The 8 most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe in 2023: Imagine the scent of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts filling the winter air. Laughter and Christmas carols ring out discreetly, while soft, warm lights trace your path. Few places embody the magic of the end-of-year holidays as subtly as the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe.
The most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe are not limited to Germany, although many of them are actually there. Their incomparable charm has conquered all of Europe, spreading even to the most southern regions. However, the most enchanting markets are still located in the north and center of Europe.
It is to these territories that our article will pay particular attention. Whatever market you select, a warm and comforting welcome awaits you, guaranteeing you a magical moment in the heart of the most beautiful Christmas market in Europe.
The best Christmas markets in the UK
Bath Christmas Market, Bath
- Where: In the streets around Bath Abbey
- When: From November 23 to December 10, 2023
- Don’t miss: Bath on Ice—Royal Victoria Park is transformed into a huge ice rink just north of the market
The prestigious World Heritage City of Bath is always full of ideas to liven up its streets, whatever the season. As Christmas approaches, it dresses up in all its finery, deploying a magical market through its picturesque Georgian streets at the end of November and the beginning of December.
Along the paths, more than 170 bright chalets line the emblematic Bath Abbey, the famous Roman Baths, and the Thermae Spa, an unmissable place for an invigorating bath after a day of festivities.
As you wander around, discover delicate ornaments, jewelry, and handcrafted gifts. Many of the items on offer are made locally in the UK, and most of the chalets are run by local traders. The market also makes chalets available to local associations, thus supporting their visibility and fundraising. Shopping here only adds to the warm ambiance.
On the gourmet side, the abundance of food stalls will delight your taste buds. From German bratwursts to traditional British sausage rolls, mince pies, mulled wine, cider, and even spiced gin, the choice is vast. And for a touch of exoticism, the street food stands near Southgate are there to satisfy your desire for new flavors.
Blenheim Palace Christmas Market, Oxfordshire
- Location: The Great Court, Blenheim Palace
- Date: November 17 to December 17, 2023
- Don’t miss: Afternoon tea, on the theme of Sleeping Beauty in the Orangery—a real festive and extremely delicious feast
For a spectacular Christmas setting, look no further than the baroque masterpiece that is Blenheim Palace. Home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough, it is probably best known as the birthplace of Winston Churchill. However, for one month at the end of the year, it transforms into a sumptuous ode to all things Christmas.
The market extends over the Grande Cour. Rows of wooden chalets offer arts and crafts, ceramics, textiles, and a wealth of food and drink. It’s nice, but it’s in its program of activities that Blenheim brings the season to life.
Explore the palace and immerse yourself in a fairy tale. Its rooms are transformed into a marvelous and imaginative reinterpretation of Sleeping Beauty, which is revealed from room to room. At sunset, take a walk on the Illuminé Path. Glittering installations and enormous illuminated works of art reveal the already magnificent Palace grounds in a new light. Amid the tunnels of lights and huge LED spheres, see if the children can spot Santa Claus. It’s probably there somewhere!
The best Christmas markets in Germany
Marienplatz Christkindlmarkt, Munich
- Location: Marienplatz & Rindermarkt
- Date: November 27 to December 24
- Don’t miss the Krampus Race. It’s hard to miss this race, which brings together more than 300 participants in sometimes frightening mythological costumes parading through the market
Having become a tourist must-see, attracting visitors from all over the world, it would be easy to leave Marienplatz Christkindlmarkt aside in favor of a more peaceful experience. However, the popularity of the original Munich market is not without reason; it is full of absolute magic. A true Christmas story incarnate.
Now located on Munich’s main square, Marienplatz, this market, organized since the Middle Ages, is full of atmosphere and authenticity. The neo-Gothic town hall adds impressive decor, especially from Sunday to Thursday evening, when Bavarian groups enliven its balcony, to the delight of the crowd below.
In the middle of the market aisles, offering a wide range of gifts and sweets, multiple activities are available. Children have the opportunity to make their own handcrafted presents in the town hall’s workshops, while adults can turn to the glühwein and feuerzangenbowle stalls for some welcome indoor warmth.
Then visit some gastronomic stands. Savor lebkuchen and tender magenbrot , the classic wurst with mustard, and finish with a sweet plum cake. Meet at the entrance to the Michaelskirche church around 5 p.m. There, join Bavarian singers in singing German Advent songs. The emotion is there.
Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg
- Location: Hauptmarkt Square
- Date: December 1 to 24
- Don’t miss: The lantern procession to Nuremberg Castle is a real Christmas spectacle, perfect for children and adults alike.
Halfway between Frankfurt and Munich, Nuremberg hosts one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe but above all, one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world. “The little town of wood and fabric” is home to nearly 200 wooden stands whose red and white striped fabric roofs have earned it this nickname. For almost the entire month of December, they transform Nuremberg’s Hauptmarkt (main market) square into a magical world.
Among its decorations and handmade gifts, the Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt offers some unique features. Few are as strange as the popular Zwetschgenmännle. Figurines made from dried plums, they are dressed to resemble everyone from a pastor to the devil. Choose a chimney sweep to bring you luck for the coming year.
Food is at the heart of every German Christmas market, but it’s particularly special here. The famous bratwurst has its origins in Nuremberg in 1313 and is obviously delicious. Be sure to try the speculation almond cookies – soft and delicious.
Many self-guided tours in English are available to help you find its hidden gems. If you’re taking the whole family, don’t let your kids miss the Kinderweihnacht on Hans-Sachs-Platz.
The best Christmas markets in the rest of Europe
Wiener Christkindlesmarkt, Vienna, Austria
- Location: Rathausplatz, 1st District
- Date: November 11 to December 26, 2023
- Don’t miss: Are you cold? Try a Jagertee—black tea, rum, and spices. It’ll warm you up in no time.
The Wiener Christkindlsmarkt is one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. Being one of the 20 Advent markets in Vienna, its origin dates back to the first winter market in the 14th century. This history permeates each stall, as well as the sumptuous buildings that line Rathausplatz.
With more than 150 stalls, the market offers a wonderful showcase of local products. Take the opportunity to shop for winter clothes, jewelry, toys, and Christmas decorations sparkling under the festive lights. Don’t hesitate to savor delicious local dishes like roast goose accompanied by a punch (with or without rum). For a sweet note, almond cookies are always a good choice.
At the foot of the imposing Christmas tree, a life-size nativity scene is highlighted by the sweet melody of traditional Austrian music. The market’s most iconic tree, however, is not a traditional fir, but a sycamore decorated with 200 luminous hearts, a warm symbol of seasonal goodwill, which also attracts selfie-seekers.
The market is also a paradise for children. They can have fun on a free and enchanted ice rink. The vintage Ferris wheel offers a splendid view of the entire market, and a huge Advent calendar distributes daily surprises.
Valkenburg, the Christmas town of the Netherlands
- Where: Cauberg Hill, Valkenburg
- When: From November 17, 2023, to January 7, 2024 (the caves close on December 30)
- Don’t miss the Landal Christmas Parade, a carnival of festivities that passes through the town every Wednesday and Saturday, bringing joy and laughter to every pass.
For 51 days, the town of Valkenburg gave particular importance to its Christmas market. With its majestic marble caves as a backdrop, it has every reason to do so.
Walk through the entrance to Valkenburg Market at the foot of Cauberg Hill and you will be greeted by a picturesque Christmas scene. Stalls shining brightly, artisans selling handmade ornaments and gifts, the scent of festive delights wafting through the air. Everything is in place to seduce, but the real enchantment lies underground.
A maze of tunnels in the Gemeentegrot and Fluweelengrot quarries is home to Europe’s largest underground Christmas market. (Although one wonders how many competitors he has for this title!) Festively illuminated statues and fir trees light the way, revealing the drawings left by the original miners on the walls of the tunnels.
The stalls line the paths, offering a multitude of wonders. The further you advance, the more the caves widen and amaze you. The Gemeentegrot, in particular, reveals immense caverns, an impressive testimony to the work of the miners of yesteryear.
Land in Maastricht, and in just 20 minutes, you will arrive at Christmas Town.
Liseberg Christmas Market, Gothenburg, Sweden
- Where: Liseberg Gardens
- When: November 19 to December 30, 2023
- Don’t miss: The Kolbulle, a charcoal-fired bun with salted pork and lingonberry jam. An absolute treat.
Heading north, perhaps for a family trip to Lapland, a stopover in Gothenburg is a real delight. Make this break even more magical for your children by taking them to the Liseberg Gardens. Here, the Liseberg theme park is transformed into a magical Christmas world called Tomtebyn.
Activities abound. The Adventure of the Elves invites your little ones to explore Santa’s village equipped with a map and a compass; rewards await them there. At the Maison des Elfes, they have the opportunity to write their Christmas wish list while savoring sweets and listening to fairy tales. Then, at Santa’s Workshop, they can slide their lists into the fantastic wish machine.
While the children venture out, adults can wander among the market’s many stalls, put on skates to slide on the ice rink, and delight in traditional Swedish dishes. You don’t even need to take off your skates: the Ice Bar and Lisebergs Wärdshus serve local, seasonal, and organic dishes. Vacations aren’t just for kids, after all.
And with Gothenburg recognized as the world’s most sustainable city, it’s no surprise that its five million market lights are powered by the Liseberg Wind Turbine.
Strasbourg Christmas Market, Strasbourg, France
- Where: Place de la Cathédrale & Place Broglie
- When: November 24 to December 24, 2023
- Don’t miss: The walk to the stars—stroll from the Corbeau Bridge to the Saint-Guillaume Bridge under a magic carpet of stars with incomparable views of the Palais Rohan
In December, the streets, alleys, and squares shine with Christmas joy. With more than 300 chalets, magic fills the city, with the main markets located at Place Broglie and Place de la Cathédrale, making Strasbourg one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe.
Connecting them are thousands of lights draped over trees and churches and an entire forest of fir trees. Start at Pont Corbeau and walk to Porte des Lumières to see the best of the lights. Follow the decorations to reach the Big Christmas Tree, where a troupe of musical angels leads you to Cathedral Square.
The size of the Strasbourg market allows for a pleasant dispersion of the crowds, providing space to explore in complete peace of mind. Here, the tradition of Christmas markets shines: local artisan products are featured. Admire delicate blown glass balls, candles, and lovingly handcrafted decorations. And the Alsatian cuisine will seduce you with its irresistible butter bredle biscuits and its adorable brioche manele figurines. A real pleasure for the senses!
Also read: The 11 unmissable Christmas markets in France in 2023:https://shamelesstravels.com/the-11-unmissable-christmas-markets-in-france-in-2023/