The 5 Best Christmas Markets in Europe

November 2016

Berlin, Strasbourg, Budapest, Vilnius, Krakow - all claim to host the best Christmas market.

M&S, Pret, Boots, Sainsbury's, Co-op - all claim to make the best Christmas sandwich.

Forget Father Christmas - these are the real questions of modern Yule Tide.


Grossly underqualified to attempt an answer to the first question (Sainsbury's), we've taken a look at the Christmas markets. Gladly, it turns out there is something for everyone.

It's worth bearing in mind that with a slightly weaker pound, you'll get more for your £££ outside Euro countries.

Berlin, Germany.

Nobody does market-based festivities like the Germans. Oktoberfest-dust has barely settled when Christmas markets start springing up everywhere.

But whilst Munich hosts the world-famous beer-guzzling bonanza in October, Berlin is the undisputed home of the Christmas market.

There are over 50 different markets to choose from in and around the capital! The most popular is Kaiser Wilhelm which will attract over 2 million visitors this winter.

Berlin is For: Those who like their events big. Lots of people, lots of choice.

Strasbourg, France

If you like Christmas markets to be a perfect blend of German coziness and French finesse, then this one will be right up your strasse-bourg.

Moving on…

Strasbourg has Christmas shops year-round, but in December stalls loaded with treats and crafts seem to pop up in every square. Climb the 332 steps to the top of the Strasbourg cathedral for a bird’s-eye view of the 11 Christmas markets.

Strasbourg is for: Christmas addicts. Go in June for a Christmas fix if you really want.

Budapest, Hungary

100+ cottage-like wooden pavilions are jam-packed with delicious local food. Go all Henry VII and slurp mulled wine whilst gorging on chimney cakes (kurtoskalacs) and toki pompos.

Traditional food, folk dances and live music can be found daily and to add to the authenticity of celebrations, all products sold in the market are handmade. That's guaranteed by a jury!

Budapest is for: fans of live music & dance and an authentic Eastern European Christmas. Not an American dose. 

Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius is great value for money and for whatever reason it remains less fashionable than other, less-beautiful European capital cities.

Even at this late stage, return weekend flights will only cost around £100 (through Cheapflights) and there are plenty of nice double rooms in the city centre for £30 or less per night.

Wives of foreign diplomats and ambassadors sell souvenirs and sweets at the International Christmas Charity Fair in City Hall Square.

Vilnius is for: A less touristy, cheaper option on a smaller scale. A wonderful city to explore.

Krakow, Poland.


Set in the huge Rynek Glowny central square in the Old Town, centuries-old Polish carols ring out around wooden stalls selling hand-painted cut glass decorations.

Like the Lithuanian capital – your money will go a little further here. Make sure to visit the open-air eateries and try pierogi (dumplings) and golonka (stewed pork knuckle). Mmmmm.

Krakow is for: beautiful hand-crafted gifts, and nosh for the more open-minded palette (if that make sense).


To conclude. Which is the best sarnie, and where is the best market?

There is no right or wrong answer. Consider Berlin is your lock stock and barrels M&S sandwich, and Vilnius is your quietly confident sticks-to-what-it-knows Boots option. They both have a place. They both do a great job.

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