“Where are you Christmas (markets)? Please help me find you!” 
– Cindy Lou Who, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Sorry for the wordplay, Cindy, but we need to tell people about our favorite Christmas markets—it’s almost that time of year again!

The time of year when your entire family gathers together, when the hustle and bustle of shopping grows steady, festive music plays everywhere and the smell of seasonal delights wafts out of storefronts.  

Then you return home to a lit fireplace framed by Christmas stockings above the mantle, fresh pine smell from your six-foot-tall Christmas tree that’s harboring the presents you’ve wrapped so far…presents for your mother who has just walked in with a hot chocolate decorated with seven marshmallows and a candy cane poking out…*gasp for air.*

I got carried away, sorry! Don’t you just love Christmas?

Basel, Switzerland

A cup of Swiss hot chocolate in one hand, a cone of roasted chestnuts in the other—need I say more? Believe it or not, it gets even better!

Switzerland‘s Basel Christmas market is a beloved tradition that draws both the lovely locals and visitors from around the globe. It’s a perfect place to soak in the holiday spirit, shop for once-in-a-lifetime gifts, enjoy tasty treats and experience the magic of Christmas. Located in the heart of the city, it’s a great time to explore Basel itself with a little extra magic thrown in.

After procuring your fancies in the whimsical Christmas markets in Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz, you have to beeline for Basel City Hall. Hidden within this beautiful piece of Gothic architecture and below the biblical frescoes is a Christmas Wish Book. For years, people have traveled near and far to write their Advent wishes in this old Swiss tradition. It’s like something from a movie, isn’t it?

Nuremberg, Germany

As you amble around the Main Market Square of Nuremberg, surrounded by wooden cabins bearing candy cane-colored roofs, nibbling on gingerbread and sipping on Glühwein, you might be lucky enough to spot the Nuremberg Christkind.

Dressed in white and gold with blond locks under a golden crown, she is the picture of Christmas for Nuremberg. Originating as a fictional gift giver, this Christmas Angel took on form to spread warmth, joy and hope. 

Known as the “Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt,” Nuremberg’s market is one of the most famous and traditional Christmas markets in the world. It’s iconic for many reasons, one being how traditional it remains—it is still decorated as a medieval Christmas market with wooden stalls and an old-timey feel.

But we won’t stop at Nuremberg…Germany is famous for its Christmas markets. A little secret: Tübingen Old Town hosts a giant chocolate festival at the beginning of December—don’t miss out!

Santa’s Pajakylä, Rovaniemi, Finland:

Although this magical village only came into existence in 1984, Lappish folklore tells of Joulupukki (a Yule Goat) riding through Midwinter nights delivering gifts with the help of Tonttu (Santa’s Elves). These myths combined with St. Nicholas in the 16th century led to the figure we know and love: Santa Claus!

While Santa’s Pajakylä is an amusement park, not a market, it’s well worth the mention. You can meet the very Santa himself, visit his post office, enjoy an enchanting reindeer sleigh ride through the snowy forest and of course, there are plenty of shops and souvenirs. If you’re hoping to discover the most authentic, truly magical Christmas adventure, this is the one!

Finland‘s village truly has something for everyone, young and old, but let’s be honest—we’re all kids around Christmastime. Imagine a day in this fairytale before returning to your glass igloo with a belly full of traditional Finnish cuisine to then slumber under the Northern Lights. 


Manchester, United Kingdom:

If you are absolutely obsessed with Christmas (like me) and can’t get enough of the lights, the stalls, the food, the everything…then hello Manchester!

If the Winter Gardens Christmas Market at Piccadilly Gardens isn’t enough, then there is another market in Exchange Square, another on King Street, another in the Cathedral Gardens with an Ice Rink, another on Market Street, St Ann’s Square, New Cathedral Street and one in the historic Corn Exchange Building…*another gasp for air.*

The Manchurians are possibly more obsessed with Christmas than me and have decided to transform the city almost entirely, giving our Finnish friends a run for their money. This may sound like an overwhelming amount of activities, vendor stalls and decorations, but don’t worry about getting lost—The Manchester Christmas Lights Trail will guide you along.


Malaga, Spain:

No mittens needed in Malaga! 

Now, you won’t exactly be tanning either, but at 17C/62F, you can stroll down Calle Larios and admire the world-famous light-and-sound show. This year’s theme? ‘Bosque de Navidad’ (The Christmas Forest).

This is a colorful market with Spanish flair! You can savor traditional foods like churros, buñuelos and “turrón,” a type of nougat. Exploring here is a great way to be fully immersed in the holiday traditions of Spain minus the freezing temperatures.

Close your eyes and picture it: you’re sipping on a Christmas Sangria, munching on ‘Borrachuelos’ (local wine flavored pastries), deliberating on whether to actually buy a Christmas present because you’re a little behind on your shopping or… just having another sip and continuing on to getting lost in the moment…I know which I’d choose. *wink*

Christmas markets are a fabulous way to experience a destination through a new lens, even if you’ve been there before. The magic of twinkling lights, delectable treats, and the infectious holiday spirit makes for an unforgettable time (and makes your Christmas shopping a breeze!). We know your gifts will be the highlight of the day.

Explore our Christmas market itineraries below to get started! Who else is ready to play some holiday music?

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Christmastime in Southern Bavaria, Including Salzburg

8 Days | 7 Nights
Arts and Culture

Germany’s famous Christmas markets date back to the 15th and 16th centuries, and you can experience their traditions, magic, and wonder this holiday season. Meander through Munich’s numerous Christmas markets, visit medieval Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and absorb the glamor of the old imperial city of Nuremberg.

Starting From $4,395 per person based on double occupancy

A Very Scandinavian Christmas

17 Days | 16 Nights

Explore the four countries that make up Scandinavia—Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden—from December through January (including Christmas and New Year’s Eve). Spectacular activities and tours have been arranged to make this one of your most magical holidays yet!

Starting From $8,122 per person based on double occupancy

Finland's Winter Landscapes & Christmas Markets

6 Days | 5 Nights
Arts and Culture

Join the Finns in celebrating the holiday season! From early December, cities and towns are adorned with decorations & lights, and Christmas markets invite visitors to join the festivities! Taste traditional Christmas treats, sip mulled wine (glögi), and embrace Finnish Christmas traditions!

Starting From $3,000 per person based on double occupancy

Denmark’s Christmas Markets

8 Days | 7 Nights
Arts and Culture

Ever since before the Viking Age, Danes have held winter celebrations to bring light and joy to the long, dark winters, and it’s a very special part of their culture. Join in the festivities with delightful delicacies & seasonal treats, Christmas markets, twinkling lights, and learn about the Danish Christmas traditions during this very “hygge” season! 

Starting From $6,160 per person based on double occupancy

Christmas Magic: Berlin, Leipzig & Dresden

8 Days | 7 Nights
Arts and Culture

Christmas is a very special holiday in Germany featuring special baked goods and beverages, lights, decorations and music, and the famous Christmas markets located in towns and cities throughout the country. Learn about Christmas traditions and history, savor seasonal treats, and delight in the festive atmosphere that captivates the country during the holiday season.

Starting From $3,225 per person based on double occupancy

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