A Taste of Christmas: Visiting Christmas Markets in Europe

Chestnuts and sausages roasting on an open fire. Mulled wine and gingerbread lending a spicy aroma to the crisp, cold air. Wooden huts gathered in the shadow of a Gothic cathedral, draped in twinkling fairy lights with a dusting of snow over their roofs.  

Christmas is a magical time around the world. But it’s extra-special in Europe, thanks to the famous Christmas markets – a tradition dating back to the Late Middle Ages.  

Running from late November right through December, European Christmas markets are the perfect place to get your yuletide shopping all wrapped up, with hand-blown baubles, local food and drink specialities, and original presents you won’t find on any high street.  

They also offer a treasure trove of delights for foodies and oenophiles. And if you plan your Christmas market trip around wine regions, you can meet local winegrowers and stock up on your Christmas wines at the same time. 

Here’s our pick of Christmas markets in Europe that are perfect for food and wine lovers!  

Christmas Markets in France 

Known as the birthplace of the Christmas tree, the Alsace region of France is renowned for its fine festivities, with several iconic Christmas markets dotted around the region. Two of the most famous are held in Strasbourg, regarded as the oldest Christmas market in Europe, and the fairy-tale town of Colmar.

The world-famous region of Bordeaux is home to a magical winter wonderland each year – and offers some excellent vintages to complement your Christmas feast. Alternatively combine a wine trip to Champagne to stock up on sparkling wine for Noël, with a visit to Paris where you’re spoilt for choice with numerous Christmas markets around the city from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower, and Montmartre to the Tuileries.  

Central European Christmas Markets 

Germany takes the crown for the largest number of Christmas markets in Europe, with the city of Cologne one of the favoured festive destinations. There are no less than seven markets here, but it’s the iconic cathedral market that offers some of the most magical moments.  

Salzburg, hometown of Mozart and The Sound of Music, offers optimum Christmas cheer with daily carol concerts amid the market stalls. A trip here can be combined with a visit to the Austrian capital, Vienna, home to festive markets galore and the largest urban vineyard region in the world.  

Picture-perfect Prague in the Czech Republic and beautiful Basel in Switzerland combine magical Christmas settings with an array of delicious food and drink. For a unique twist on your Central European Christmas market trip, head to Budapest in Hungary where festive stories and religious scenes are projected onto the façade of St Stephen’s Basilica in an extraordinary lightshow held every evening during advent.  

Southern European Festive Cheer 

Finally, you may not be guaranteed a snowy winter wonderland in Southern Europe, but the sultry Spanish city of Seville offers abundant Christmas cheer and arty handcrafted gifts at its Christmas markets – and it gives you the ideal opportunity to stock up on your Christmas sherry! 

If you’d like to combine a wine tour with a visit to a Christmas market in Europe, contact sales@smoothred.com or call +44 208 877 4940. We can arrange a bespoke trip combining wine tours and tastings with the most festive of markets for the perfect pre-Christmas holiday. 

Share this article

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter to receive inspiring travel ideas and offers.
We won't share your email address with anyone.

    Contact our team

    Start creating your tailor made wine-tasting tour today.
    Call our team on +44 (0)20 8877 4940

    Or enquire online