The best Christmas markets in Europe

Many European cities have Christmas markets. But which ones should you visit? Here are some of the best.

Many European cities are getting in the festive mood with Christmas markets. But with so many to choose from, which ones should you visit? Here is a round-up of some of the very best.


This "certainly is Christmas central", says Sarah Turner in The Times. Of all the festive markets in Germany, it is the most famous, despite the fact that it is neither the biggest nor the oldest in the country those titles go to Cologne and Dresden respectively. But Nuremberg offers Germany's most beautiful Christmas market. Almost 200 stalls are clustered around a cobbled square on the slope beneath the Frauenkirche gothic church.

The market dates back to 1628 and sports a rather odd tradition. Every two years a new 'Christ child' (Christkind) is born. That child is a girl, as voted for in a local contest. She opens the market and spreads Christmas cheer. The fair is open from 26 November to 24 December.

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It's also worth visiting the city's other festive market at the Nyhavn quay and the boutiques on Stroget street. Both markets are already up and running and will close on 29 December.


The Latvian capital only launched its Christmas market last year, but it got it right first time. Step through the Gates of Dawn into the World Heritage-listed old town to admire quite a spectacle. "You may have to step over weeping pilgrims worshipping the sacred icon of the Mother of Mercy," says Lonely Planet magazine.

The huge Christmas tree in the centre of the square is surrounded by snow-coated stalls selling local handicrafts, festive food and, of course, mulled wine. Visit on 6 January and you can see the procession of the Three Wise Men. The market opens on 11 December and runs until 6 January of next year.


The city's medieval Wenceslas Square and the old town square "provide perfect festive backdrops to the city's classic Christmas markets", says Gabriella Le Breton in The Sunday Telegraph.

In addition to the festive goods for sale, including delicate straw decorations and cut glass, visitors can indulge in vno ni cukrovi (Christmas cookies) and vno ni rybi polvka (Christmas fish soup). The fair is open from 27 November until 2 January.




This is the home of France's oldest Christmas market, dating back to the 16th century. There are more than 50 church concerts taking place during the market's run. "Wash down special cakes with wine from Alsace," says Turner. The fair opens on 27 November and closes on 30 December.

St Moritz

If you'd like to combine a bit of traditional Christmas shopping with some skiing, book a trip to St Moritz.

For one day only the Plazza Mauritius "becomes the picture of Christmas with wooden stalls, festooned with lights and decorations, selling locally crafted gifts, dolls, art, wood craft and tasty local delicacies", says Breton. The fair is held on 8 December this year.