Start your Christmas season off in style with a visit to a traditional Christmas market in Europe.
From Edinburgh to Strasbourg, here is our pick of the most magical Christmas markets in Europe for 2023.
When: 23 November 2023–1 January 2024
Poland boasts some of the very best Christmas markets in Europe including Krakow, Warsaw and Wroclaw. Christmas markets here are famed for their traditional Christmas ornaments, delicious food and being well priced in comparison with other countries in Europe. However, our pick for 2023 in Poland is the Christmas market at beautiful Gdansk, one of the most romantic Christmas markets in Europe, with its fairytale streets, colorful architecture and unique scenery.
How to get there? Fly directly to Gdansk from Bristol, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, London Luton and London Stansted airports.
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
When: 17 November–31 December 2023
It’s the unique location of this Christmas market which makes this so special. One of the world oldest amusement parks and the inspiration for Disneyland transforms itself into a winter wonderland for the festive season.
Expect 500,000 twinkling lights and Scandinavian style wooden huts to experience a traditional old-world Christmas atmosphere. The magical fairytale setting of this Christmas market makes it one of the most popular in Europe, attracting more than a million people each year. Along with the traditional Christmas goodies on sale you should also treat yourself to Danish Yuletide classics as gingerbread hearts, pancakes, marzipan, roast pork sandwiches and rice pudding
How to get there? Fly directly to Copenhagen from Gatwick, Stansted, Heathrow, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, or Edinburgh airport. Or take the Eurostar from London to Brussels and the train from Brussels to Copenhagen.
Edinburgh Christmas Market, Edinburgh, UK
When: 17 November – 6 January 2024
In the UK, there is no more beautiful city at Christmas than Edinburgh. The Christmas market is right in the heart of the city in Princes Street Gardens, with views toward the old town and Edinburgh castle.
With over 70 vendors offering a mix of gifts and delicious food, don’t miss out on a ride on the giant ferris wheel that dominates the skyline and provides panoramic views over the skyline of Edinburgh.
How to get there? Fly directly to Edinburgh from Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham, Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Stansted airport or take the train directly into Edinburgh Waverley from London Kings Cross.
Innsbruck Christmas Market, Austria
How to get there: 15 November–23 December 2023
With snow often turning the city into a winter wonderland, one of the most beautiful cities in Austria really comes alive during Christmas. The colourful Christmas market stalls here are nestled between attractive medieval buildings and the Golden Roof, the most famous building in the city with the beautiful snow capped mountains as a backdrop.
Austrian Turmbläser (brass brands) play traditional Christmas music from the Golden Roof and give the market a truly special feel. It’s also worth taking a wander down Kiebachgasse during December, where the street is transformed into a fairytale lane with characters from famous fairy tales adorning the façades, bay windows and gables.
How to get there? Fly directly to Innsbruck from Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Bristol or Manchester airport.
Tuomann Markkinat, Helsinki
When: 1–22 December 2023
There is no more festive country in the world than Finland, it is the home of Santa after all. The capital city of Helsinki is one of our favourites because there is so much happening here in the run up to Christmas including its Christmas Market in Senate Square.
Over 130 vendors sell handmade Finnish products such as pine and birch tar candles, carved wooden kuksa mugs and jewellery. For traditional festive food and drink, you can enjoy the traditional Finnish Christmas drink Glögi and traditional Finish gingerbread with plum jam.
How to get there? Fly directly to Helsinki from Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester, or Edinburgh airport.
Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg, Germany
When: 1–24 December 2023
There is no better country to visit for a Christmas market than Germany, this yuletide tradition goes back to medieval Germany and the market at Nuremberg is one of our favourites. What makes this one stand out is that its one of the most traditional Christkindlesmarkt, dating back to the 1628.
You’ll also won’t find mass produced Christmas goods here, all traders go through a rigorous approval process ensuring everything that is on sale is handcrafted. Along with the handcrafted Christmas gifts you’ll also find delicious food and drink – a highlight being the Nuremberg gingerbread and spekulatius almond cookies.
How to get there? Fly directly to Nuremberg from Heathrow or Stansted airport, or fly into Munich and you can take the train into Nuremberg.
Bratislava Christmas Market, Slovakia
When: 23 November –23 December 2023
Christmas in the Slovakian capital is breathtakingly beautiful, with fairy lights draped around Christmas trees and market stalls in the main square selling traditional Christmas gifts.
This is one of the best markets in Europe for traditional wooden toys and beautiful Christmas decorations. Another market not to miss here in the city is the one against the stunning backdrop of Bratislava Castle.
How to get there? Fly directly to Bratislava from Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester, Leeds Bradford or Edinburgh airport.
Budapest Christmas Market, Hungary
When: 18 November – 1 January 2024
Vorosmarty Square, a beautiful plaza in the heart of this stunning city is transformed into a festive marketplace in the lead up to Christmas. This is Budapest’s oldest market and from the cottage style huts you’ll find handcrafted gifts and delicious food stalls.
What makes Budapest special, is the fact that it also has another Christmas market in the city at the Basilica. This location has all of the traditional stalls you would find at a Christmas market, but it’s the Christmas laser projections on the Basilica itself and the ice skating rink that circles the grand Christmas tree is what makes this such a memorable setting.
How to get there? Fly directly to Budapest from Gatwick, Stansted, Heathrow, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Edinburgh airport.
Strasbourg Christmas Market, France
When: 24 November – 24 December 2023
This is the “capital of Christmas” in France and is so beautiful at this time of year – its just like out of a storybook. The Christmas Market is spread across more than ten sites, all located within the Grande Île district, with over 300 traditional market stalls selling gorgeous hand crafted gifts as well as the traditional mulled wine, with its sweet scents of cinnamon, cloves and citrus.
How to get there: Fly directly to Strasbourg from Gatwick airport
Old Town Square Christmas Market, Prague, Czech Republic
When: 2 December 2023–6 January 2024
Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic transforms into a Christmas wonderland and its market is one of the very best in Europe. At the Old Town Square, stalls sell traditional Czech crafts and wooden toys and don’t miss the huge Christmas tree and carol concerts. Traditional Czech delicacies can also be found here including Pražská Šunka and trdelnik
How to get there? Fly directly to Prague from Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Stansted, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, or Newcastle airport.