by Train

10 day Christmas market itinerary

Day 1-2: Strasbourg, France

  • Arrive in Strasbourg and explore its charming Christmas markets.
  • Wander through the picturesque streets and enjoy Alsatian delights.
  • Overnight stay in Strasbourg.

Day 3-4: Nuremberg, Germany

  • Travel by train from Strasbourg to Nuremberg (approximately 3 to 4 hours).
  • Explore the famous Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets.
  • Overnight stay in Nuremberg.

Day 5-6: Prague, Czech Republic

  • Take a scenic train journey from Nuremberg to Prague (approximately 3 to 4 hours).
  • Explore the magical Christmas markets in Prague’s Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square.
  • Visit Prague Castle and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
  • Overnight stay in Prague.

Day 7-8: Vienna, Austria

  • Travel by train from Prague to Vienna (approximately 4 to 5 hours).
  • Experience the festive atmosphere at the Vienna Christmas Markets.Explore landmarks like Schönbrunn Palace and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
  • Overnight stay in Vienna.

Day 9-10: Paris, France

  • Travel by train from Vienna to Paris (approximately 4 to 5 hours).
  • Explore the magical Christmas markets in Paris, such as those at Tuileries, Notre-Dame, and Montmartre.
  • Admire iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Notre-Dame Cathedral.
  • Overnight stay in Paris.

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Europe Train Tips

#1 Rail Passes:

You should consider purchasing a rail pass if you plan to visit multiple cities. Rail passes like the Eurail Pass or Interrail Pass offer flexibility and cost savings for traveling across Europe by train. Do make sure to check which countries and regions are covered by your pass.

#2 Booking Tickets:

While some train tickets can be purchased on the spot, I recommend booking in advance, especially during xmas when trains might be busier here. Booking early can also help you secure better deals on fares.

#3 Print your Tickets:

Yes, I know this is a pain, especially with multiple destinations. But here me out, it’s always better to have a printed version in case your phone dies or you lose your luggage. For international tickets, I know that in France you can print them on dedicated machines in the train station.

Important: I have heard stories where people have not done this and then they were fined (when they got to the other country) because the system couldn’t recognize their ticket (between two countries) so it was invalid. And there wasn’t an online version for them to print from France. They ended up having to pay a fee + the charge of new tickets. So please, if you’re travelling to another country make sure to print your tickets beforehand (at home or at the station) especially if its not local travel.

#4 Luggage:

Most European trains have dedicated luggage storage, but it’s still wise to pack light. Especially if you’ll be hopping between multiple destinations.

In France for SNCF trains 1 luggage is included in the ticket, but for Ouigo (low-cost), it’s not included and you will need to purchase a luggage when booking your ticket.

best christmas markets in europe

What is a pass allowing train travel around Europe?

  • Eurail Pass: Available to non-European residents, it offers unlimited train travel across Europe, with options like Global Passes for multiple countries, Select Passes for specific regions, and One Country Passes.
  • Interrail Pass: Available to European residents, it offers similar benefits to the Eurail Pass, including Global Passes, One Country Passes, and Regional Passes.

Here is a visual to help you figure out what is the difference between eurail and interrail + which one is more suitable for you:

Eurail Pass (for non-European residents)Interrail Pass (for European residents)
EligibilityNon-European residentsEuropean residents
Types of PassesGlobal Pass (multiple countries), Select Pass (specific regions), One Country PassGlobal Pass, One Country Pass, Regional Passes
CoverageUnlimited train travel in multiple European countriesUnlimited train travel within chosen countries or regions
Validity OptionsConsecutive days, Flexi Pass (travel on select days within a timeframe)Consecutive days, Flexi Pass
Class OptionsFirst and Second ClassFirst and Second Class
Reservation RequiredOptional for most trains, mandatory for some high-speed or international trainsOptional for most trains, mandatory for some high-speed or international trains

Where to Buy an Interrail Pass?

You have the option to purchase an Interrail ticket using the Interrail app, which is the quickest method. You can also buy an Interrail ticket at any major train station throughout Europe.

Where to Buy a Eurrail Pass?

You can get a mobile pass from the Eurail website or order a paper form which can be shipped to you.

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About the author

Latifah is a vegan foodie who loves travelling and cooking plant-based recipes. She loves sharing her favorite travel spots and adding a sprinkle of confetti to your day.

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