estive season is upon us, but it’s not too late to plan a Yuletide visit to Europe’s cherished Christmas markets. Rooted in tradition and overflowing with storybook charm, these festive bazaars draw travelers from across the world to experience the cobblestone streets, twinkling lights, handmade gifts and gourmet delights. Join us as we unwrap the magic of Europe’s best Christmas markets in our list curated for luxury and enchantment.
Escape to Germany’s capital where renowned Christmas markets dazzle with gourmet treats, unique specialties and upscale crafts, ensuring you’ll find the perfect gifts for your loved ones back home. With more than 70 markets during the festive season, Berlin buzzes with activity in the winter months. Wander the intimate and high-end Gendarmenmarkt/Bebelplatz Christmas Market (Nov. 27-Dec. 31, 2023) for one-of-a-kind art and culinary delights prepared by Michelin-starred chefs or spend an afternoon at the Charlottenburg Palace Christmas Market (Nov. 27-Dec. 31, 2023), where the opulent setting hosts more than 250 stalls featuring handcrafted gifts and German Christmas sweets. In Berlin, it’s easy to frame an itinerary around the many Christmas market experiences.
WHERE TO STAY: Chateau Royal
This boutique hotel in the heart of Berlin impresses with its blend of art, design and historic flair. Its central location is ideal for exploration, as it’s within walking distance of the Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island and the Gendarmenmarkt/Bebelplatz Christmas Market.
With the snow-covered Alps as the backdrop, it’s easy to feel the holiday spirit at the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt (Nov. 23, 2023-Jan. 1, 2024) in Old Town’s picturesque Cathedral Square. Wander past the more than 100 market stalls that showcase Austrian handicrafts, crystal ornaments, traditional Christmas décor and gifts for everyone on your list. Sample local culinary delights like roasted chestnuts, fine chocolates and traditional Austiran pastries and sip on mulled wine while listening to live classical music in the heart of Mozart’s birthplace. Beyond the iconic Cathedral Square, you’ll find more markets throughout the city, including the Hellbrunner Adventzauber at Helbrunn Palace (Nov. 23-Dec. 24, 2023), Christmas Market on Mirabel Square (Nov. 23-Dec. 24, 2023), and the Advent Market in the Hohensalzburg Fortress Courtyard (Dec. 1-18, 2023).
WHERE TO STAY: Hotel Sacher Salzburg
Book your stay at Salzburg’s most famous luxury hotel, where you’ll feel like royalty while being treated like family. Overlooking the magical scenery of the city’s Old Town and near the banks of the Salzach River, this property offers stunning views paired with rich history and hospitality.
Nestled in the heart of the picturesque Alsace region, the centuries-old Christkindelsmärik (Nov. 24-Dec. 24, 2023) exudes enchantment and wonder. The city of Strasbourg, dubbed “the capital of Christmas,” lives up to its moniker with its festive facades, sparking shop windows, 30-meter decorated Christmas tree, and hundreds of merchants and craftspeople spread throughout the city center. Listen as Christmas carols ring out from the churches and breathe in the aroma of cinnamon and spices while browsing more than 300 chalets filled with unique handcrafted gifts. Round out the sensory feast with traditional treats like bredle (little Christmas biscuits) and a glass (or two!) of mulled wine.
WHERE TO STAY: Brenners Park Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden, Germany
Located near the border of Germany and Fance, this luxury property is an ideal home base for exploring multiple holiday markets. After embarking on a daytrip to Strasbourg, venture out of the hotel on foot to experience the Baden-Baden Christmas Market (Nov. 23, 2023-Jan. 6, 2024) in a fairytale setting framed by the Black Forest.
Nestled within the backdrop of the city's medieval architecture and the stunning Rhine River, Basler Weihnachtsmarkt (Nov. 23-Dec. 22, 2023) is considered one of the prettiest and largest Christmas markets in Switzerland. Take in the festively decorated Old Town at the market’s two locations on Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz, collectively featuring more than 150 beautifully decorated wooden stalls where you’ll find a wide range of gifts and crafts. Culinary delicacies abound with waffles, mulled wine, and genuine Basel jäckerli (a kind of gingerbread) and marvel up at the towering Christmas tree on Münsterplatz, adorned with ornaments by the well-known decorator Johann Wanner.
WHERE TO STAY: Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
With a history dating to the 17th century, this iconic hotel offers a blend of timeless elegance and modern sophistication. You’ll be treated to sumptuously appointed rooms, gourmet dining, and breathtaking views of the river and Old Town, making this the perfect home base for your Swiss Christmas experience.
A winter wonderland awaits in Belgium’s capital, where the Brussels Christmas Market, known as "Plaisirs d'Hiver" or “Winter Wonders” is alive with holiday cheer. Set against the backdrop of Brussels' historic city center, the market hosts more than 200 festive chalets offering a wide range of goods, including handcrafted gifts, ornaments, jewelry, clothing, and more. Indulge in the market’s gastronomic goodies by treating yourself to Belgian waffles and chocolates or traditional Belgian frites (fries) and sausages, while warming up with mulled wine, hot chocolate or Belgian beer. Beyond shopping and eating, you can enjoy concerts, street performances, an ice-skating rink and the iconic Ferris wheel, where panoramic views the city aglow with twinkling lights make for perfect holiday memories.
WHERE TO STAY: Hotel Amigo, A Rocco Forte Hotel
Found in the heart of Brussels, this luxury hotel blends art, culture, heritage and creativity, offering top-notch hospitality for the perfect home away from home. Located just minutes from the Christmas market, this property is the ideal choice for exploring the vibrant capital of Europe.
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