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Europe’s Festive Christmas Markets

Known locally as Christkendmarkt, Marche de Noel, Weihnachtsmarkt, Europe’s famous Christmas Markets bring the spirit of the holiday season to millions of visitors every Advent season.  Stroll the cobblestone streets in many of Europe’s Old Town squares and let the aroma of gingerbread and cinnamon fill the air.  Hold a warm cup of hot mulled wine or cocoa as you browse the quaint wooden huts filled with handmade crafts and Christmas ornaments.  Marvel at the beautifully adorned Christmas tree in town square.  Most of these picturesque markets can be found in the shadows of a gothic Cathedral.  These holiday fairs can be found in several cities all across the continent.  The markets of the different countries will vary to reflect the culture of the region and each will offer its own charm and traditions.  Listed below are a few of Europe’s most recognizable markets.

Considered the “Capital of Christmas” Strasburg Market tops the list. It boasts 300 stalls spread out over 12 locations all over Old Town, making it one of the largest and most beautiful markets in Europe.  It’s France’s oldest market dating back to 1570 and was voted “Europe’s Best Christmas Market” in 2014. 

Known as one of the finest of the German Christmas Markets, the Cologne Market is visited by roughly two millions tourists each holiday season.  It’s one of Europe’s most festive markets with its darling huts called “Buden.”  Cologne hosts over 160 stalls where you can experience the magic of Christmas. 

At Vienna’s “Magic of Advent Christmas Market” you’ll shop, eat and stroll around it’s popular square with its iconic City Hall as its backdrop.  Offering 150 or so stalls you are sure to find that special Christmas gift, decoration or sweet.  The trees surrounding City Hall Park are decorated with festive, glistening lights that are sure to put you in the holiday spirit

They are known for not only their beautiful market but for their open air concerts in Old Town Square.  You can warm up from the winter chill with a glass of mulled wine or warm honey liquor while you browse the beautifully adorned huts. 

Located near the popular tourist attraction of the historic Roman Baths and Bath Abbey, The Bath Christmas Market’s 170 chalets full of christmas treasures are sure to please.  Visitors come from all around to savor the warm mulled wine along with freshly baked mince pies

Winter Wonders Market offers a variety of holiday specialties with over 250 charming wooden huts selling crafts, local delicacies and produce.  During the evening you can enjoy a spectacular light and sound show in The Grand Place with its fairground wheel and merry-go-round to add to the holiday festivities. 

International Vacation Home Exchange has exclusive vacation homes located near many of Europe’s most festive Christmas markets.  Browse these properties and turn your next luxury home exchange into a holiday fairytale.

Thank you to travel writer Lisa Medieros.  


  1. Vienna at Christmas time is on my bucket list; it is good to know about other Christmas festivals in Europe.

  2. Ms. Medieros - Thank you for this blog entry about Europe's Christmas festivals. Though I have been to Vienna, I have never been at Christmas time; it's on my bucket list. It's good to know that there is a festival there!


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