Founded in 1434 as a one-day market, Striezelmarkt in Dresden lays claim to be the oldest Christmas market in the world. Because of its history, you’ll find traditional gifts at this market that stem from the area’s working history of crafts like woodwork and pottery. Visible from far and wide, the market is also home to the world's largest Erzgebirge Christmas pyramid, which, at a height of 14.62m is a sight to behold.
A Christmas tree has been displayed here outside the town hall since 1441, making it the first Christmas tree to ever be put up in Europe. If that’s not reason enough for you to visit, consider that Tallinn is often coated in snow in December and January, meaning you’re likely to experience a white Christmas. Look out for local delicacies like black pudding and sour cabbage to fill you up while your browse the traditional gifts.
Source: Visit Estonia
As one of the most picturesque cities in Europe, it’s no wonder that it hosts one of the prettiest Christmas markets. Located in Princess gardens at the foot of the castle between the old and new town, you’ll find everything from mulled wine to haggis. There’s also an ice rink and lots of things for the kids to do, like a Santa’s grotto and even an ice cave.
Source: Visit Scotland
It’s hard to imagine Vienna more beautiful than it usually is, but trust us, at Christmas it’s even more magical than usual. In front of the city hall the large Christmas Market has all the trappings of the usual markets as well as an alpine lodge and a curling rink. Keep your eye out for Viennese chocolate and indulge in the sweet stuff as you look around.
Source: Visit Austria
The magic of Christmas comes alive in Salzburg, with the smell of roasted chestnuts wafting through the market. Traditional choirs gather to sing carols on a nightly basis and there are all sorts of workshops and activities for children to enjoy. The setting is pretty beautiful too and that’s what makes this one of Europe’s best Christmas markets.
Source: Salzburg Info
Back to Germany for one of europe’s most popular Christmas markets with over 2 million visitors a year. Held in the city’s picturesque main square, this market has everything you could want from food and drinks to hand-crafted gifts. The smell of Nuremberg sausage will be hard to resist, as will the toasted almonds. Wash it all down with a steaming cup of mulled wine and soak up the jovial atmosphere.
Source: Military in Germany
First held in 1570, this is France’s oldest Christmas Market but a relative newbie compared to some in Germany. Over 300 stalls spread out in front of the cathedral so you can get lost in here for hours. Of course, this being France, you’ll find better cheeses and wines than at any other market. If you only do one thing at the Marché de Noël Cathédrale in Strasbourg… Take advantage of your picture-perfect setting and take some photos of the wooden huts and the surrounding Alsatian architecture.
Source: Strasbourg Info
Every year, more and more people add Budapest to their list of places they want to visit and it’s easy to see why. The city is full of gorgeous architecture and delicious restaurants and of course, a fabulous Christmas market. Cottage-style wooden huts create a whimsical setting and they’re full of thoughtful gifts for loved ones. You could also pick up some decorations for your tree at home. Roasted pork knuckle is the thing to eat here and it’s actually nicer than it sounds.
Source: Budapest Christmas
The weather in Europe over the winter can’t always be relied upon, so heading to Zurich for Christkindlimarkt is a safe bet. This is the largest indoor Christmas market in the world and will keep you covered whatever the weather. The raised indoor eating and drinking area gives you a spectacular view of the festive cheer below and is the perfect place to warm up. The tree at the market features over 7,000 crystal ornaments so expect a glittering centrepiece.
Source: Elias Limitless
Anyone who loves Christmas (and shopping) will have probably heard of Prague’s world-famous Christmas market. Situated in the main square, the place is lit up in the evenings with thousands of glittering lights and there’s a maze of hundreds of stalls selling everything you could have ever put on your Christmas wish list. Go at night to see the market in all its glory.
Source: Prague Experience
Whether you want gifts for loved ones or you just want to soak up the festive atmosphere, these Christmas markets in Europe are the perfect place to do it. So book those flights and hop on a plane to enjoy the holiday season at its best.