Julie Van Praet
BEST Christmas Markets
Updated: 16 hours ago
There are thousands of Christmas markets all around the world shining a light on this festive season. Let The Walking Parrot spruce up your holiday season with this list of the best Christmas markets!
Discover with us:
The oldest Christmas market in the world can be traced back to Austria. The very first market celebrating this holiday tradition was birthed in 1298 and has spread all over the world ever since.
Even though you will find over 20 separate Christmas Markets in Vienna, the one in front of their city hall is the grandest. The Wiener Christkindlmarkt held on the Rathausplatz is one of Europe’s most traditional and oldest events.
Changing over the years into a sustainable market for all. This Christmas square features a 150 square-meter ice rink, hundreds of stalls serving up Austrian sausages and Glühwein, and the infamous Tree of Hearts: a giant maple tree decked in hundreds of glistening stars.
Zagreb was voted ‘the best Christmas market destination’ three times in a row by the travel portal European Best Destinations. The Croatian capital brings nativity to life with ice sculptures and outdoor celebrations. The market even dedicates a separate space to fooling around: ‘fuliranje’, to celebrate the release of the advent period.
Be sure to take a ride through Zagreb on their Christmas tram complete with Santa Claus and elves.
Another oldie but goodie: the Strasbourg Christmas market has been around since the 16th century and spreads across the UNESCO heritage site of Grande Île.
Stroll along narrow alleyways and medieval squares alongside two million other people gathering around to attend the market. The French city serves up Alsatian traditions alongside bite-sized pastries, spicy bread, and warm sweets.
Celebrating Belgium’s knack for hosting festivals, this Christmas market feels far more like an extravagant show than a market. Stretching over multiple squares, the capital pulls out all the stops with more than 200 chalets and fairground attractions, a giant ice rink, a huge Christmas tree, and a dazzling light show. Accompanied by plenty of Belgian beers, waffles, and chocolates of course.
Celebrate Christmas in a place as old as Christmas itself. In the south of the Netherlands, you can find the unique caves of Valkenburg. This underground maze was mined by the Romans over 2,000 years ago.
At Christmas time the dark corridors of these mines light up with twinkling lights as you get to enjoy tasty treats above- and underground.
Who knows, maybe if you're lucky those Dutch canals will freeze over and you get to enjoy its most traditional winter sport: iceskating.
Perhaps a less traditional Christmas destination than others is to be found in London. Yet Hyde Park is one of the most anticipated locations in Brittain when Christmas comes around.
The park draws in huge crowds each year thanks to hundreds of rides, including a gorgeous 70-meter Ferris wheel and the biggest ice skating rink in the UK.
Visitors of Winterwonderland can take part in ice sculpting workshops as well as circus shows, and enjoy live music on the go.
Fira de Santa Llúcia is an age-old tradition celebrating the feast of Santa Llúcia in Barcelona. Over the course of a three-week fair Spaniards get to enjoy Catalan tradition.
Bathed in the light of Barcelona Cathedral, a bustling market comes alive with nativity figurines and musical traditions.
Celebrate Christmas in a truly unique way with the caga tio: an enormous pinata that spills out Christmas gifts for all.
The whole month of December is dedicated to this winter celebration, and Denmark is no exception. From lavishly decorated buildings to snowy decked stalls, Copenhagen is perhaps the best Christmas destination in Scandinavia with The Tivoli Gardens proving point.
This attraction park in Copenhagen lights up Christmas in Denmark. Locals flock to this propped-up theme park which transforms the city into a fairy tale. Let the delicious flavours of gløgg and æbleskiver guide you through this snowy maze.
Rest of the world
Forget Rockefeller Square and celebrate Christmas at Bryant Park’s open-air market. American Winter Village kicks off wintertime in Manhattan at the end of October, with 125 unique stalls popping up boasting handicrafts from all over the world and an admissions-free ice-skating rink.
Already known for its bright lights, Hong Kong turns it up a notch at Christmas time. All the while Poinsettias flowers decorate the many balconies and churches.
At Kowloon’s harbour an enormous Christmas market pops up with huts, shops, and carol singers. All circling a 20-metre high Christmas tree.
The youngest Christmas market on our list can be found in Canada. Toronto is in its 13th year hosting one of the biggest Christmas markets in North America.
Let a 30-meter-long lit-up tunnel guide you through Toronto’s historic Distillery District complete with Santa’s Grotto, fairground rides, and beer gardens to nip through the cold.
The Peruvian city of Cusco bathes Christmas in Incan wonders. What makes this Christmas market so unique is how dedicated it is to arts and crafts. With a fair devoted to ancient arts, called Santurantikuy where you get to admire vendors carving out colourful holy figures. Piece together your own handmade nativity scene namely, a retablo.
Southeast Asia doesn’t make Christmas lists often. A shame, since Singapore turns into a Christmas Wonderland with a dazzling festival of lights, delicious food, and entertainment. This tiny nation embraces the Christmas spirit fully with food and shopping at its centre.
All set in Singapore’s futuristic nature park: Gardens by the Bay.
That’s a wrap on Christmas markets yule be sorry to miss. For those who couldn’t make the list, check out our separate guides on Finland and Germany. Stay notified on all content through @thewalkingparrot!