12 of the best European Christmas markets to visit this winter

Christmas market stall

Christmas is on the horizon and that means it’s time for the Christmas markets to return to some of Europe’s major towns and cities.

With beautifully decorated cabins selling an array of hand-crafted goods and tasty treats, as well as festive ales, some are simply too good to miss.

If you’re on the hunt for some last minute gift ideas, stocking fillers or decorations, these Christmas markets are among the best of what the UK and Europe has to offer.

Christmas Markets in the UK

London

As well as a Christmas market along London’s Southbank that’s packed full of festive pop-up stores selling artisan gifts, craft beers and street food, you’ll also find markets in the capital in Leicester Square and Greenwich.

But perhaps London’s biggest Christmas market is in Hyde Park, as part of Winter Wonderland. With crafts, bars and other attractions to go alongside its many fairground rides, it’s easy to see why it’s a popular choice.

Birmingham

The UK’s largest Christmas market – and indeed the biggest in Europe outside of Germany and Austria – is one you can’t afford to miss. With a new location in Birmingham Cathedral in 2018 and a floating market on the canal, there’s plenty of festive spirit to go round.

Manchester

Manchester’s award-winning set of Christmas markets provide a yuletide offering in every corner of the city. You’ll find 300 stalls selling international gifts and drinks, as well as a food offering that includes Spanish paella, traditional German bratwurst, Hungarian goulash and an old fashioned hog-roast.

Bath

With more than 180 chalets spread out around the city’s picturesque streets with local designers selling an array of personalised gifts and homeware, the Bath Christmas market is an idyllic spot for you to start your festive shopping. 

Edinburgh

Edinburgh comes alive with festive cheer from mid-November, with a traditional market that offers up its fair share of unique gifts and foodie surprises. There’s an abundance of rides too, including everything from a Christmas tree maze and a carousel to a huge ice skating rink.

Christmas market in Edinburgh

Christmas Markets in Germany

Munich

The main market on the Marienplatz is renowned among local residents and tourists for offering an array of festive gifts, mulled wine and other culinary delicacies. If that’s not enough, try your hand at ice skating in the shadow of some of the city’s spectacular gothic architecture.

Berlin

From late November, the smells of food and drink stalls entice people in from all over the city. Berlin hosts 9 Christmas markets, including ones at Alexanderplatz and Potsdamer Platz. Winter World, located at the latter, is incredibly popular and sees the region transformed into a winter wonderland with stalls, rides and Europe’s largest toboggan run!

Cologne

Attracting millions of visitors from all over the world every year, you’ll find the larger markets in the downtown part of Cologne. But there’s plenty of smaller offerings around the city too, meaning the aroma of baked apples, mulled wine and cinnamon biscuits are never far away! The biggest of the markets can be found under the city’s magnificent cathedral, providing an idyllic backdrop for your Christmas shopping.

Christmas market in Germany

More European Christmas Markets

Innsbruck, Austria

Home to no less than 6 Christmas markets, more than 200 stalls and a whopping 14 metre tall Christmas tree decorated with hundreds of Swarovski crystals, Innsbruck knows how to do festive. Set against a spectacular mountain backdrop, you’ll find Alpine traditions in abundance, while the market at Hungerburg – situated 300 metres above the city – provides exceptional panoramic views.

Madrid, Spain

The Spanish capital has numerous Christmas markets that help to turn the city into a festive paradise. You’ll find local gifts and other produce; plenty of gourmet treats as well as exceptional lights and displays.

Stockholm, Sweden

With a mix of traditional and contemporary gifts, alongside a host of delectable food, Sweden’s Christmas market offers a true taste of Scandinavia. Given its location in the centre of Stockholm, you can also combine a visit with tours around the famous Nobel Museum and some of the city’s best sights, including the Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral and its historic Old Town.

Lille, France

You will be hard pushed to find a more picturesque setting than Place Rhiour town square in the middle of the festive season. Featuring a giant Ferris wheel and hundreds of stalls, the Lille Christmas market is full of eye-catching features as well as fantastic local French cuisine.

Just an hour’s drive from Calais, or accessible via Eurostar, a visit to the market can easily be made into an exciting road trip with a few friends or loved ones. You could always hire a vehicle for the trip, although you may want to consider car hire excess insurance to protect the excess on your hire vehicle.

 

Date Created: 26 November 2018