Stuttgart Germany oldest Christmas market Karlsplatz Finnish food

Inspiring Christmas Markets this Holiday Season

It’s that time of the year again! Mariah Carey is stuck in your head, the Christmas decorations are out, and Halloween seems like ages ago. We love that Christmas magic that gets us in the festive mood year in, year out. And travelling during the most wonderful time of the year is a lot of fun – each country has its own festivities to celebrate the season. Christmas markets are the best way to embrace your city destination’s culture as well as find some unique gifts for your loved ones. Your Christmas shop will be done in no time at all!

Grab a cup of hot chocolate, get your warmest scarf on, and read more about the best Christmas markets in the world. Celebrate Christmas in style in these stunning locations this winter!

Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg Austria Christmas Markets Europe

Salzburg Christmas Markets are one of the world’s oldest and most famous Christmas markets. The Salzburg Christkindlmarkt is held in the city center, at the foot of the Hohensalzburg fortress. Sitting high above the city, you get breathtaking panoramic views while you do your Christmas shop! You can watch choir singing and nativity exhibits, as well as enjoy local produce and handcrafted gifts at the stands themselves. Their Christmas market is traditional and magical – just the perfect combo! The perfect runs from 18th November to 26th December 2021. The stalls offer delicious treats such as hot chestnuts and chocolate gingerbread. Is your mouth watering too?

The Mirabell Palace Market also takes place in the fairytale-esque city, and it really focuses on local and traditional food. Make the most of the occasion to discover the majestic palace and gardens. If you’re into your arts and crafts, then you will want to explore the St Leonhard Advent Market too. It will help you find unique gifts and all the proceeds go to charity. 

Paris, France

Paris France Christmas Markets Lights Tuileries Tree

Paris is the city of love and light, and it really comes to life around Christmas time. The city is beautifully lit and decorated with Christmas lights, and their Christmas markets are incredible! La Magie de Noël (the magic of Christmas) Christmas market in the stunning Jardins des Tuileries should be your first stop. The ferris wheel is noticed for miles, and the market stretches from Rue des Pyramides to Place de la Concorde. There are fairground rides, food stands and local produce to be discovered. You can even practice your moves at the ice skating rink!

Not far from the Jardins des Tuileries, you can also explore the Christmas market at Notre-Dame. Go to Square Viviani on the Quai Montebello. Despite the fire in 2018, the market still takes place every year. Here you can taste mulled wine and roasted chestnuts as well as enjoy local artisan crafts. Musicians perform here to really add to the sophisticated atmosphere. Be sure to stick around to see Santa too!

Stuttgart, Germany

Stuttgart Germany oldest Christmas market Karlsplatz Finnish food

Stuttgart is the home to one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world. Taking place between 24th November to 30th December 2021, you have plenty of time to make the most of one of Germany’s great markets. The city is transformed into a festive market with lights and stalls dotted across Stuttgart. The town hall becomes a big advent calendar. Windows are blocked off with numbers and each day one “door” is opened, and illuminated with beautiful lights. You can also find the city’s decorated tree here! The rooftops are also decorated with baubles, lights, teddies and mechanical reindeer to liven up the city. 

Go to Stuttgart’s Karlsplatz to see their Finnish Christmas village. The wooden stalls sell Glögi (Finnish mulled wine) and Flammlachs (salmon cooked over a fire). Stuttgart also amazes with its real life nativity scene. It is even complete with farm animals to ensure that even the little ones will be amazed!

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels Belgium Carousel fairground market

Winter Wonders is the must-see event in Brussels during the festive season. Expect magical lights, fun activities and of course a market to keep yourselves occupied in the Belgian capital. This runs from the last Friday of November until the first of January every year, making it one of the only Christmas markets in western Europe to remain open after Christmas Day. The Christmas market is set between the Grande Place, Rue de la Bourse, Place Sainte-Catherine and the Marché aux Poissons-Vismet. Feast your eyes on the delicious Belgian nougat and waffles that are being sold on the stands. And you can take in the beautiful light display at the Grande Place. You can also see their amazing Christmas tree and nativity scene here.

There are fairground rides to ensure fun for all the family. See stunning views of Brussels from the Ferris wheel, or enjoy the merry-go-rounds. An ice skating rink is also present so you can get practicing and show off your best moves! Last but not least, stop off at the Cathédrale Sainte-Catherine, as there is a light show projected onto the beautiful landmark.

Toronto, Canada

Toronto Canada Art Crawl DJ festive market handcrafted gifts

Feel the festive cheer at Toronto’s Christmas markets! The Christmas markets and art fairs take place throughout November and December each year. The Toronto Art Crawl Christmas Market has everything you could possibly need – 65 artists, a live DJ, Santa and food vendors. It has a lively atmosphere that would even put Grinch in a better mood! You can also buy gifts from your loved ones crafted by local artisans to treat them to unique presents this season. The Toronto Christmas Market takes place from 20th November to 20th December. The stunning outdoor market showcases handmade gifts, ornaments and wood carvings as well as local produce to munch on.

For your kids, there are plenty of activities for them to enjoy, but their favorite will definitely be meeting Santa and his elves! They’ll be visiting the outdoor street wide market organized by the Arts market and hosted by the Junction BIA. You will also see the Creative Children’s Dance Centre performing in local businesses’ shop windows.

Basel, Switzerland

Basel Switzerland Christmas market Münsterplatz Barfüsserplatz

Switzerland is a winter wonderland in itself, but Basel has one of the world’s best Christmas markets. Taking place between 23rd November and 23rd December 2021, the city just lights up at Christmas time. The Christmas market can be found on Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz, and at Münsterplatz you can find the city’s beautifully decorated Christmas tree. At the market, you can enjoy the local delicacies at the 160 quaint Christmas chalets with their snowy white roofs. Stop by the Barfüsserkirche is just behind the stands, adding to the charm of the market. Fall in love with the Basel Cathedral at Münsterplatz, and every year, the stairwell of Saint Martin’s tower is illuminated in the evening during the festive period.

Are you travelling with children? Then they will love the magical forest at Münsterplatz, where they can take part in hands-on activities and bake cookies with their new friends. If you want to steer clear of the crowds, then a smaller Christmas market on the right bank of the Rhine on Claraplatz, where you can enjoy the stands while taking in the decorated shop windows.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen Denmark Christmas market King's New Square Tivoli

Christmas in Copenhagen is the perfect time to enjoy the city in all its glory. The King’s New Square Christmas market takes place from 12th November to 22nd December 2021. It features endless stalls and quaint Christmas decorations that will enchant even your little ones.

The Christmas market at Tivoli Gardens has striking Christmas lights, making the location even more magical. The gardens are transformed into a real winter wonderland – wooden cabins, pine branches and snow-covered trees are used to add a bit of festive cheer. Santa Claus and his reindeer are never too far to excite your little ones! 60 stalls can be found here with Christmas snacks and drinks to make sure you are in a Christmassy mood! The garden will be covered in over 70,000 Christmas baubles – because you can never have too much sparkle!

Denmark’s largest Christmas market is at Gavnø Slot, and has been located there for the last 13 years. There are around 150 stalls during two weekends in November, and it has the cozy charm that you would want from a Christmas market.

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki Finland Market Square festive season carousel

Christmas time in Finland means hot saunas, lively bars and restaurants and of course, the Christmas market. The market will be taking place from 27th November to 22nd December 2021, and will take place on the iconic Market Square, instead of Senate Square. The traditional outdoor Christmas market brings 100 carefully selected artists and small businesses to liven up the square and bring a bit of festive cheer to Helsinki. You can pick up some delicious treats such as local fish, jams and seasonal snacks to eat yourself or gift to others. The emphasis is really placed on the locally produced food, and you will love tasting the Finnish delicacies.

There is fun for all the family – a traditional carousel can be enjoyed by your children and those who are big kids at heart. Another important part of the Christmas market in Helsinki is their commitment to sustainability – the restaurants only use biodegradable dishes and waste is minimized to respect the planet.