December, month of joy and celebration for much of the world, full of festive lights and beautiful decorations to prepare for Christmas and New Year. Wandering in Europe during this season, you’ll be amazed with the magical charms of Christmas Markets in towns and cities Europe-wide, a highlight for shoppers across the continent. Let's first travel back to where it all began.
The tradition of Christmas markets has its origins in Medieval Europe, German-speaking regions in particular. Although the concept is believed to have originated in Vienna, Austria in 1298 a clearer picture emerged in 1434, when Striezelmarkt was first held in Dresden, Germany. In the old times, these markets were the place to buy goods and supplies for winter, especially decorations to celebrate Christmas. As time passed by, Christmas markets became one of the essential parts of the season along with a festive atmosphere with twinkling lights, beautiful decorations, traditional food, and plenty of joy.December, month of joy and celebration for much of the world, full of festive lights and beautiful decorations to prepare for Christmas and New Year. Wandering in Europe during this season, you’ll be amazed with the magical charms of Christmas Markets in towns and cities Europe-wide, a highlight for shoppers across the continent. Let's first travel back to where it all began.
Dates : November 11, 2023 to January 4, 2024
Rathausplatz in Vienna, hosts one of the biggest and best known Christmas markets in Europe. Explore the market stalls with plenty of handmade gifts and traditional winter food; roasted chestnuts, spiced sweets, roasted apples, sausages, jacket potatoes, and mulled wine to warm you up in the cold weather.
Dates : November 23, 2023 to January 1, 2024
Salzburg, the city of Mozart and the “Sound of Music” hosts one of the best Christmas markets in Austria. Once winter begins, Residenzplatz in the middle of the old town will be lit up with thousands of lights and shops full of gifts and food. At the same time, you’ll have a chance to listen to carols from the daily concert in front of the cathedral every evening.
Dates : November 30 to December 31, 2023
Striezelmarkt, the oldest Christmas market in Germany originated in the early 15th century. Witness the world’s largest Erzgebirge step pyramid at 14.62 metres tall, and enjoy the romantic vibes of the city. The market keeps its traditional sense of a mediaeval market surrounded by Baroque architecture in Altmarkt square. Very likeable for those who love searching for handmade local goods.
Dates : November 29 to December 24, 2023
When visiting the Bavaria region during winter, you should not miss the lively Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg. The moment you enter the market, you’ll feel the nostalgic winter holiday times of your childhood. Taste homemade desserts like gingerbread, christmas bread and hot wine, and don’t forget to bring back some festive decorations with you as well.
Dates : November 24 to December 24, 2023
Strasbourg is known as the “capital of Christmas” in France with 300 shops and stalls surrounded by mediaeval buildings in the old town square. Meet the 30 metres tall christmas tree in the middle of Place Kléber Square decorated with twinkling lights that illuminate the whole town at night. The best part of the Christmas market in Strasbourg is to taste its local mulled wine with a unique sense of cinnamon, cloves and citrus.
Dates : December 2, 2023 to January 6, 2024
Prague’s Old Town Square, one of the best places for the festive season. At Christmas, the square will be filled with numerous shops designed as traditional wooden huts covered with the sprinklings of frost and snow. Take your time to taste the local desserts, food and mulled wine especially served in this season, and enjoy the view of the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn.
Dates : November 19 to December 30, 2023
Liseberg, an amusement park that offers some of the best Christmas experiences in Europe. Apart from browsing the market stalls and taking photos with the giant Xmas tree, it’s a place to enjoy ice-skating on the public rink. You’ll also be welcomed by the rabbit mascots to make your time in Liseberg even more memorable.
Dates : December 1, 2023 to January 7, 2024
A mediaeval Christmas market that began in 1441 perfect to spend your time at year end Tallinn’s Town Hall Square is packed with wooden stalls selling local arts, handmade crafts, homemade sweets and cuisine including sour cabbage and black pudding. Every year, Estonia’s biggest Xmas tree is displayed in the centre of the market with classic buildings and the church as background.
If you have a chance to travel in Europe during winter, do seek out one of these destinations to help get you in the festive mood, and to immerse yourself in European culture.