Nothing sums up Christmas quite like the twinkling lights of a Christmas market. From the warming scent of mulled wine to the sounds of carol singers, a festive market is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit – and if you’re thinking of planning a trip to a Christmas market this year, we’ve got you covered.
To find Europe’s most popular Christmas markets, we’ve analysed Europe’s 100 most populated cities and researched how many global travellers are searching for them in 2023. Our definitive ranking shows which locations are the biggest hits amongst Christmas-ready travellers this year.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 Christmas markets.
Topping the list at around 19,000 searches a month, London is the most searched-for Christmas market. With a range of Christmas markets around the city, you’re spoiled for choice when you visit the UK’s capital. Experience the cheery wooden chalets, live Bavarian tunes and traditional German beers at Winter Wonderland’s Bavarian Village or head to Southbank Centre, where you can discover artisan treats and handmade gifts at the Winter Market.
Top tip for tourists: For a unique adventure in London during the winter season, head to Little Venice for a canal boat ride. Many operators offer festive-themed boat rides, so you can relax and take in the sights while enjoying mulled wine and mince pies.
In second place, with 14,000 searches each month, are the enchanting Christmas markets of Prague. Set against the fairy-tale backdrop of Prague’s colourful Old Town and surrounded by historic buildings like the Old Town Hall and Astronomical Clock, this is a great market for soaking up a quintessentially festive atmosphere.
Top tip for tourists: To take in the Christmas spirit, pay a visit to the Klementinum – a beautiful Baroque library that doubles up as a concert hall. The Christmas concerts combine classical music with an atmospheric setting, perfect for festive season.
A grand city that straddles the banks of the Danube, Budapest’s charms lend themselves perfectly to the festive season – and with 14,000 monthly searches, it’s clearly a hit with travellers. The best-known Christmas market is in Vörösmarty Square, where you’ll find Christmas lights and stalls selling gifts and food dotted around the cobblestoned square.
Top tip for tourists: While in Budapest, don’t miss a ride on one of the decorated Christmas trams, which run throughout the festive period. Adorned with sparkling Christmas lights, you can enjoy a scenic tour of the city in true Christmas style.
With an impressive 12,000 monthly searches, Vienna is famous for its Christmas markets; you can find several scattered throughout the city. Known locally as Christkindlmärkte, the most famous is Christmas World at Rathausplatz. You’ll find this stunning market nestled around the City Hall, boasting seasonal delicacies, arts and crafts stalls and an ice skating rink for the whole family to enjoy.
Top tip for tourists: If you’re visiting Vienna over winter, check to see if there are any Viennese Balls during your trip. These elegant affairs continue old dance hall traditions and remain a highlight of Austria’s social calendar.
Tempted by the Christmas markets in Prague, Budapest and Vienna? Our Budapest, Vienna and Prague multi centre trip combines all three charming European cities into one culture-packed holiday.
Berlin is a hotspot for travellers looking for a vibrant and diverse city – and its Christmas markets are no different. With 11,000 monthly searches, Berlin Christmas markets have proved some of the most popular in Europe. The Christmas Market at Alexanderplatz is a firm favourite for visitors, with a large skating rink and Christmas tree, joined by over 100 stalls selling crafts, food, gifts and treats. Don’t miss a ride on the iconic Riesenrad, a giant Ferris wheel with breathtaking panoramic city views.
Top tip for tourists: While in Berlin, pay a visit to the Gärten der Welt, or ‘Gardens of the World’. Here, you can explore a range of different garden styles. The Oriental Garden takes on the Christmas spirit throughout winter with festive lights and decorations.
With 10,000 monthly searches, Amsterdam is becoming a bit of an icon in the world of Christmas markets. Small but perfectly formed, Amsterdam’s Christmas market boasts an ice skating rink, a stunning Christmas tree and all the usual stalls selling festive goodies. It’s located on the famous Museumplein, or Museum Square, perfect for combining the festivities with a trip to Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum.
Top tip for tourists: If you’re visiting Amsterdam in December or January, block out time in your itinerary to explore the stunning Amsterdam Light Festival. Each year, the city centre lights up with captivating installations from artists around the world. Why not take a festive canal cruise to see the lights?
Planning a trip to Amsterdam? Why not combine with a multi city trip to Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels, where you can soak up the Christmas atmosphere in three of Europe’s top destinations?
Germany’s Christmas markets are known as the best in the world, so it’s no big surprise to see a second German city make the top ten list. Munich, which is searched 10,000 times a month, transforms at Christmastime into a veritable winter wonderland. Said to date back as far as the 14th Century, you’ll almost feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Marvel over the huge, sparkling Christmas tree, take your time exploring the plethora of stalls or perhaps treat yourself to a traditional mulled wine.
Top tip for tourists: If you have spare time in the city, stop by the Allerheiligen-Hofkirche – a smaller church you’ll find near the Residenz. During the festive season, the church puts on a range of special Christmas concerts.
With 10,000 searches each month, Nottingham is a clear favourite amongst Brits searching for a centrally-located day trip or festive staycation. The city’s annual Winter Wonderland offers up traditional market stalls, an ice rink, an observation wheel, a toboggan slide and an ice bar complete with furniture crafted from ice.
Top tip for tourists: To bring a touch of history to your Nottingham trip, visit Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem – one of England’s oldest pubs. Reportedly dating back to 1189, parts of this ancient pub are built into stone caves, making for a unique, historical visit.
Just on the heels of Nottingham, with 9,400 searches a month, Birmingham takes the penultimate spot on our list. The city’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is one of the most popular in the UK, boasting the accolade of the largest authentic German Christmas Market outside Germany and Austria. Each year, the city comes to life with traditional stalls, live music and a nostalgic carousel, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere that’s not to be missed.
Top tip for tourists: While in Birmingham, why not take in a Christmas film at the Electric Cinema? Established in 1909, the cinema is the oldest known working cinema in the whole UK. You can choose from a diverse range of films, enjoyed in historic, cultural surroundings.
Rounding off the list with around 9,100 searches a month is an iconic German city with an equally beloved Christmas market, Cologne. Found in front of the breathtaking Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO-listed Gothic masterpiece, these Christmas markets have both style and substance. You could spend hours wandering around the pretty wooden stalls here, perhaps enjoying traditional German treats like Glühwein and bratwurst before admiring the lavish festive decorations.
Top tip for tourists: To take in the sights and Christmas lights, experience a ride on the Cologne Cable Car, or the Kölner Seilbahn. Taking you over the Rhine River, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city, lit up for Christmas.
The top 50 most-searched-for Christmas markets in Europe
So, there’s the top ten. Now, here’s the full listing of the 50 most popular Christmas markets across Europe, according to search data.
The most popular Christmas markets, according to Brits
Alongside global interest, we wanted to see which Christmas markets are the most popular among UK residents. Here are the 20 most popular markets, based on UK searches.
Are you feeling inspired to book a festive trip? Explore the eShores European holiday selection and get ready to start planning your dream seasonal getaway.
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