The popularity of Christmas markets is growing year on year with a record number of travellers choosing to take short breaks over Christmas to do their shopping.
We’ve composed our list of best Christmas markets in Europe for 2018.
Christmas Market Stats
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5) BERLIN CHRISTMAS MARKET
With the Charlottenburg Palace as its backdrop, Berlin was always going to be in our top 5 European Christmas markets.
Expertly placed lighting bathing the palace, the decorative fencing and the market itself creates a warm festive glow strong enough to brighten the mood of Ebenezer Scrooge himself.
The festive atmosphere is lifted even higher once you see what’s on offer from the marquees and wooden huts selling a variety of festive treats.
Hot chestnuts, crepes and Hungarian langos are all available as well as an impressive selection of culinary options. Many of Berlin and Brandenburg’s top restaurants offer fine dining in pop-up heated tents, a touch which many visitors find impressive.
The winterwald (winter forest) is also a brilliant place for children with a carousel, air swing and small railway to name a few of the attractions here. There is also a tent called the Märchenzelt (fairy tale tent) in which smaller children can try their hand at arts and crafts, doing paintings or creating mini sculptures.
Berlin Christmas markets are a must for any lover of the festive period! Here is a full list of Berlin’s 2018 Christmas markets.
Duration: Varies but generally between 14th November and 31st December 2019
4) LILLE CHRISTMAS MARKET (Marche De Noel)
Lille Christmas Market is famous for a reason!
The main square is transformed into a winter wonderland as the big wheel turns slowly in the background, lit up like the star on top of a Christmas tree.
Standing next to the wheel is an 18 meter high Christmas tree, then as you head towards Place Rihour you can see 83 wooden chalets sprinkled with snow and trees lined with twinkling fairy lights.
The aroma of cinnamon spills from the chalets as you walk round and take in all Lille has to offer, so why not treat yourself to some new decorations or maybe even a waffle and a cup of warming mulled wine.
Lille also has plenty to offer the children as next to the markets is a winter funfair filled will rides and stalls where you could win a Christmas themed gift. Come on the right day and you may even bump into father Christmas himself as he is known for making a regular appearance around the market or the funfair!
Lille Christmas market is a real treat and definitely deserves its place on the list of Europe’s best Christmas markets.
Find out more about the Christmas Market in Lille by visiting the Lille Tourism Website.
Duration: From 22nd November to 29th December 2019
3) VIENNA CHRISTMAS MARKET
Vienna’s Christmas markets are a truly old-aged tradition. The forerunners of the present-day events date back to the Middle Ages when in 1298 Albrecht I granted Vienna’s citizens the privilege of holding a December Market or “Krippenmarkt”.
The city hall lit up behind the market creates a idyllic backdrop as you wander through the maze of stalls selling some festive culinary delights.
If it’s traditional handmade gifts that you’re after then head over to Belvedere Palace and you will be in awe with what’s on offer, as the stalls compete to win you over selling truly beautiful hand crafted items.
Vienna’s crowning jewel for us here at SkyParkSecure is the Christmas village situated within Vienna’s old general hospital. The lovingly designed and decorated market stalls located along the many narrow alleyways offer beautiful Christmas gifts as well as delicious traditional Gluhwein (glow wine).
Another festive surprise Vienna has to offer is within the city’s town hall.
Enter the city hall on the ground floor and you’ll see an area dedicated to children where they can learn how to make Christmas cookies or candles. You can also listen to international choirs singing carols with free entrance on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. A visit to Vienna Christmas markets is truly an unforgettable experience.
Find out more about Vienna’s Christmas markets.
Duration: From 15th November to 26th December 2018
2) PARIS CHRISTMAS MARKET
Paris is a magical place at any time of the year but at Christmas, it’s taken to a whole new level with the city’s most famous landmarks twinkling in decorations. To put it simply, the festive atmosphere is lifted to a level matched by nowhere else in Europe.
Head over to the famous avenue of Village de Noel des Champs Elysees and take in the sights of the fairy-lit avenue, sample the gooey delights of a cheesy tartiflette (a bit pricey but well worth it!) and sip mulled wine.
If it’s gifts that you’re after then pay a visit to the Alsatian Christmas market which takes place on the forecourt of the Gare de l’Est. You will find Christmas trees hung with decorations from different eras of history, tiny real candles, shiny baubles and yellow stars, making it the perfect place to stock up on your tree decorations.
There will also be Christmas theater, storytelling, and free wine tastings!
Looking for fun for the children? Don’t worry as the Paris Christmas markets aren’t all about delicious culinary treats.
This year all over the city there are a variety of activities for the children to enjoy. The huge ice rink is sure to have them excited and that’s before they will have seen the huge winter wonderland funfair. Whatever festive experience you’re looking for, Paris will have it in abundance.
Find out more about Paris’ Christmas markets here.
Duration: 14th November 2019 to 5th January 2020
1) STRASBOURG CHRISTMAS MARKET
A very, very tough choice but our number one spot has to go the incredible Strasbourg Christmas market.
It was in Strasbourg in 1570 that the very first edition of the then called “Christkindelsmärik” (Market of the Infant Jesus) took place.
Now one of France’s biggest Christmas markets, the picturesque setting in front of Strasbourg Cathedral with its Gothic towers and famous astronomical clock (worth a visit itself!).
The 300 chalets attract over 2 million visitors a year and you can see why! A magical Christmas tree stands tall and the whiff of the gingerbread bakery is sure to make you fall in love with this place.
An ice rink is located within the market, a perfect treat for all the family, and then once you need to re-energize you can top up on some of the delicious culinary options available, including sausages, choucroute (pickled cabbages) and the famous three-meat baeckeoffe stew.
Every day from 10am to 8pm (except on the 25th December), the little chalets will sell decorations, local products and craftsmanship, not forgetting “vin chaud” (mulled wine), Christmas cakes, biscuits and gingerbread.
The market’s decorations and illuminations are the most impressive ones we have seen throughout Europe, and you may even catch a street parade!
Often described as the ‘Capital of Christmas’ Strasbourg really is something special, and offers a true taste of the real Christmas spirit.
Duration: From 22nd November to 30th December 2019