The Best European Christmas Market Guide 2023
Oh the places you will go, they say. Well, let those places be European Christmas markets! There is nothing quite like Christmas markets that will ignite your holiday season mood like this atmosphere.
I’ve cultivated this guide and tips to help you navigate your European Christmas market adventure. Keep reading and be sure to save this blog post for future reference!Read more: The Best European Christmas Market Guide 2023
How to Get There
For most, getting to Europe will take a plane ride. If you’re coming from anywhere but Europe, you’re likely looking at a costly ticket! If you’ve been following us for a while now, you know that we don’t like to pay normal prices for flights.
We typically plan our flights using the Greek Islands’ trick, or travel hacking points into a plane ticket. Going, formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights, is one subscription service that has been the most helpful in getting us across the ocean for CHEAP.
We also are a huge fan of seats.aero to help us find redemption routes to Europe from the US.
No matter what you decide, trying to book far in advance can help you control some of the spending to get over to the glorious Christmas market scene.
You might like this post: How to Find and Book Cheap Flights
Tips for Getting Around
We highly recommend public transit when visiting larger cities and their Christmas markets. If you plan to see some of the smaller markets, see if it will be useful to rent a car, or if their towns have train stations. If they have train stations, I would opt for that any day!
Keep in mind that some markets might have snow, so you will want to keep that in mind if you are keen on driving. This past trip to the markets, we walked and used public transportation and it made our lives much easier to not have to look/pay for parking.
You can likely use services like Uber, and of course, taxis to get around, but they won’t be as cost-effective as the local public transportation. Choose your battles!
Pro Tip: Check to see if the local transit system has an app that you can use to buy tickets in advance. For example, in Germany, the DB Navigator app is amazing, as well as the SBB Mobile App for Switzerland. You can book tickets right in the app, and get up-to-date information about trains and local transport too.
Where to Stay
Depending on your preference, you will want to keep in mind the areas you want to visit. It might be wise to stay more central if you plan to visit the Christmas markets on a tight schedule and don’t want to spend time transporting into town.
Here are some examples of what areas to stay in when visiting certain locations:
Basel: Alstadt Grossbasel
Nuremberg: Alstadt – Mitte
Brussels: Grand Place
Vienna: Innnere Stadt
If you are looking for specific recommendations, or booking services come visit me over at Wayfaring Consulting so I can help you out with your trip!
What Markets to Visit
This is a tough one because Europe literally has tons of markets! The Points Guy makes a great case in his post about the best Christmas markets to see this year, and we couldn’t agree more with some of his choices! If you have the luxury of time, you can take the train to several countries to visit many of these locations with Christmas markets.
- Munich, Germany
- Nuremberg, Germany
- Berlin, Germany
- Cologne, Germany
- Strasbourg, France
- Vienna, Austria
- Salzburg, Austria,
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Basel, Switzerland
- Prague, Czechia
- Brussels, Belgium
- London, England
- And SO many more!
Here is an easy Google map of the Christmas Markets we are capturing. Feel free to use this resource as you plan your trip.
Other Things to See
Be sure to make time for other local excursions or stops so that you can round out your adventure with some history or beautiful art. For example, how can someone visit Munich, but not hang out at Hofbrauhaus to drink beer and eat Bavarian food in the oldest beer hall (established in 1589)?
Visit local castles, museums, lookout points, or walking tours to enrich your overall trip.
For example, when visiting Salzburg, Austria, we took the mountain cable car up to the Fortress Hohensalzburg for epic views and to learn a bit more about Austrian history.
You might like this: Things to Do, Tickets, Tours & Attractions through Viator
- Layers are key to making this cold journey warm. Think Merino wool and thermals.
- Fur-lined or fleece-lined leggings are a stylish way to stay warm
- Waterproof boots or comfortable snow boots make long days out walking much more enjoyable
- Pack a few pairs of Merino wool socks
- Packable down jackets are great for layering
- Bring a warm, waterproof coat for rainy/snowy days
- Snow bibs or waterproof pants for the littles are a must
- Use vacuum seal packing bags to make the most of your suitcase space
- Dont forget your beanies, gloves, and scarves
- Try to pack the least amount possible for two reasons: 1) It can be tough to carry heavy suitcases up/down stairs at metro and train stations and 2) Leave some space for small souvenirs
Helpful & Family Friendly Tips
- These electric hand warmers were a hit with the whole family. Great for nights out at the Christmas markets
- Some markets are very crowded and can be tough to navigate with a stroller. Bringing a baby carrier or wrap may be the better option.
- Many trains we went on had designated areas for families. Keep this in mind as an option when traveling with little ones
- Many markets use cash still. It’s always a good idea to bring local currency with you to the markets!
- You will come across Pfand (cup deposit) when you order a drink that comes in a festive, market mug. If you decide that you don’t want the cup, you may return it to the vendor for your deposit.
Concluding our guide, we want to wish you the best on your Christmas market adventure! No matter which city you choose to visit, soak in all of the holiday season atmosphere because it is like no other!
If you have already ventured out to the European Christmas markets, which ones did you love? Any additional tips for our fellow readers?