Where to Find the Best Eastern European Christmas Markets

Ah, Christmas. The family time, the memories, the food: the holiday season is sure to put a smile on your face, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. If you’re trying to get into the festive spirit through travel, or you want to explore more of your backyard, there’s no better place than an Eastern European Christmas market! These markets, many of them having been around for decades (or longer!), encompass everything great about the holiday season: the tradition, the togetherness, and, perhaps most importantly, the mulled wine. If you want to explore some Eastern European Christmas Markets this year, don’t start packing until you’ve consulted our guide!


Travel to: Eastern Europe 


Poland

Krakow Christmas Market

Open from early in the morning until late at night, the Krakow Christmas Market is the biggest in Poland. Located in Krakow’s old town, the Market Square dates back to the 13th century, and the market makes every effort to hark back to those days in its every detail. Rynek Glowny, this market is located in Europe’s largest square, which means you’ll never run out of things to do, treats to sample, and presents to buy!

  • Open: November 30th – December 26th, 10am to 8pm (but the food stalls stay open until 10pm!)
a green and blue christmas tree lit up by thousands of lights against the night sky

Krakow’s Christmas market is a festival of lights | ⓒ  Piviso.com/Flickr



Romania

Sibiu Christmas Market (aka Targul de Craciun)

What started as a pilot project for this Eastern European country has now become a decade-long tradition that kicks off Romania’s Christmas market season. Hosted in partnership with Romania’s Austrian Embassy, the market boasts a skating rink, a small amusement park, nativity scenes, and countless market stalls with an Austrian influence. The market is located in the Grand Square of Sibiu, surrounded by Baroque architecture and beautiful, vibrant lights.

  • Open: November 16th – January 3rd, 10am to 10pm

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, these markets make everyone happy | ⓒ Lachlan Gowen/Unsplash

Croatia

Advent in Zagreb

Voted the best Christmas market in Europe for the third year in a row last year, the Zagreb Christmas Market is not to be missed. Located in Ban Josip Jelačić Square, this market is a celebration of light, from the massive Christmas tree to the open-air stage to the light display twinkling against the square’s fountain. You’ll find other festive experiences, such as the Ice Park, around Zagreb, so make sure to step outside the market as well!

  • Open: December 2nd – January 6th, varying hours

The beautiful Ice Park in Zagreb | ⓒ Advent Zagreb



The Czech Republic

Prague Christmas Market

The Prague Christmas Market is actually the Prague Christmas Markets. You’ll find several of these twinking wonderlands in the city, but the two main ones are located centrally in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, just a five minute walk from each other. Visitors are treated to hundreds of stalls selling handmade gifts, delicious treats, and, of course, Czech beer! At 4:30pm every evening, the huge Christmas tree in Old Town Square is lit, to much fanfare, and then the celebrations truly kick off. While the tree is large enough to be seen from most spots in the Old Town Square market, arrive early for the best view!

  • Open: December 1st – January 6th, hours not yet set
A stall with a yellow sign that says "Praha" in the Prague Christmas Market

One of many stalls in the Prague Christmas Markets | ⓒ Rachel Titiriga/Flickr

Hungary

Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival

Located in front of the Gerbeaud Coffee House in the heart of the city, the Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival is a treat for all ages. Enjoy the traditional treats, such as honey cookies, and other freshly-baked Hungarian delights. Featuring live shows, a children’s program, and beautiful stalls selling a variety of goods, the festival is a highlight of Budapest’s winter scene, and not one you’ll want to miss out on!

  • Open: November 9th – January 1st, from 10am most days

A view from the Budapest Christmas Market | ⓒ Liam McKay/Unsplash

Nothing gets you in the Christmas spirit quite like a Christmas market does. Between the scent of mulled wine and the twinkling lights, there won’t be a single grinch in the crowd! Treating yourself to a visit to one of these Eastern European Christmas markets is exactly what you need to cure any case of the winter blues.

Have you been to any of these Christmas markets? Let us know!