15 Best Places to Spend Christmas in Europe

Christmas is probably the most awaited event for every child and adult. In these days almost all the world is being decorated with shiny lights, markets are full with different souvenirs, traditional food and drinks. And all of us have some dreams and we, even a little bit, believe in magic of Christmas. So let’s start our journey into some of the best Christmas Markets in Europe and see which one is the best option to travel this year and make all our wishes and dreams come true.

There are plenty of fascinating markets around the world and in Europe. Each of them is special, has its signs and traditions. But let’s start from the place, from where Santa comes from 😉

Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland
This is the official hometown of Santa Claus, located just north of the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland. If you don’t want to wait for him to come to you, you can always be a step ahead and go to his house first. You can meet him in this wonderland with a deep snow and pine forests. In the same time children can make gingerbread cookies with Mrs. Claus and enroll in Elf School. If you are looking for unusual place to stay, book a night in an ice hotel. But don’t worry, even that the hotel is all made entirely of snow and ice, hot tubs and saunas will help to offset the frigid temperatures.

Stockholm, Sweden
If you’ve decided to check the Christmas markets in Stockholm, start from the Old Town and Skansen, attend the Christmas show with Richard Soderberg and be a part of celebrations at the Drottningholm Castle. Except this, there are a lot of things you can do in Stockholm. Visiting palaces and museums in this vibrant city worth your attention. Don’t forget to visit Riddarholmen, a small island with historical buildings and a church that was a resting place of the Swedish monarchs.

Helsinki, Finland
Christmas Market of Helsinki is considered to be one among the top 10 Christmas markets in Europe. The astonishing Christmas market located at the Senate Square, where you can find some handicrafts from more than 140 vendors, eat the tradition rice & porridge, and plum juice in the morning. Visit adorable parks and museums and don’t miss to attend a free Christmas concert!

Budapest, Hungary
If you are thinking about where to go for Christmas to have full list of fun, then Budapest is the ideal option. Except attending the Christmas market at Vorosmarty Square, you can enjoy the Christmas Fair at the Basilica to have the best traditional food and drinks. Spend your day at the Szechenyi Baths, walk around Fisherman’s Bastion on Buda Hill or the Citadel on Gellert Hill to take in magnificent views of the city. If you are fun of ice skating, don’t miss visiting the fairytale Vajdahunyad Castle and skiing in City Park.

Brussels, Belgium
In one of the biggest Christmas markets held in Brussels inside the premises of Place Flagey you can easily find the best gifts for your friends and family. Here you can find some of the best handicrafts products as souvenirs by artists who came here from places like France, Hungary, Germany and so on. Adore the huge Christmas tree at the Grand Palace, enjoy light and music show, or go skating at the Marché aux Poissons. Try the best beef stew in town, and of course, some chocolate waffles at the Christmas markets of Place Sainte-Catherine.

Bruges, Belgium
Since you are in Belgium, why not to visit another famous place here? The medieval town of Bruges is breathtaking year-round, but during the Christmas time the center is transformed into a Christmas wonderland, partially sliding onto a huge ice rink where skaters sail in the shadow of the 272-foot-high belfry. Try out those delectable warm Belgian waffles and rich hot chocolate, fill up your energy to visit some of the other smaller holiday markets across the city and just enjoy the Christmas spirit around.

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Did you know that Amsterdam is one of the few countries that celebrate Christmas twice? The first event is celebrated on December 5th and is called Sinterklaas. This is the main gift-giving holiday event in Amsterdam and is celebrated with parades and European Christmas traditions carried out for weeks before the actual celebration day. Enjoying the endless food, music, drinks, and dance scenes, and you will prove that Amsterdam is indeed one of the best places to spend Christmas in Europe.  Don’t forget to attend the Amsterdam Light Festival, enjoy a special Canal Cruise, and experience the second Christmas Day (or Boxing Day) in Amsterdam.

Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg Christkindlmarkt is considered to be one the oldest Christmas markets in the world and is known to be rooted to its age-old traditions and cultural values. Starting from the 15th century, Salzburg stays one of the best places to spend Christmas in Europe with historical background. Drink Glühwein, eat Lebkuchen and go shopping in the famous Salzburg Christmas markets, attend the Alpine Heritage event of Perchtenlauf, know the history behind Silent Night, and why not, ski in Alps if you need some adrenaline and breathtaking views.

Vienna, Austria
One of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe is located in Vienna, where you can taste the culinary delights served in the most creative forms and drink the Christmas punches called Weihnachtspunsch. Take a hop on hop off bus tour in the evening, capture Belvedere Palace in a perfect light. And as you’re already here, why not to visit all the majestic palaces of Vienna?

Strasbourg, France
One of the world’s oldest Christmas markets is located right here in Strasbourg and dates back to 1570. While visiting 400 years old Christmas markets at he Cathedral Square, don’t miss to explore the city center of Place Broglie, and admire the giant Christmas tree near Sharing Village. All these make Strasbourg one of the best European cities for Christmas.

London, England
London is among the best places to visit in Europe during Christmas, as the whole city transforms into a winter wonderland. Except admiring the lightened streets of the city, there are a lot of things you can do. Know the history behind Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square, attend the midnight mass at Westminster Abbey, attend the Carol Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, be a part of the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Surely you will enjoy your stay in London decorated with Christmas Lights.

Prague, Czech Republic
As in every city, here also, the big main market is held in the old town square, but there are also smaller markets nearby as well. Several Christmas markets are usually open here from the end of November to January 6th. You will enjoy the sausages and hot beverages, such as glühwein, cider, beer, and hot chocolate being sold at food stalls. But you can find also many stalls selling decorations, ornaments, and hand-made gifts. Take your time to visit the Prague Castle complex, Astronomical clock, the dancing house, St. Vitus Cathedral, and walk on the famous Charles Bridge.

Nuremberg, Germany
Probably one of the most visited Christmas market in Germany is the Nuremberg Christmas market, which has over two million visitors each year with its vendors showcasing amazing displays while competing for the ‘Most Beautiful Staff Design’ award. Here you can find only traditional handmade toys and holiday goods instead of mass-produced, plastic decorations. Enjoy the tempting aromas of mulled wine, gingerbread, sausage and sweet roasted almonds in the Old Town.

Munich, Germany
But Munich offers many many other small and big Christmas markets all over the city, which have different closing dates. The main Christmas Market is located on Marienplatz (St. Mary’s Square) in the center of Munich where a huge Christmas tree stands covered in lights. If you are looking for some handicraft souvenirs or endless glühwein, then Marienplatz Christmas Market (Christkindlmarkt Marienplatz) is right for you. Few minutes walk away from here and you will reach Sternenplatzl at Rindermarkt, which offers a super romantic and cozy vibe. Another cozy markets can be found near Chinese Tower, Munich Rezidense, Sendlinger Tor, and actually all over the Munich city. You won’t be bored here!

Zagreb, Croatia
Here comes the last one in my list, Advent in Zagreb that has been recognized as the best Christmas market in Europe for three years in a row now. There are stands offering food delights and beverages for all tastes, from the local spirit, rakija, to classics such as mulled wine and coffee, to Grinch tea. Christmas market stands are surrounded by stunning Zagreb landmark, such as St. Mark’s Church, Ban Jelačić Square, Zagreb Cathedral, and King Tomislav Square. If you are Christmas lover, you should come here to enjoy your holidays and have some fun.

If you still didn’t write a letter to Santa with your wishes, it’s the best time to do it now. Counted days are left before Christmas. Don’t lose your chance to share your dreams. Believe in magic and all your dreams will come true 🙂

Merry Christmas!

P.S. I don’t owe the rights of any picture shared in this article except the one from Budapest.