With mulled wine, stalls full of ornaments and souvenirs, and smoke coming from grilling sausages, it’s hard not to get excited about holiday markets in November and December.
The Christmas market concept originated in Germany, so you’ll find the largest share of the below holiday markets coming from Deutschland. However, every country puts up some great holiday cheer competition, as you’ll soon see below.
So, without further ado—
Here are the 31+ best Christmas markets in the world:
1. Berliner Weihnachtszeit am Roten Rathaus, Berlin, Germany
As Germany is the capital of Christmas markets, the German capital doesn’t disappoint. Berliner Weihnachtszeit am Roten Rathaus, or “Berlin Christmas Time at the Red City Hall,” is a throwback and a look back at the Berlin of 1900. A 50-meter-high Ferris wheel, the same one used in Munich’s Oktoberfest, offers a panoramic view of the Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden, and Potsdamer Platz.
There’s also a medieval market which offers unique items of a time long ago, such as a tavern where you can drink beer or hot mead from clay mugs. A circular ice rink and dozens of stalls rounds this one out to be our #1 pick for best Christmas market in the world.
2. Place du Ralliement, Angers, France
The Place du Ralliement is a central square in Angers, France which was pedestrianized in 2010 and home to the Soleils d’Hiver (Winter Suns) Festival. This small city of around 150,000 has a lot of history to behold, including the Château d’Angers, the Maison d’Adam, Saint-Maurice cathedral, and the Tour Saint-Aubin.
The Angers Christmas market is one of the best around, particularly for foodies and those craving a piping hot mug of vin chaud (French mulled wine), with amazing dishes from around the Loire Valley and elsewhere in France. If traveling in France, particularly the western part during the holiday season, be sure to hit up the Angers Christmas market!
By the way, we wrote a nifty guide with over 100 facts about France. Check it out!
3. Christmas World on Rathausplatz, Vienna, Austria
From mid-November through Christmas, Vienna’s Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) takes place on the Rathausplatz (Town Hall Square) opposite the Burgtheater. One of the largest holiday markets in Austria, if not the largest, there are over 150 stalls each year serving Christmas ornaments, decorations, souvenirs, trinkets, warm food, mulled wine, and other popular items for the winter season.
4. Christmas by the River, Bankside, London
Christmas by the River is a Bankside, London holiday market, just one of many in the capital of the United Kingdom. Over 70 little cabin-like stalls dot the grounds, which is located along the Queen’s Walk from the Scoop at More London to London Bridge City Pier. While there, you can enjoy live musical performances, attend free craft workshops, and enjoy great mulled wine, among other things.
5. Toronto Christmas Market, Canada
The Toronto Christmas Market takes place each year in the Distillery Historic District of the largest city in Canada. There’s a Santa house, Distillery District walking tours, and live stage performances. And, Canadians know how to keep warm, so they offer warming lounges to beat the winter weather. Have a stop in, warm yourself back up, and get back out there!
We’ve got a full guide with over 100 interesting facts about Canada. Have a look before you go!
6. Aalborg Rådhus Holiday Market, Denmark
Aalborg is the fourth-largest city in Denmark, but the magical winter wonderland at Gammeltorv is definitely number one. Gammeltorv is the oldest public square in Aalborg, dating back to the 13th century. From mid-November through to just before Christmas, you can ride the Ferris wheel, meet Santa Claus, and warm yourself up with a bit of hot glögg.
7. Frankfurt City Christmas Market, Germany
The Frankfurt City Christmas Market makes the German financial capital cheery and festive. Located in the historic quarter of the Frankfurt am Main near two main squares, Römerburg and Paulsplatz, this market offers unique Christmas-time treats you won’t find anywhere else. Frankfurter Brenten are traditional tea bakery specialties dating back to the Middle Ages, small cookies oozing with marzipan. Bethmännchen are similar, but marzipan is mixed with crushed almonds.
8. Christmas Market, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
The Christmas market in Scotland’s capital Edinburgh, located in the East Princes Street Gardens, offers myriad events for any type of visitor. You can take part in a silent disco, visit Santa’s Grotto, take in a show like the annual Scottish Norwegian Advent concert, or ride any of a number of amusement park attractions. For those who want more of a traditional Christmas market, there are dozens of stalls serving up handmade goods and scrumptious treats.
9. Red Square Christmas Market, Moscow, Russia
Moscow’s Red Square holiday market is a winter celebration full of life and energy in the capital of Russia. Have a taste of authentic Russian foods, buy some traditional, handmade Russian presents and toys, all in the shadow of St. Basil’s Cathedral.
10. Christmas Market and Advent Feast, Budapest, Hungary
At the base of St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest, Hungary, the Christmas Market and Advent Feast features dozens of stalls filled with European favorites. While you’re there, warm your insides with a shot or two of pálinka, a traditional Hungarian fruit brandy dating back to the Middle Ages.
11. Stare Miasto Christmas Market in Warsaw, Poland
Stare Miasto (“Old Town” in Polish) Christmas Market in Warsaw, Poland is a popular affair, and it offers a pleasant respite from the bustling Polish capital around. Located in a square, the stalls here are scattered around, with plenty of standing areas with warming lamps to warm up and enjoy your grzaniec (“mulled wine”) and grilled kiełbasy (“sausages”).
12. Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tivoli Gardens is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world, the other being also Danish, Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg. As such, the Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market in København is no amateur. There are over 60 stalls with December market staples, more than 1,000 light-decorated Christmas trees, and plenty of Yule gløgg to go around.
13. Doma Laukums Christmas Market, Riga, Latvia
The Doma Laukums, or “Dome Square,” Christmas Market in Riga might not be as big as the other great Christmas markets on this page, but it makes up for it with its cute and cozy atmosphere. This winter marketplace in the capital of Latvia has many dozen kiosks selling karstvīns (“mulled wine” in Latvian), jewelry, hand-stitched gloves, scarves, and hats, and there’s even a petting zoo for the kids.
14. Marché Vert Noël, Aosta, Italy
The “Marché Vert Noël, or “Christmas Green Market” in French, take place in the small town of Aosta in northwestern Italy. Located in the Roman Theatre area at the foot of the Italian Alps, this winter market serves up things in style from stylish little chalets. If you’re looking to go shopping, here you’ll find antiques, furniture, handmade soaps, and more of the grander things in life.
15. Weihnachtsmarkt @ Leonberg Marktplatz Altstadt, Germany
In Leonberg, Germany, in the central Marktplatz Altstadt (Old Town Market Square), a bunch of stalls dot the grounds of a public plaza in the shadow of quintessential German buildings lit up for the holidays. The Leonberg Xmas market is in the Baden-Württemberg state, so try some traditional Baden cuisine such as schupfnudeln with sauerkraut, maultaschen, and gaisburger marsch.
16. Union Square Holiday Market NYC
The United States doesn’t compare to Europe when it comes to placing for the best Christmas markets, but New York City’s Union Square Holiday Market is a strong contender. This Yuletide market is located in one of the busiest squares in the world, so it’s hectic, with over 200 shops and booths. As it’s located in the marketing capital, you’ll find branding galore, such as warming stations sponsored by Citi and a Kid’s Arts Studio by the Children’s Museum of the Arts New York.
17. Bruges Christmas Market in Market Square, Belgium
Bruges Christmas Market in Market Square is so gorgeous, I will bet anything you won’t be able to leave without taking a few photos. This canal-laden city in the West Flanders region of Belgium looks like the quintessential Christmas village all year round, so it’s kind of hard to Christmas it up, but they manage.
18. Striezelmarkt in Dresden, Germany
The Striezelmarkt in Dresden is considered to be the first Christmas market in history (similar markets from earlier were simply “December markets”). The first Striezelmarkt took place in 1434, almost 600 years ago! With 240+ stands, it is no small deal, either.
19. Staroměstské Náměstí Christmas Market, Prague, Czechia
Old Town Square, or Staroměstské náměstí in the Czech language, turns up the decorations when the holidays come around. Situated near the Jan Hus monument (Památník Jana Husa) and the Prague Meridian (Pražský poledník), the capital of Czechia (formerly the Czech Republic) gets crowded with locals and tourists alike.
20. Aeschenplatz Christmas Market, Basel, Switzerland
When I saw that the Christmas market at Basel’s Aeschenplatz featured a job training booth, I knew it had to be on the list. I mean, what’s the holiday season for if not to ready yourself for the new year ahead? The Aeschenplatz is one of the most trafficked and popular areas in Basel, Switzerland. During November and December, it transforms into a holiday-lover’s paradise lined with vendors serving Swiss delicacies, handmade goods, and yes, job training.
21. Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market
Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market is located in Winchester, in England’s Hampshire, on the grounds of the Church of England cathedral. An ice rink, British crafts village, food court, and more can be found in one of the best Christmas markets in the UK.
22. Spandauer Weihnachtsmarkt, Berlin, Germany
The largest Christmas market in Berlin (Berlin gets two spots on this list) is in the old town of Spandau. 250 stalls (!!!) sell everything you can imagine, from Christmas decorations to hot German foods.
23. Jarmark Bożonarodzeniowy, Wrocław, Poland
Wrocław is just about the most charming of Poland’s larger cities, and its Christmas market, or “Jarmark Bożonarodzeniowy” in the Polish language, represents the place well. The Market Square in Wrocław’s Old Town is a festive treat, with holiday florists, Christmas concerts, and a Winter Labyrinth.
24. Mercatino di Natale di Merano, Italy
The Mercatino di Natale di Merano, or the “market of Christmas of Merano, goes all the way to early January in this Alpine town in northern Italy. Artisanal meats and cheeses, handcrafted sweaters and slippers, and custom-made candles and soaps are just some of the many items you’ll find in this X-mas market. To warm up, hit up the Merano thermal baths nearby.
25. Braunschweig Christmas Market (Brunswick), Germany
Braunschweig (Brunswick) Christmas Market, Germany takes place at the foot of the St. Blasii Cathedral. Having been active for over 500 years, it’s also one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world. Listen to fairytale readings, watch a puppet show, and buy handmade leather goods, for starters.
26. Christmas Market Bratislava, Slovakia
Christmas Market Bratislava takes place right in the heart of the capital city in Slovakia, on the Hlavné Námestie (“Main Square” in Slovakian). Come at night to see the many stalls lit up with the golden lights of the buildings behind them.
27. Weihnachtsmarkt am Kiepenkerl, Münster, Germany
The Weihnachtsmarkt am Kiepenkerl (Christmas market at the Kiepenkerl) in Münster is a small but cozy affair with plenty of Westphalian specialties to try and buy. Münster is one of my favorite cities, with its Lambertikirche, the Aasee lake, and the Schloss Nordkirchen nearby. Don’t miss it!
28. Albert Square Christmas Market, Manchester, UK
Albert Square Christmas Market in Manchester is the perfect place to try Great North Pies, Yard & Coop’s buttermilk fried chicken served in waffle cones, and other artisanal treats.
28. Lüneburg Holiday Market, Germany
Lüneburg’s Christmas market takes place in and around St. Johannis Church and the market square. Come for the lights, the sights, and the appetizing delights!
30. Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market, United Kingdom
This Christmas market takes place on Exeter Cathedral Green, a British event with German inspiration. Try out one of the many Bavarian-style bars while you’re there, as well as the award-winning The Cathedral Tavern.
31. Neuer Markt Rostock Christmas Market
The Rostock Christmas Market takes place in Neuer Markt (“New Market” in German) with dozens of stalls, amusement park rides, a craft market, and even a Christmas magic show event.
32. Jõuluturg in Vanalinn, Tallinn, Estonia
Jõuluturg, “Christmas Market” in Estonian, in Vanalinn (“Old Town”) is just that, a holiday market right in the heart of the capital of Estonia. As you might imagine, you’ll find the holiday staples like food, ornaments, and gifts, as well as other artisanal and handmade goods, perfect for Christmas presents.
Also, check out our article on the most interesting facts about Estonia for more on this Baltic country!
So, what do you think about our list of best Christmas markets? Do you have any more holiday markets that belong on this list? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!