Put on your mitts to explore the carol-soundtracked, mulled wine world of Christmas markets in Europe.
With Christmas being a relatively warm affair in our part of the world, you might be dreaming of a white Christmas. Europe shines particularly bright during the festive season and there’s something magical about strolling the cobbled streets of Paris, London, Vienna, Copenhagen or Berlin, all decked out with Christmas decorations.
The travel experts at Westpac Concierge have put on their mitts to explore the carol-soundtracked, mulled wine world of Europe’s Christmas markets and here are the ones they think you should visit. They are on hand to help with all your travel bookings, recommend where to stay, what to eat and where to dine. If you’re a Westpac cardholder, you might already be eligible for our insider advice.
Discover the top 2023 Christmas markets in Europe
In Vienna, yuletide charm meets regal splendour topped with the irresistible smell of roasted chestnuts wafting from the maronistands (street stalls). The magic extends through Vienna’s Old Town – take an evening stroll from the State Opera House to St. Stephan’s Cathedral or visit the elegant Christmas market at Schönbrunn Palace for a taste of timeless holiday elegance.
The main Christkindlmarkt (10 November to 26 December 2023) on Rathausplatz is a must-visit. It boasts over 100 stalls surrounding a majestic Christmas tree where locals and travellers alike gather for glühwein (mulled wine), käsekrainer (grilled cheese sausage), and the sweet notes of vanillekipferl (traditional Austrian Christmas cookies).
The Danish concept of hygge, a profound sense of cosiness and warmth, envelops the capital city with an atmosphere that makes it quite special during the Yuletide season.
Nyhavn Christmas market (3 November to 21 December 2023), set against the picturesque harbour front, offers artisanal crafts and festive trinkets amid centuries-old architecture.
For a nostalgic experience, visit Tivoli Gardens’ Christmas markets (17 November to 31 December 2023) which transform Copenhagen’s beloved 180-year-old amusement park into a fairy-tale wonderland with Yuletide-themed and enchanting lights. Enjoy whirlwind rides and family shows at the Concert Hall, and savour æbleskiver (puffy pancake balls) and gingerbread hearts. Julemarked Højbro Plads (3 to 21 December 2023) adds its own sparkle to the city with 18,000 decorative lights. Here, you can browse the log-cabin stalls for knitted garments, Danish delights, gifts, and decorations.
Amidst the vibrant canvas of Berlin’s festive season, where creativity flourishes against a backdrop of historical allure, you’ll find Christmas markets that beckon with handmade art, vintage treasures, and bespoke wonders.
Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market (27 November to 31 December 2023) stands as the heart of the city, offering a tradition-rich experience with a towering Christmas tree, artisanal treasures, and warming glühwein. For the eco-conscious and design aficionados, Nowkoelln Flowmarkt (10 December 2023) unveils rare retro gems. Meanwhile, Weihnachtsrodeo (9, 10, 16, and 17 December 2023), one of Berlin’s indoor gems, elevates your holiday shopping with top artists’ creations and engaging DIY workshops.
In the heart of winter, Paris exudes romance and indulgence with its opulent history around every corner. Don’t miss a visit to iconic department stores like Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, where festive decorations and enchanting shop windows create a whimsical holiday atmosphere.
The Tuileries Christmas Market (17 November 2023 to 7 January 2024) – part traditional market and part carnival, is your go-to destination to enjoy a glass of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, waffles and crepes as well as an opportunity to shop Christmas decor, hop on a Ferris wheel ride or try out your skating skills on the ice-rink.
At the forecourt of Gare de l’Est, the Alsatian Christmas market (1 to 17 December 2023) is a delightful showcase of Alsace’s finest offerings – wine, choucroute, and delectable sausages. Explore free tastings, Christmas theatre, and enchanting storytelling, while discovering charming last-minute gifts.
From Trafalgar Square’s iconic Christmas Tree to the whimsical displays of Carnaby Street and the enchanting lights of Oxford Street, the city is an extravaganza of holiday decor.
Covent Garden, adorned with hundreds of thousands of glittering lights, hosts three daily markets brimming with handmade crafts and unique gifts, accompanied by a mulled wine festival, festive photo opportunities, and daily snowfall.
For an essential London Christmas experience, explore Regent Street’s lights display, indulge in shopping at Harrod’s, and embrace the enchantment of Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Christmas fair (17 November 2023 to 1 January 2024). The iconic fair features over 100 wooden cabins filled with exquisite gifts and the UK’s biggest outdoor ice rink.
And don’t forget to visit Greenwich Christmas Market (17 November to 31 December 2023), where you can discover a treasure trove of stocking fillers, fashion items, crafts, and original artworks before wandering through the historic maritime neighbourhood of Greenwich, adorned with festive lights.
Planning a bucket-list trip soom? Our travel and dining experts at Westpac Concierge can help make it happen with exclusive benefits, preferential pricing, and more – you’d be remiss to not take advantage of. You may even be eligible for the service already.