THE TOP 10 CHRISTMAS MARKETS 2020
Disclaimer: Please make sure you are up to date with the government’s latest foreign travel advice during the coronavirus before booking a holiday. It is also worth noting that, due to COVID-19, some attractions listed in this blog post may not be currently operating.
Whether it’s the sweet smell of mince pies, hanging up your stocking or decorating the tree that fills you with warmth this winter, we’ve got a few treats worth adding to your list this festive season. Christmas is right around the corner, so where better to do your seasonal shopping than on one of these sparkling Christmas market city breaks?
We’ve rounded up the best of the bunch so you can start filling up your stocking...
For a great value city break serving up plenty of Christmas spirit, Prague is just the ticket. The cosy yet compact city centre is ideal for exploring the annual Christmas markets, which turn the city into a winter wonderland every December. Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square are where the main festivities happen, although there are smaller markets sprinkled around Republic Square and Havel’s Market. Shop for seasonal crafts, jewellery and stocking fillers with a soundtrack of local school choirs singing carols, and don’t forget to sample some traditional Czech food and drink - their hearty pastries and sausages are just a few seasonal delights you can savour!
If you can't get away for a weekend, why not visit this vibrant city in just a day instead? Check out our top European day trip destinations for holidays in a hurry!
When is Christmas market in Prague? November 23rd 2019 - 6th January 2020
2) NEW YORK
This spectacular city has enough shopping, sights and entertainment to keep you busy for weeks, and the holiday season is no exception - but there’s much more to New York City than glitzy department stores and giant twinkly trees. Columbus Circle Holiday Market in the southwest corner of Central Park is a fantastic location to mingle with the locals as you browse seasonal stalls offering food and festive treats. Union Square Holiday Market (known for its trademark red and white candy cane stripe booths) is the main Christmas market, where you can pick up decorations, gifts and indulge in some tasty NYC street food.
Want to save as much spending money for the markets as possible? Learn how to do New York on a budget... yes, it's possible!
When are the Christmas markets in New York City? The exact dates for 2020 haven’t been announced yet, but they are generally from the end of November to the end of December. In 2019, the markets were held from 21 November to 24 December.
A wintery Krakow city break is the perfect prep for a hearty festive season. Nestled in the heart of Rynek Glowny Square in the city’s stunning old town is Poland’s biggest and best Christmas market. All the usual festive crafts and edible treats are on offer from the decorated wooden stalls, but if you want a particularly Polish souvenir to remind you of your trip, make sure you take one or two traditional glass baubles home to hang on your tree. It’s almost impossible to browse the twinkling stalls without stopping to snack on delicious spiced nuts and frosted gingerbread, washed down with a mug of mulled wine, of course.
When is the Christmas market in Krakow? The dates for 2020 haven’t been released yet, but traditionally it begins in the last week of November and runs until at least 26 December. In 2019, the dates were 29 November to 26 December.
If you’ve enjoyed your fair share of gingerbread and bratwurst at a German-style market in the UK, it’s time to experience the real deal with a Berlin city break. Crowned as the home of the Christmas market, Berlin boasts a staggering 80 festive markets across the city, each with their own unique charm. Don’t miss the old town’s 44th Traditional Spandau Christmas Market for the ultimate winter wonderland experience - on weekends the spectacular Christmas tree towers over 400 festive stalls. If you’re searching for an upmarket experience this season, head to the WeihnachtsZauber at the Gendarmenmarkt Square for unique crafts and Michelin-starred food in the shadow of the city’s famous concert hall. Wherever you go, you’ll never be far from a warm mug of mulled wine – guaranteed!
Or if you fancy swapping your winter escape for a blissful beach break, head to one of Berlin's best cocktail bars and sink your toes into this rooftop's sands!
When is Christmas market in Berlin? November 25th 2019 - 31st December 2019
Vienna held the first Christmas market ever way back in 1289. Today, this spectacular city lights up with over 20 official Advent Markets to explore. The city hall is the backdrop to the popular Viennese Christmas Market, a family favourite where kids can learn to make cookies and candles while parents listen to carols. Combine shopping with sightseeing at the Christmas Village Belvedere Palace, which is a haven for foodies and lovers of handcrafted decorations – so you’ll leave with a satisfied stomach and a little something for your stocking too.
When are the Christmas markets in Vienna? 14 November 2020 - 23 December 2020.
You’re sure to find some Christmas sparkle in this spectacular city of light. No matter where you stay in Paris, you’ll never be too far from the twinkling lights of a Christmas market – or marché de noel, as the locals call it! Browse the delicate stalls and you’ll find tasty culinary delights among a fine array of arts, crafts, jewellery and festive decorations to compliment your tree. Spend an evening strolling through the huge Christmas Village on the square at La Defense and don’t miss the market lining the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, where Paris’s most stunning Christmas lights can be found.
When you're not stuffing gingerbread men on the market stalls, eat your way around this city with our guide to the best culinary delights in Paris!
When is Christmas market in Paris? November 24th 2019 - 6th January 2020.
The Winter Wonders festival in Brussels is well worth exploring this Christmas. As well as all the sights, sounds and flavours you’d expect from a traditional European Christmas market, the Belgian capital is also host to seasonal family favourites including a Ferris wheel, ice rink, carousel and no other than the iconic ice monster – a scary dinosaur intent on gobbling up unsuspecting families. Sounds like our kind of market!
When is the Christmas market in Brussels? 27 November 2020 - 03 January 2021.
This historic spa city boasts a small but beautiful Christmas market by the idyllic basilica, but the main market is located in the heart of the city in Vorosmarty Square. It’s hard to resist the food on offer as the sweet smell of mulled wine and cinnamon-laced treats fill the air. Foodies must indulge in a tasty cabbage and roasted goose thigh while browsing the twinkling wooden huts for souvenirs and keepsakes, followed by a crumbling honey cookie for dessert, of course. If you consider yourself a craft connoisseur, there are 122 festive stalls offering high quality products that are approved by a local panel of folk art experts – so you can be sure your seasonal gifts are up to scratch.
Plus, with Budapest crowned as one of the best cities for cheap drinks, there's no better way to celebrate the holidays!
When are the Christmas markets in Budapest? Although the 2020 dates have yet to be released, they tend to be held from early November until 01 January. In 2019, they ran from 08 November 2019 to 01 January 2020.
You can find a Christmas market almost anywhere, even in Madrid, Spain’s capital. When you’re not browsing the stylish boutiques that line its enchanting backstreets, make sure you visit one of this city’s stunning Christmas markets. The markets in and around Parque de El Retiro and the Explanada del Puente del Rey are put on especially for kids, so the littluns will stay entertained from morning until night on family holidays. The main attraction, though, is held in the spectacular city square, Plaza Mayor. Tourists and locals alike mingle under the glistening Christmas lights as they shop for presents, marvel over the beautifully designed nativity scenes and sample tasty turron - seasonal nougat that is every bit as delicious as it sounds.
When are the Christmas markets in Madrid? 24 November 2020 - 06 January 2021.
Check out this blog post for Spain’s latest coronavirus travel updates.
If you’re looking to step off the beaten track this festive season, Latvia may have everything you’re looking for. The Christmas market in Riga may only be in its 15th year, but this friendly city boasts the honour of being the very first place a Christmas tree was decorated - as far back as 1510! A treat for fans of all things traditional, this market focuses on handmade crafts and treats such as cosy knitted mittens, wooden toys, candlesticks, rag bears, jewellery and delicious Latvian honey. If you’re interested, you can even learn about Latvian Christmas traditions including cooking, log dragging and music. Don’t forget to sample the gorgeous local gingerbread before you leave – we’ll certainly be bringing some back to pop in our Christmas stockings!
When is the Christmas market in Latvia? The market tends to be from late November until December, although the dates for 2020 haven’t been released yet. In 2019, it was held from 01 December 2019 - to 06 January 2020.
Browse our list of Christmas and New Year’s holidays for an extra dose of festive fun for less.