Europe

12 Top Magical Christmas Markets in Europe! [2022]

Updated on:  
November 30, 2022
Reading Time:  
5
 minutes
Abigail Sinsona
Contributor
In many parts of Europe, Christmas markets mark the beginning of the holiday season. Cities transform into vibrant displays of dazzling lights and cheerful decorations. Feel like a child again and visit the most magical Christmas markets in Europe this season!

There's no shortage of dreamy Christmas markets in Europe, making them a must-do during this time of year. The Christmas markets pop up in small towns and large cities alike. No matter the size of the market, you'll feel the festive spirit in full swing!

Navigate the colorful rows of market stalls, get lost in the busy cobblestone streets, or indulge in mouthwatering delights. The markets are a one-of-a-kind experience you can't pass up.

lit up merry go round at Christmas market
Photo by cmophoto.com on Unsplash

12 of the best European Christmas Markets in 2022

Discover more magic at the great European Christmas markets this holiday season. Here are a dozen markets to add to your itinerary!

12. Funchal Christmas Market – Madeira, Portugal

Kicking off this list of the best Christmas markets in Europe is the Funchal Christmas market in Portugal. Portugal is the home of many breathtaking places, but not perhaps the epitome of everyone's idea of Christmas vibes.

The idea of spending the holiday season on the sub-tropical island of Madeira might be different from what you'd envision as a traditional Christmas destination. However, it's worth the visit! Funchal is the capital of Madeira in Portugal, and they take Christmas festivities seriously.

This subtropical island hosts one of the most vibrant Christmas markets in this part of Europe. The market is filled with Portuguese treats, rare flowers, grilled meats, and local Madeira punch. Christmas carolers, folklore groups, and live performers grace the market to entertain the crowds.

11. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland – London, England

London is one of those cities that's bursting with iconic landmarks. Hyde Park is another one of its many popular tourist destinations all year round. However, if you visit during the holiday season, you'll witness it transformed into a winter wonderland.

This Christmas market boasts a dazzling display of lights, holiday decorations, and gourmet treats. It's also a great place to indulge in retail therapy. You can find unique items, such as candle votives, artisan crafts, and ornaments. 

There are plenty of fun activities lined up, such as a meet-and-greet with Santa and an ice skating rink. 

10. Tivoli Gardens – Copenhagen, Denmark

No list of magical places in Europe would be complete without a mention of Tivoli Gardens. The whimsical park is a year-round attraction and is one of the top things to do in Copenhagen. However, it becomes more magical during the holiday season and is by far one of the best winter markets in Europe. 

It's the most accurate example of a fairytale winter, with extravagant light displays and market stalls. As you wander from stall to stall, you'll be serenaded by the traditional bands that play festive songs for the market-goers.

Man and little girl playing on the merry go round
Photo by Jonas Smith on Unsplash

9. Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market – Berlin, Germany

The Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market is a historical masterpiece. It's a must-add to your list of European Christmas markets, especially if you're looking for cool things to do in Berlin.

As you explore this historic Christmas market, you'll be in awe of the fantastic authentic items you can find, such as wood carvings and traditional blown glass. If you're not into shopping, the many Bavarian treats will keep you smiling from ear to ear. 

New Year's Eve is a brilliant time to visit Gendarmenmarkt, as it's also an impressive fireworks display venue. 

8. Basel Weihnachtsmarkt – Basel, Switzerland

Basel is always a quaint town but transforms into a magical destination during the holiday season. The Christmas market features twinkling lights spanning two squares. You must take advantage of this idyllic market.

Basel Weihnachtsmarkt officially opens with the Christmas tree lighting at Munsterplatz. You can find many colorful stalls with rustic wooden chalets as the backdrop to the market. It's a family-friendly Christmas market that features a fairytale forest and gingerbread houses for kids to decorate. But who isn't a kid at Christmas? This place is fun for all kids, young and old!

7. Strasbourg Christmas Market – Strasbourg, France

The Strasbourg Christmas Market is a Christmas tradition in France that has been around since the 16th century. Fairy lights illuminate the streets of Strasbourg and some parts along the banks of the Rhine River. 

It's a festive European Christmas market with more than 300 stalls selling blown glass candles, wooden toys, holiday ornaments, and more. After completing your shopping spree, you can check out the stalls serving your favorite French treats. 

Outdoor Christmas lights with little quote
Photo by Alexis Brander on Unsplash

6. Plaza Mayor Christmas Market - Madrid, Spain

Madrid is a great place to go if you're looking for the best Christmas markets in Europe. This Madrid Christmas market is in a beautiful, historic location. Among the many other must-sees in Madrid is the Plaza Mayor Christmas Market.

You'll have endless stalls to choose from, all selling handcrafted figurines to add to your nativity scenes. Other intricate ornaments are also available here to decorate your Christmas tree or to keep as souvenirs.  

5. Mercatini di Natale – Milan, Italy

Be in awe of the dazzling Christmas lights display with the gothic-style Duomo cathedral in the backdrop. It's a magical Christmas scene like no other. A Christmas pitstop in Milan will ensure an unforgettable Italy trip.

The Mercatini di Natale offers you options as you explore the long rows of stalls selling Italian cheeses, holiday souvenirs, and your favorite Italian delicacies. Even if you're not into shopping, it's a great place to soak in the festive spirit and indulge in delicious treats. 

People crowing in warm jackets around close stores
Photo by Red Chalie on Unsplash

4. Advent Christmas Market – Zagreb, Croatia

Advent in Zagreb is regarded as one of Europe's best Christmas market destinations. The light display fountain and the towering Christmas tree at the Jelacic Square are the focal attractions in the market.

These lights cast a magical glow on the streets filled with live music performers, an ice rink, ice sculptures, and pop-up bars. Advent is best known for its gastronomic offerings, so be sure to check out the street food stalls. 

You can add this iconic European Christmas market to your list of the best things to do in Croatia this year! 

3. Old Town and Wenceslas Square Market – Prague, Czech Republic

The Old Town of Prague in the Czech Republic hosts one of the most magical Christmas markets in Europe. The square features a blend of Renaissance and Gothic architecture, which contrasts the market stalls' winter wonderland scene. 

Live performers serenade shoppers and add to the festive atmosphere at the market. As you explore the various stalls, don't forget to treat yourself to delectable Czech treats and stay warm with a cup of your favorite hot beverage.

Here's a great guide if you're wondering where to stay in Prague.

2. Krakow Christmas Market – Krakow, Poland

The bustling Christmas market in Old Town Krakow is a stunning winter wonderland. The Christmas market features the iconic Cloth Hall and the St. Mary's Basilica as its backdrop. 

Local vendors set up their stalls, offering an assortment of gift items, local goods, handcrafted pottery, and Polish treats. Other exciting activities like contests and games are also available for market-goers to enjoy. 

Buildings behind small light display for Sushou
Photo by Patryk of Unsplash

Sibiu is a town that embraces the joyous spirit of the holiday season like no other. The Transylvanian city is home to one of Europe's most colorful Christmas markets. 

The Christmas market is held at Piata Mare, in the heart of Sibiu. The location is jaw-dropping as it is flanked by stunning Baroque architecture. If you're not marveling at the architectural views, you'll be busy rummaging through the many unique items in the market stalls. 

Spoil yourself with delectable treats, jewelry, and handcrafted ornaments. And remember to check out the ice rink! 

Discover Europe's magical winter with Pilot!

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Europe is a popular year-round destination, whether you're into history, culture, or nature. But if you've got your sights set on visiting for the holidays, you're in for a treat. Put any of these European Christmas markets on your itinerary, and be prepared for a memorable festive season.

Between all the packing, planning, and Christmas shopping, creating an ideal holiday itinerary can seem like a hassle. But having a game plan on your vacation can make a huge difference.

Pilot is your brand new trip planner that helps you discover and build travel itineraries connecting you to resources everywhere. Make the planning experience more fun by collaborating with your travel buddies! 

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Published on:  
November 30, 2022

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