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Ranked: The Best Christmas Markets in the World 2022

Best Christmas cruises in the world

Cinnamon spice wafting through the air, the distant hum of carols and twinkling lights aplenty, there’s no better place to get you in the festive spirit than a Christmas market. The yuletide tradition dates back to medieval Germany, but over the last decade more and more have popped up across the globe. So, as summer fades to autumn and winter is just around the corner, now is the perfect time to decide which Christmas market you might like to visit this year.

To help you decide, we’ve ranked the best Christmas markets worldwide, based on factors like number of stalls, open dates and TripAdvisor ratings. From London to New York, Toronto to York, discover which festive affairs are really worth a visit.

Which is the most festive country in the world?

While many Christmas traditions are shared across the world, whether it be Christmas markets, presents under the tree or carolling on doorsteps, some countries are simply more festive than others. So, before we reveal the best Christmas markets in the world, let’s find out which countries are Santa’s biggest fans, hosting the highest number of ranking Xmas markets.

  • Germany
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Finland
  • France

Out of the 51 markets analysed, 28 take place in one of two of the top 10 most festive countries. With a total of 14 ranking markets, both Germany and the UK top the list as the best countries to kickstart your Christmas spirit.

As the country where Christmas markets were born, it’s little wonder that Germany is considered one of the most festive countries. Celebrating Christmas is an important family tradition in Germany, where Lebkuchen (gingerbread) is eaten, plastic trees are frowned upon, and stockings are filled on 6th December.

In the UK, Christmas is also a significant time of year, with an estimated £21 billion expected to be spent by the British public on Christmas gifts this year. Here, the festivities usually begin in late November and, in the run up to the big day, Brits enjoy sipping on mulled wine, watching pantomimes and, of course, visiting Christmas markets.

The best Christmas markets, worldwide

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1. Bryant Park Winter Village, New York

With a total of 330 social media posts and a TripAdvisor review score of 4.5, the Bryant Park Winter Village in New York has been ranked the number one Christmas market in the world. Each year, the enormous public park in Midtown Manhattan is transformed into a magical winter wonderland complete with a free-to-use 17,000-square-foot ice-skating rink and no less than 170 festive stalls and food kiosks.

Open for a total of 129 days over the festive period, the Bryant Park Winter Village is set to open on 28th October 2022, all the way through until the beginning of March 2023. During this time, you’ll be able to enjoy the huge variety of stalls, selling everything from jewellery and decorations to delicious festive cuisine, and cosy up at The Lodge - a covered, outdoor après-themed bar where market-goers can sample festive cocktails and indulge in traditional food, while admiring the spectacular Christmas tree.

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2. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London

Located in one of London’s eight Royal Parks, the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland comes in second place for the world’s best Christmas markets, receiving over 1600 social media posts and a TripAdvisor review score of 4. In addition, this year, the second-best Christmas market in the world is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the addition of six brand new attractions, from high-adrenaline rides to immersive VR experiences.

There’ll also be plenty of street food stalls and cosy alpine-style chalets to enjoy festive nibbles and toasty mulled wine in the Bavarian Village. The Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is also home to the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, an ice slide and 500 tonnes of sculpted ice to feast your eyes on. Do a spot of Christmas shopping too, and meet the cheery vendors selling unusual and unique gifts and souvenirs. Running from 18th November 2022, until 2nd January 2023, you can immerse yourself in all things festive for six whole weeks at Hyde Park.

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3. Toronto Christmas Market, Toronto

Also making it into the top three Christmas markets in the world, with over 650 social media posts and a TripAdvisor review score of 4.5, is the Toronto Christmas Market in Canada. Located at the historic Distillery District, this annual holiday market typically attracts thousands of visitors every year with one of the largest Christmas trees in the city, as well as stunning twinkly lights, festive treats, gifts from local vendors and seasonal decorations.

Take a ride on the vintage carousel, be amazed by hand-crafted ornaments, sit back with a drink in a beer garden or grab a cup of hot chocolate and a schnitzel from one of the food stalls. With 80 different retailers and restaurants to choose from, as well as 350 stage performances, you’ll have plenty to explore over the six weeks that this Christmas market is running, from 17th November through to 31st December.

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4. Spruce Meadows Christmas Market, Calgary

As the second Canadian Christmas market to make it into the top five best, worldwide, the Spruce Meadows Christmas Market in Calgary received a total of 34 social media posts and a TripAdvisor review score of 4.5. Located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, it offers Calgarians and visitors alike a place to welcome the holiday season with great festive food, unique arts and crafts, and a giant Christmas tree.

This year, the market will host over 400 stalls in the transformed equestrian centre, where you can marvel at local hand-crafted gifts, watch impressive dance displays and hum along to the Christmas choir. Alongside the festive entertainment, you’ll also find a huge Christmas tree and over 70 kilometres of twinkling lights. Much shorter than the other Christmas markets on this list, though, only running for a total of nine days, you better hurry if you want a slice of Calgary’s Christmas spirit.

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5. York Christmas Market, York

Another one for the UK, the York Christmas Market has been ranked in fifth place, with over 300 social media posts so far and a TripAdvisor review score of 4.5. A staple of the holiday season since 1992, this year marks the 30th anniversary of York’s Christmas market, and, despite being small, the Viking city goes all out for Christmas.

See traders pitch up along one of the main shopping streets, showcasing some of the best independent sellers and locally sourced, artisan products that the city has to offer. Fill your tummy with seasonal treats from the food stalls, warm up with a mulled wine from Thor’s Tipi, marvel at the stunning Christmas decorations and browse an eclectic range of homemade gifts. Brand new to the York Christmas market in 2022 is The Winter Hutte, a traditional Swiss chalet that offers a seasonal dining experience from one of Yorkshire’s best-known chefs, the Michelin-starred Andrew Pern.

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6. Union Square Holiday Market, New York

With over 1150 social media posts, 22% of which were positive, and a TripAdvisor review score of 4, the famous Union Square Holiday Market in New York makes it into seventh position for the best Christmas markets worldwide. From mid-November to Christmas Day, this New York market attracts thousands of visitors from all around the world. Welcoming 160 vendors, you can get in the festive spirit with gifts from local artists, craftsmen and entrepreneurs.

You can also try all the festive foodie options the market has to offer, from hot chocolate to mulled wine, classic eggnog to toffee apples, and gingerbread biscuits to roasted chestnuts. There are also different sections within the market, such as “Little Brooklyn”, a warming area for getting a break from the cold, and areas where you can enjoy some great live music.

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7. Frankfurt Christmas Market, Frankfurt

Coming in eighth place, the Frankfurt Christmas Market in Germany received more than 1000 social media posts, along with a TripAdviser review score of 4.5. With Römerberg and Paulsplatz as the backdrop for this German Christmas market and a 30m Christmas tree topped with over 300 red ribbons, there’s no denying that the Frankfurt market is a marvel to look at. Its history also dates all the way back to the 14th century when mystery plays were performed on the Römerberg.

Over the years, the Frankfurt Christmas market has developed a number of specialities, particularly when it comes to festive treats. Make sure you try Benton, a marzipan-based Christmas cookie, and Quetschemännchen, which are small figures made out of prunes and nuts. There are plenty of other stalls selling more Christmas market favourites, too. Find everything from pretty ornaments and grilled sausages to roasted nuts and artwork from local artists.

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8. Dresden Christmas Market, Dresden

The Dresden Christmas Market is not only one of the oldest, largest and most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany, but it’s also one of the top 10 Christmas markets in the world. And that’s not surprising given that it’s received nearly 450 social media posts, 24% of which were positive, and a TripAdvisor score of 4.5. Today, the market is located in the Altmarkt, the oldest square in the city, where knight tournaments were once held. It stretches over half a mile long between Prager Strasse and Hauptstrasse and features around 250 stands each year, offering local products and delicacies.

Walk along the diverse array of stalls, wooden houses, elf cottages, nativity scenes, puppet theatres, and even spot Santa Claus’ house. This Christmas market in Germany also features the world’s tallest Ore Mountain step pyramid at 14.61 metres high, one of the world’s largest walk-in candle arches, a romantic Ferris wheel with incredible views over the city, and a daily calendar of cultural Christmas events for people of all ages.

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9. Wroclaw Christmas Market, Wroclaw

In ninth place is Wroclaw Christmas Market in Poland. Open from mid-November to the end of December, this Christmas market in Poland is located on the Rynek Market Square and the Plac Solny. Here, you’ll find a number of magical attractions, including a three-level fairytale house, complete with observation deck, and a small tower with an illuminated clock.

Of course, there will also be plenty of opportunities to sample some festive Polish specialities. Be sure to try the Oscypek, a special smoked cheese from the Polish mountains, served with cranberries. But don’t worry - you’ll also find some more classic Polish dishes like sausages, potato pancakes, bigos, and skewers, as well as some international festive favourites, such as churros, crepes, chimney cakes and loaded fries.

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10. Krakow Christmas Market, Krakow

Finally, just making it into the top 10 Christmas markets in the world is Krakow Christmas Market, also in Poland, with nearly 60 social media posts and a TripAdvisor review score of 4.5. From the end of November until just after Christmas Day, you can experience the festive magic of this charming Polish city which really comes into its own during the winter season. Taking place on the city’s huge central square, Rynek Glowny, with around 80 stalls, there’s plenty to see, do and try at this Christmas market.

The rows of wooden stalls sell a wide range of Christmas decorations, gifts, toys, sweets and traditional Polish delights. Why not try the Pierogi (stuffed Polish dumplings), the smoked cheese, local sausages, or chicken kebabs? Sampling the Grzaniec Galicyjski (Polish mulled wine) is also a must. While you sip on your hot mulled wine and taste the local cuisine, be entertained by children and village artists performing carols on the stage.

Make the most of the festive season this year by visiting one of the best Christmas markets, whether it’s in Europe or beyond. And, instead of flying, why not take a Christmas market cruise to your winter destination? For more information, check out our Christmas cruises from Southampton and get more travel inspiration from the Planet Cruise blog.

Best Christmas cruises in the world

Methodology

This dataset ranks 51 different Christmas markets across the world, based on 7 different factors. First a list of Christmas markets was scraped from TripAdvisor, and the necessary data for each factor was then collected from each listed source. After the data was collected, the values were normalised, to give each factor a score between 0 and 1. The normalised values were then summed, to give each Christmas market a score out of 7. The Christmas markets were then ranked from highest to lowest, based on this total score.

The factors used are as follows:

  • Search Volume – The total monthly search volume for each Christmas market, between November and December 2021, according to Google Keyword Planner.
  • Social Media Posts – The number of social media posts relating to each Christmas market, between 01/11/2021 and 25/12/2021, according to Linkfluence.
  • Social Media Positive Sentiment – The percentage of social media posts relating to each Christmas market, between 0/11/2021 and 25/12/2021 that had a positive sentiment.
  • TripAdvisor Review Score – The review score given to each Christmas market on TripAdvisor.
  • TripAdvisor Reviews - The total number of reviews given to each Christmas market on TripAdvisor.
  • Number of Stalls – The number of stalls within each Christmas market.
  • Opening Dates – The total number of days each Christmas market is open for.

The factors were indexed as follows:

  • Search Volume – High value gets a high score. Low value gets a low score.
  • Social Media Posts – High value gets a high score. Low value gets a low score.
  • Social Media Positive Sentiment – High Value gets a high score. Low value gets a low score.
  • TripAdvisor Review Score – High value gets a high score. Low value gets a low score.
  • TripAdvisor Reviews - High value gets a high score. Low value gets a low score.
  • Number of Stalls – High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.
  • Days Open – High values get a high score. Low values get a low score.

All data is correct as of 06/10/2022. Data for "Days Open" and "Number of Stalls" was collected for the 2022-2023 season in most cases, however some Christmas markets required data from previous seasons, as the data was not yet available for the 2022-2023 season.

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