Christmas is not just a time of the year but a beautiful feeling that lingers at the end of the year when everything is sprinkled with fairy dust. Christmas movies start trending on Netflix, Instagram is flooded with sparkly posts, streets are bathed with fancy light installations, and Gluhwein and hot chocolate with marshmallows suddenly become everyone’s favorite drink. Not just that, cute Christmas jumpers/sweaters, scarves, and elf beanies find their way out of the closet. Family dinners and spending time with loved ones become the utmost priority. And, thousands of markets open up to transport you to a different world filled with joy and laughter. Expect stalls selling everything from gingerbread ,handmade decorative items to warming glühwein. If you want to know more about the best Christmas markets to visit in Europe with Interrail or Eurail pass then read on.
Here in this post, we share with you the best Christmas Markets to visit in Europe and make the best use of InterRail / Eurail Passes.
Best Christmas Markets to Visit in Europe with InterRail or Eurail Pass
— Berlin —
Let’s start the Inter-railing from one of the finest and the best Christmas markets in Germany. With over 70 markets to explore each with a different theme and atmosphere, Berlin Christmas markets are not just a treat to the eyes but some are also mini amusement parks and winter wonderlands. Loaded with beautiful decorations, carousels, heated tents, and stalls selling a range of stuff starting from toys, and home decor to delicious food. If you have to pick just one then do visit the Christmas market in the old town of Spandau.
Locations: Gendarmenmarkt, Alexanderplatz, Charlottenburg Palace, Spandau, City Hall, Potsdamer Platz, Opernpalais
Dates: November 25th to December 31st and some are open until Jan 1st.
The central train station is Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Berlin is well-connected by high-speed trains to different parts of Europe.
— Strasbourg —
It is rightly called the ‘Capital of Christmas’ of France! The fairytale-like market setup houses over 300 market stalls. The scenery looks straight out of a storybook! Expect half-timbered houses, a cute house near Place du Château decorated with cute bears and twinkling decorative lights everywhere. Must-try dishes are Nut’Alsace — mouth-watering hazelnut cocoa spread, Choucroute, and Bretzel.
Location: Place de la Cathédrale and Place Kléber, Place Gutenberg, Place Broglie, Place du Château
Dates: November 22nd to December 30th.
The central train station is Gare de Strasbourg-Ville, it is connected to all major cities and is not far from the historic center. You can find regional trains from any German city to Offenburg. From Offenburg, board the train to Strasbourg without any reservations. The train runs every 30 minutes between the two towns.
— Colmar —
Christmas markets of Colmar in the Alsace region of France deserve special mention amongst all when discussing the best Christmas markets to visit in Europe with Interrail or Eurail pass. This little town gets completely decked up in Christmas cheer for the holidays. The whole town looks straight out of a page from a fairytale book. The stalls sell ornaments, decorative items, snacks, and different kinds of gifts.
Location: Colmar Old town
Dates: From 20th November to 30th December 2020
It is just 40 minute train ride from Strasbourg with no reservation needed. You can then walk to the old town from the train station.
— Munich —
Since 1972, the Munich Christmas Market is one of the most visited and beautiful Christmas markets in Germany. The huge Christmas tree at the Marienplatz square and numerous stalls serving the festive cheer is hard to give miss. From roasted fresh chestnuts to sausages, and handmade items to modern decorative items, Munich Christmas markets offer a plethora of choices — be it in food, gifts, or activities. Don’t miss the view from the top of St Peter’s Church.
Location: Residenz, Marienplatz, Wittelsbacherplatz
Dates: 27th November until 24th December
All major cities in Europe are connected to Munich central station. You can board trains to Salzburg, Innsbruck, Budapest, Vienna, Nuremberg, Prague, and many other places without any reservation. Do check the Rail Planner APP for more details.
— Nuremberg —
Bavaria’s most celebrated Christmas market at Nuremberg is quite an ancient market, and it dates to the 17th century. Known for beautiful stalls with its array of tasteful gifts, snug knitwear, chocolate-covered fruits, filled with twinkling lights and the aroma of mulled wine for company; it is perfect for shopping for craft objects – vendors sell a tempting array of traditional German goods like toys, paintings, Prune Men/Women, handmade decorative items, Christmas ornaments, and local crafts, as well as international treats. Eat, drink and shop your way taking in the festive cheer and don’t miss the famous Nuremberg bratwurst sausages.
Location: Hauptmarkt, the central square in Nuremberg’s old town.
Dates: 29th November to 24th December
Nuremberg is well connected to all parts of Europe by train. The train ride from Munich to Nuremberg is just an hour and does not require any reservations.
— Salzburg —
Popular for ancient traditions and the hometown of Mozart, Salzburg boasts one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Austria. Snow-covered roofs and domes laced with twinkling lights and fancy decor look stunning post-sunset. The stalls are filled with quality hand-made stuff, gingerbreads, sleigh bells, and Christmas ornaments to name a few. There are various events that are organized to keep you entertained and the stalls sell enough delicious food to keep your stomach happy.
Location: Residenz Square, in Salzburg’s historic city center, Hellbrunn Courtyard, Mirabell Square, Goethestraße, Market St. Leonhard
Dates: November 22nd to December 26th
Salzburg is well connected to Innsbruck, Munich & Vienna. There are multiple trains connecting the city.
— Vienna —
Vienna is not just known for its amazing architecture but also has a great reputation when it comes to Christmas Markets. Every year, skating rinks and traditional wooden toys are decorated with finesse in this winter fairyland magical market and it attracts thousands of visitors from across the world. There is an overwhelming variety of stuff one can buy – from handmade soaps to snow globes. Not to be missed, warm mulled wines and the delicious aroma of pretzels and pastry fills the cold and dense air.
Location: Rathausplatz, Freyung, Schloss Schönbrunn, Karlsplatz, Maria-Theresien-Platz
Dates: November 15th to December 26th
Vienna is well connected to Salzburg, Budapest, Bratislava, Munich, and other major cities.
— Budapest —
The Advent Feast at the Basilica! This Hungarian market is indeed a must-do in late November – December. Europe’s biggest 3D light show happens here at night which is unmissably beautiful! Apart from being one of the most beautiful markets in the whole of Europe, the Budapest Christmas market is also an eco-friendly market. All cutlery and paper utensils used are recycled. There are charity concerts, dance shows, and skating rinks. Don’t forget to taste the traditional lentil soup made for New Year’s Day if you are around on the 1st of January.
Location: Vorosmarty Square and Basilica
Dates: November 22 to January 1
The central station is Budapest Keleti.
— Prague —
Prague’s Old Town is one of the most impressive Christmas markets you would witness. The Christmas market in the Old town not only hosts a huge Christmas tree adorned with fancy Christmas ornaments but also a nativity scene. You can enjoy some amazing Czech food, and hot mulled wine at the numerous wooden stalls while listening to live Czech music amidst the beautiful Gothic architecture. There are numerous events and carols to keep you entertained. Don’t forget to try the “trdelník, “Prague Ham”, Bramboraky ( Potato Pancakes), and Eggnog.
Location: Old Town Square, Tylak, Wenceslas markets, Republic Square
Dates: November 30th to January 6th
The central station is Praha hlavní nádraží. It is just 15 minutes away from Old Town Square.
— Dresden —
Dresden claims to have the largest number of Christmas Markets and Germany’s oldest Christmas market. Local industries like mining, woodworking, and pottery are on display in the markets of Dresden. The Striezelmarkt started in the 15th century and features a special cake called ‘ Stollen’ which is made during this part of the year and is a specialty, symbolic of the mining culture prevalent in this part of the country and cultural life. The Christmas arch which was originally made of metal also symbolizes the mining and metallurgy as a part of the local life and livelihood. There are other markets to explore too, which have been dedicated to local traditions.
Location: Striezelmarkt, Mittelalter-Weihnacht medieval market,Frauenkirche
Dates: 26th November to 24th December
The central station is Dresden Hauptbahnhof.
You can make the best use of Interrail / Eurail pass without even spending an extra penny on reservations. As most of the destinations mentioned in this article are well connected by regional trains. Don’t forget to download the DB Navigator & Rail Planner APP and explore Europe on a whim.
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