In our “community wisdom” posts, we take the best quotes from the Indie Travel Podcast community and highlight our amazing community’s advice and recommendations.

One of the most magical memories I have of our first three years in Europe is an amazing week with Christmas spent in Prague, Czech Republic and New Years spent in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was our first December in Europe, we spent it with good friends who travelled up from New Zealand, and it was a blast. This year, my mind was drawn back to the magic of a white Christmas (having grown up with Christmas on the beach) and the ubiquitous Christmas Markets that spring up around Europe. So, what are …

The best Christmas markets in Europe?

Prague, Czech Republic

european christmas markets - prague christmas markets - czech republic
Linda holds her gluwein at the Prague Christmas Markets

Luke agreed with my feelings, saying:

It definitely has to be Prague with her rough-around-the-edges-yet-still-romantic Christmas markets (and pretty much everything else). You have the incredible architecture and delicious smoked pork with a hot wine, creating the most incredible atmosphere! Just when you thought it was all perfect you are treated to true Praha hospitality, which is terrible but at the same time forgiving, and the occasional drunk – who could very easily be Czech, British or Irish!

Lincoln, England

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Lincoln lit up at night, while people throng the Christmas Markets

Lincoln, a town I’d never heard of, came in for a surprising amount of praise. Steve tells us:

Lincoln is a city that is located to the east of England. It dates back to the iron age but started to come to prominence during the Roman occupation. It boasts a castle and an impressive cathedral. It is the county town of Lincolnshire. I have visited a couple of times and I would recommend a visit.

Poi reckons,

It’s my hometown so when I get bored I know which bars to head to, maybe that’s what makes it so good? Cancelled this year because of all the snow though.

How crazy: that snow cancels a Christmas market!

Bratislava, Slovakia

european christmas market - stall at Bratislava Christmas market - Bratislava, Slovakia
People chat while buying at the Bratislava Christmas market, Slovakia

One Christmas market that isn’t closed by snow is the one in Slovakia’s capital. noVisit Bratislava admits they’re biased, but chipped in with:

I’d like to recommend our Christmas Market in Bratislava. It’s less commercial than many of the big old ones with a variety of handcraft and delicious food and live entertainment. It’s been chosen [as] the best for budget Christmas Market in Europe – oh, and it looks REALLY nice with all that snow now – looking a lot like Christmas.

Birmingham, England

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A warmly-lit stall at the Frankfurt German Christmas Markets in Birmingham, England

Patricia told us they were the biggest Christmas markets in the UK, and Steve loved the mulled cider, but we didn’t get much further than that. A bit of digging led us to discover that they, along with similar ventures in Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh, started as a massive PR gig by the Frankfurt tourism board! (The Guardian has a good write-up.)

No doubt, however, that they’re great fun with traditional German Christmas food and drinks along with crafts and other gifts.

They’re also popular with the Christmas party crowd, so if you’re looking for exclusive and shared Christmas parties in Birmingham they’re great for visiting before or after your event.

Freiburg, Germany

european christmas markets - freiburg christmas market - german christmas markets - germany
Bright lights at one of Freiburg's two Christmas markets

Speaking of Germany, Patricia says the markets in Freiburg were nice:

It is situated in the square where one of the oldest churches is. It is like being in a Grimm’s Fairytale!! They actually have two markets. The other market is a hoot. Full of rides and cheap trinkets, it is a bit from the city center but such a beautiful walk or short bike ride along one of their many canals. The city itself is like living in a fairytale, at the base of the Black Forest.