EIGHT European Christmas Markets You Didn't Know About (and Should!)

The days have grown short, the air is crisp and cold, Christmas season is certainly in the air. The only thing making these dark winter days brighter are Christmas markets lighting up across cities everywhere (in Europe, anyways). We decided to a little research for you, on the best  hidden gems from experienced travelers! We know all about the gliterry Striezelmarkt in Dresden, the stunning Viennese Dream Christmas Market (Wiener Weihnachts Traum) in front of its majestic City Hall and, of course, the traditional Old Town Square Market found right here in Prague.

Thanks to all the travellers whose insights and trusted experience is quoted in this article.

Colmar, France

Photo @sennarelax on Instagram

“Six Christmas Markets in the historic town. Each of Colmar's six Christmas Markets is a separate mini-village with its own collection of passionate craftsmen. Installed in squares with their own architectural signature, these islands of festivity reflect the character of the city hosting them: friendly and authentic. For six weeks, the whole of Old Colmar, miraculously protected from the vicissitudes of history, becomes one huge multi-faceted Christmas Market. Here, as you browse round the 180 stalls, you really feel the magic of Christmas seeping into you. It's all about experiencing the wonder of a child again; it's not something you can control, you just have to feel it.

In Colmar, miracles do happen… But a huge amount of preparation work goes on behind the scenes: maintaining the chalets, putting up the decorations and lights, organising entertainment, overseeing the installation of the stands and selecting exhibitors. The exhibitors, mostly from Alsace, are selected on the basis of the quality and originality of their products. This is also an inspiring time of year for the artists and craftsmen exhibiting their work in the impressive Renaissance Koïfhus (the old customs building). Whether its a traditional Advent speciality, a winter-themed work of art or a contemporary decorative item, the impulse buy definitely plays a part here”

Trier, Germany

Photo @barbaravaleiras on Instagram

“As soon as I set my feet there, they made me fall in love... The atmosphere around their narrow streets filled up with "gingerbread houses" was unique. Idyllic towns [taken] out of a story!!! Trier, Germany” Now in its 39th year, the Trier Christmas Market is once again one of the loveliest in all of Germany. Beginning Friday, November 23, about 90 attractively decorated booths will be open until December 22. Set on the medieval Main Market and in front of the imposing backdrop of Trier Cathedral, the market is admired by visitors the world over.

Zagreb, Croatia

Photo @croatiafulloflife / @beautifuldestinations on Instagram

“Win-Win-Win-Situation! Zagreb’s Christmas market was selected as the best European Christmas market in 2016, 2017 and 2018! Get your gloves on and experience the best that Christmas has to offer!”

We tend to think of Croatia as a summer destination for beach adventures! Well, it’s so much more than that. Save the best for December and don't wait for Santa sitting by your fireplace, find him in the city! Make sure you polish your boots before you go because Zagreb has in store for you a number of holiday surprises, including the musical program which will make you want to dance all night long!

Prague, Czech Republic

We might be a little biased, but we think Prague come winter is some other kind of magic. The city, once blanketed in a layer of snow, becomes an entirely different beast that seems almost too good to be true. Prague and winter go together like schnitzel and potato salad. We can only hope our Manifesto Winter Market can provide that same feeling of magic and wonder, you know what kind we are talking about, the kind you experienced as a kid. While we can't wait to create a special experience and welcome you to our own, and very first Manifesto Winter Market near the Prague's city center, we also dream of that Christmas cheer throughout all the Christmas markets across Europe. Check out some of our favorite hidden gems below (and tag us if you have the chance to post a live picture from any of them!).

Helsinki, Finland

Photo @tuomaanmarkkinat by Jussi Hellsten on Instagram

Christmas Markets, never a Gloggi (Finnish mulled wine) far from sight, and lots of pretty wooden crafts, smoked salmon, leather goods, gingerbread biscuits and Northern light artwork stalls to boot. A great stopover on our journey up to the Arctic Circle.” - @tinytourist5 on Instagram

Helsinki Christmas Market is the oldest and largest event of its kind in Helsinki, taking place in the centre of Helsinki in the Senate Square. The heart of the market beats to a hugely popular, old-fashioned merry-go-round offering free rides to children and others who are young at heart. The centre of the market embraces a cluster of food courts focusing on regional specialities. In the gift alleys surrounding the food courts, there are over a hundred vendors selling traditional handicraft, the latest design and utility products, as well as produce from primary producers and farms.”

Bratislava, Slovakia

Tip from @lexicon_sk on Instagram

Christmas markets in Bratislava have a long tradition and they’re a great place to socialise with family, friends & colleagues. Soak in the proper Christmas atmosphere whilst drinking mulled wine and eating traditional Slovak meals. Perhaps do a little Christmas shopping as well. Markets are organised by @visitbratislava on Main Square, Františkánske Square, Courtyard of the Old Town Hall, Hviezdoslavovo Square - enjoy ice rink here, M.R. Štefánik’s Square & Primacial Square. Open 10am-10pm daily.”



Montreux, Switzerland

@lesgranolasdejenny on Instagram

“Welcome to M.O.N.T.R.E.U.X Christmas Market! Many chalets along the lake, with a selection of gifts, vin chaud & food! “In its 24th edition this year, Montreux Noël offers entertainment for all ages with its traditional Christmas Market, which stretches along Montreux's lakeside promenade, which is specially lit and decorated for the occasion.

Innsbruck, Austria

@discovery_awaits on Instagram

“Looking down over the Innsbruck Christmas Market and its huge tree. In the background you may notice a golden roof, this is the Goldenes Dachl. It is considered to be the city's most famous symbol, the roof was decorated with 2,738 fire-gilded copper tiles and was completed in the year 1500. ” The 70 market stalls are nestled between attractive medieval buildings and the Golden Roof and they offer Christmas tree decorations, handicrafts, woollen goods and souvenirs. A viewing platform offers wonderful views over the roofs of the stalls. For a promenade into a fairy tale lane, take take a wander down Kiebachgasse, the street that runs parallel to Erzherzog-Friedrich-Straße: numerous characters from famous fairy tales can be seen on the buildings’ façades, bay windows and gables.