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Top 10 Most Beautiful Cities In Europe With The Best Christmas Markets

Every European city and town in particular carries on its own traditional end-of-the-year holiday festivity, many of which have been occurring for centuries.

And over those centuries, visitors have wandered through the ancient cobbled streets, savoring the traditional national foods, enjoying beautiful decorations and exploring the wooden stalls full of seasonal crafts and local Christmas fare.

Here is a selection of great cities with special Christmas markets for all tastes, including a couple of sunny ones to enjoy Christmas, New Years or both in Europe.

1. Malaga, Spain

If there is one thing that epitomizes the spirit of Christmas in Málaga, it is without a doubt the city’s Christmas lights.
Top 10 Most Beautiful Cities In Europe With The Best Christmas Markets

Each year, hundreds of people wait excitedly in Larios Street for the turning on of the lights, marking the start of the Christmas season, a period which local residents and visitors live with great passion.

For the spirit of Christmas imbues every corner of the streets of Málaga. The Christmas trees, wickerwork figures and thousands of poinsettias are joined by the spectacular Nativity scenes devotedly erected by associations and groups of all kinds throughout the city.

In the centre, there are daily light and music performances to captivate all those who enthusiastically gather there.

The atmosphere accompanies the evening strolls and shopping in the historic district, as well as the Christmas market set up in Paseo del Parque, blending with the smell from the roasted chestnut stands.

The delightful streets and squares invite people to sample the traditional sweets of this time of year: mantecados (shortbread), marzipan, turrón (nougat) and borrachuelos (Málaga wine-flavoured fried pastries).

Decorative lights and the imagination also feature in one of the main events of the season: the procession of the Three Wise Men of the Orient, in which Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar give out more than a million and a half sweets from their floats and distribute toys and gifts.

All of this and more are here to experience during Christmas in Málaga, a city that shares its infectious light, magic and excitement with all. Best Hotels in Malaga.

2. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark
Christmas in Copenhagen embodies the concept of hygge. It's a time where locals and visitors enjoy themselves and delicious treats surrounded by loved ones and in intimate, cozy settings. If you're staying to celebrate New Year's Eve too, these restaurants are perfect for this night.

3. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Fancy a trip to a winter wonderland? Thousands of shining lights illuminate Luxembourg's capital at Christmas time!

Soak up the yuletide atmosphere at the many different traditional Christmas markets spread across the city. Sing along to carols, dance or just listen to choirs, orchestras and big bands. Skate under the stars, ride the big wheel and let the scents of mulled wine and gingerbread fill your nose in this cosy and never too-crowded capital. Best Hotels to stay in Luxembourg.

4. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

Christmas spirit sparkles in front of Budapest’s grandest cathedral during the 8th annual Advent Feast at the Basilica, an open-air festive-season market welcoming everyone with delightful gift items, delicious Hungarian and international food such as the all-time favorite ‘flódni,’ the Hungaricum chimney cake, mouth-watering burgers and a range of fish dishes. Best Hotels to stay in Budapest.

5. Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

For many people, Vienna is one of the most beautiful European destinations and a magical city to celebrate Christmas. The city has the best Christmas market in Austria and one of EBD’s best Christmas markets in Europe.

For the season, the city transform its prettiest squares into enchanting Christmas markets in a shining fairytale land, with stands full of Christmas gifts, tree decorations, candy, warm drinks, a carousel and craft Christmas workshops for kids.

“What we like in Vienna is the elegance of its Christmas decorations and its chic, sobriety and elegance,” EBD notes. Best Hotels to stay in Vienna.

6. Metz, France

Metz, France

For EBD, the Metz’s (France) Christmas season is one of the best in Europe for family holidays. The city features six markets full of hand-crafted gifts in the Christmas pyramid and some of the finest gingerbread around.

“Have a twirl on the open-air ice-rink, then warm up cold hands around a mulled wine or hot chocolate. Let the illuminations chase away the dark winter days, enjoy traditional treats like the merry-go-round, a walk through the magical "Trails of the lanterns" or stock up on the gastronomic Christmas essentials at the city market hall.” Best hotels to stay in Metz.

7. Poznan, Poland

Poznan, Poland

Poznań’s Christmas market (Poznań Bethlehem) was chosen as one of the top 10 Best Christmas Markets in Europe in 2019 and as the Best Christmas Market in Poland.

“The Poznań Christmas Market will take you to a truly enchanted winter land: a land of ice, snowflakes and original Christmas attractions located in the Poznań Old Market Square and Freedom Square during this magical time,” according to EBD.

See also: Most Beautiful Cities In Poland

The city also holds an ice sculpture festival unique in Europe and counts on participants from all over the world to turn massive blocks of ice into works of art in front of the visitors. Best hotels to stay in Poznań.

8. Bath, England

Bath, England

Regularly voted amongst the most popular events in the UK, the 18-day Christmas shopping extravaganza is the biggest Christmas Shopping event in the South West and consists of more than 170 beautifully decorated wooden chalets in the heart of Bath’s World Heritage Site.

This year there will be lots of new and exciting stallholders from across the South West. In keeping with Bath Christmas Market’s tradition of being distinctively British, each chalet will be selling a variety of high-quality artisan products.

Over 70% of stallholders are businesses from Bath and the surrounding region, and 60% of goods available at the market are handmade in the UK.

Products include handmade Christmas decorations, personalised gifts, hand-made toys, festive food and drink, local artwork and designer jewellery to name but a few. Best Hotels to stay in Bath.

9. Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia

It’s become one of the must-see Christmas events in Europe and Tallinn, Estonia, was elected #1 of EBD’s Best Christmas Market list.

“With its coziness, historical location, wonderfully preserved medieval old buildings and long traditions the Tallinn Christmas market keeps its title as one of the best Christmas markets in the world,” writes the organization.

The Christmas tree in front of the Tallinn City Hall shares a long tradition. Since 1441, the most beautiful spruce tree has been placed there and decorated with lights. The Christmas market surrounds it amid medieval buildings in pastel colors as visitor stroll from stand to stand, sampling hearty treats like baked potato, sauerkraut, sausages and liqueur and buying high-quality handicrafts from nick-nacks to practical winter accessories.

There are carousels for children and Santa Claus distributes candy in his little house to those who are better at reciting verses. Here are the best hotels to stay in Tallinn, Estonia.

10. Dresden, Germany

Dresden, Germany

Dresden is considered among the most beautiful cities in Germany, with one of the most charming and oldest Christmas markets in the country.

Glittering lights, twinkling stars, Christmas carols, beaming children's faces, mulled wine and the scent of gingerbread—Dresden's Striezelmarkt, held on the Altmarkt since 1434, has kept a unique character for nearly six centuries.

Among its specialties are mountain-wood crafts, Lusatian blue-printed fabrics and Moravian stars. The high point of the market is the 15-meter-high Christmas pyramid topped by wooden figures.

Here are the best hotels to stay in Dresden, Germany.

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