Written in collaboration with Trevor Davis
Nothing in the world can compare to how the holiday season looks in Europe. Everything makes the continent glimmer with fairy-tale festiveness, from the seasonal cookies to the snow-capped cathedrals. Everywhere in Europe, Christmas markets signal the beginning of the jolly season.
This tradition dates back to the Middle Ages, with the embellished cities offering a sight out of this world. The European Christmas markets provide a unique and invaluable experience – the kind you should have at least once in your life – and they are just what you need to get into the festive spirit. That said, here is a list of the most impressive Christmas markets in Europe.
Edinburgh is indeed one of the loveliest cities in the world, and during winter months, it literally shines! This year, Christmas celebrations in Edinburgh start on 19th November and end on 3rd January 2023. From the fairground rides and mulled Irn Bru to the wooden toys, there’s a lot to see and enjoy in this splendid city. And if you’re a Potterhead, you’ll be delighted to discover the Harry Potter-themed gifts!
Moreover, the special projections, performances, and artworks that exhibit local talent are all astounding! While in Edinburgh, you can visit the Scottish National Gallery and gaze at the winter scenes. After nightfall, you can go to the Royal Botanic Garden and marvel at Christmas lights while drinking spiced cider. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
The Christmas market in Dusseldorf takes place from 18th November to 30th November. The city has a lot of Christmas markets, and they all happen in the Old Town area of the city. All areas have a different theme, making the city appealing to visitors during the festive season.
If you go to the Little Angels Market, for instance, you’ll experience a heavenly atmosphere that all the angel figures create. Meanwhile, at the Little Star Market, you’ll see many sparkling stars and crystal decorations that create a delightful atmosphere.
Prague is a picture-postcard city which stands out during the festive season. It has a magnificent setting that will take your breath away and a variety of food that will delight your taste buds, including fresh pancakes, warm, fatty sausages, gingerbread biscuits, and hot roasted chestnuts.
And, of course, let’s not forget about the typical mulled wine that adults will absolutely enjoy. If you come with your kids, make sure to take them to the Old Town Square, where a donkey, sheep and goats wait patiently for tourists’ attention.
Among all the German cities, Cologne stands out as the one with the most impressive Christmas markets. Moreover, its Christmas tree is also ranked as one of the most beautiful in Europe. The Christmas markets in this city have a lot to offer, including selected gifts, culinary specialities, and crafted artisan artefacts. Many people choose to visit the Christmas market in Cologne because it’s enchanting and offers magical moments. Markt der Engel, for instance, has hundreds of lights placed overhead, making them look like stars, and angels that move lightly between embellished gables.
Saint Nicholas’s village – Nikolausdorf – is perfect for kids, telling the story of St Nick. Some markets are dedicated to maritime history, while others display the theme of mythical gnomes. If you’re looking for something more conventional, you can go to Heumarkt and have fun on the ice-skating rink.
While this city is beautiful throughout the entire year, it’s during winter that you’ll fall under its spell. This romantic city has stunning Christmas markets; the atmosphere is excellent – you can feel the seasonal joy in the air! And if you didn’t manage to get a present for someone special until your visit here, don’t worry – you’ll be able to find one in this splendid city.
The two Christmas markets will take place in Simon Stevinplein and Markt square, offering a wide range of stalls with many tasty drinks and local food. There are cheeses, Belgian beers, ice-cold jenever, homemade hot chocolate, and more.
Christmas markets in Copenhagen emanate joy as the lights, decorations and Christmas tree create an impressive setting. There are many market stalls selling ceramics, wooden toys and beautiful decorations. There are different markets in the city centre, but Copenhagen’s Christmas star is the market at the Tivoli Gardens.
Here, you’ll find a Ferris wheel spinning in the darkness, fairy lights glimmering on leafless trees, and a skating rink perfect for adventure enthusiasts. The delicious caramelised almonds and the scent of cinnamon-infused mulled wine will make you feel like you’re in dreamland!
For ten years, Metz has ranked as one of Europe’s most beautiful Christmas markets. One reason is that it offers unique activities, like the lantern trail and chalets that provide local products. What’s truly impressive is that the destination doesn’t only attract the typical traveller but also start-ups, artists, creators, and even designers like Philippe Starck! How cool is that?
Visiting the Christmas markets on Metz’s main squares will get you into a joyful mood, as you’ll enjoy the warmest welcomes, discover hand-crafted gifts, and taste the best gingerbread! After skating along the ice road, you can warm up with some hot chocolate.
Saved the best for the last! Madeira is simply magical during the holiday season, and it’s a destination you should visit at least once in your life. There’s a wide variety of products, like exotic flowers and traditional souvenirs. And, of course, the drinks and delicacies of Christmas add to the merriment, creating a welcoming ambience.
While in Madeira, you can enjoy the performances of folklore groups and other engaging daily activities. Also, you don’t want to miss the famous fireworks show, as it’s one of the most impressive in Europe, recorded as the most fantastic show in the world in the Guinness Book of Record. What other reasons do you need to put Madeira at the top of your travel destination list?
Get ready for the best Christmas experience ever
There’s something magical about Christmas that’s hard to put into words. During this time, people gather together with their loved ones to celebrate. Many things make Christmas beautiful, like the lights, carols, tasty food, presents – even the entertaining Christmas movies! You can make the most of this holiday season by visiting one of the Christmas markets listed above – we promise you won’t regret it! Don’t wait any longer; choose your destination, and prepare for your journey to fairyland!