The 13 Best Christmas Markets in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and the U.K.

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A stall at the Christkindlmarkt in Munich

A stall at the Christkindlmarkt in Munich

Most well known markets are found in German-speaking areas, and those found outside of these regions often have a German theme. Popular ones in Germany include the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, which is considered by many to be the preeminent example in Germany. It takes place in the Hauptmarkt, the central square in the city’s old town, between December 1 and December 24.

In Munich, the largest Christmas market is on the Marienplatz, and is open from November 27 through December 24. Munich’s Christkindlmarkt features over 160 stalls and an 85’ (26 meter) tall Christmas tree. The Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt or Frankfurt Christmas Market is held in the city center from November 26 through December 22.

Austria also has its fair share, with over two dozen in Vienna proper. Our favorite in the capital city is the Christkindlmarkt on the Rathausplatz that is open from November 16 through December 24. Others include the Weihnachtsmarkt am Hof, open between November 16 and December 23, and the Altwiener Christkindlemarkt or Old Viennese Christmas market at the Freyung near the Schottenkirche, which is open from November 17 through December 23. The Altwiener market is the best source for candles and decorations and is a lower-key event than the one on the Rathausplatz.

Christmas markets are not limited to Vienna, however; both Graz and Salzburg are well known for their own and there are many to be found in smaller towns and villages as well.

The oldest Christmas market still in operation is the Christkindelsmärik in Strasbourg, which was first held in 1570. It features over 300 stalls in 12 locations throughout the city.

Belgium also has a rich history of Christmas markets. The Brussels Winter Wonders Christmas Market is one of Europe’s most famous, and is open between November 30 and January 6, around the Grand-Place, Bourse, Place Sainte-Catherine, and Marché aux Poissons. The Antwerp Christmas Market is held between December 8 and January 6 on the Groenplaats, a square in the center of the city, and the Bruges Christmas Market is located in the medieval city between November 23 and January 1 on the Markt or Market Square.

The United Kingdom has a number of Christmas markets as well, including the German-themed and geographically challenged (at least going by its name) Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham’s Victoria Square, which is open from November 15 through December 23. In London, the Southbank Centre Winter Market, held along the banks of the River Thames, is open between November 9 and January 4. In Northern Ireland, the Belfast Christmas Market takes place from November 17 through December 22 and can be found in the City Hall area. Finally, in Scotland, the European Christmas Market, held in Edinburgh’s East Princes Street Gardens between November 17 and January 5, always attracts throngs of visitors.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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