Christmas markets in places like Strasbourg and Vienna and Prague are amazing, but there are some lesser known European Christmas markets that you shouldn’t discount! Especially if you don’t love the crowds that come with the more popular Christmas markets. If you want to visit some places that aren’t quite as popular or want to experience markets that you haven’t been to yet, these are 6 lesser known European Christmas market cities that I recommend visiting!
6 Hidden Gem European Christmas Markets
I spent a week in Copenhagen at Christmastime, and I loved visiting the markets multiple times! I do have an entire guide on the Christmas markets in Copenhagen if you want all the details, but there are 5 main markets throughout the city (Tivoli also has a Christmas market, but you do need to pay the Tivoli admittance fee to get in). They have lots of traditional foods and Christmas products, and they also have some unique places, like Viking stands and a very hipster market in Christiania.
Plus, Copenhagen is a beautiful city itself and gets all decorated for Christmas, so there’s more to do than visit the markets! I have a guide on 15 Christmas activities to do in Copenhagen if you want to celebrate like a Dane.
Tallinn, Estonia might be my favorite lesser known European Christmas market! Day or night, it was never too crowded, and they had so many great handmade items and food for really affordable prices. It’s in Old Town Tallinn, so it really feels like you’re visiting a Medieval Christmas market.
The only downside is that there’s just the one market in Tallinn, so there’s not as much to do compared to the bigger cities (but I highly recommend touring the Old Town, too). But if you’re looking for a quick place to visit for a day or two, Tallinn’s Christmas market is a great option.
When I was in Germany, I rented a car so we got to visit a few different towns with Christmas markets (which are all in this post). So if you want to visit quite a few markets in a short amount of time, driving around Germany could be a good option for you! Plus, Germany is pretty centrally located, so you could easily do a road trip to visit a few other countries’ Christmas markets.
Aachen is very walkable, so it’s pretty easy to get to the markets throughout the city. You could see all the markets within a few hours. And it’s all decorated for Christmas, so it’s also just a pretty town to visit! They had lots of interesting stands and so much great food. I recommend getting the flammkuchen, it’s like a flatbread with different toppings and delicious melted cheese!
Cologne is one of the more popular Christmas markets in Germany, but since we were driving in the area we couldn’t miss it. It was definitely the most crowded market and harder to get around and buy things, but it’s still a beautiful place to visit! Especially with the cathedral as the backdrop of one of the markets.
There are a few markets you can visit (the gnome one was my favorite!), and it’s pretty easy to walk around and see everything within a few hours. It’s also a great market to get the famous German paper Christmas stars if you want some as souvenirs (I got some, of course, and they do fold up nicely so they won’t take up a lot of space in your luggage). And I also recommend getting some currywurst while you’re there!
Trier is another one of my favorite lesser known European Christmas markets. It has been rated in Germany as one of the best markets, but it wasn’t nearly as crowded as Cologne and still had that small town feel. The downtown area isn’t too big, so it’s easy to walk around and see all the sights. The market is in the city center, and it has a similar feel as Tallinn’s as being in a Medieval Christmas market with the historic buildings and a cathedral around.
It also looks like the quintessential German Christmas market with the windmill pyramid and carousels and a Kathe Wohlfahrt market. If you have to pick one market in Germany to visit, Trier’s was probably my favorite!
If you’re going to visit the Christmas markets in Copenhagen, you should add on a quick trip to Malmö, Sweden! It’s a short train right away, and the city is very walkable. Malmö’s Christmas market isn’t as impressive as the ones in Copenhagen so I don’t think I would go to Malmö’s if I wasn’t already going to Copenhagen’s. But it’s in a pretty park and the city is all decorated for Christmas, so there are some beautiful sights to see and lots of great food to eat!
Plus, they have some fun Christmas lights, like a Christmas unicorn!
So which of these lesser known European Christmas markets will be on your list? And which hidden gem markets should I visit next? 🙂