Europe's Christmas Markets

These festive traditions are one of the best reasons to visit Europe in winter

Michael Graham

In partnership with

The Christmas Market Experience

Every holiday season, Christmas markets throughout Europe bring sparkling lights, festive music and decorated wooden chalets where vendors sell hand-crafted ornaments and tasty treats in local town squares.

The holiday tradition began in medieval Germany with a more practical focus: allowing townspeople to stock up on goods for the winter. However, in the mid-1400s, the markets took on their Christmas associations and today many towns celebrate the start of Advent with the markets' opening.

Budapest Christmas Markets

A tip-filled guide to exploring the many holiday markets found throughout the Hungarian capital. Whether you’re looking for sweet treats like traditional honey cookies or handcrafted gifts, everything is made locally. Runtime: 2 min.

Vienna Christmas Markets

From roasted chestnuts to twinkle lights and homemade ornaments, these six markets, found throughout the city, have something for everyone. Find your favorite in this guide. Runtime: 2 min.

Cologne Christmas Markets

This guide to the city’s famed holiday markets (all seven have different themes) features tips on what to eat and drink to stay fueled as you explore. Runtime: 3 min.

What to read this holiday season

. . . and what to watch