Europe is home to an endless list of Christmas Markets, all with their own unique traditions. If you’re planning a white Christmas in Europe then visiting one of these markets is a must. You’ll get a taste for traditional Christmas food and beverages, be able to buy some unique gifts for loved ones and take home some amazing memories you will not forget.
Most Christmas Markets in Europe run from mid November through to January, however some will end before Christmas so be sure to research the exact dates before you plan your visit to ensure you don’t miss out.
Here are 5 Christmas markets we think will get you right into the festive spirit!
Attracting millions of visitors from all over the world each year, the Cologne’s Christmas markets are a truly magical experience not to be missed! Think freshly baked cinnamon biscuits and baked apples providing a deliciously festive aroma to the cobblestone streets. There are larger markets held in downtown Cologne, surrounding the magnificent Cathedral and home to traditional decorations, live music and a family friendly atmosphere. If you’re into finding a more unique Christmas gift for a loved one, then the smaller Christmas markets around the town are also worth a visit, including the Christmas market in the Stadtgarten.
Vienna is home to over 25 of the most amazing Christmas Markets in Europe, some dating back as far as 1298. The biggest of these markets is located in front of City Hall and is called the Magic of Advent. The surrounding trees and park lands are decorated with a sea of Christmas lights, there’s a gorgeously lit up old carousel, over 150 stalls and a huge Christmas tree (called the Tree of Hearts) that add to the breathtaking atmosphere – add to this the delicious smell of freshly baked gingerbread and almonds and you’ve got the perfect Austrian Christmas celebration!
Christmas in this Scottish Capital City is not just a market, it is a Christmas extravaganza! There are approximately six weeks of fairs, ice skating rinks, light and firework shows and much more. The markets feature delicious food and drink and traditional craft and as an added bonus the backdrop is the historic Edinburgh Castle. For families with young kids, the nearby Santa Land is a must visit. There’s a Christmas tree maze, Elves Workshop, a children’s market and you can visit Santa’s Grotto to meet Father Christmas!
Helsinki (and Rovaniemi), Finland
Where better to visit a Christmas market than in Finland, the home of Father Christmas! For a truly memorable experience you can visit Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Lapland. Here you can visit the man himself, explore the reindeer and husky farm and visit Snowman World, among many other fun activities. There are daily flights or trains between Rovaniemi and Helsinki for those wanting to visit Santa’s home. If you’re after a more traditional Christmas market, then the Finnish Capital Helsinki is the place to be. Browse the decoratively lit up streets, admire the magical shop fronts, sip on traditional Hot Glogi (a spiced with almonds, raisins and occasionally some vodka), go ice skating and visit the St Thomas Markets, with over 120 specialty stores to keep you occupied.
This capital city is a favourite among Europeans during the festive season. The celebrations are sprawled across the city with activities occurring in many squares and streets, all of which are easily accessible by foot. You can stroll and admire the beautiful lights and traditional decorations, go ice skating and taste delicious local food and mulled wine.