It’s almost the Christmas season and you can practically smell the faint hints of pine trees and spiced-rum punch mingling with the enticing aromas of roasted almonds and hand-crafted gingerbread coming from these 12 remarkable Christmas markets in Europe! Auto Europe has put together a list of our favorite holiday markets, each with an unparalleled quality that makes each venue exceptional. Picture yourself wandering through rows of cheerful artisans, pleasantly selling their goods, your arms filled with fabulous finds for your friends and family back home, and your heart is all but bursting with holiday cheer. There’s a spring in your step as you walk back to your rental car and you’re thinking to yourself how elated you are with your incredible seasonal purchases. Turn this pristine daydream into a reality when you arrange a car rental with Auto Europe and explore these 12 enticing holiday markets at your leisure.
Copenhagen, Denmark~ Tivoli Gardens (Nov 19 – Dec 31, 2016)
When the design concept of your Christmas Market is orchestrated by Tiffany’s lead designer, you can almost bank on earning the reputation of most beautiful. Thousands of lights are artfully hung throughout the city of Copenhagen, draped over lakeside willows and sprawling for roughly four miles along the canal in the city’s historic Nyhavn district. Guests are welcomed into a classic Nordic atmosphere and are able to explore over 50 stalls taking inspiration from Danish and Scandinavian traditions, selling gifts, decorations and warm beverages.
Berlin, Germany ~ Gendarmenmarkt (Nov 21 – Dec 31, 2016)
If you’re searching for a postcard backdrop for your holiday shopping endeavors, practically any city in Germany will do, but if you’re looking for a true standout, make your way to Berlin. The Gendarmenmarkt receives our praise for being the most traditional, and for 35 days the city is immersed in a magical and romantic light. Browse through hundreds of stalls selling pewter crafts, handmade slippers and wool coats, while keeping warm with roasted chestnuts and almonds and sipping steaming mulled wine.
Prague, Czech Republic ~ Old Town Square Market & Wenceslas Square (Dec 3, 2016 – Jan 4, 2017)
A winter wonderland of treasures awaits travelers who venture to Prague’s city center during the holiday season. This market receives our praise for having the best selection of activities for all ages. In addition to caroling, face painting and choir performances, children from all over the Czech Republic congregate in traditional costumes throughout the town squares. Thousands of lights illuminate the city and bring locals and visitors together to browse through brightly decorated wooden huts selling intricately designed glassware, embroidered lace, beautifully dressed dolls and hand-dipped scented candles. Outdoor shopping is accompanied by an enticing selection of baked goods and tantalizing warm wines and ciders.
Salzburg, Austria ~ Christkindlmarkt (Nov 17 – Dec 26, 2016)
Considered to be one of the oldest markets in Europe, there are documents dating back to the 15th century describing the fine crafts that were sold in front of the Salzburg Cathedral during Advent season. Christkindlmarkt is a feast for the senses, as the delicious scent of mulled wine floats through booths adorned with meticulously designed crafts, and performances by choirs and children’s choruses serenade crowds of shoppers.
London, England ~ Southbank Christmas Market (Nov 20 – Dec 24, 2016)
The picturesque German-style Christmas market held in London’s Southbank is a vibrant celebration of wooden chalets filled with festive food, drink, hand-made crafts and treats nestled along the sparkling riverside. Once you have explored the stalls in London, drive your car rental two hours east to the historic city of Bath and explore the town’s market held annually, usually in correspondence with Southbank’s Market in the Abbey Churchyard. The snow-covered churchyard provides a magical setting for sightseers and also functions as a Christmas shopper’s haven, offering one of the most elegant backdrops of any Christmas Market on our list.
Nuremberg, Germany ~ Christkindlesmarkt (Nov 25th – Dec 24th, 2016)
Soak up the medieval charm and the aromas of gingerbread, succulent bratwurst and traditional gluhwein as you walk through Hauptmarkt Square in Nuremberg’s Old Quarter during the Yuletide season. Considered by many travelers to be the most legendary Christmas Market in Europe, by Christmas Eve more than two million visitors from all over the world will have sampled the delights of the iconic Nuremberg Christmas Market. Nearly 200 market stands, decorated for Christmas with fresh greens and twinkling lights, invite visitors to purchase hand-carved ornaments and holiday treats from talented local vendors.
Basel, Switzerland ~ Basel Christmas Market (Nov 24 – Dec 23, 2016)
Nestled in the “three-country corner” of Switzerland, France and Germany, the town of Basel boasts one of the most exciting Christmas markets in Switzerland. Deep-rooted in tradition and bustling with activity, the streets of Basel come alive during the holiday season. Traders and practitioners from all over the country congregate in Basel’s Old Town to offer their goods and demonstrate their clever skills. Take advantage of the city’s ideal location and pick up your rental car at the EuroAirport and travel to other exciting holiday markets in the region, including markets in nearby Frieburg, Germany and Mulhouse, France.
Gothenburg, Sweden ~ Liseberg Christmas Market (Nov 18 – Dec 30, 2016)
Nicknamed Sweden’s Christmas City, Gothenburg hosts a multitude of alluring Christmas Markets every year. If you are only able to wander through one Swiss market this holiday season, our recommendation is renting a car in Sweden and driving to the Liseberg Christmas Market, which has been deemed the biggest and most atmospheric Christmas market in the country. Travelers searching for perfect gift will be able to view an array of ceramics and a variety of other goods from well-known designers, as well as local artists and craftsmen.
Brussels, Belgium ~ Winter Wonders (Nov 25, 2016 – Jan 1, 2017)
Topping the list for most unique Christmas Market in Europe is the Winter Wonders Market in beautiful Brussels. Exhibitors from all over Europe set up shop around the city’s Grand-Place, selling numerous baked specialties, handicrafts and other charming stocking stuffers. A string of fascinating live performances completes the list of celebrations for the Winter Wonders Market and visitors will leave the city brimming with holiday cheer. Located just 30 minutes from the Brussels Airport or grab your rental car from the Charleroi Airport and you can be there in under an hour.
Rome, Italy ~ Piazza Navona (Dec 1, 2016 – Jan 6, 2017)
The heart of winter magic beats particularly strong in the ancient city of Rome. Every year thousands of visitors flock to this cultural metropolis to wander through one of the largest and most picturesque Christmas markets in Italy. Drive your rental car to Piazza Navona, Rome’s iconic Baroque Square and browse through the city’s visually stunning holiday market display, specializing in elaborate nativity scenes, delicious food and handmade seasonal gifts. Your children will appreciate posing for a picture with Babbo Natale (Father Christmas) and La Befana (the Christmas Witch), two holiday figures that can be found spreading holiday cheer throughout the market’s stalls.
Munich, Germany ~ Munich Christmas Market (Nov 24 – Dec 26, 2016)
The tradition and ambiance of Germany’s Christmas Markets make Munich the ideal setting to kick off the Christmas season. Every year, visitors are enchanted by the ambiance and charm of the Munich Christmas Market’s atmospheric booths, the myriad of light displays and the sheer quality of goods being sold. This market offers traditional Bavarian and unique seasonal items, including wood carvings, homemade gingerbread and exquisite glassware. If you’re searching for the best selection of crafts, this is the market for you! Auto Europe can help you arrange a car rental in Munich, providing you with the flexibility to explore this market and others in the region at your own pace.
Strasbourg, France ~ Christkindelmärik (Nov 25 – Dec 31, 2016)
An atmospheric backdrop guarantees travelers a wonderful experience while exploring the picturesque Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, which some consider to be the most prominent in all of Europe. Nicknamed the Capital of Christmas, Strasbourg’s historic city center is brimming with festivities around Advent, and travelers are able to purchase locally-made gifts and tempting confectioneries while sipping sweet wine and reveling in the beauty of their surroundings. The city’s convenient location on the border o France and Germany makes it the ideal location to arrange a rental car to fully enjoy both destinations.
Wherever you happen to be traveling this holiday season, Auto Europe can help you get the guaranteed best rate on a rental car when exploring the best Christmas markets in Europe. Don’t miss out on our extremely low seasonal rates, and be sure to check out our advice for planning your holidays early! Use the money you will be saving on your car rental to purchase truly unique gifts for your loved ones at any of these spectacular holiday markets. Contact us toll-free today at 1-888-223-5555 to arrange your rental car on your upcoming trip to Europe!