Christmas is just around the corner, and it’s high time to bring a little magic into your life. With the smells of gingerbread and glühwein filling the air, dazzling installations and thousands of spectacular lights, Christmas markets are the perfect place to indulge in the festive spirit. This year's Christmas fairs are already open throughout Europe and will run through until the end of December, and some even till the first week of January. If you haven't decided on presents yet, these magical Advent markets will offer numerous gift ideas. In addition, there you will find a ton of handcrafted Christmas ornaments, jewelry, knitware, wooden toys, and beauty products. And naturally, the best part of the Christmas market experience is the incredible festive food and drinks! Sweet and salty roasted nuts, crispy pommes frites, traditional grilled sausages, delicious mince pies, spiced mulled wine served in festive cups, and other mouthwatering treats are everywhere. We've rounded up 7 best Christmas markets in Europe that are definitely worth visiting in 2022.
Currywurst is a fried sausage with a special sauce, based on ketchup (or tomato paste) and curry powder.
Dates: Nov 23 – Dec 24
Christmas markets originated in the German-speaking part of Europe. No wonder that nowadays the most fascinating festive fairs are held in Germany, and the Dresdner Striezelmarkt is one of the most beautiful ones in Europe. With roots dating back to 1434, it is considered the first genuine Christmas market worldwide. It is also one of the largest Advent markets in Europe, with over 200 stalls and many impressive attractions, like the world’s tallest step pyramid and a Ferris wheel overlooking the market. There you can find amazing gifts and try out different delicious foods, treats and drinks, like hot tea and chocolate, Glühwein, beer and naturally currywurst in its many variations.
This is an amazing Christmas bakery, not just a cupcake, it's a mixture of taste and aroma. Ideally, the prepared stollen should lie for 3 to 4 weeks.
Dates: Nov 19 – Dec 26
Austria has stunning Christmas markets, but the largest and the most renowned in the country and arguably in Europe is the one located on Rathausplatz, a public square in front of the old town hall of Vienna. With more than 100 booths, this huge advent market offers a very lively atmosphere. The trees on the streets are decorated with thousands of dazzling lights, making you feel as if you’re in a magical forest, while the Rathaus lights are forever changing. In addition to numerous stalls selling all kinds of Christmas goodies, you can have fun on a natural skating rink. Get some punch, mulled wine, or spiced tea to warm you up after skating. Or grab a bite to eat at the food stalls offering a range of festive hearty snacks and sweet treats, like Christmas stollen, cookies with cinnamon and vanilla crescents.
The recipe of this dish in most cases the same: first prepare a special dough (from flour, potatoes, cottage cheese, etc.) and form small balls with or without filling. After that, they are boiled in water until cooked. Serve dumplings with a variety of products - with sauces, broths, vegetable side dishes, fried onions, sour cream, and fresh herbs. They are also often put in a meat goulash or soup.
Dates: Nov 26 – Jan 6
An enchanting winter wonderland awaits you at the Christmas markets located throughout Prague, with the Old Town Square Market being the largest of them. Held at the heart of the glorious city of Prague, this market is one of the most popular and most visited Christmas fairs in Europe and exudes joy and festive spirit. This postcard-perfect spot hosts the large Prague Christmas Tree, beautifully decorated with lights and ornaments. The Xmas market features countless stalls offering souvenirs, decorations, toys, candles, garments, and all kinds of meals and drinks. Be sure to try out large hams grilled on spits, sausages, meat dumplings, and pancakes.
Everyone who has visited the Czech Republic, Poland or Germany and joined the sacraments of local cuisine will gladly remember the goulash. Goulash is a stewed juicy meat in a thick spicy sauce, served with dumplings and beer.
Dates: Nov 18 – Jan 1
Christmas fairs in Budapest are spectacular and attract tons of tourists in December. There are actually two main fairs in the city, which are located within a 10-minute walk from each other: Advent Basilica and The Christmas Market at Vörösmarty Square. The first one has even been chosen the Best Christmas Market in Europe for the third time by European Best Destinations. It generally holds different cultural and artistic events with live music, fireworks, and ice rinks. Wander past over 100 stalls offering local crafts, souvenirs, and traditional products as well as delicious Hungarian specialties like chimney cakes, goulash, and grilled sausages.
It's a swirled bread with a brown crust, shiny and covered with grains of coarse salt.
Dates: Nov 18 – Dec 23
Advent markets in Gdańsk are the perfect places to get in the holiday spirit. They are growing more and more popular in recent years due to their magical ambience. Located in the historic heart of the city, the Gdańsk Christmas Fair is one of the most exciting in Poland. It is divided into different thematic zones where you can meet the real father Christmas, admire the traditional Christmas tree, purchase hand-made crafts, enjoy fragrant mulled wine, and taste Polish festive cakes, pretzels, roasted nuts, and other local delicacies.
Brioche is a French slightly sweet bread, enriched with butter and eggs. Brioches can be plain or baked with different types of filling, like foie gras, sausage, vanilla cream or jam.
Dates: Nov 21 – Dec 23
One of the oldest in France and in the entire Europe, the Christmas market in Strasbourg is a true winter wonderland. With its magical setting, glittering cascades of lights, a huge Christmas tree, and the air filled with cinnamon and ginger, the Christkindelsmärik at Place Broglie is among the most popular spots in Strasbourg. Craftsmen offer tons of beautiful ornaments, pottery, glass jewelry, handmade toys, and other works of art. You can also taste French liqueurs, local apple cider, honey and mulled wine with a broad array of flavors. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a variety of mouthwatering snacks, including cinnamon, vanilla, or anise bredele, flammkuchen, baguette pizzas, and brioches.
The recipe for these gingerbreads was widely known even at the time of the Crusades and became an integral part of the Catholic Christmas.
Dates: Nov 21 – Jan 7
With a vast amount of lighting, food and drinks, and the magnificent ice rink, the Christmas market in Zagreb is an amazing festive destination for tourists from all over the world. During the last month of the year, Croatia's capital turns into a winter fairy tale with ice sculptures, concerts on the streets, pop-up bars, and even a jolly Christmas tram, which courses through the city. The Christmas fair in Zagreb is a cozy spot to wander around hundreds of stalls selling all kinds of clothes, handicrafts, decorations, toys, and lovely mulled wine to keep you warm. For gourmands, there are booths with hot chocolate, gingerbread, chocolate-covered fruit, and other delicacies.
Ready to get into the Christmas spirit? Hope our pick of the best Christmas markets in Europe gives you some great ideas and helps to select the most beautiful Xmas destinations. What's the best Christmas market you've ever been to? Tell us about your best Christmas fair experiences below.