Christmas market breaks

Experience the best of Europe's traditional Christmas markets this November and December. Explore the world-famous holiday markets in popular European cities such as Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Lille, Bruges and many more.

A tradition that dates back hundreds of years, Europe’s famous markets are filled with character, charm and Christmas cheer. Whether you fancy trying the picture-perfect markets in Krakow, Bruges or Budapest, or the festive extravaganzas of Edinburgh, Prague and Vienna, you’ll be sure to find plenty of handmade crafts, unique one of a kind gifts, delicious treats, sprawling gingerbread metropolises, and plenty of glühwein, wherever you go. 

For a Christmas shopping solution that’s more enchanting than braving the December crowds on the high street, and more exciting than waiting in all day for an online delivery, Europe’s Christmas markets breaks can’t be beat.

  1. Prague
  2. Budapest
  3. Vienna
  4. Edinburgh
  5. Brussels
  6. Berlin
  7. Cologne
  8. Dusseldorf

Our top Christmas market weekend city break sale offers

More Christmas market city breaks

Christmas markets in Prague

  • When is it open? Late November to early January, 10 am to 10 pm. Everyday including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. 
  • Why you should go. For a blissfully romantic backdrop to a fairy tale Christmas. 
  • What you should try. The tree lighting ceremony, which takes place every hour from 4:30 pm in Old Town Square and 5 pm in Wesleslas Square. "

Christmas markets in Budapest

The Christmas Fair and Winter Festival in Vorosmarty Square has over 120 attractively decorated stalls. There's a wooden playhouse where children are taught to make their own Christmas ornaments. A show kitchen in the Hutte Bistro plays host to a roster of guest chefs demonstrating different Hungarian seasonal recipes, including wild boar and venison, advent fish dishes and other tasty Yuletide fare. On top of which, there are lots of food stalls serving hearty traditional fisherman's soup and roast goose.

  • When is it open?  Mid-November to 1st January, 11 am to 9 pm, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Eve.
  • Why you should go. The market offers a broad mix of entertainment and refreshment right in the heart of the city.
  • What you should try. Check out some of 160 acts performing over the Christmas period, include live folk music, jazz and puppet shows.

Christmas markets in Vienna

Vienna Christmas World in Rathausplatz (City Hall Square) boasts 150 booths. City Hall Park is decorated with a Yuletide theme, and there's also ice skating and a Children's World area with a roundabout, reindeer ride and Christmas story tableaux. The Christmas Village on Maria Theresien Platz is a good place to hear choirs and live bands as well as pick up a few stocking fillers. Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung is one of the oldest Yuletide fairs, dating back to the 18th century. For an imperial backdrop, there are more fairs in the grounds of the Schonbrunn and Belvedere palaces, perfect for lovers of history and architecture. Meanwhile, the pleasure market at the Opera House is a good choice for food lovers, offering cheese, smoked meats, gingerbread, wine and beer.

  • When is it open? Reisenradplatz: Mid-November – Early January, noon – 10 pm. Opera house: Mid November – 31 December, 11 am – 9 pm Schonbrunn Palace: Late November – Late December, 10 am – 9 pm Rathausplatz: Mid-November – Early December, 10 am – 10 pm. Maria Theresian Platz: Mid-November – Late December, 11 am – 10 pm
  • Why you should go. With more than half a dozen markets, Vienna delivers an outstanding choice of venues for Christmas markets breaks.
  • What you should try. If you're trying to cater to both youngsters and teens, the Winter Market on Reisenradplatz is our top pick as it has both amusement rides and live pop bands.

Christmas markets in Edinburgh

The Christmas Market at East Princes Street Gardens has a Santa Land fairground, with stalls, a big wheel, carousel and High Flyer, and remember to take some extra cash for the children's toy market. Other attractions include an Elves' Workshop, Christmas Tree Maze and Santa's Grotto. There's also a Scottish Market on George Street, a European Market on the Mound and St Andrew Square plays host to an ice rink.

  • When is it open? Mid November to Early January, 10 am to 10 pm
  • Why you should go. Not strictly a market, but we can't talk about Christmas in Edinburgh without mentioning Hogmany, an opportunity to see in the New Year with fireworks and street parties.
  • What you should try. One for the adults, the Johnnie Walker Bothy Bar on the Mound serves hot toddies and cocktails to warm the bones.

Christmas markets in Brussels

The Winter Wonders and Christmas Market is so large it sprawls over almost a square mile of central Brussels. At the Grand Place you'll find a light show, live music and the town's main Christmas tree. There's a covered ice skating rink at the Place de la Monnaie, and merry-go-rounds and other fairground attractions at the Place Sainte Catherine. Wherever you go, you'll see quaint chalet-style stalls selling waffles and creamy hot chocolate. 

  • When is it open? Late November to early January
  • Why you should go. The medieval lanes and squares make an atmospheric setting for ice sculptures, parades and fairy lights.
  • What you should try. Local gastronomic delights for the adventurous include snails, mushrooms and oysters, or you can load up on sweat and savoury crepes.

Christmas markets in Berlin

Berlin has over 70 Christmas markets, one of the oldest of which is the Gendarmenmarkt in the Spandau district. Consisting of tented stalls decorated with fairy lights, it's a good place to shop for traditional crafts and tasty snacks. St George's Church in Berlin Westend puts on a Charles Dickens-themed Christmas celebration, and there's an environmentally friendly Eco Market on Kollwitzplatz. Meanwhile, families with young children should head to the Adventiamo Children's Christmas Market at FEZ-Berlin. Find more about German Christmas markets here

  • When is it open? The major time for the Berlin markets is just before Christmas on the 17th to 19th December.
  • Why you should go. With its plethora of small markets tailored to different interests, Berlin earns top marks for variety and quirkiness.
  • What you should try. Keep yourself going over your Yuletide vacation with some local mulled wine and toasted almonds.

Christmas markets in Cologne

During the Advent period, hundreds of wooden pavilions spring up in front of Cologne cathedral, as well as a mammoth Christmas tree standing 75 feet high and dripping with 50,000 lights. The Old Market Christmas fair by the Town Hall has a section for children with toy sellers, roundabouts and puppet shows. Foodies should head for the “Futtergasse” (Feeding Alley), while if you're in need of a jacket or sweater, try the fashion stalls in the Glitzergasse (Feeding Alley).

  • When is it open? Late November to late December, 11 am to 9 pm
  • Why you should go. This is a great destination choice for food buffs, as all of the snack stalls are certified to serve up only the best local produce.
  • What you should try. Look out for the Market Express, a miniature train that runs through the heart of Cologne between the major fairs.

Christmas markets in Dusseldorf

The Handwerker-Markt on Marktplatz is a recreation of a traditional village with craftsmen demonstrating their skills. Adults can snack on pretzels and cheese washed down with rum punch. The Sternchen-Markt at Stadtbrückchen is a magical Santa's Grotto on an impressive scale, and home to some eye-catching jewellery stalls. The Märchen-Markt on Schadowplatz presents a traditional Hans Christian Andersen-style Christmas in painstaking detail. Meanwhile, the Kö-Bogen-Markt at Jan-Wellem-Platz has many attractions for younger visitors. 

  • When is it open? Late November to late December, 11 am to 8 pm. Closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • Why you should go. Dusseldorf offers a unique take on Christmas, with seven markets covering different themes.
  • What you should try. Take a break from browsing with a turn on the Ice rink at Corneliusplatz.

Other Christmas market destinations you could be interested in

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