If you love holiday markets and you also love traveling- this post is for you! We’re taking a look at the best Christmas markets around the world so you can plan your holiday travels. For many, it’s not even about the shopping- but the festive holiday spirit of these classic Christmas market that makes them worth traveling to visit. So grab a cup of hot cocoa and start making your Christmas market bucket list!
Best Christmas Markets Around the World
Christkindelsmärik- Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg, France is often called the capital of Christmas- and with nearly a dozen different Christmas markets, it’s earned that name! Strasbourg makes a perfect holiday destination because there are so many Christmas markets in one location, but you’ll want to be sure to hit Christkindelsmärik first, as it is Strasbourg’s largest holiday market. Located by the Strasbourg Cathedral, Christkindelsmärik is not only Strasbourg’s largest Christmas market but it is also one of the oldest in all of Europe, dating back to 1570. The market consists of over 300 wooden chalets selling beautiful handcrafted gifts, holiday decorations, and Christmas sweets. The mulled wine and bredele biscuits are popular, though you’ll find all sorts of treats from throughout Europe at this festive Christmas market.
Schönbrunn Christmas Market- Vienna, Austria
Set in front of Vienna’s stunning Schönbrunn Palace, the Schönbrunn Christmas Market focuses on traditional arts and crafts as well as delicious food. Over 70 stalls fill the palace’s courtyard where you’ll find holiday gifts made by local glass blowers, woodcarvers, needle workers, wood workers, and metal smiths and candle makers. In addition to gifts, you’ll find a wide array of handmade Christmas decorations including wreaths, ornaments, and various decorations made from ceramics, tin, glass and wood. While you’re buying decorations and gifts, be sure to sample all of the sweet treats including crepes, sausages, sugared pancakes, sweet chestnuts, gingerbread, hot chocolate, Austrian wines and Glühwein– a traditional hot spiced wine.
Dresdner Striezelmarkt- Dresden, Germany
Dating back to 1434, the Dresdner Striezelmarkt in Dresden, Germany is not only the oldest Christmas market in Germany but the oldest in all the world! The original Christmas market is still up and running today and if you’re in love with traditional holiday markets, the Dresdner Striezelmark should absolutely be at the top of your bucket list. The market boasts more than 250 stalls offering gifts and treats, plus the market is home to the largest Christmas arch in the world (hello Instagram pics!), a children’s puppet theater, merry-go round and Christmas train. The market is named after Strüzel or Stroczel- now called Stolen- a fruity cake that is the preferred treat of holiday market-goers. You’ll also be able to find Glühwein, or mulled wine, as well as Pulsnitzer Pfefferkuchen which is a gingerbread filled with jam and covered in chocolate. We’ll take two please!
Christkindlesmarkt- Nuremberg, Germany
The traditional Christmas market originated in Germany so it’s no surprise that some of today’s most popular holiday markets are still located in the country they began in. The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg is one of Germany’s largest and most famous Christmas markets, dating back to the 1530’s. Wood stalls are decorated in beautiful red and white cloths, giving the market it’s nickname of “Little Town from Wood and Cloth”. You’ll find season items including wreaths, ornaments, tree toppers, holiday candles and the infamous plum people- little figurines made from dried prunes and figs, wires, nuts and little cloth costumes. The market offers four downloadable audio tours focusing on Christmas traditions, arts and crafts, local products and charity. The tours will guide you through various stalls and vendors, keeping with the tour’s holiday theme.
Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market- Copenhagen, Denmark
If you’re looking for a little traditional Danish hygee for the holidays (and who isn’t?!) then the Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market should be at the top of your holiday bucket list. Located at Tivoli Gardens, one of the world’s oldest amusement parks, this Christmas market shines under millions of twinkling holiday lights, Christmas trees, roller coasters, holiday themed shows and even fireworks. Sip a cup of mulled wine and snack on traditional Danish donuts, roasted almonds and æbleskiver smothered with jam and sugar while you visit with Father Christmas and go ice skating under the lights. You can shop for arts and crafts in the dozens of stalls selling toys, decorations, hand sewn wool shoes, and traditional reindeer and sheepskins.
Plaisirs d’Hiver- Brussels, Belgium
The Plaisirs d’Hiver Christmas market in Brussels, Belgium is so large that it’s actually six different markets in one combined for a truly magical Christmas experience. It’s so large that you’ll want to bundle up and be prepared to walk the market’s 240+ stalls that stretch all the way from the Grand Palace to Place St. Catherine. Each stall sells handmade and gourmet gifts, decorations, products and treats from all over Europe . The Plaisirs d’Hiver Christmas market is well known for it’s upscale food stalls, including escargots, oysters, mussels, tartiflettes, artisanal sausages and cheeses, frites, mulled wines and beers- but the most important treat here may be the Belgian waffles! In addition to the holiday stalls selling gifts and sweets, this market has a giant Ferris wheel, a steam-punk merry-go-round, an ice skating rink and igloos with live holiday music.
Old Town Hall Square Market- Prague, Czech Republic
One of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the world sits in front of Prague’s gorgeous Old Town Square. You’ll want to visit this market after dark, when the giant Christmas tree is all lit up and there is a sing-along lighting ceremony once every hour. Children can visit the animal stables to pet sheep, goats and donkeys while parents sip honey wine or Czech beer. Other popular treats at Prague’s Christmas market include dumplings filled with pork, barbecued pork and blood sausage, garlic cheese flatbreads, and plenty of Christmas sweets. Wooden huts are filled with vendors selling hand carved toys, crystals, blown glass, jewelry and candles.
Toronto Christmas Market- Toronto, Canada
Most of the world’s most popular Christmas markets are located throughout Europe, but if you’re staying in North America, Toronto has an absolutely stunning holiday market you won’t want to miss. Located in the historic Distillery District, this market combines all the traditions of classic European Christmas markets with a bit of Canadian charm! The cobblestone streets are filled with twinkling lights, wooden stalls selling warm winter gifts and treats, a life-size gingerbread house, a giant Ferris wheel and performers such as carolers and folk dancers. You can get traditional Christmas market fare like Belgian waffles and bratwursts, but you’ll really feel the Canadian vibe to this market when you snack on poutine and maple candies!
Vienna Christmas World- Vienna Austria
Located so close to Germany where Christmas markets originated, it’s no wonder that Austria is home to a number of it’s own world famous holiday markets. The largest Christmas market in Austria is Christmas World, located in Rathausplatz Square just in front of Vienna’s City Hall. The giant arched gateway of City Hall welcomes visitors with twinlking candles, there’s a beautiful ice rink for ice skating, and the market is home to over 150 stalls where you can purchase handmade gifts and traditional Viennese foods. The famous “Tree of Hearts” makes for a great photo op, as do the Christmas trees that link City Hal Park. For little ones, there’s a carousel and a Ferris wheel as well as incredible holiday light displays.
Manchester Markets- Manchester, England
Manchester, England is home to a total of eight different Christmas markets including markets in Exchange Square, St. Ann’s Square, King Street and New Cathedral Street- but the Albert Square market is the center of it all. With the Manchester Town Hall towering behind the twinkling market, you will find more than 300 stalls selling gifts and serving treats from all over Europe. You can snack on Hungarian goulash, Dutch pancakes, German bratwurst, Belgian waffles, Austrian strudel, and French macarons, and the traditional British fish and chips all in one place! There’s also a large selection of beers and wines as well as hot cocoa. Be sure to check out the Ice Village, ice skating rink and amusement park rides before you do your holiday shopping.
Tuomaan Markkinat- Helinski, Finland
The Tuomaan Markkinat on Senate Square is a popular Christmas market in Europe because Finland claims that Santa Claus calls Finland home! You can meet Santa Claus himself- the real Santa Claus- at this beautiful holiday market. Children will enjoy the carousel in the center of the square while parents enjoy a glass of Glögi, a Nordic version of mulled wine. A brass band plays traditional Christmas music while you shop along the cobblestone streets filled with lighted huts. The market boasts over 130 stalls where you can buy traditional Finnish crafts, ornaments, produce, and reindeer meat- a Finnish staple in the wintertime.
Budapest Christmas Fair- Budapest, Hungary
Budapest, Hungary is home to three different Christmas markets, with the Market on Vörösmarty Square in the center of Pest being the largest of the three. Enjoy the large Christmas tree adorned with lights as well as the exterior of the Gerbeaud building which is transformed into a giant advent calendar from December 1st to 23rd. Each day a window opens to a light and music show, revealing the countdown to Christmas day. Hungarian bands play a wide range of musical concerts at the market and there is a marionette theater for kids and kids at heart. The market is home to more than 100 stalls that sell local crafts and snacks including goulash, sausage, potato fritters and Christmas sweets such as chimney cakes and honey cookies
Bryant Park Winter VIllage- New York, New York
While some of the most quintessential New York City Christmas decorations are located at Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park is home to NYC’s most popular Christmas market. The Bryant Park Winter Village is home to a 17,000 square foot ice skating rink, cozy igloos where you can sip hot cocoa or hot apple cider with friends and even a curling cafe where you can try your hand at this unique winter sport. There are over 170 shops and vendors selling apparel, art work, jewelry, home goods, beauty supplies, holiday gifts and delicious food. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, try Max Brenner’s chocolates or Wafels & Dinges!
Stortorget Julmarknad- Stockholm Sweden
Stortorget Julmarknad is located in the main square of Stockholm’s Old Town neighborhood. It’s a smaller market compared to many others throughout Europe, but it is Sweden’s oldest holiday market and it’s 40 traditional Swedish red stalls are absolutely adorable and festive. Vendors sell locally made crafts and knitwear as well as traditional Swedish foods including elk meat, smoked sausage, reindeer, cheeses, candies, honey and nuts. The most popular sweet treats are the lussekatt, or traditional St. Lucia saffron buns, and the pepparkakor, or gingersnaps.
The Red Square- Moscow, Russia
While Russian Christmas markets aren’t quite as popular as the markets in Western Europe, if you’re a Christmas Market connoisseur, you won’t want to miss Moscow’s market in the Red Square. Set in front of the beautiful St. Basil’s Basilica, this Christmas market is absolutely gorgeous and unique. Because most Russian’s celebrate the Russian Orthodox Christmas on January 7th, the market stays open into early February, so it’s a great last stop if you’re going on a Christmas market tour through Europe. It’s smaller than most European holiday markets with only about 20 stalls, but you’ll find gifts here that you won’t find anywhere else- including traditional hand-crafted Russian matryoshka dolls and other Khokhloma-painted toys. You’ll also find a giant ice skating rink and after you work up an appetite you’ll want to check out the food vendors where you’ll find traditional Russian treats such as Georgian-style meats, baked potatoes with mushrooms and pickles, and glintwine- a Russian mulled wine made with oranges and cloves.
If you’re looking for US based Christmas markets- be sure to check out our post on our 12 Favorite Christmas Destinations in the US!