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A bit of early Christmas shopping can go a long way, especially in Europe. To secure your spot onto Santa’s list, we recommend that you check out the following five must-see markets.

Budapest, Hungary

Of all the European Christmas markets out there, the Advent Feast at St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest is always on the tip of shoppers’ tongues. Year after year, thousands of visitors head down to this Hungarian hotspot to take part in the local festivities which include various food stalls, live shows, an ice-skating rink and a ginormous Christmas tree that simply can’t be missed. To get the full gist of the annual Advent Feast, visits are welcome from mid-November for celebrations lasting until January 1, 2024.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna is always dazzling during the most wonderful time of year, and its Christmas market only adds to its winter wonderland. Although it has been ranked as one of the best cities in the world on more than one occasion, the Viennese Dream Christmas Market by City Hall is in a whole other ballpark.

From November 11 to December 26, 2023, taste delicious holiday pastries that are locally made, ride a reindeer with the kids, and go around in endless circles on an old-fashioned carousel. On the weekends, show up in numbers to sway to the melody of Christmas carols being sung by internationally renowned choirs.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Christmas in Tivoli is highly anticipated every year and visited in great numbers. Day or night, this Nordic Christmas market is best known for its theme park decorated with dazzling Christmas lights—more than 500,000 fairy lights that is. Plus, this year, the Tivoli Gardens will feature more than 70,000 ornaments and over a thousand decorated Christmas trees. Tourists from all over the world gather at this market on a yearly basis to enjoy its amusement park and to take advantage of its highlight: Danish treats like pancake puffs with powdered sugar, honninghjerter (honey heart cookies), and more. Visits begin in mid-November and go on until the end of the year.
Tivoli Gardens

Madrid, Spain

Each year, Madrid’s Plaza Mayor Christmas Market makes it to the top of the ranks of Spain’s best holiday havens. The city’s main square transforms into a hub of over one hundred vendors selling all kinds of holiday items. You’ll probably even discover many references to the Nativity scene.

This century-old market is a staple in Madrid and is famous for its cultural twist on Christmas as well as its gag items. This is because Spain’s equivalent of April Fool’s Day occurs around the same time, on December 28. Check it out from November 31 until the end of December.

Dublin, Ireland

Christmas is not just a big deal in Ireland; it’s a huge deal. That said, the Dublin Castle Christmas Market takes its reputation very seriously, and has managed to deliver stunning décor and light shows despite only having entered the holiday scene in recent years.

Keep an eye out for an official schedule in November that will likely feature vendors selling just about everything from burgers and stews to wooden crafts and custom jewellery pieces. Plus, no Irish get-together can go without a few merry song and dance routines.

What’s next?

Visit Europe this winter with our tour and Flight & Hotel packages. Is the cold not your thing? Find out where you could be spending your next summer here or discover our numerous Caribbean vacation packages.