Wanderlusters: Here are the Most Beautiful Christmas Markets in Europe

From Austria to Poland, find out the best European Christmas markets.

Wooden huts, mulled wine, and craftsmanship. The most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe are reopening. From Austria to Germany, to Switzerland, France, Finland, Slovenia, and Estonia, the choices are endless.

In Rovaniemi, there’s Santa Claus Village; in Ljubljana, the event focuses on green initiatives (with artistic illuminations); and in Switzerland, you can even travel by train from Milan from November 20 to December 20 with the “Christmas Markets” promotion, traveling for two but paying for one ticket, both in first and second class. Destinations include Basel, Bern, Lausanne, Lugano, Montreux, Zurich, Geneva, and many more.

According to Omio, a platform for researching, comparing, and booking trips, Austria is also a perfect destination to reach by train from northern Italy. If you’ve already been to Vienna, you can try Salzburg: elegant and even more romantic, with wooden huts and a fairy tale atmosphere.

And then there’s Colmar: perhaps the most famous Christmas market. Few, however, know that this town in Alsace can be reached (by train or) by low-cost flights landing in Basel, Switzerland, just an hour away. Nuremberg, Innsbruck, Helsinki, Gdańsk in Poland, and Tallinn in Estonia are among the other not-to-be-missed destinations.

For those undecided, you can rely on tours, such as those offered by Boscolo: you can spend 5 days exploring the Christmas markets of Tallinn, Parnu, and Riga, or choose the trip that includes visits to those in Bavaria, Salzburg, and Kufstein, with a Vienna-Salzburg-Munich variation. Finally, Alsace and Basel: not only Colmar but also Freiburg, Strasbourg, and Lucerne.

Dates and Information About the Best Christmas Markets


Salzburg, Austria

From November 23 to January 1, the spectacle of Christmas markets takes place in the Salzburg region, where the typical Christmas stalls boast a long tradition. Salzburg, the capital of the state, as well as the small villages around the town, prepare to kick off this grand celebration and conviviality.

Grossarl is a village south of Salzburg surrounded by mountains: here, the Christmas markets are immersed in the silence of the surrounding nature and create a magical atmosphere. Don’t miss the stands on Lake Zell either.

Colmar, France

The quintessential Christmas markets are probably those of Colmar, scheduled this year from November 23 to December 29.

Scattered throughout this fairytale-like country, there are several every year, located in multiple squares. Each booth sells items, crafts, or food. You can reach them by landing at Strasbourg airport in France or Basel in Switzerland, where low-cost airlines also operate. You can arrive by train in just one hour.

Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg’s Christmas market is one of the oldest and most famous in Europe.

The stalls offer handmade Christmas decorations, sweets, and hot drinks to keep warm while strolling. There are also attractions for children. It takes place in December, from the 1st to the 24th.


Helsinki, Finland

Visited by 300,000 people every year, the Helsinki Christmas market offers delightful gastronomic experiences and unique gifts sold by the artisans themselves.

The heart of the market consists of an ancient carousel and a refreshment area that invites you to savor all the traditional Christmas specialties. It is open from December 1 to 23 in Senate Square.

Konstanz, Germany

Not just shopping. In Konstanz, after finishing shopping among the 170 wooden huts decorated for the occasion, you can board the “Christmas Ship” moored at the quay, which houses, on the top floor, the “Ice Bar” with a 360-degree panorama to toast and dance with a view of the lake and the illuminated city.

The markets are held from November 30 to December 23. With one more day, you can also reach St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Gdańsk, Poland

The Christmas market in Gdańsk took second place in the 2023 European Best Christmas Market competition, which awards the best Christmas markets in Europe every year.

And not just for good food—from pierogi to waffle Gdańsk, delicious and fragrant waffles—but also for the wooden structures, fairy tale scenography, installations like the Moose Lucek, the carousel with horses, and a giant advent calendar.

It is scheduled from November 24 to December 23. You can also reach it with low-cost Ryanair flights from Milan (Bergamo), Naples, Pisa, Venice (Treviso), and Rome.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

From November 18 to January 7, the capital of Slovenia shines with lights and markets. The illuminations are among the most original in Europe, designed by Slovenian artist Zmago Modic.

The stalls are set up in the center and are accompanied by free outdoor events. Moreover, Ljubljana also pays attention to sustainability: the markets support emerging designers and local producers and prioritize local, organic food and drinks. It is a perfect destination to reach by train from Italy, specifically from Trieste.

Tallinn, Estonia

During this period, when snowflakes fall on the roofs of the city and cobblestone streets, you can experience all the magic of the snowy landscape, especially if there are Christmas markets, named a few years ago among the best in Europe.

They are held from December 1 to January 7. Visitors can stroll among wooden stalls rich in handmade products and savor mulled wine, gingerbread cookies, and many other traditional Estonian foods. In the historic center, there is also an ice skating rink. Those who stay a few more days can also visit the markets in Tartu.

Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck’s Christmas markets turn 50. Music, delicacies, events, and sparkling shop windows envelop the city while the true protagonists remain, starting November 15, the seven markets, to which the “Lumagica Innsbruck” light park is added, themed “Journey through time” this year.

They start and end on different dates: the last one starts on November 27, most close on the 23rd, and a couple remain open until Epiphany.

Rovaniemi, Finland

With Santa Claus Village, it is a destination not to be missed at least once in a lifetime during Christmas. Especially now, you can get there with a low-cost flight (Ryanair) from Milan Bergamo.

For those willing to make a stopover, Vueling departs from Barcelona. Right on the Arctic Circle, it attracts 500,000 visitors from around the world every year. The Village is open all year round, but it is during the Christmas season that it truly shines.

This story originally appeared on GRAZIA USA.