The Best Christmas Markets For 2023
We’re fast approaching the festive season, and that means work parties, festive jumpers, and Christmas markets! Loved across the world, there’s no better way of getting into the festive spirit than browsing gifts sold at traditional chalet-style stalls, as you snack on a bratwurst and sip on a piping mug of hot chocolate.
But with so many Christmas markets available, it can be hard choosing which ones to visit. So, we decided to do the hard work for you! By analysing a range of factors, including the number of stalls available, opening dates, TripAdvisor reviews and more; read on to discover the best Christmas markets across the world here. But be warned: one read of this blog, and you’ll be desperate to book onto a Christmas market cruise!
Top Christmas markets in the USA and Canada
From New York to Calgary and everywhere in between, which states and cities get Christmas markets right? And, if you love the sound of ticking as many of these spots off your list as possible, take a look at our North American cruises.
1. Bryant Park, New York City, New York
Ranked first in the world overall (as well as first across North America), is Bryant’s Park Christmas market. Consisting of 180 stalls, which are open for business for 68 festive-filled days (more than any other Christmas market globally); Bryant Park attracts hundreds of thousands of shoppers to purchase trinkets and gifts for loved ones.
Not only that, but Bryant Park scores first because it has more Instagram hashtags than any other market on our list, at a staggering 71,7724, as well as the most TripAdvisor reviews (23,854), receiving a score of 4.5 out of 5.
2. Union Square, New York City, New York
Union Square scores second in North America, and 17th globally. It boasts a huge 200 stalls that visitors can browse over 51 days; where you’ll find a carefully curated selection of art, crafts, food, and even home accessories.
Whilst UK and European markets receive the most search volume; Union Square has the most across North America, with 12,100 searches made between November and December 2022.
3. Distillery Historic District, Toronto, Canada
Toronto’s Distillery Historic District is one of the prettiest backdrops for Christmas markets in North America; and you’ll be able to sip Glühwein, and sample a range of international cuisine in style – they serve everything, from Polish pierogi to classic Bratwurst, and more.
With the tree lighting ceremony kicking off on the 16th November, you’ll be able to visit for 45 days; and with an impressive score of 4.5 on TripAdvisor, you just know it’s going to be a great way for getting into the festive spirit!
4. Spruce Meadows, Calgary, Canada
Calgary’s Spruce Meadows makes it into fourth place in North America, and 27th worldwide, and there are a few reasons for this. Not only does it have the joint most stalls, at a staggering 300 (tying only with Strasbourg), but it has the third most Instagram hashtags across the US and Canada, as well as a 4.5 TripAdvisor rating.
Choose to visit, and you’ll get to shop for Christmas gifts, listen to festive carolers, and dine on delicious food, complete with a charming backdrop of snow-covered trees.
5. Market Square, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Rounding off our top five list of Christmas markets in North America, is Pittsburgh’s Market Square. This is definitely a more intimate setting, with 26 stalls that come alive over 34 days; but it has 2,193 hashtags on Instagram for a reason!
Known to locals as the ‘Peoples Gas Holiday Market’, it’s inspired by Germany’s traditional Christkindlmarket, with alpine chalets lining the square. Each year, you’ll be able to spot old favourites returning to sell their wares, as well as a selection of new vendors.
Top Christmas Markets in the UK
Featuring dramatic stately homes and sprawling homes as their backdrops, it’s time to reveal the best Christmas markets to visit in the UK.
1. Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, UK
Blenheim Palace is officially the best Christmas market in the UK, and a very respectable sixth place worldwide. With 201,000 searches across last year’s festive period, it received the joint second most searches than anywhere else in the world; and has the ninth most TripAdvisor reviews too, at 8,667 (its rating is 4.5, if you were wondering!).
And, it’s not just the markets you’ll get to experience if you visit Blenheim Palace this year. Discover the magical light trail, which features over 20,000 moving lights; and wander the halls of the palace, which have been dressed up in the theme of Sleeping Beauty – just watch out for those spinning wheels!
2. Winter Wonderland, London, UK
Perhaps the most iconic Christmas market in the country, Hyde Park’s opening its doors on the 17th November for yet another year of festive fun. Offering something for everyone, it’s not just festive food you can experience here – there’s a fairground, circus show, skating rink, and even an ice kingdom!
It makes sense then, that Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland received the most Google searches than any other Christmas market in the world during November and December 2022, at an impressive 1.5 million!
3. Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, UK
Heading to Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens places third in the UK, and 11th worldwide. Open for 60 days during November and December, only Bryant Park beats it for its opening times.
The main Christmas market in Edinburgh, you’ll find a mixture of traditional German market stalls, and a Scottish-specific section, where you can buy local goods. Make sure you try the glayva – a local festive whiskey that’s flavoured with tangerine and spices, it’s a great alternative to mulled wine.
4. Shambles, York, UK
One of the only remaining medieval shopping streets in Europe, the Shambles is famed for being the inspiration behind Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. But, what you might not know, is it also has a pretty great Christmas market too, with a total of 10,126 Instagram hashtags.
The Shambles makes up just one section of a network of Christmas markets around York, including Parliament Square. Stop for a drink at Thor’s tipi in between shopping, and listen to the festive choir as they sing all your favourite carols.
5. Chatsworth House, Bakewell, UK
Open for 22 days across November, Derbyshire’s Chatsworth House comes in fifth place in the UK, and 16th worldwide. With 100 stalls to browse, it’s one of the busiest in the UK; and it shares the joint second most search volume on our list, at 201,000.
You can spend the whole day at Chatsworth House, with various events happening throughout the festive period, including bauble making, an interactive light trail, and tours around the house itself.
Top Christmas Markets in Europe
It’s no secret that Europe comes alive at Christmas, with cities across the continent opening up their own festive markets for locals and tourists to visit. And, with Germany ranked as the joint top festive country with 14 markets on our list (alongside the UK), it makes sense that it’s going to dominate our list!
1. Marienplatz, Munich, Germany
Topping the list in Europe and coming second worldwide is Munich’s Marienplatz. With the second most TripAdvisor reviews worldwide, at 25,618, scoring 4.5 on TripAdvisor; if it’s traditional markets you’re after, you’re going to love Marienplatz.
The imposing Christmas tree shines bright with 2,500 twinkling lights, sitting against the backdrop of the dramatic Neues Rathaus. With 150 stalls to wander around, you’ll have a great time sampling the many German classics on offer, such as pfeffernüsse and glühwein. Sound like the perfect way to spend your December? Book onto our Germany cruises, and you’ll soon be on your way.
2. Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany
The iconic gothic Cologne Cathedral is synonymous with Christmas worldwide – so of course Cologne’s Christmas markets are going to feature highly on our list, second in Europe, and third worldwide.
Dating back to 1820, today, the cathedral plays backdrop to 150 stalls, which houses delicious German and international delicacies, as well as lots of trinkets and Christmassy gifts. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the artisans at work, including glassblowers and embroiders.
3. Krakow’s Rynek Glowny, Krakow, Poland
If it’s festive cheer you’re after, Poland is a great alternative to Germany for a short city break. Krakow’s Rynek Glowny has not only received the most TripAdvisor reviews worldwide, at an impressive 26,851; but it’s also the second most searched European Christmas market, just behind Brussels.
Shop for cute handcrafted toys and Christmas decorations, and dine on European delicacies such as warming goulash and soups. This is one of the few markets that runs up to the New Year, so if you want to break up the days in between Christmas and New Year, Krakow’s a great place to visit.
4. St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest, Hungary
Set in Budapest’s picturesque St. Stephen’s Square, this market features fourth in Europe, and fifth worldwide. It boasts 53,038 Instagram hashtags, as well as the fourth most TripAdvisor reviews, at 22,392.
Open for 46 days, the market runs through until the 1st January, so you can feel festive into the new year. Make sure you get your hands on some delicious trdelník- a Hungarian cake that’s topped with sugar and cinnamon.
5. Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany
Rounding off our top five European Christmas markets is Berlin’s Alexanderplatz; which ranks eighth worldwide, and has 100 stalls to browse. A classic Christmas market, except plenty of mulled wine, gingerbread, and bratwurst; all served with a backdrop of Berlin’s iconic square.
So, with a huge range of Christmas markets to pick from all over the world, it’s time to start thinking how far-flung you want to travel! If you want to set sail from the UK, then take a look at our cruises from Southampton – you’ll be able to visit lots of European cities, and sample several of the festive markets too!
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 of 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 2022, according to Google Keyword Planner.
- Instagram Hashtag Data – The number of social media post hashtags relating to each Christmas market, correct as of 10.10.23.
- 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 09/10/2023. 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.