The Best UK & European Christmas Markets
Where are the best Christmas markets in Europe?
Christmas is a favourite holiday for many of us, so what better way to enjoy it than spending the weekend at a Christmas market? Whether you’re travelling overseas or staying in the UK, a trip to the markets adds a sprinkle of magic to the festive season. Visitors can warm up with a cup of mulled wine or hot chocolate while they take in illuminating Christmas lights, Christmas trees, and decorations, creating a joyous occasion for everyone.
Many of us visit the same Christmas markets year after year, so why not broaden your search this season? Whether you wish to travel to Germany and sample authentic Christmas treats or make the trip to London’s Winter Wonderland, there are plenty of Christmas markets to suit your budget and taste. Throughout this research, we’ve explored 70 of the best!
Following on from the success of last year’s study, we want to refresh our data and findings to reveal Europe’s best Christmas markets for 2023. We’ve explored Google search results, Instagram mentions, TikTok tag views, the number of days the markets run, and the average price of a hotel in each city to create the ultimate Christmas market guide.
The best UK Christmas markets
Birmingham offers the best Christmas market in the UK
Christmas Market Score: 8.59 out of 10
Birmingham stole the festive crown for its Christmas market, winning first place on our UK list with an impressive 8.59 out of 10 score.
The city’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is the largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria. It offers a huge range of traditional foods and gifts, including pretzels, schnitzels, bratwursts, and more. Traditional beverages, including Glühwein, Witbier (wheat beer), and hot chocolate, are also available. The world-renowned Christmas celebrations spread festive cheer across Birmingham between the 2nd of November, 2023, and the 24th of December.
Birmingham is also one of the most Instagrammable Christmas markets, with 20,300 mentions and 2 million TikTok tag views, while there were 346,200 searches for the markets in the last year. Staying in Birmingham is affordable too as, on average, a three-star hotel costs £94 per night, and if you want that little extra luxury, you can upgrade your stay to a four-star hotel for an additional £23 (around £116 per night).
Christmas Market Score: 7.69 out of 10
In contrast to placing first in last year’s study, Manchester’s Christmas Market placed second in the ranking for 2023, scoring 7.69 out of 10.
Manchester is home to one of the biggest markets in the UK and is an ideal destination for families with children, thanks to its plentiful activities and restaurants. The market has over 200 of its iconic ski chalet market stalls dotted across the city for visitors to enjoy their festive staples. The city is lit up at Christmas time, offering a magical spectacle to adults and children alike, with walk-through giant baubles, a Manchester bee, and Santa Clause himself, who watches over the market in front of the central library on St Peter’s Square.
Manchester recorded the highest annual searches for its Christmas market (722,300) and won points for its Instagrammability (8,400 hashtagged posts). Unsurprisingly, Manchester’s stunning market also has the largest volume of TikTok tag views (13.1 million). The average hotel price is around £96 per night for a three-star hotel, rising to £148 per night for a four-star room.
Christmas Market Score: 6.67 out of 10
Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland Christmas market came third place, scoring 6.67 out of 10. The Christmas celebrations spread festive cheer across the Midlands capital between the 7th of November and December 31st, with 55 days of winter fun. Visitors can enjoy speciality food and drink served at the all-glass chalet, which is perched up high, offering panoramic views of crowds below. There’s also an ice rink, sky skating ice path, Ferris wheel, and even a Toboggan slide for people of all ages. Many independent traders take over Old Market Square to offer retro trinkets and local handmade produce.
Nottingham hosts the longest-running UK Christmas market (55 days) and records 5,941 hashtags. There were also 170,960 searches conducted in the last year. Nottingham is a little pricier than Manchester and Birmingham, as a three-star hotel costs, on average, £104 per night and up to £132 for a four-star stay.
The UK’s favourite Christmas markets
From the Christmas markets that run for the longest time to the places with the most affordable accommodation, we’ve taken a closer look at the finer details to ensure you enjoy a magical trip.
The longest-lasting UK Christmas markets
In the UK, plenty of Christmas markets run for over a month. Nottingham Christmas market runs for 55 days!
Most affordable three-star accommodation in the UK
With prices averaging as little as £87 per night for a three-star hotel in the UK, there’s accommodation for every budget, so you can enjoy all the Christmas markets have to offer well into the evening.
Most affordable four-star accommodation in the UK
Alternatively, if you wish to splash out a little this festive season, you can expect to pay around £109 per night for a four-star hotel in Newcastle.
The most instagrammable UK Christmas markets
Before you select your chosen Christmas market, be sure to head over to Instagram and check out the content on the most picture-perfect spots. With over 51,300 tagged posts for Edinburgh markets alone, there’s plenty of inspo!
The most popular UK Christmas markets
Be sure to do your research before you embark on your travels, and ensure you make the most of your trip. Pre-planners, you’re not alone! According to Google search data, Manchester Christmas markets collected over 722,300 annual searches.
The best Christmas markets in Europe
Krakow offers the best traditional Christmas market in Europe
1. Krakow, Poland
Christmas Market Score: 7.84 out of 10
Poland’s historical city of Krakow is the best Christmas market in Europe, scoring 7.84 out of 10.
Beginning on the 24th of November, Krakow’s market is one of the most picture-perfect settings for a Christmas market that you can imagine. It is spread around Krakow’s huge and medieval Main Square, and punters can sip mulled wine and even mulled beers to their heart’s content. As Poland is a country of meat lovers, Krakow’s market offers some of the best meat quality around, with seasoned grilled sausages sourced from local farms, as well as hearty and warm soups to keep you warm in Poland’s chilly conditions.
Krakow is amongst the cheapest cities to stay in, with a three-star hotel costing €90 per night, and Krakow only lost out to other Polish cities, including Wroclaw at €71 and Poznan’s €65 per night. The Polish market lost a couple of points for its Instagram mentions (2,000 posts) but made up for it with its TikTok tag views, of which there were over 4.3 million views.
2. Tallinn, Estonia
Christmas Market Score: 7.83 out of 10
Tallinn, Estonia’s capital on the Baltic Sea, came second in the running for Europe’s best Christmas markets.
Legend has it that the first-ever Christmas tree was brought to Tallinn’s Town Hall Square in 1441 and has since been Estonia’s most important tree and star of its markets. Tallinn Christmas market impresses tourists with its cosy village, historical architecture, and half-century-old buildings. The event was voted the best Christmas market in Europe in 2019 and offers a fairytale Christmas experience in Estonia.
Tallinn Christmas market is one of the most Instagrammable on our list, recording 5,422 posts. The market is also trending on TikTok, with 156,100 TikTok tag views. Running for a term of 38 days, there is ample time to enjoy the market during your stay in the capital.
3. Budapest, Hungary
Christmas Market Score: 7.65 out of 10
Budapest ranked third in the running for the best European Christmas markets, scoring 7.65 out of 10.
Officially known as the Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival, the market runs for 44 days from November through the end of December. The Hungarian capital opens with tinkling market stalls and majestic architecture, where tourists can enjoy a cup of mulled wine, sweet chimney cake, and all the festive cheer. Budapest scored well for its affordable accommodation (€101 per night at a three-star hotel) and Instagram mentions (12,300 posts). There were also many TikTok tag views at Budapest’s Christmas market (604,800 views).
Europe’s favourite Christmas markets
The longest-lasting Christmas markets in Europe
Christmas markets can be enjoyed for longer than just December, with many running for over 50 days, so don’t worry if the month is looking busy! Visiting in November or even January can be just as joyful - if you fancy keeping the festivities alive into the new year, that is.
The most affordable three-star accommodation in Europe
For those of you looking to enjoy a budget break to a European Christmas markets, Poznan in Poland offers some of the cheapest hotel rates around.
The most affordable four-star accommodation in Europe
There are plenty of Christmas markets that can be enjoyed on a budget with the Polish city of Poznan and Estonia’s Tallinn averaging as little as €93 per night for a four-star hotel.
The most instagrammable Christmas markets in Europe
If you’re looking for Christmas markets fit for the grid, then look no further, as we have a great selection, with Strasbourg in France gaining more than 30,900 hashtag mentions.
The most popular Christmas markets in Europe
Europe is home to so many magical Christmas markets, but Prague took the top spot with over 119,400 searches, so you may wish to brave the city crowds this festive season.
We collected a comprehensive list of 70 Christmas markets throughout the UK and Europe, and sourced data on several factors to find out the best Christmas market in both the UK and Europe.
We found the number of days running for each Christmas market using the event holder’s website.
We took the annual search volume from Google’s Keyword Planner for every market by using the search term “*DESTINATION* Christmas market”. This is accurate as of 1/09/2023.
The average price of a 3 and 4-star hotel for a night in the city is sourced from Booking.com, which uses an average of Booking.com prices of rooms listed on the site. We reviewed establishments with these ratings to ensure we were prioritising both good quality and affordability in each location.
The number of Instagram mentions and the number of TikTok tag views. Some of our European Christmas market names were translated into the native language to get a more accurate result. This data is correct as of 12/09/2023.
Each market was given a normalised score out of 10 for each of the above factors before an average of these four scores was taken for the overall Christmas Market score out of 10.