Bask in traditional Yuletide cheer, mulled wine, Christmas bakes and goodies, plus visits with Santa at these Christmas markets in Europe!
Christmas markets – also known as a christkindlmarkt or weihnachtsmarkt – are festive street markets that originated as an Advent custom in Germany during the late Middle Ages. These days, Christmas markets are a holiday mainstay all over Europe, filled with little wooden huts where vendors sell piping hot mugs of glühwein (mulled wine) and all sorts of festive snacks, hand-carved ornaments, Christmas decorations and beautiful gifts for the holidays. Some have even grown into full-blown winter festivals, with live music, performances, Santa meet-and-greets, kid-friendly activities, ice-skating and even rollercoasters. Feast your eyes on these awesome Christmas markets in Europe and mark down the dates in case you want to plan your holiday around a visit!
Read more: Ultimate guide to all things Christmas in SG
1. Basel Christmas Market, Switzerland
Christmas market dates: 24 November – 23 December 2022
The Basel Christmas Market in Switzerland is split into two spots. Barfüsserplatz is filled with traders and artisans who retail enchanting Christmas gifts, jewellery and festive foods from cute, rustic wooden chalets. Pick up a cup of gluhwein, bite into servings of Basel Läckerli (a type of gingerbread) and waffles or enjoy freshly cooked fare like Swiss raclette and grilled sausages; don’t forget to swing by the 13-metre Christmas Pyramid (pictured) for Instagram snaps. There are also plenty of pre-Christmas events and activities at this Swiss Christmas market. Over on Münsterplatz, you’ll love the stunning Christmas tree that’s decked out with Christmas ornaments and decorations from the popular decorator Johann Wanner, as well as holiday lights. Another must-visit is Adväntsgass im Glaibasel at Rheingasse, a neighbourhood Christmas market that’s essentially a foodie haven with all sorts of Swiss festive delicacies.
Basel Christmas Market, www.basel.com/en/events/christmas/christmas-market
2. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, the UK
Christmas market dates: 18 November 2022 – 2 January 2023
One of the most stunning Christmas markets in Europe, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland has something for the whole family. The mornings are best for younger kids because you get to enjoy things at a slower pace. Come evening, Hyde Park turns into a massive light festival with the scent of mulled wine and hot chocolate in the air – there’s loads of Bavarian beer too! This year, you can check out Zippo’s Christmas Circus’s aerial and acrobatic magic and the famous giant Christmas inflatable fur bears; head on down to the ice slides afterwards or test your courage on more than 10 different thrilling rides and rollercoasters. There’s also a Bavarian food village, Santaland for kiddos who want to pass on their Christmas letters to Santa, a stunning traditional Christmas market filled with Christmas gifts, decorations and Christmas food and even a frosty display of more than 500 tonnes of sculptured ice and snow statues. Want to learn something new? There’ll be an ice-sculpting workshop as well!
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
3. Liseberg, Sweden
Christmas market dates: 19 November – 30 December 2022
Nothing says Christmas like five million fairy lights, the chance of snow and ice-skating at Liseberg, Scandinavia’s biggest amusement park. The Christmas market at Liseberg features ice-skating, concerts and loads of exciting Christmas lights and illuminations. There’s even a chance to meet Santa!
4. Prague Christmas Market, Czech Republic
Christmas market dates: 26 November 2022 – 6 January 2023
You won’t be short of Christmas markets to explore in Prague, but the most popular ones are typically held in Old Town Square. Often, this area is the main focus of Prague’s Christmas festivities. Highlights include a large Christmas tree that’s similar to the Rockefeller Christmas tree in NYC. Each year, the best tree in the whole country is selected from a different region, before being decorated and displayed in the town centre. Thousands visit the tree annually, and it is surrounded by a variety of stalls selling traditional Czech products, handcrafted decor and delish Christmas treats – must-tries include sugar-coated nuts, sausages and bratwurst. Sometimes, you’ll even get to see traditional arts such as sword-making being showcased.
Prague Christmas Market, www.visitczechrepublic.com
5. Santa Claus Village, Finland
When: Open year-round
Now, we’ll admit this isn’t a traditional Christmas market in Europe, but we bet the kids will love it here. Head out into Lapland in northern Finland to Rovaniemi, where you’ll find Santa Claus Village. You’ll get to meet Santa and snap pics, see the Northern Lights, feed reindeer, llamas, alpacas and other animals, go on hikes and shop from a range of local artisans – expect handcrafted knick-knacks, Christmas gifts and all sorts of Finnish products. While the village itself is open all year round, there’s always a special Christmas Opening (it’s on 19 November this year!), which honours the area’s Christmas traditions and includes musical performances, Santa’s arrival and a speech from the man in red himself.
Santa Claus Village, www.santaclausvillage.info
6. Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt, Germany
Christmas market dates: 23 November – 23 December 2022
Set against the New and Old Palace, the Königsbau and the Collegiate Church, this is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe, and it certainly looks like something right out of a Christmas card! The Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt (Stuttgart Christmas market) includes stunningly decorated stalls selling pretty Christmas decor and holiday treats, concerts and a toddler-sized train, making it an extremely kid-friendly Christmassy affair.
Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt, www.stuttgarter-weihnachtsmarkt.de/en
7. Salzburg Christkindlmarket, Austria
Christmas market dates: 17 November 2022 – 1 January 2023
This popular Christmas market in Europe dates way back to the late 15th century when the local community flocked to it for food, dolls and all sorts of cute bric-a-brac. These days, the market opens with plenty of pomp and circumstance, and you’ll find it filled with traditional decorations for Christmas trees, all sorts of holiday gifts and, most importantly, decadent Christmas nibbles in the form of hot punch, mulled wine and Austrian pastries and bites. Alongside the specially designed Christmas lighting, the Salzburg Christkindlmarket has daily programmes that include Christmas storytelling sessions for kids, Krampus parades, guided Christmas tours and concerts, traditional wind music and Christmas carol sing-alongs.
Salzburg Christkindlmarket, www.salzburg.info/en/salzburg/advent/salzburg-christmas-market
8. Tallinn Christmas Market, Estonia
Christmas market dates: 25 November 2022 – 8 January 2023
Every Christmas, Tallinn’s town hall square comes alive with a Christmas market that’s filled with decorated trees and an array of merchants retailing local handicrafts and Estonian Christmas cuisine – think black pudding, sour cabbage, gingerbread and hot Christmas drinks to keep you warm as it snows. The true highlight of this Christmas market in Europe is the city Christmas tree, which has been the star of the holidays since 1441. Kids will love the merry-go-rounds and exciting Christmas programmes on offer.
Tallinn Christmas Market, www.visitestonia.com/en/tallinn-christmas-market
9. Warsaw Christmas Markets, Poland
Christmas market dates: 25 November 2022 – 6 January 2023
During Christmas, Warsaw is filled with Christmas lights and cute illuminated displays – you’ll see families skating on the ice rink in the city centre, and there are traditional Christmas markets aplenty. There’s the Rynek Christmas market in the Old Town’s main square, the modern Christmas market in Praga and the main Christmas market along Market Square. These Christmas markets in Europe are perfect if you’re on the hunt for Christmas gifts, as you’ll find warm sweaters and hats, local gingerbread and chocolates, Christmas decorations and much more being sold out of small wooden stalls that are decked out in colourful holiday lights.
Warsaw Christmas markets, www.warsawtour.pl/en/winter-in-warsaw-2
10. Winter Wonders, Belgium
Christmas market dates: 25 November 2022 – 1 January 2023
Winter Wonders in Brussels is spread out across several parts of the city such as Marché aux Poissons and the Grand-Place, and includes ice skating rinks, massive Christmas trees and a three-kilometre stretch of snow-blanketed Christmas chalets, offering hot food, warm mulled wine and more. Winter Wonders is also a light-filled affair, as it includes the Brussels by Lights event. This mini light festival will have all sorts of Christmas light displays and illuminations across the city’s streets and shopping districts. Bring good walking shoes, as there is almost 20km of light displays to check out.
Winter Wonders, www.plaisirsdhiver.be/en
Planning for Christmas in SG? We’ve got you covered!