The best European Christmas markets to visit this winter

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By Andreea

Travel & Tech Writer

best christmas markets

A beloved tradition in many countries, Christmas markets offer a unique opportunity to take in the holiday spirit. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best European Christmas markets, each with its own distinct character and festive, local delights. Prepare to be transported to a winter wonderland filled with tradition and holiday cheer!

 

1. Strasbourg, France 

Located in the heart of Alsace, Strasbourg is often referred to as the „Capital of Christmas.“  The city blends French and German influences and its Christmas market dates back to 1570, making it one of the oldest in Europe. As you stroll through the cobblestone streets, you’ll see charming wooden houses lit up with lights and beautifully decorated stalls selling handmade items, ornaments, and local treats like gingerbread, bretzels (soft pretzels), tarte flambée, and foie gras. For a warm beverage, vin chaud (French mulled wine) and hot spiced orange juice are popular choices.

The Strasbourg Christmas Market is open from November 24 to December 24, 2023.

2. Nuremberg, Germany

The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is a true Bavarian gem, capturing the essence of a traditional German Christmas. The main square is transformed into a fairy tale with wooden stalls, an enormous Christmas tree, and the Christkind (a traditional Christmas gift-bringer in German culture) who opens the festivities. Visitors can enjoy Nuremberg’s famous bratwursts, gingerbread cookies (Lebkuchen), and shop for handmade toys and crafts. This Christmas market is especially known for its strict „made in Nuremberg“ policy, ensuring that all products sold are locally produced.

The Nuremberg Christmas market runs from December 1 to December 24, 2023.

3. Vienna, Austria

Vienna, known for its beauty and elegance, hosts several Christmas markets, with the most famous being the Vienna Christmas Dream in front of City Hall (Rathaus). Here, you’ll find artisanal gifts, ice skating rinks, and an impressive Christmas tree lit with thousands of lights. The aromas of roasted chestnuts, sausages, and sweet treats (Sachertorte and Apfelstrudel) create a wonderful holiday atmosphere. Be sure to enjoy a cup of hot, spiced punch (Punsch) to stay warm.

Vienna’s Christmas markets are open from November 10, 2023, to January 7, 2024.

4. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague’s Old Town Square turns into a beautiful Christmas market in December. With the stunning backdrop of the Gothic Old Town Hall and the Týn Church, the square is filled with colorful wooden huts selling handmade toys, glass ornaments, and traditional Czech treats like trdelník (a sweet pastry), roasted ham, and goulash. For drinks, try the medovina (honey wine) or svařák (Czech mulled wine).

The Prague Christmas Market takes place from December 2, 2023, to January 6, 2024.

5. Bruges, Belgium

During the Christmas season, Bruges becomes even more magical with its medieval architecture and lovely canals. The Bruges Christmas Market, part of the larger ‚Winter Glow‘ event, turns the city into a winter wonderland with an ice-skating rink and other holiday activities. You can enjoy traditional Belgian treats like spiced Speculoos cookies and Liege and Brussels waffles. Try Genever, a gin-like drink, available in many flavors, and Garnaalkroketten, savory shrimp croquettes in bechamel sauce. The market also has stalls selling local specialties like cheeses, charcuterie, and pâtés, ideal for festive meals. Don’t miss the classic hot chocolate and tartiflette (a cheesy potato bake), plus the popular mulled wine, to keep warm.

The Bruges Christmas Market runs from November 24, 2023, to January 7, 2024.

These Christmas markets are a wonderful mix of tradition, culture, and festive joy. Whether you’re sipping hot mulled wine in Strasbourg, nibbling on gingerbread in Nuremberg, or ice skating in Vienna, each market offers a special experience that will leave you with lasting holiday memories. So, bundle up, explore these winter wonderlands, and let the magic of Christmas fill your heart.

Stay connected on your journey

To ensure you’re always in touch with your friends and family and can share your European Christmas market adventures in real-time with them, our prepaid Europe eSIM is the perfect companion. It helps you stay connected without the hefty roaming charges, and offers flexibility and easy activation. Ready to embark on your trip? Get your downloadable Europe SIM card. Wishing you happy holiday adventures!