There are those who love, and there are those who hate Christmas. I, for one, am not one of those who are already setting up the tree in November, but neither am I the Grinch.
But one thing that I hate in this season is shopping malls filled with people who turn blind and crazy. I believe that Christmas markets can be a solution to combat this fever and keep the spirits high.
Yes, they aren’t free from confusion, and the wholesale prices are far superior to what we like to have. However, there’s nothing better than strolling through Christmas in Europe with a warm beanie or hot chocolate warming our hands.
For this article, I’ve gathered information on some markets that I think are the most important. One is in my country, Portugal, and the rest in some other European capitals that are famous for maintaining this tradition. Hope you like it!
Christmas markets to visit this season
1. Lisbon, Portugal
The Town Hall Square is usually transformed into a charming Christmas market with cute wooden houses and festive decorations. And guess what? Eduard VII Park has been home to the amazing Wonderland Lisboa for the past few years!
Starting in early December, everyone can have a blast ice skating, riding the ferris wheel and carousels, exploring Santa Claus village, and marveling at the beautiful Christmas tree. You can also find exhibitors with gastronomy, handicrafts, and other typical Portuguese products.
2. Zagreb, Croatia
Zagreb has earned the well-deserved title of “best Christmas market in Europe,” and it’s easy to see why!
The main square, Ban Josip Jelačić, and Zrinjevac Park come alive with enchanting Christmas magic. You’ll find countless stalls offering gifts for every taste, twinkling lights that create a mesmerizing atmosphere, and let’s not forget about the delicious local cuisine and captivating dance performances. Don’t miss out on this incredible experience!
3. Strasbourg, France
Paris may be the capital of France, but when it comes to Christmas, Strasbourg takes the crown as the French capital of holiday cheer!
This charming city hosts the oldest Christmas market in Europe, and they truly leave no stone unturned. With a whopping 300 stalls scattered throughout town, you can shop till you drop!
And that’s not all – there’s also a magnificent living nativity scene, concerts that will warm your heart, and dazzling musical shows to keep you entertained. Strasbourg is where magic happens during the festive season!
4. Vienna, Austria
Vienna, oh Vienna! This captivating capital already enchants with its stunning architecture and rich history. But picture this – during Christmas time, the main squares of Vienna get all dressed up in their festive best!
Two must-visit spots are the Town Hall Square and the front of the Schönbrunn Palace. You’ll find a plethora of charming stalls selling crafts that make perfect gifts and tons of activities to keep the little ones entertained. Vienna truly knows how to sprinkle some extra magic during the holiday season!
5. Dresden, Germany
Get ready to be dazzled by the magical Dresden Striezelmarkt, the oldest market in Germany! This incredible market has been running for more than 580 editions — talk about tradition!
As you stroll through, you’ll be greeted by a breathtaking display of lights that turn night into day. And don’t forget to warm up with some hot wine while enjoying the delightful music in the air. The market is packed with activities for both kids and adults, ensuring everyone has a jolly good time.
With its unique atmosphere filled with gifts and flavors, Dresden Striezelmarkt is truly the perfect excuse to experience Christmas in Europe!
6. Prague, Czech Republic
Even the capital of the Czech Republic knows how to celebrate Christmas in style!
Prague is brimming with festive events, but it’s in the historical center where the true magic happens. The Christmas markets here keep tradition alive and thriving. Not only can you find unique gifts for your loved ones, but you’ll also have a chance to indulge in delicious local cuisine.
Make sure to try the Trdelník, a hot sugar-coated cake that will melt in your mouth and leave you craving more. Prague has everything you need for an unforgettable holiday experience!
7. Budapest, Hungary
You can’t miss the square before the magnificent Budapest cathedral this Christmas! It’s the ultimate destination for holiday joy in Europe.
With over 80 vendors selling beautiful handicrafts, you’ll find the perfect gifts for your loved ones. And if you have a sweet tooth, make sure to head down Zrínyi Street, where delightful treats await you. Don’t forget to lace up your skates and hit the ice rink for some wintertime fun.
Budapest is ready to make your Christmas dreams come true!
8. Brussels, Belgium
When you visit the historic center of Brussels during Christmas time, get ready to be amazed by spectacular video-mapping shows! But that’s not all. In the capital of Belgium, Christmas is a magical experience with vibrant stands and twinkling lights everywhere you look.
Don’t miss the magnificent Christmas tree that adds to the festive atmosphere. And for some extra fun, enjoy ice skating, take a ride on the Ferris wheel, or hop on one of the charming carousels.
9. Helsinki, Finland
No matter how chilly it gets, nothing can dampen the spirits of visitors flocking to the Helsinki Christmas market! In fact, the festive atmosphere is made even more magical when the first snowflakes gently fall from the sky.
Immerse yourself in the enchanting glow of Christmas lights, explore over 140 street vendors offering delightful treasures, and be captivated by the irresistible aroma of glögg (mulled wine with cinnamon).
Embrace the winter wonderland and let your senses come alive at this unforgettable holiday destination.
What about you? Do you often go to Christmas markets? What’s your favorite? Share your ideas in the comments box below!
And if you are looking for some gift ideas this Christmas, take a look at this article. 🙂
Best Christmas Markets in Europe
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