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Where You’ll Find the Best Holiday Markets in Europe

by AIFS Abroad
Berlin, Germany at Christmas time

Are any holiday markets in Europe on your bucket list? If so, we can relate!

Every year thousands of travelers experience the magic of Europe’s many holiday markets. Countless corners of the continent come alive in December with smells of freshly baked sweets, sights of festive lights, and sounds of holiday music.

Whether you’re studying abroad there or are just planning to travel, here’s where you’ll find some of the best holiday markets in Europe:

1. Berlin, Germany

Study Abroad in: Berlin, Germany

Since Christmas markets originated in Germany, it’s no surprise that its capital city is home to incredible holiday markets. With hundreds of thousands of annual visitors, one of Berlin’s most popular markets is the Christmas Market at Gendarmenmarkt (pictured above). Here, you’ll find everything from handmade German gifts and holiday food, to thrilling fire-eating performances. 

2. Salzburg, Austria

Study Abroad in: Salzburg, Austria

Experiencing the Christmas Season in Salzburg | AIFS Study Abroad | Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg’s fairytale charm is enhanced beyond belief during the holiday season. Its Christmas markets, which were first set up during the 15th century, have plentiful and quality handmade goods that highlight the traditions of the region. Mozart would be proud of his hometown for the incredible singalongs and carols sung throughout the market, particularly in front of the cathedral. 

3. Budapest, Hungary

Study Abroad in: Budapest, Hungary

Budapest’s Winter Festival lasts nearly two months to celebrate the new year ahead. Aside from browsing the many wooden stalls, there’s much to do at this market – including puppet shows, folk concerts, and craft workshops.

4. Florence, Italy 

Study Abroad in: Florence, Italy

In the beautiful Piazza Santa Croce, Florence’s largest holiday market is magnificent. The traditional, German-style market offers unique international gifts and delicious, local food and wine.

5. Metz, France

Study Abroad in: Paris, France

Metz’ holiday market is one of Europe’s most charming. Here, visitors enjoy exploring the “Sentiers des Lanternes,” a charming trail lit up by colorful, holiday-themed lanterns. This French market is also home to an ice-skating rink – and some of the best gingerbread around.

6. Nuremberg, Germany

Study Abroad in: Prague, Czech Republic

For hundreds of years, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt has been one of the world’s most beloved holiday markets. The market’s dedication to German tradition is still strong today – with locally made gifts and traditional German food.

7. Seville, Spain

Study Abroad in: Seville, Spain

Travelers from around the world visit Seville to explore its Mediterranean holiday markets. Nestled between palm trees, Seville’s lively markets serve regional culinary products and celebrate the unique culture of their historic, Spanish city.

8. Vienna, Austria

Study Abroad in: Salzburg, Austria

The Viennese Dream Christmas Market has been an Austrian holiday tradition for centuries. Located in front of Vienna’s splendid City Hall, the market’s backdrop alone amplifies its charm. International choirs sing carols while visitors ice skate and sample seasonal Austrian treats. Simply put – Vienna’s market is a real-life fairytale.

9. Prague, Czech Republic

Study Abroad in: Prague, Czech Republic

Aerial view of Prague, Czech Republic at Christmas time

Enjoy your mug of mulled wine and a delicious trdelník as you stroll through Prague’s Christmas Market. Located in Old Town Square, you’ll be surrounded by the magnificent architecture that makes the city so special — particularly its spires. You’ll marvel at the handmade gifts and trinkets available for purchase, many of which are made by local artisans or representative of historic regional traditions.

Visit one – or more – of these real-life fairytales next winter: Study abroad in Europe with AIFS!

Holiday Markets in Europe

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