The 13 Best European Christmas Fairs and Markets

As Christmas approaches, most of the big cities open their Christmas fair, where visitors can have a taste of the Christmas mood weeks before the actual holiday.

Most Beautiful Christmas Fairs in Europe

In almost every part of Europe, there is a great tradition of Christmas fairs with large markets going around. As December is the 12th month we present you with twelve fairs we considered as the finest ones in all of Europe.

So for those of you who want to travel in December, you can choose between places that are to your liking. In addition we also included a special bonus event at the end of the article that you may also like.

1. STRASBOURG – FRANCE

In 1570, the first Christmas fair was held in Strasbourg. Since then, Christkindelsmärik has been placed in the square in front of the cathedral.

The famous fair is visited by approximately two million visitors. The heart of downtown Strasbourg, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is beautifully decorated.

At the thousand-year-old Notre Dame cathedral, there are 300 small wooden huts, where mostly Alsatian dishes, boiled wine and decorations can be bought. The charm of the fair is that every year they invite a guest country to attend the event.

STRASBOURG Chistmas

2. ZAGREB – CROATIA

Zagreb won the title of Europe’s Most Beautiful Advent in 2017, the voters last year considered this fair as the most beautiful event of the Croatian capital. There are several venues in the city for advent events. A huge advent wreath is set up in the city center this is the center of the event. Here and in the surrounding streets you can always find vendors selling mulled wine and the most colorful gift ideas are coming together as they are handmade and yours for the taking to surprise a loved one with them on Christmas day. On the European Square there is a modern atmosphere and a skating rink is waiting for you. The Zagreb advent fairs are part of the Zrinjevac Park. Beautifully lit trees, pavilions, fountains, and live theaters are also located here that make the event a magical one.
Zagreb

3. SIBIU – ROMANIA

Christmas Fair stated in 2007 at the initiative of the Association for Events for Tourism, in collaboration with the Office of the Social Attaché of the Austrian Embassy in Romania and local authorities.

Usually start middle November and ends after New Year. Here you can taste local and seasonal products as sweets, food, and drinks as mulled wine. It’s perfect for hanging out with your friend or family because you have plenty of option of entertainment, as rally for kids and adults, carousel and more.

Also for kids Santa’s workshop it’s perfect for you if you need a break and for them because they will have fun a lot. Plenty of small wood houses will be opened for you to by food, drinks, souvenirs, presents, winter cloatses and more.

During evening plenty of concerts and Christmas carols warm the atmosphere along with a nice projection on surrounding buildings or on The Council Tower.

It’s similar with others Christmas Fairs but it’s a good choice to see how local get their mark.

Sibiu

4. COLMAR – FRANCE

Colmar’s small town, located north of Basel, is France’s most beautiful city. The traditional fair will begin at the end of November and will take place in different parts of the old town.

The city of Alsace wines is famous for its gastronomy, lights and handmade items during the winter. It is a friendly and safe destination ideal for anybody who wants to enjoy a Christmas fair but avoid a huge crowd. Handmade products and special flavors await visitors.

The city’s special features are the beautiful ice sculptures.

COLMAR

5. VIENNA – AUSTRIA

Vienna is probably the most popular place when it comes to Christmas Markets. The Austrian capital has a total of twenty markets and even a Christmas village. T

he Wiener Christkindlmarkt, which is attracting thee million visitors a year, is held in the Town Hall Square, it is the most famous and largest Christmas fair in Vienna, but the Rathaus Park, Maria Terézia Square and Karlsplatz are home for also very popular Christmas markets.

At the end of the first winter months, the Schönbrunn Palace’s garden also floats in Advent lights, and visitors can taste the gastronomic delicacies of the locals in the park of the castle.

The Viennese Advent Venue in the Garden of Schönbrunn Palace is recommended for those who like to fly back to the past and take a glance at the time of the Monarchy.

vienna
vienna

6. BUDAPEST – HUNGARY

The delightful Christmas Fair of the Hungarian capital cannot go unnoticed. The site is praised for the beauty of Saint Stephen’s Basilica, the hard work of the organizers, the Hungarian handmade products and the 3D light paintings that are unique.

You can find here delicious food such as stuffed cabbage, smoky meats, gulyas that is a spicy stew made with beef, potatoes carrots and spices.

If you want something sweet try kurtuskalacs, a traditional Hungarian pastry you can also choose your own version may that be sugary, with walnuts or coconut.

Somloi galuska, dumplings are another kind of delicious pastry served with chocolate, peach gem, vanilla and chocolate pudding and whipped cream.

Budapest

7. AACHEN – GERMANY

Aachen lies in Germany, in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, close to the Belgian and Dutch border.

The Aachen Christmas Market was visited by one and a half million visitors in 2017. It is located in Aachen’s historic Old Town year by year we can see advent wreaths, lamp and gingerbread statues decorating the area.

In addition to punch and mulled wine with cinnamon, the town’s specialty is Bavarian sausage, Belgian fried potatoes and flammekueche a delicious pie.

8.BASEL – SWITZERLAND

In addition to the giant wheel, the fabulous ice rink and the award-winning shopping venues in Christmas decor, there are countless Christmas attractions and programs waiting for you.

Of course, there is no lack of a culinary experience, as specialties from the Swiss cuisine are undeniably delicious.

The undisputed highlight of the Advent event is the stage, where good music, laughter and compassion are never missing.

Basel

9. TALLINN – ESTONIA

The city of winter sports has plenty of programs, events and concerts in the Advent period. In addition to the town hall’s stores, there are hand-made woolen caps, wicker baskets, wooden plates, glassware, buckwheat pillows and local handicrafts that can become wonderful gifts.

This Christmas fair is waiting for many visitors every year from around the world. They sure like to celebrate in this time of the year as their fair is open from the beginning of November to the end of January.

tallinn

10.BRUSSELS – BELGIUM

The fair in Brussels has been held since 2002, famous for the event called Plaisirs d’Hiverrol the Winter Celebration.

The event takes place on the Grand Place and around the Bourse and the Place Sainte Catherine cathedral.

Keeping the Belgian spirit, 240 wooden houses are home to craftsmen and craftswomen from all over the world, announcing hand-made masterpieces and Belgian tradition souvenirs.

The fair ends at the Fishmarket, which is converted every year into a long ice skating rink. There is also a 49-meter high-speed wheel for lovebirds to enjoy.

BRUSSELS

11. PRAGUE – CZECH REPUBLIC

Prague is rightly called the queen of cities. As of November, there is an adventurous atmosphere in every major area of ​​the city.

The Czech offer souvenirs and a wide selection of handmade products, traditional Christmas decorations and other souvenirs during their Christmas markets that are in every major square of the city.

Interesting things you can find in their Christmas markets are petting zoos where mules, sheep, goats, ponies and even piglets are ready for a treat.

If you want to try a hot drink don’t go for the traditional mulled wine Prague has something else to offer and its name is Medovina. It is a honey based drink served hot it has a kick to eat but do to his sweetness you can’t drink a lot of it.

PRAGUE

12. MUNICH – GERMANY

In Munich at Christmas time, the smell of mulled wine lingers in the city center.
According to historians, Munich is the oldest German Christmas fair, records show it was already held in 1310.

Of course, beer in the Bavarian capital was mainly consumed, but naturally, the mulled wine also played a big role. Marienplatz is the famous busy square that is decorated for the big event; there are around three million people in the Advent period here.

The Christmas Market in Munich is open from the 11th of November to the 24th of December.

MUNICH

13. HELSINKI – FINLAND

In Helsinki you can even meet Santa Claus in one of Finland’s largest parks, the Esplanade Park, It is the largest Christmas market in Finland, where more than 120 booths and celebrations are waiting for you.

The little ones can even meet with Santa Claus and tell him if they have been naughty and nice and what kind of present would they want.

The quality handmade products available here can stand under any Christmas tree. The huge Christmas market is open in Helsinki from the 3rd to the 22th of December.

Christmas lights on Mikonkatu street. Helsinki, Finland.

Others

If you are wondering about the promised special event prepare yourself for a treat; as this is non-other than the famous Lyons Light Festival in early December.

On the second weekend of December, if you really want to see a great miracle then you will be heading to Lyon, France. The Fête des Lumières, the Light Festival, has been making sure since 1999 that visitors remain astonished every year at this event.

This year, the festival will take place between the 8th and the 11th of December, during these four nights in addition to the spectacular light installations that cover all the renowned sights of the town the event is also beckoning that Christmas is just around the corner.

We know it is not an easy decision but we are sure that you won’t regret visiting one of these magnificent Christmas Markets whatever your decision will be. So pack up your bags and get ready for a wonderful experience during this special time of the year.

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