Halloween is over and so, try as we might, we can no longer ignore the C-Word…. With just eight weeks to go, there’s no denying the Christmas countdown has begun!
Why not book a weekend away to one of these European cities famed for their Christmas markets, and pick up a few gifts along the way?
The scent of sizzling sausages, warm cinnamon dough and mulled wine is sure to entice the adults, whilst the kids admire towering Christmas trees, nativity scenes and endless twinkling lights.
Read on to discover our favourite Best Christmas Markets for Children in Europe.
1. Rathausplatz, Vienna (Austria)
The Austrian capital is one of the most famous for embracing the festive spirit, with a Christmas Market dating all the way back to 1298.
The beautiful City Hall provides an impressive Gothic backdrop to the sprawling annual market, which offers an ice skating rink, reindeer rides and hundreds of stalls selling delicious food, drinks and gifts.
📅 From 10th November until 26th December 2023
2. Old Town Square, Prague (Czech Republic)
Prague is a magical city to visit in winter, when its fairytale-like architecture is dusted in snow, and the huge Christmas tree in Old Town Square is festooned with lights.
Prague’s small size makes it a great choice for visiting with children- its two main Christmas markets (on Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square), are just a few minutes walk apart. Be sure to try the local Czech sausages and beer!
📅 From 2nd December 2023 until 6th January 2024
3. Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin (Germany)
Offering close to one hundred Christmas markets, Berlin really embraces the festive season with gusto.
The most famous and popular is the Gendarmenmarkt, where producers come from all over the world to display their traditional handmade crafts in rows of pretty tented stalls.
A fantastic place to pick up some unique gifts, there are also nightly performances from choirs and musicians.
📅 From 27th November 2023 until 31st December 2023
4. Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen (Denmark)
A Christmas market in one of the world’s oldest theme parks? This one’s sure to be a winner with this kids!
Visitors to Tivoli Gardens’ Christmas Market can enjoy the traditional fairground rides as well as firework displays, live bands, light shows and of course numerous stalls selling gifts, food and drinks.
If you’re around on 13th December you will be able to see the annual St Lucia’s Day procession, too. Check out our list of child friendly activities in Copenhagen to see what else the city has to offer.
📅 From 19th November 2023 until 31st December 2023
5. Winter Wonders, Brussels (Belgium)
A huge annual event in the Belgian capital, “Winter Wonders” spans various locations and encompasses a Christmas market, fairground rides, ice skating and over 200 chalets serving up some of the city’s most loved exports – waffles, beer and glühwein!
The impressive sound and light show at the Grand Place runs every hour, filling the city centre with festive cheer. Certainly one of the best Christmas Markets for children.
📅 From 24th November 2023 until 31st December 2023
6. Cologne Cathedral Market, Cologne (Germany)
The Cologne Cathedral Market is a magical holiday extravaganza nestled in the heart of Germany’s historic city.
With the iconic Cologne Cathedral as its backdrop, this market offers a festive wonderland filled with twinkling lights, charming stalls, and the aroma of traditional German treats.
Visitors can sip on mulled wine, sample delicious bratwurst, and explore a wide array of artisanal gifts and crafts.
The market’s enchanting ambiance, adorned with sparkling decorations and a towering Christmas tree, makes it a perfect destination for families and friends seeking a spirited, yuletide experience.
Immerse yourself in the joy of the season at the Cologne Cathedral Market.
📅 From 23rd November 2023 until 23rd December 2023
7. Vörösmarty Square, Budapest (Hungary)
The Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market in Budapest is a cherished winter tradition, enchanting locals and tourists alike.
Nestled in the heart of the city, this market transforms the iconic Vörösmarty Square into a festive wonderland.
The air is filled with the scent of mulled wine and mouthwatering Hungarian delicacies, while stalls brim with unique artisanal gifts and holiday treasures.
The centrepiece is a stunningly decorated Christmas tree, casting a warm, magical glow over the scene.
With live music and a jubilant atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to appreciate the true spirit of the season and experience the rich cultural heritage of Budapest.
📅 From 17th November 2023 until 1st January 2024
8. Christkindelsmärik, Strasbourg (France)
The Christkindelsmärik in Strasbourg, France, is a spellbinding Christmas market that weaves enchantment into the season.
As one of Europe’s oldest and most famous markets, it transports visitors to a winter wonderland filled with hundreds of charming, half-timbered stalls.
The aromas of freshly baked bredele cookies and spiced mulled wine waft through the air, while twinkling lights and intricate decorations adorn the picturesque streets.
Strasbourg, known as the Capital of Christmas, embraces its Alsatian heritage with unique gifts and crafts.
This market, with its towering Christmas tree and festive spirit, captures the essence of the holiday season, making it a must-visit destination for all.
📅 From 24th November 2023 until 24th December 2023
9. Lille Christmas Market, Lille (France)
The Lille Christmas Market, located in the heart of the charming French city, is a winter wonderland that captures the magic of the season.
Strolling through its cobblestone streets, visitors are greeted by an enchanting array of stalls adorned with festive decorations.
The enticing scents of mulled wine, hot waffles, and roasted chestnuts fill the air, while the dazzling lights and a majestic Christmas tree create a truly enchanting atmosphere.
Shoppers can explore unique gifts and regional delights, making it a perfect place to experience the joy of the holiday season while immersing in Lille’s rich culture and traditions.
📅 From 22nd November 2023 until 31st December 2023
10. Marienplatz Christmas Market, Munich (Germany)
The Marienplatz Christmas Market in Munich, Germany, is a seasonal masterpiece that captivates the heart of Bavaria.
Nestled in the historic square, it transforms into a magical wonderland each winter.
The charming market boasts a kaleidoscope of vibrant stalls, each offering a delightful array of crafts, seasonal treats, and mulled wine.
The festive atmosphere is electrifying, with carols and live music filling the air.
The Marienplatz Christmas Market is the quintessential Bavarian holiday experience, a place to revel in the spirit of the season.
📅 From 27th November 2023 until 24th December 2023
11. Town Hall Square, Tallinn (Estonia)
The Town Hall Square Christmas Market in Tallinn is a picturesque winter paradise that transports visitors to a storybook setting.
Set against the backdrop of the medieval Town Hall, this market exudes old-world charm with its historic architecture and cobblestone streets.
The scent of roasted nuts, gingerbread, and mulled wine fills the air as visitors explore a treasure trove of artisanal crafts and traditional Estonian delights.
A magnificent Christmas tree takes centre stage, adding to the enchanting atmosphere.
This market captures the essence of Tallinn’s rich history and holiday spirit, making it a must-visit destination to experience the magic of the season.
📅 From 1st December 2023 until 7th January 2024
12. Krakow Christmas Market, Krakow (Poland)
The Krakow Christmas Market in Poland is a delightful holiday spectacle that encapsulates the charm of the season.
Located in the heart of the historic Old Town, it radiates a fairytale-like ambiance.
The market is a sensory delight, offering the warm embrace of mulled wine, the sweet allure of Polish pastries, and an array of handcrafted gifts.
A majestic Christmas tree adorned with twinkling lights takes centre stage, creating a magical atmosphere.
With its rich cultural traditions and spirited celebrations, the Krakow Christmas Market is a destination where the spirit of Christmas truly comes alive.
📅 From 24th November 2023 until 1st January 2024
13. Rathausmarkt, Hamburg (Germany)
The Rathausmarkt in Hamburg is home to one of the city’s most enchanting Christmas markets.
Nestled in the heart of this Hanseatic town, the market transforms the square into a winter wonderland.
Illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights, it beckons visitors with the aroma of hot roasted chestnuts, mulled wine, and sizzling bratwurst.
Stalls brim with handcrafted gifts, from delicate ornaments to traditional German crafts.
The grandeur of Hamburg’s historic City Hall provides a majestic backdrop, while festive music and live performances create a spirited atmosphere.
The Rathausmarkt Christmas Market is where Hamburg’s rich traditions and holiday cheer come together.
📅 From 13th November 2023 until 23rd December 2023
14. Bruges Christmas Market, Bruges (Belgium)
The Bruges Christmas Market, nestled in the heart of the stunning Belgian city, is a festive gem that transforms this medieval wonderland into a winter fairy tale.
With its cobbled streets and historic architecture, Bruges sets the perfect backdrop for a magical holiday experience.
The market’s stalls brim with handcrafted gifts, seasonal delicacies, and warming mulled wine, enticing visitors to explore its treasures.
A towering Christmas tree and a glittering ice rink add to the enchanting atmosphere, while carols and live music fill the air with joy.
The Bruges Christmas Market captures the very essence of a European winter wonderland, making it a must-visit destination for all.
📅 From 24th November 2023 until 7th January 2024
15. Ice Village, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Amsterdam’s Ice Village Christmas Market is a frosty wonderland that enchants visitors during the holiday season.
Set against the picturesque backdrop of the city’s iconic canals and historic architecture, the market creates a unique winter experience.
It features an enchanting ice rink and a mesmerising ice sculpture display, evoking a sense of wonder and merriment.
Festive stalls offer an array of Dutch and international delights, from warm stroopwafels to mulled wine.
With live music and a joyful atmosphere, the Ice Village Christmas Market is a must-visit destination for those seeking the perfect blend of Dutch charm and winter magic, nestled in the heart of Amsterdam.
📅 From 13th December 2023 until 26th December 2023
In this article, I have highlighted some of the best European Christmas Markets you could visit this year with your children. European Christmas markets are full of exciting events for families.
These markets often transform historic town squares into enchanting wonderlands, complete with sparkling lights, towering Christmas trees, and festive decorations. The ambiance is captivating, and children are immersed in a world of holiday magic.
Families can taste an array of traditional seasonal treats like gingerbread cookies, roasted chestnuts, candied fruits, and hot-spiced drinks, creating a sensory experience that is both delicious and memorable.
Visiting Christmas markets is a special family tradition that fosters togetherness and creates lasting memories. It’s an opportunity for bonding, storytelling, and shared joy.
So which city are you going to visit in December 2023 to explore their Christmas market?
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