Now that I’ve had the pleasure of going to a number of the finest markets throughout Europe I am creating my final information to the European Christmas Markets! I made it my mission to go to a number of the finest in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and past. I’ve received you lined to your final information for the perfect Christmas markets in Europe.
*Fully up to date for 2023!
In relation to Christmas I all the time really feel like a child once more. However Europe appears so as to add an additional contact of magic. Strolling into the markets is simply an amazing sense of enjoyable, buddies, and happiness. For this itinerary, I am breaking down the perfect Christmas markets in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria and past. I’ve additionally received a breakdown of what to purchase, eat, and I am displaying you a typical route as a way to get probably the most out of your time!
See my picks for the perfect Christmas markets in Europe and my present Christmas market highway journey itinerary!
What to anticipate
Europe’s Christmas markets are steeped in historical past. The primary market was stated to be held in Vienna, Austria relationship again to 1296, however the first “winter market” was in Munich, Germany in 1310. The primary “official” market was Dresden’s Strietzelmarkt in 1434. Christmas markets are also referred to as Christkindlmarkt, Christkindlesmarkt, Christkindlmarket, Christkindlimarkt, and Weihnachtsmarkt and happen through the begin of Introduction. Every market has it is personal traditions, decorations, and meals. Germany’s markets are usually extra conventional whereas Austria’s are usually a bit extra elaborate. Most markets finish simply earlier than Christmas, however in cities reminiscent of Speyer, Germany they lengthen the celebration. You may see pretty stalls (or chalets) promoting handcrafted ornaments and crafts, native meals, and scorching, mulled wine referred to as glühwein.
Keep away from the crowds: Europeans take Christmas markets very critically. Keep away from crowds and contours by going through the day, or go for going through the week, Mondays or Tuesdays are finest.
Good to know
Most of the stalls promoting glühwein (and a few meals) can have one thing referred to as a “pfand” that is extra cash that you will pay for the cup, often a couple of euros. As soon as accomplished along with your drink you’ll be able to maintain the cup (often they’re an ideal memento as they are saying the situation and date) or return it to get your a reimbursement.
Deliver money, most sellers will solely take money at a Christmas market. The winter markets may be chilly, so be sure to deliver one thing heat and cozy sneakers. You may most certainly be in your ft to peruse the stalls.
Most main European cities have Christmas markets, and they’re all pretty. However, I’ve been to dozens so I am pulling out the perfect Christmas markets to get the “actual” expertise together with an itinerary that can assist you in your manner.
Greatest Christmas Markets in Germany
The German Christmas markets are the unique and the perfect. Since they date again to the 1300s, lots of the German Christmas markets nonetheless rejoice traditions from the outdated days. You may discover richly adorned Christmas stalls and conventional Christmas meals like bratwurst and kartoffelpuffer. I counsel beginning your journey in Germany. My ideas for Christmas markets in Germany are: Heidelberg, Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, Munich, Nuremberg and Dresden. Most cities in Germany, together with the smaller ones, will all supply a Weihnachtsmarkt, so you actually cannot go flawed!
See my full information to the perfect Christmas Markets in Germany right here.
Nuremberg is steeped in custom and you will find an enormous market with heaps to see, do, and eat. However my favourite is the extra laid-back Heidelberg. The markets are all through the Haupstrasse (the lengthy pedestrian road) and make it simpler for crowds to ebb and circulate by the road. You may discover ornately adorned stalls, roasting meats, and a car-free road to skip alongside from market to market. It exudes a small city and alluring feeling.
Munich began one of many first Christmas markets, so it is a disgrace to not go right here. They exit of their approach to beautify and even have themed markets, reminiscent of their “pink” Christmas market. Bavaria tends to do issues just a bit bit in a different way and Munich actually takes Christmas up a notch.
Christmas Market Dates in Germany: Heidelberg – November 27 December 22, Munich – November 27 – December 24
Discover my full information to Heidelberg right here and Christmas Markets right here. Additionally information to Nuremberg’s right here.
🧥 Coat – A must have for any winter journey! This one doesn’t disappoint
👖 Thermal Leggings – Retains you heat all day.
👕 Thermal Undershirt – Added Heat
🥾 Boots– These maintain you cozy and are sturdy sufficient to put on within the snow
🧦 Wool Socks– maintain your ft heat and dry
🧤 Cellphone Appropriate gloves – These work so you’ll be able to nonetheless take footage of the Christmas lights!
🧳 Baggage – That is my go-to carry-on!
🔌 Universal Adapter – Greatest for nation hopping
👜 Crossbody Bag – One of the best for holding you arms free and your stuff protected
☃️ Beanie – A should for holding heat (and searching cute!)
🔥 Hand heaters – The key to by no means being chilly!
🧣 Scarf – So key to packing much less is to have equipment like scarves to modify it up!
Get my full packing listing right here!
Greatest Christmas Markets in France
Going to France is like stepping right into a Currier and Ives print. The peerlessly positioned real-life gingerbread homes surrounded with Christmas stalls, music, and sweet-smelling pastries are a feast for the senses. Probably the most stunning Christmas markets are in Strasbourg and Colmar within the Alsace area.
Strasbourg’s Christmas markets are sprinkled all through the town and each is prettier than the subsequent. The decor is over-the-top however a lot enjoyable. The background of the overwhelming Notre Dame cathedral makes a grand assertion over the sq.. However the actual spotlight is the 30 meter tall Christmas tree! They name Strasbourg the Capital of Christmas and it all the time proves its level as the perfect place to spend the vacations.
Should you suppose the decorations in Strasbourg had been elaborate, wait till you get to Colmar. Each constructing appears to be adorned with lights, ornaments, and even teddy bears! In every single place you flip is a half-timbered panorama of uneven, multicolored homes. It really seems extra like a doll’s playhouse.
Christmas Market Dates in France: November 24 by December 30
Discover the information to Strasbourg’s Christmas markets right here.
Greatest Christmas Markets in Switzerland
The proper place for a winter wonderland is unquestionably in Switzerland. You may discover ski chalets nestled subsequent to Christmas markets and, after all, the beautiful alps. You may enjoyment of artisan items and a few of my favourite treats. One of the best markets are in Basel, Bern, Lucerne, and Zurich. After touring by France it is very straightforward to get to Switzerland. The gap from Colmar to Basel is about an hour and a half by automotive.
Basel is a fairly metropolis overlooking the water and a number of Christmas markets all through the big squares. The decor right here is vibrant and wonderful and the markets are all inside strolling distance from each other.
My favourite market in Switzerland shouldn’t be too removed from Basel in Lucerne, Switzerland. Located on the lake, you will discover extravagant shows and a number of the finest cheeses on this planet. All of the outlets and shops are decked out for the vacations with blankets and sheepskin stools.
Christmas Market Dates in Switzerland: Lucerne – December 1-20, Basel – November 23 – December 23
Greatest Christmas Markets in Austria
Austria has many pretty Christmas markets and small cities. You may discover them in Salzburg, Ellmau, Graz, and Kitzbuhel, however the perfect is in Vienna. The Vienna Christmas markets are probably the most well-known and standard in all of Europe. It is no shock why: the elegant chandeliers mild up the streets and paint an image of wealthy opulence. I discover the markets in Austria to be pretty, romantic, and an ideal mixture of conventional and trendy refinement.
Greatest Christmas Markets in Vienna
There are a number of markets all through the town however my favorites are Rathaus, St. Stephen’s Sq., Maria-Therea Sq., Schönbrunn Palace, Belvedere, and Altes AKH. Take a journey on the Ringstrasse on Tram 1 to map out each the place you’d wish to cease. You may discover that the buildings function unimaginable backdrops for the Christmas decor. At Rathaus (Metropolis Corridor) there’s an enormous, lit tree, an ice skating rink, and even a stage for stay music and performances. Remember to go contained in the Rathaus for a good looking view.
Do not miss St. Stephen’s and the magnificent church. You actually cannot miss it, the steeple is that top. Take a stroll alongside Kärtnerstrasse to see the unimaginable chandeliers. Try the Altes AKH to see the College campus remodeled right into a Christmas wonderland. The museum quarter already boasts pretty structure however it packs an added punch with the market in Maria-Theresa-Platz. That is additionally a superb place to cease and have a standard strudel.
For an over-the-top market have one outdoors a palace! Two alternatives for this at Schloss Belvedere and Schönbrunn. Each are stunning and the palaces solely add to the ambiance.
Christmas Market Dates in Austria: Vienna – Late November – December 23
Your European Christmas Market Route
Fly into Germany – I counsel Frankfurt. It is a main airport hub and makes it straightforward to go to your subsequent vacation spot. From right here, you’ll be able to take a prepare or a automotive (I discover automobiles are best and make it so you’ll be able to cease off at any time). From right here, take a prepare or automotive to Heidelberg, Germany. It is a typical Christmas market and can put you proper within the spirit. Subsequent, we’re heading to France! Strasbourg is just about an hour and a half away from Heidelberg. After you get your fill of Glühwein our subsequent cease remains to be in Alsace: Colmar, France. An precise gingerbread city, it is one of many cutest locations I’ve ever stepped foot in!
After France, we’ll cross one other border and head into Switzerland. Right here we’ll go to Basel then Bern and if time permits we’ll go to Lucerne and again north to Zurich. This itinerary is ideal you probably have 5-7 days. Have extra time, or simply need to see extra? Carry on going! From right here you’ll be able to return into Germany for Munich’s markets or go straight over to Austria. Should you’re driving, cease off in Salzburg. However since it is a lengthy journey, I counsel flying to Vienna. Subsequent, you’ll be able to both head to Prague (my private favourite) or east to Budapest.
Pictured: Prague’s Christmas Market in Outdated City Sq.
Different nice spots for Christmas are London, Nuremberg, Dresden, Paris, Copenhagen, Brussels, Budapest, and Zagreb.
What to eat at Christmas Markets
Schokokuss – one of the simplest ways to explain this dessert is to take marshmallow fluff, then cowl it with chocolate, and eat a dozen. Actually, these are cheap and are so mild and fluffy. I get one virtually each time I am going to a Christmas market.
Bratwurst – Genuine German meals is bratwurst and Rostbratwurst roasting frequently. Every Christmas market does it a bit in a different way so strive one wherever you go. You will get it with bread and I all the time load up on mustard and onions.
Kartoffellpuffer – Take potatoes, fry them. It sounds easy however they’re completely divine. Normally served with applesauce (bizarre however good) or garlic sauce. Give these a strive!
Gingerbread – Also referred to as Lebkucken, you will discover each gentle and laborious gingerbread offered. Additionally they wish to promote it in coronary heart shapes, wrapped in plastic, with phrases written on the cookie. I can not say these are very tasty, however they’re fairly!
Crepes – Should you’re within the temper for one thing candy that is the proper Christmas market meals. Rolled up with Nutella, cinnamon, sugar, or honey, anybody can get their fill from this straightforward basic.
Frikadella – One among my favourite meals on the Christmas markets are these hamburgers made with pork. Normally served with onions and mustard they make for the proper hearty meal. Remember to seize some fries or pommes frites!
Candied nuts – the proper heat Christmas market deal with to pop in your mouth as you amble from stall to stall. These aromatic nuts will make you whip your head round as you stroll previous! You may also strive roasted chestnuts aka “maroni” if you would like as properly.
Germknödel – This standard spherical dumpling is a German basic and often crammed with jam and topped with vanilla cream sauce. It is not overly candy however a pleasant addition to your mulled wine.
Glühwein – You can not go to the Christmas market with out glühwein! I am completely hooked on this scorching, mulled wine made with spices. It is going to maintain you heat inside as you drink this candy liquid. Some markets additionally serve Feuerzangenbowle which is a combination of punch and glühwein and topped with a rum-soaked sugar dice then set on hearth. Go forward, order two. Should you’re alcohol free it’s also possible to order kinderpunsch!
See the 25 issues you must strive at a Christmas Market right here!
What to purchase on the Christmas Markets
Every little thing sheepskin is on the market – gloves, hats, rugs and extra.
Maintain your glühwein cup as a enjoyable memento. If you wish to maintain with the alcohol pattern, many stalls supply liqueurs in fairly bottles which might be a superb present.
Most markets have their very own traditions and issues on the market. For instance, in Nuremberg they promote dolls fabricated from dates! Most gadgets on the market at Christmas markets are handmade and top quality. You will not essentially discover the most cost effective gadgets however one can find one thing particular that may final.
Everybody deserves a winter wonderland break and Europe’s Christmas markets make for the proper magical escape. Christmas markets in Europe are a number of the finest reminiscences of my life, and I am already counting down the dates till subsequent 12 months!
Want extra Christmas markets? Try much more posts!
15 Greatest Christmas Markets in Germany
25 Issues to Eat at A German Christmas Market
25 Pictures That Will Encourage You To Spend Christmas in Europe
Information to Heidelberg’s Christmas Markets
Greatest Facet Journeys for Christmas in Germany
Issues to Do in Strasbourg, France at Christmas
Christmas Time in London
My First Christmas Overseas
Here is a helpful infographic and transient take a look at the perfect of Christmas markets in Europe: