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Best Christmas Markets in Europe 2023: where to go, what to eat and where to stay



Christmas markets across Europe capture the magic of the festive season. The sound of Christmas music, the scent of spices in the air, and the glow of decorations fill the streets and warm the atmosphere. From Lisbon to Berlin, Vienna to Budapest, including Cascais and the picturesque village of Óbidos, there are magical markets where you can shop for gifts, enjoy a family stroll, or simply indulge in a warm drink and traditional treats.

This is a time that goes by faster than we'd like, so there's no reason to hesitate —immerse yourself in the festive spirit with our suggestions to explore the best Christmas markets in Europe. Find out what to eat and where to stay, with a program that's simply irresistible, for families or couples. Start planning your visit now and live the magic of these 6 charming destinations!

1. Christmas Markets in Germany, Berlin

01 Mercadoalemanha

Berlin transforms into a true Christmas postcard, filled with light, colour, and magic, boasting over 60 Christmas markets throughout the city. The most renowned ones include Gendarmenmarkt, Gedächtniskirche, and the Christmas Market at Alexanderplatz with its giant Ferris wheel. Explore these markets for your Christmas shopping, where you'll find unique gifts crafted by talented local artisans. Beautifully decorated shops, a wide variety of art crafts, enchanting choirs, Advent music, all accompanied by the irresistible aroma of mulled wine and roasted almonds, it all adds up to a unique atmosphere in this dreamy journey.

What to eat in Berlin: Glühwein (mulled wine), currywurst and bratwurst, Quark Bällchen (fried cheese balls), gingerbread cookies, and sweet breads. And this is just a small sample of street food...

Where to stay in Berlin: Discover SANA Berlin, a 4-star hotel in Berlin, only a 10-minute walk from Gedächtniskirche Christmas market.

Recommended Article: Discovering Berlin

2. Óbidos Vila Natal, Portugal

02 Obidos

This year, from November 30 to December 31, Óbidos Christmas Village offers the fantastic world of a wizarding school! There are surprises for all ages, magic potions, flying brooms, animals from other worlds and even herbology recipes. Magic comes to life in various shows, offering an experience full of activities and attractions, including an ice rink and slope, always with the illustrious presence of Santa Claus. In the traditional Christmas Market, artisans create handmade gifts and delicious treats. The village dresses up with sparkling lights and Christmas decorations, offering a truly magical atmosphere around the Castle.

What to eat at Vila Natal: Cotton candy, chocolate, and traditional Christmas delicacies at the stalls.

Where to stay : Where to stay: Just a 10-minute drive away, stay at the comfortable 4-star SANA Silver Coast, our fantastic hotel in hotel nas Caldas da Rainha, the romantic city of the arts worth discovering.

Recommended Article: Eat, Stroll, and Enjoy: A Guide to Discovering Caldas da Rainha

Image Credits: Óbidos Vila Natal

3. Wonderland Lisboa and Rossio Christmas Market in Lisbon, Portugal

03 Wonderland

The Christmas spirit once again invades the capital with these two major markets. We suggest starting with Wonderland Lisboa in Parque Eduardo VII, one of the largest Christmas markets in the country. From the Ferris wheel to the eco-friendly ice-skating rink, Santa's house, and countless stalls where you can buy gifts, it has everything for wonderful family moments!

Next, head to the Rossio Christmas Market! Descend the beautiful and illuminated Avenida da Liberdade, and enter an authentic Christmas city recreated in the downtown area, full of meticulously decorated small houses. Embark on the free Christmas Train, wander among crafts from around the world, and visit the Doll Hospital's storefront exhibition. An unmissable program!

What to eat in Lisbon: Typical Christmas delicacies in Lisbon, such as “Bolo Rei” and “Bolo Rainha”, “filhós” and pumpkin fried treats. To pair, try mulled wine, classic ginjinha, or hot chocolate, drinks for all tastes to warm the soul on cold nights.

Where to stay : The hotel options in Lisbon are varied. But for a more refined stay with a spa and indoor pool, we suggest the 5-Star Hotel EPIC SANA Marquês, a hotel in Marquês de Pombal.

Where to stay: Visiting Lisbon in 24 Hours

4. Cascais Christmas Village, Portugal

04 Cascaischristmas

Christmas is always special in this charming seaside town, and this year is no exception! Come and enjoy the magic of Christmas celebrations with the whole family, visit Santa's House and the ice rink, among other activities in Cascais Christmas Market – Cascais Christmas Village. Throughout the city, you can enjoy festivities in its parks and gardens and in Cascais Bay, where the Ferris wheel will be located. And, of course, don't miss the excitement of the Christmas Markets in all the downtown area. Everywhere, you'll find charitable gifts, crafts, gastronomy, and typical seasonal sweets. Between November 25 and January 8, parking is free on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays and from 5 pm to 2 am on weekdays.

What to eat in Cascais: Traditional cuisine and street food, with no shortage of seasonal sweets, especially Bolo Rei.

Where to stay: We recommend EVOLUTION Cascais Estoril, the new hotel in Estoril. A Pet-friendly hotel, with a fabulous view of the sea and Cascais Bay

5. Vienna Christmas Market, Austria

05 Mercadoviena

Under a magical, snow-covered atmosphere, Vienna organizes the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe every year. Prepare to discover the essence of Austrian traditions in these Christmas markets. Known for their Christmas lights, they create fairy-tale-like scenes. Here, you can play “curling”, a traditional game for the whole family, and find the widest range of traditional products and crafts, excellent options for your Christmas gifts.

What to eat in Vienna: : “Apfelstrudel” - apple strudel, “Kaiserschmarrn” - a kind of sweet pancake, and traditional Austrian sausages. For a truly authentic experience, pair it with a glass of Austrian mulled wine.

More information on locations, hours:https://www.weihnachtsdorf.at/en_us/

6. Budapest Christmas Market, Hungary

06 Mercadobudapeste

For all Christmas Market enthusiasts, the one at Vörösmarty Square in Budapest is a must-visit destination. During this magical season, the entire space transforms and comes even more alive with Christmas songs and live performances, among numerous Christmas activities. We promise you'll fall in love with the originality of Hungarian folk crafts. Why not do your Christmas shopping here? Take the opportunity to discover this fabulous city full of history, during this special time. Explore some of its Christmas traditions, like the celebration of St. Nicholas Day, or Mikulás in the original, which occurs on December 6.

What to eat in Budapest: : From grilled sausages to typical sweets, there's plenty to choose from. Also, discover the traditional “forralt bor” or mulled wine, and “palinka” – a fruit brandy.

More information at: https://www.hungarybudapestguide.com/events/christmas-markets/