The Most Anticipated Christmas Markets Around The World 2023

The holiday season has officially arrived, and around the world, Christmas Markets are already in full swing! For many, visiting a Christmas Market with friends and family is an unmissable tradition, as it is almost guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit.

The Christmas market’s roots go back to 1296 in Vienna when Duke Albrecht I authorised 14-day fairs in December, although these were not Christmas-themed, despite the time of year. It is common knowledge that Christmas Markets have German origins, but many are reluctant to say for certain which was the first as it is hard to trace their origins back. However, there are a few markets that can be dated back — in 1434, Dresden’s market first opened for one day on Christmas Eve, and the oldest evidence of Nuremberg’s Christmas market dates it to 1628, however, it is suspected that this market actually stretches back at least to 1530.

Today, the markets usually running from the end of November to the end of December,  showcase the world’s rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisine, and artisanal crafts.

Lartisien utilised Google search statistics and found the term ‘Christmas Markets’ generated 165,000 searches in the past month, reflecting a noteworthy 12% increase compared to the previous year. These figures indicate an increasing number of individuals are actively searching for information about Christmas markets and the best locations to experience these festive attractions.

We looked into a range of popular Christmas markets around the world, to find which of these events are the most anticipated in 2023…

1. London, England

Experience the holiday magic in London as the city transforms into a festive hub with its vibrant Christmas markets. Searches for ‘London Christmas Markets’ reached 135,000 in the past month, marking a significant 10% increase from the previous year and underscoring the growing enthusiasm for celebrating Christmas in the bustling city.

Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is London’s most popular Christmas market, with around 2.5 million visitors each year! This market runs for six weeks, from 16th November 2023 to 1st January 2024 and takes place from 10 am to 10 pm daily. It is filled with a wide variety of activities to suit everybody, from ice skating to fun-filled rides to an ice slide. There’s also plenty of choice for indulging in food and drink, including street food, cheese fondue in an Alpine ski lodge, and many cuisines such as Asian and Middle Eastern.

Another enchanting option is the  Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival where you can explore a dazzling fusion of global cuisine and an artisan Christmas market all in one setting. Stroll along the Thames, surrounded by traditional wooden chalets of the Winter Market, and discover unique stocking fillers. You can also indulge in delectable cheese-based treats and savour the warmth of mulled wine from the charming stalls.

2. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest Christmas Markets generated 76,000 searches in the past month, reflecting a 30% increase from the previous year and emphasising the growing allure of experiencing Christmas in Hungary’s capital.

Budapest has many Christmas markets from big to small, but the most popular is arguably at Vörösmarty Square, which began in 1998 and usually runs from early November until the end of December.

This market is a delightful sensory experience filled with enticing smells, festive sounds, and a stunning lit-up, colourful backdrop! You will find traditional Hungarian crafts, a stage which features performances from concerts to Folklore programmes, and of course, lots of amazing food — a highlight is the traditional chimney cake, which has a delicious cinnamon flavour.

You can also explore the unique festive ambience at Advent Basilica in St Stephen’s Square — the second most popular market in Budapest. The event has around 120 local craft exhibitors, offering real gastronomic adventures, heartwarming programs, and numerous surprises. The magnificently adorned atmosphere features the highly successful light show projected onto the basilica’s facade each day throughout the fair in recent years. In keeping with Christmas traditions, every Advent Sunday brings the lighting of a new candle on a shared Advent wreath.

3. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh’s historic and striking architecture makes for a great Christmas backdrop, so it is not a surprise to see the Scottish capital on our list. We observed that searches for ‘Edinburgh Christmas Markets’ totalled 46,000 in the last month, indicating a 3% rise compared to the previous year.

As Edinburgh’s Christmas continues to enchant and draw over two million visitors, the festive spirit reverberates through the city, creating memories that linger long after the holiday season. The diverse array of attractions, including the renowned Christmas market and captivating light displays, contributes to Edinburgh’s reputation as a must-visit destination during the most wonderful time of the year.

City of Edinburgh Council Leader Cammy Day said: “Edinburgh’s Christmas certainly remains one of the UK’s favourite winter destinations. With a footfall of over 2 million to this year’s festival, there’s no questioning the popularity of Edinburgh’s Christmas Markets.”

The Christmas markets occur from 17th November to 6th January, bringing the festive spirit into the New Year! The markets span across a range of sites, including East and West Princes Street, St Georges Square, Castle Street and many more. Also featuring a variety of food and drink options, fun activities for all the family, and local stores for Christmas gifts — these markets make for a fun-filled weekend!

4. Berlin, Germany

Indulge in the magic of Berlin during the holiday season as its historic squares burst into life with festive Christmas markets. As mentioned, Christmas Markets, also known as Weihnachtsmärkte in Germany, come from German origins and still to this day, events around the world have kept some of the authentic traditions, including German cuisine — the iconic Bratwurst food stalls are often popular.

Searches for “Berlin Christmas Markets” reached 18,000 in the past month, marking a 10% increase from the previous year and underscoring the growing appeal of celebrating Christmas in Berlin.

Situated near Berlin’s iconic red-brick town hall, the Berlin Christmas Time market is often referred to as the most beautiful market in the city.  Exuding charm and tradition, you can roam through the stalls from  27th November to 30th December to uncover handmade crafts, authentic German products, and tempting snacks. Immerse yourself in the festive ambience as you listen to live music and savour the warmth of a cup of Glühwein (mulled wine). This market also has several historic rides, a huge pyramid from the Ore Mountains, and the famous Ferris wheel that usually graces Oktoberfest.

Other popular Christmas Markets in Berlin include Charlottenburg Palace, Gendarmenmarkt (at the State Opera) and Spandau Christmas Market in the Old Town.

5. Prague, Czech Republic

We found that searches for ‘Prague Christmas Markets’ reached 9,000 in the past month — a remarkable 48% increase compared to the previous year, which demonstrates the event’s soaring popularity.

The Christmas market (Vánoční trhy) in Prague offers a mix of Czech handicrafts, delicious street food, and a festive atmosphere. Attendees can relish the taste of traditional Czech fare, including barbecued pork, blood sausages, Czech muffins, conkers, beer, mull, mead, and other characteristic specialities from the rich tapestry of Old Czech cuisine. The backdrop of Prague’s medieval architecture adds a unique and captivating element to the holiday festivities. With family-friendly activities and breathtaking scenic beauty, this Christmas market promises an unmissable celebration of the festive season.

As well as this stunning market, there is a vast amount of festive activities around the city, including climbing the famous castle stairs to see an immense view of the festive lights or sledging down the Petřín Hill (snow-dependent!).

6. Vienna, Austria

This country is a picture-perfect location for Christmas with the snow-topped Alps, quaint alpine villages, and the cobblestone streets of its capital, Vienna. Austria is renowned for its enchanting Christmas markets (Christkindlmärkte), with Vienna having some of the most iconic. According to search data, ‘Vienna Christmas Markets’ gained 6,000 monthly searches -— a 63% increase compared to last year.

The Christkindlmarkt on the Rathausplatz is arguably the most famous Christmas market in Vienna, with more than 3 million people visiting each year. This market takes place from November 10th until 26th December in front of the town hall (Rathaus).  Over 100 booths sell many traditional Austrian crafts and handmade gifts, such as wooden toys, textiles and glass ornaments. The market also has a range of international Christmas treats, such as roasted chestnuts and gingerbread, as well as famous Austrian pastries like Kaiserschmarrn and Apfelstrudel.

Other popular Christmas markets in Vienna include the event t at the imperial summer residence of Schönbrunn Palace, the picturesque Belvedere Palace Christmas Market and the traditional Viennese market surrounded by historic buildings, the Altwiener Christkindlmarkt at Freyung.

7. Paris, France

Paris, aka the city of light, has a magical feel all year round, but this is heightened during the festive season! It’s no surprise that this enchanted city made our list, with around 4,000 searches a month for ‘Paris Christmas M v vbarkets’ and a 32% increase from last year.

Paris is adorned with twinkling lights and decorations, plus the city’s wide variety of luxury stores bring a ton of festive window displays. There is also the opportunity to attend midnight mass at Notre Dame for a truly spiritual experience.

Paris is also home to several charming Christmas Markets (Marché de Noël’s) featuring wooden chalets. The most popular of these events — attracting 13 million visitors each holiday season — is the La Magie de Noël at Tuileries Garden,  located in the shadow of the Louvre Museum.

The market is made up of three parts, with the first being a Christmas-themed carnival filled with fairground rides and continuing the ‘fun fair’ tradition that dates back to Paris during the medieval period. The event is also partly an artisan village offering a variety of crafts and handmade products that can make excellent gifts and a ton of delicious food and drink options, from traditional Parisian crepes to champagne bars.

8. Krakow, Poland

When looking at searches for ‘Krakow Christmas Markets’ we saw that this had a total of 2,000 searches this month, which is a 58% increase compared to 2022.

Poland has some deep-rooted Christmas traditions — the rituals and customs that take place during Wigilia (Christmas Eve), such as the breaking of the opłatek (Christmas wafer) and a festive family meal are special to those in Poland. The commonly snowy weather in Poland also makes for an idyllic winter wonderland.

The Krakow Christmas Market is known as the best Christmas market (Jarmark Bożonarodzeniowy) in Poland. Running from 24th November to 1st January, these markets capture the essence of Polish Christmas traditions, with the festive celebrations taking place in a charming historic setting. There are numerous stalls selling traditional Polish Cuisine, such as kielbasa (sausage), pierogi (dumplings), and oscypek (smoked cheese).

Krakow’s markets also exhibit the city’s unique tradition of Szopka, which is where local artists create miniature, detailed nativity scenes featuring the city’s historic landmarks. There is also a light show during the markets, which sees historic buildings illuminated in an array of colours!

9. Copenhagen, Denmark

The capital of Denmark is another scenic destination to visit during the festive season. With 2,000 monthly searches for “Copenhagen Christmas Markets”, a 47% yearly increase, it’s clear others are recognising it as a great Christmas destination.

Denmark is famous for ‘hygge’, which represents a cosy, intimate atmosphere of satisfaction, which Copenhagen embraces, especially during the festive period.

One of the world’s oldest amusement parks, Tivoli Gardens, is where the main Copenhagen Christmas market (also known as Julemarkeder in Danish)is held. Although the gardens have a stunning atmosphere year-round, this is heightened during the Christmas season with festive decorations and lights, attracting millions of visitors from all over the world.  The food stalls serve both international and Danish treats such as æbleskiver (round, pancake-like pastries), hot roasted almonds, and gløgg (mulled wine), and if that’s not enough, the park’s permanent restaurants feature limited festive menus.

As well as delicious food, the market features traditional market activities like an ice rink, gift stalls, and a range of entertainment. The Tivoli Gardens also has a huge fireworks display to close out the festive season with a bang!

10. Brussels, Belgium

The capital of Belgium is a great festive destination due to its magical illuminations, attractions, and, of course, cosy Christmas markets. Search data reveals that ‘Brussels Christmas Markets’ gained 2,000 searches a month — a 33% increase since the previous year.

The main Christmas Market (Kerstmarkten) in Brussels occurs in the city centre, spanning over the Grand Place, Place Sainte-Catherine, Marché aux Poissons, Rue de la Bourse and more, providing a stunning backdrop. Around 250 wooden chalet stalls can be found across the capital selling handmade gifts, decorations, and food.

Belgium is known for its culinary delights, notably, the country’s high-quality chocolate and Belgian waffles, including the well-loved Brussels waffle which is often served with toppings such as whipped cream, fruit and chocolate. Last but not least, Belgium is also known for its beer culture, with many traditional breweries around the capital and plenty of bars around the markets!

Another huge event in Brussels for the Christmas season is the Plaisirs d’Hiver/Winterpret (Winter Wonders) festival. Not only does this event have a Christmas market, but there is a wide range of festive activities such as ice skating, Ferris wheels, and entertainment. A key part of this event is the light parade, which sees vibrant and colourfully illuminated floats, performers, and music winding its way around the city.

Wherever you decide to visit a Christmas Market, whether it’s local or on a trip, the above destinations will provide you with that much-loved festive feeling! Whether you opt to see the London streets lit up, enjoy the beautiful cuisine in Brussels, or experience a winter wonderland in Poland, visiting Christmas Markets will always bring joy and get you into the spirit, ready for the big day!

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