Europe’s most picturesque Christmas Markets

# Itineraries

There’s no denying it, last Christmas didn’t quite feel the same with the winter lockdowns. Empty streets emphasised the ghosts of little wooden huts and even the Christmas lights didn’t sparkle as brightly when not reflected off an ice rink or enjoyed with a mug of mulled wine. However, fear not, Christmas markets are making a return this year and we’ve carefully researched the top spots for you to visit across Europe.

Originating in Germany, the Christkindlmarkt or Weihnachtsmarkt, have been an integral part of the Christmas season since the middle ages, occupying busy city streets and squares with offerings of festive food and gifts.

With travel restrictions easing and city breaks back on the cards, there is no better time to take a trip to some of the best and most beautiful European Christmas markets.

We analysed the Instagram hashtags of every Christmas market in Europe to discover which are the most picturesque!

The 25 most photographed European Christmas Markets

Rank Country Location Name of Christmas Market Hashtag Hashtag uses
1 Croatia Zagreb Advent in Zagreb (Advent u Zagrebu) #adventuzagrebu 68,315
2 England London Christmas at Kew #christmasatkew 52,780
3 England Manchester Manchester Christmas Market #manchesterchristmasmarkets 48,252
4 Scotland Edinburgh Edinburgh Christmas Market [Multiple locations] #edinburghchristmasmarket 41,000
5 England Bath Bath Christmas Market #bathchristmasmarket 28,636
6 Finland Helsinki Tuomaan Markets #tuomaanmarkkinat 20,449
7 Poland Wrocław Wrocław Christmas Market (Jarmark Bożonarodzeniowy Wrocław) #jarmarkbozonarodzeniowywroclaw 18,605
8 France Strasbourg Strasbourg: Capitale de Noël [Multiple Markets] #capitaledenoel 17,789
9 England London Hyde Park Winter Wonderland #hydeparkwinterwonderland 16,225
10 England Birmingham Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market #birminghamchristmasmarket 12,662
11 Norway Oslo Winter Wonderland in Spikersuppa (Jul i Vinterland) #julivinterland 12,519
12 Portugal Lisbon Wonderland Lisboa #wonderlandlisboa 12,414
13 Hungary Budapest Advent Feast at the Basilica #budapestchristmasmarket 8,818
14 Switzerland Zurich The Werdmühleplatz Christmas Market & Singing Christmas Tree #singingchristmastree 8,531
15 Austria Graz “Aufsteirern”-Christmas market on Schlossberg hill #aufsteirern 8,429
16 Northern Ireland Belfast Belfast Continental Christmas Market #belfastchristmasmarket 7,167
17 Ireland Waterford Winterval #winterval 6,904
18 Czech Republic Prague Old Town Square Christmas Market #praguechristmasmarket 6,460
19 England York York St Nicholas Fair #yorkchristmasmarket 6,446
20 Germany Düsseldorf Handwerker-Markt #handwerkermarkt 5,999
21 France Colmar Colmar: La Magie de Noël [Multiple Markets] #lamagiedenoël 5,984
22 Germany Erfurt Erfurter Weihnachtsmarkt #erfurterweihnachtsmarkt 5,702
23 Germany Berlin WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt #berlinchristmasmarket 5,184
24 Germany Aachen Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt #aachenerweihnachtsmarkt 4,702
25 England Leeds Leeds Christkindelmarkt #leedschristmasmarket 4,641

The list of the 50 most Instagrammable Christmas markets can be found below.

The top 5 picturesque Christmas Markets in Europe and the UK

1. Advent in Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia 

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Advent u Zagrebu (@advent_u_zgu)

Running from the 29th of November until the 2nd of January, the Croatian capital will see the return of its award-winning Advent Fair. 

Take a romantic stroll through the central green squares of the city, from King Tomislav Square to Ban Jelacic, lit up with its traditional display of Christmas lights and decorations, or experience the rich cultural musical programme and witness the various cultural activities dotted all over the city. 

Feast on turkey stuffed with mlinci and Vanilin kiflice (vanilla half-moons), whilst also taking in the festival’s newest feature; its new AR experience that blends the beautiful traditions of the past and the technology of the future. 

Where: Zagreb’s main square of Ban Josip Jelačić and the nearby Zrinjevac Park.

When: 29 November 2021 – 2 January 2022

No. Instagram posts: 68,315

 

2. Christmas at Kew, London, England

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Sue Where? Why? What? (@suewherewhywhat)

Christmas at Kew is an annual after-dark festivities with family and friends, visitors can discover sparkling tunnels of light, dancing waterside reflections, and trees drenched in jewel-like colour on the way to the panoramic Palm House light display, truly a feast for the eyes.

Guests journey through the mesmerising flickering flames in the Fire Garden, spot larger-than-life illuminations and can say hello to Father Christmas along the way.

There is usually a fairground too, although this is under review for 2022.

Where: Kew Gardens

When: 17 November 2021 – 9 January 2022

No. Instagram posts: 52,780

 

3. Manchester Christmas Market, Manchester, England 

Arriving in the city in 1999, Manchester Christmas market boasts being the first Christmas market in the UK and has grown every year since, now attracting more than nine million visitors each year. 

Spread across 10 individual sites, around 300 beautifully crafted stalls offer mouth-watering international food, drinks and finely crafted festive gifts in the bustling city centre. 

In 2021 the market will also introduce a designated family site for the first time with fun rides and entertainment throughout the season, including: LED light performers, magicians and street theatre – with spectacular views of the Manchester Cathedral and National Football Museum.

Where: Across Manchester city centre

When: 12 November 2021 – 22 December 2021

No. Instagram posts: 48,252

 

4. Edinburgh Christmas Market , Edinburgh, Scotland 

 

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As well as a new ice rink, visitors to Edinburgh Christmas market can expect to be met with a large variety of stalls, fairground rides and attractions, organised by the promoters of Ediburgh’s world famous Fringe festival, Underbelly.

The rides include the familiar Big Wheel making its return to the East Princes Street Gardens spot, as well as the star flyer beside the Walter Scott Monument. There will also be 62 stalls and four attractions in East Princes Street Gardens, with 15 stall concessions and 11 attractions in the westerly gardens.

Among the Edinburgh Christmas market attractions at the West Princes Street Gardens will be a Christmas Tree Maze and Santa’s Grotto.

Where: East Princes Street Gardens, West Princes Street Gardens and George Street between Castle Street and Charlotte Square

When: 20 November 2021 – 4 January 2022

No. Instagram posts: 41,000

5. Bath Christmas Market

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Bath Christmas Market (@bathchristmasmarket)

The Bath Christmas Market can usually be found in the city centre, expanding across several streets, including Abbeygate Street, Abbey Green, Abbey Street, Abbey Churchyard, York Street, Bath Street, Union Street and Milsom Street.

The chalets were the stars of the Christmas Market in Bath. Around 150 of them would line the streets of the city, decorated with twinkle lights and festive decorations.

 

It is here where guests would be able tol find everything from unique homeware to handcrafted jewellery, personalised gifts and Christmas decorations. There’s something for each member of the family, even gourmet treats for four-legged friends!

Dotted across the site, visitors could be treated to a number of delicious food and drink stalls selling burgers, hog roasts, roasted nuts, mulled wine and more!

Unfortunately the 2021 Bath Christmas market has been cancelled for this year. In its place they are offering a virtual event where people can shop from independent retailers which would otherwise have a stall.

Where: Online

When: Physical event has been cancelled, online even takes place between 1 November – 31 December

No. Instagram posts:  28,636

If you’re still unsure about travelling abroad, or simply looking to stay closer to home, the UK has an abundance of picturesque markets to visit with delights like Yorkshire Pudding Wraps and unique gifts.

Germany ho-ho-holds the crown as home to the most picturesque Christmas markets

We also analysed how many christmas markets with over 100 hashtags each European country has, giving you the chance to pick a destination that will give you more festive bang for your buck if you plan a trip!

As the country of their origin it perhaps comes as no surprise that Germany has the highest number of the most picturesque Christmas markets in Europe with an impressive 63 with more than 100 Instagram hashtags. In second it was England with 42 and in third Switzerland with 13.

However, no markets in the birthplace of the Christmas market made it into the top 10 Instagrammable, the first German Christmas market making the list is Handwerker-Markt which takes place in Düsseldorf. This came in at number 20 with 5,999 hashtags.

European country Number of picturesque Christmas Markets
Germany 63
England 42
Switzerland 13
Austria 12
Netherlands 12
France 9
Croatia 7
Scotland 7
Ireland 7
Italy 7
Croatia 7
Belgium 6
Poland 5
Wales 5
Sweden 5
Norway 4
Hungary 4
Czech Republic 4
Denmark 4
Finland 3
Portugal 3
Romania 3
Spain 3
Luxembourg 3
Northern Ireland 1
Latvia 1

15 picture perfect UK Christmas Markets

A lot of the Christmas markets on our doorstep here in the UK made it onto the list of the most Instagrammable, including Christmas at Kew, Edinburgh Christmas market and the famous Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas market!

Rank Country Location Name of Christmas Market Hashtag Hashtag uses
1 England London Christmas at Kew #christmasatkew 52,780
2 England Manchester Manchester Christmas Market #manchesterchristmasmarkets 48,252
3 Scotland Edinburgh Edinburgh Christmas Market [Multiple locations] #edinburghchristmasmarket 41,000
4 England Bath Bath Christmas Market #bathchristmasmarket 28,636
5 England London Hyde Park Winter Wonderland #hydeparkwinterwonderland 16,225
6 England Birmingham Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market #birminghamchristmasmarket 12,662
7 Northern Ireland Belfast Belfast Continental Christmas Market #belfastchristmasmarket 7,167
8 England York York St Nicholas Fair #yorkchristmasmarket 6,446
9 England Leeds Leeds Christkindelmarkt #leedschristmasmarket 4,641
10 Scotland Glasgow St Enoch Square Christmas Market #glasgowchristmasmarket 3,644
11 England London Christmas by the River #christmasbytheriver 3,245
12 Wales Cardiff Cardiff Christmas Market #cardiffchristmasmarket 3,130
13 Wales Cardiff Christmas at the Castle (Formerly Winter Wonderland) #cardiffwinterwonderland 2,694
14 England London Southbank Centre Christmas Market #southbankchristmasmarket 2,656
15 England Exeter Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market #exeterchristmasmarket 2,633

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas staycation?

 

Fancy doing more exploring whilst visiting the christmas markets? Why not rent a campervan from private owners through a safe and secure platform where all those that rent a campervan out with us are pre-approved.

 

Sick of being stuck in the UK? Why not explore some of the beautiful markets and traditions on the mainland. With campervans available in Germany and the Netherlands what better way to explore Europe at Christmas than getting out on the open road and discovering it for yourself.  

 

Methodology

We used a list of every Christmas market in Europe (over 600) and analysed the number of Hashtags each had on the social media platform Instagram, deleting those that had less than 100.

 

The 50 most picturesque Christmas Markets in Europe

 

Rank Country Location Name of Christmas Market Hashtag Hashtag uses
1 Croatia Zagreb Advent in Zagreb (Advent u Zagrebu) #adventuzagrebu 68,315
2 England London Christmas at Kew #christmasatkew 52,780
3 England Manchester Manchester Christmas Market #manchesterchristmasmarkets 48,252
4 Scotland Edinburgh Edinburgh Christmas Market [Multiple locations] #edinburghchristmasmarket 41,000
5 England Bath Bath Christmas Market #bathchristmasmarket 28,636
6 Finland Helsinki Tuomaan Markets #tuomaanmarkkinat 20,449
7 Poland Wrocław Wrocław Christmas Market (Jarmark Bożonarodzeniowy Wrocław) #jarmarkbozonarodzeniowywroclaw 18,605
8 France Strasbourg Strasbourg: Capitale de Noël [Multiple Markets] #capitaledenoel 17,789
9 England London Hyde Park Winter Wonderland #hydeparkwinterwonderland 16,225
10 England Birmingham Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market #birminghamchristmasmarket 12,662
11 Norway Oslo Winter Wonderland in Spikersuppa (Jul i Vinterland) #julivinterland 12,519
12 Portugal Lisbon Wonderland Lisboa #wonderlandlisboa 12,414
13 Hungary Budapest Advent Feast at the Basilica #budapestchristmasmarket 8818
14 Switzerland Zurich The Werdmühleplatz Christmas Market & Singing Christmas Tree #singingchristmastree 8531
15 Austria Graz “Aufsteirern”-Christmas market on Schlossberg hill #aufsteirern 8429
16 Northern Ireland Belfast Belfast Continental Christmas Market #belfastchristmasmarket 7167
17 Ireland Waterford Winterval #winterval 6904
18 Czech Republic Prague Old Town Square Christmas Market #praguechristmasmarket 6,460
19 England York York St Nicholas Fair #yorkchristmasmarket 6446
20 Germany Düsseldorf Handwerker-Markt #handwerkermarkt 5999
21 France Colmar Colmar: La Magie de Noël [Multiple Markets] #lamagiedenoël 5984
22 Germany Erfurt Erfurter Weihnachtsmarkt #erfurterweihnachtsmarkt 5702
23 Germany Berlin WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt #berlinchristmasmarket 5184
24 Germany Aachen Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt #aachenerweihnachtsmarkt 4702
25 England Leeds Leeds Christkindelmarkt #leedschristmasmarket 4641
26 Germany Nuremberg Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt #nürnbergerchristkindlesmarkt 4471
27 Germany Leipzig Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt #leipzigerweihnachtsmarkt 4338
28 Romania Bucharest Bucharest Christmas Market (Târgul de Craciun București) #bucharestchristmasmarket 4252
29 Germany Frankfurt Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt #frankfurterweihnachtsmarkt 4005
30 Germany Stuttgart Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt #stuttgarterweihnachtsmarkt 3988
31 Germany Cologne Heinzels Wintermärchen #colognechristmasmarket 3957
32 Netherlands Sappemeer/Werf Wolthuis Winterwelvaart #winterwelvaart 3724
33 Germany Ulm Ulmer Weihnachtsmarkt #ulmerweihnachtsmarkt 3716
34 Scotland Glasgow St Enoch Square Christmas Market #glasgowchristmasmarket 3644
35 Poland Poznań Poznań Bethlehem (Betlejem Poznańskie) #betlejempoznanskie 3620
36 Germany Hamburg Hamburger Weihnachtsmarkt #hamburgerweihnachtsmarkt 3591
37 Norway Bergen Bergen Christmas Market (Bergen Julemarked) #bergenjulemarked 3453
38 Germany Cologne Markt der Engel #marktderengel 3345
39 England London Christmas by the River #christmasbytheriver 3245
40 Croatia Grabovnica SalajLand #salajland 3191
41 Wales Cardiff Cardiff Christmas Market #cardiffchristmasmarket 3130
42 Croatia Split Advent in Split (Advent u Splitu) #adventusplitu 2998
43 Switzerland Montreux Montreux Noël #montreuxnoël 2,974
44 Switzerland Zurich Zurich Viennese Village (Wienachtsdorf) at Sechseläutenplatz #wienachtsdorf 2,844
45 Ireland Sligo Strandhill People’s Market #strandhillpeoplesmarket 2814
46 Croatia Zadar Advent in Zadar (Advent u Zadru) #adventuzadru 2700
47 Wales Cardiff Christmas at the Castle (Formerly Winter Wonderland) #cardiffwinterwonderland 2,694
48 England London Southbank Centre Christmas Market #southbankchristmasmarket 2,656
49 France Nice Noël à Nice #noelanice 2655
50 England Exeter Exeter Cathedral Christmas Market #exeterchristmasmarket 2,633

 

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