Europe's Christmas markets grace major European cities during the season. Check out a charming list of the best Christmas bazaars on the European continent

Extremely low temperatures, charming buildings covered in snow, a glass of hot chocolate and a walk through streets lit by Christmas decorations. It seems like a dream, right?

This is one of the reasons why many tourists choose the Christmas season in Europe as their favorite time to travel. This is the time when the main cities prepare for the celebration, decorating the main streets and squares of the cities.

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As if the charming scenery were not enough, the destination is also famous at this time not only for its snowy landscapes, but also for the christmas markets: an old tradition on the continent that remains to this day and brings together countless stands selling sweets, typical foods, Christmas crafts, clothing, household items and many creative gift ideas, in the squares of the main European capitals.

The history of Christmas markets in Europe dates back to the Middle Ages, probably in the year 1434, according to historical data from the city of Dresden, Germany. The Striezelmarkt has over 500 years of history and continues to function today!

Christmas bazaars in Europe

Christmas bazaars in Europe. photo: Shutterstock

From north to south of the continent, Christmas markets in Europe attract thousands of visitors every year with their carefully decorated trees, their wooden stalls decorated with hundreds of handcrafted gifts, typical foods, ice skating rinks, festivals of music and certainly a lot of entertainment during the icy nights common at this time of year.

If you also love looking for different souvenirs when you travel, be sure to check out this selection of the best Christmas markets in Europe.

Europe's best Christmas markets

Striezelmarkt, Dresden – Germany

Christmas bazaars in Europe

Christmas market in Dresden, Germany at night

When: From November 27th to December 24th.
Where: Altmarkt

Very close to cosmopolitan Berlin, the city of Dresden is in fact the owner of the most famous Christmas market in Germany. To give you an idea, the Dresdner Striezelmarkt was born even before the Portuguese arrived in Brazil, and luckily, the city has kept this tradition alive since 1434.

The fair traditionally takes place on the Altmarkt, a gigantic square located in the historic center of Dresden. When in the market, be sure to try the delicious Christmas cake, known as Stollen or Christollen.

Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt Market, Frankfurt – Germany

Christmas bazaars in Europe

Christmas bazaars in Frankfurt. photo: Shutterstock

When: From November 22nd to December 22nd.
Where: Frankfurt center

The Weihnachtsmarkt Frankfurt (Frankfurt Christmas Market) occupies numerous streets in the city center, which lead towards Römer Square, one of the main postcards of the destination.

Every year, the organization of the fair decorates a huge tree located in the center of the square, approximately 32 meters high! For decoration, around 5,000 LED lamps and 400 red bows are used. In addition to the passionate decor, the fair is made up of almost 200 shelves with jams, cakes and cookies made with almonds, chocolates and, of course, lots of Christmas artifacts.

Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg – Germany

christmas market

Christmas in Nuremberg. photo: Shutterstock

When: From November 30th to December 24th
Where: Christkindlesmarkt

As with the other cities mentioned above, another famous German destination during Christmas is the elegant city of Nuremberg. the christmas market Christkindlesmarkt It is one of the most famous in the country and has more than 180 stalls with handicrafts, toys, decorative objects, among other Christmas-themed products.

In addition to shopping and falling in love with the fair's lights that make the city center even more charming, visitors can taste typical dishes of the country while strolling unhurriedly through the fair's aisles.

Stockholm Christmas Market – Sweden

christmas market

Christmas in Europe: Stockholm. photo: Shutterstock

When: From November 23 to December 23
Where: Gamla Stan

Imagine a Christmas market filled with cute and different souvenirs! The Gamla Stan shopping center concentrates the main buildings in Stockholm and during Christmas, it concentrates several bazaars specialized in Christmas items.

When you're there, be sure to try the glögg, a version of mulled wine, enhanced with raisins and almonds, perfect for easing the low temperatures of the season. Another delicious artifact is the pepparkakor, a traditional gingerbread cookie from the country.

Prague Christmas Market – Czech Republic

Christmas in Europe

Christmas Market in Prague. photo: Shutterstock

When: From November 30th to January 6th
Where: Old Town Square

Christmas in Prague is really fascinating! The city has a welcoming atmosphere with its streets and squares entirely decorated and lit.

Prague offers several options of Christmas bazaars in Europe, but the most famous of them is concentrated in the Old Town Square, where dozens of wooden huts join the main historic buildings of the city. Another option is the Christmas bazaar located in Wenceslas Square.

Museumplein Square, Amsterdam – Netherlands

Christmas bazaars in Europe

Christmas bazaars in Europe. photo: Shutterstock

When: From the 14th to the 26th of December
Where: museumplein

amsterdam turns into a real movie set during Christmas. Skating rink, colorful lights, music, typical food and charming stalls full of souvenirs are concentrated in the middle of the city's main square.

Another must-visit market in the city is Het Amsterdamse Winterparadijs, an exhibition and conference center that transforms every December into a large Christmas bazaar full of activities for the whole family.

Tallinn Christmas Market – Estonia 

Christmas in Europe

Photo: Disclosure

When: From November 16th to January 7th
Where: Town Hall Square

Tallinn's Christmas market was voted the best European Christmas market in 2018 by European Best Destinations and is consequently attracting a lot of visitors!

With cozy streets, the center of Tallinn is the chosen place for the celebration. The fair is decorated with a huge Christmas tree that uses more than 5000 small lights, 2500 large lights, 50 LED strips and 50 lighted hearts, which transform the attraction into an amazing display of lighting!

In addition to the ravishing decor, the Christmas bazaar still offers an extensive program with several shows.

Winter Wonderland, London – England

christmas bazaars

Christmas bazaars in Europe. Photo: Disclosure

When: From November 21st to January 5th
Where: Hyde Park

Winter Wonderland is a super popular party among the English and has already become a tradition in the city when it comes to Christmas markets. The most notable Christmas event in the city begins in November and is installed in Hyde Park, considered the largest park in London.

Unlike the others commented on in the article, Winter Wonderland has a slightly more modern structure, but still very typical. The area is formed by a huge amusement park, ice skating rink, an ice bar and the Bavarian Village, an enclosed space with different options of restaurants and bars.

Trento Christmas Market – Italy

christmas bazaars

Photo: Disclosure

When: From November 23 to January 6
Where: Fiera and Cesare Battisti squares

Full of buildings and breathtaking landscapes, Italy could not be left out of this list. The city of Trento turns into a real Christmas scene at the end of the year and it also attracts throngs of tourists to the Mercatino di Natale di Trento.

The attraction of this charming Christmas bazaar is the typical delicacies of the country, offering an exclusive part to the production of food and wine in the region. In addition, the fair also exhibits decorative objects, clothing, handicrafts, books and accessories.

Currently, the Christmas market in Trento receives around 500,000 visitors per edition and serves up to 10,000 liters of mulled wine a day!

Christkindlimarkt, Zurich – Switzerland

christmas bazaars

Photo: Disclosure

When: From November 26th to December 24th
Where: Bahnhof train station

Known as one of the most charming European capitals, the city of Zurich also gets into the Christmas mood and has great Christmas markets, also known as Weihnachtsmarkt.

Christkindlmarkt is one of the largest covered Christmas markets on the European continent and is located inside the Bahnhof train station. The bazaar has 150 wooden stands that offer from handicrafts to food products, but the highlight of the fair is certainly the gigantic Christmas tree decorated with more than 7,000 Swarovski crystals.

Brussels Market – Belgium

christmas bazaars

Christmas bazaars in Europe: Christmas Market in Bruges. Photo: Disclosure

When: 23 November 2018 - 6 January 2019
Where: grand place

Brussels by itself is already an unforgettable destination, but during Christmas the Belgian capital certainly manages to get even more elegant. There are several Christmas markets around the city, the most famous of which is located on Grand Place.

The market is animated both by the sound and light presentations, as well as by the friendliness of the traders who exhibit at the event. A true paradise to taste the best flavors that Belgium has to offer: crepes, waffles, cheeses, many options of chocolate and mulled wine, are the products that most attract attention on the gastronomic stands, so be prepared to eat lots of sweets and delicious snacks.

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