Crazy about Christmas markets, medieval architecture, and the sweet winter scents that bring back childhood memories? If so, the following European destinations combine all these into an unforgettable Christmas experience.

Bruges, Belgium

Market Square in Bruges
Market Square in Bruges

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more enchanting city in Europe than Bruges, with its fairy-like canals, buildings that look like they’ve been made of gingerbread, and elegant horse-drawn carriages that come straight out of a story book to clip-clop down the medieval cobblestone streets.

Around Christmas, Grote Markt, the city’s main square, converts into a magical realm trimmed with twinkling lights, a fabulous ice rink, and charming wooden chalets filled with souvenirs, festive ornaments, and Belgian chocolate.

Bruges Ice Sculpture Festival, already in its 15th edition, adds to the town’s magical atmosphere during this time of year.

Wroclaw, Poland

Wroclaw Christmas Market
Fotografia Daniel Grodziński

During the winter holidays, Wroclaw, Poland’s 4th largest city, seduces visitors with a delightful Christmas market that dates back to the 16th century. The streets are adorned with bright decorations; the Old Town oozes energy and good vibes; and Christmas carols resound in the Rynek, a square that evokes the city’s diversity, with its Hungarian, German, and Italian influences.

Wroclaw was named the European Capital of Culture in 2016, so expect to discover a city full of history and events, with a unique architecture and an impressive cultural life.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague in Winter
Rooftops in Mala Strana

Winter in Prague is chilly and crisp, but that doesn’t prevent the elegant Czech capital to be one of Europe’s most festive and christmassy cities.

Its gorgeous Gothic buildings covered in fresh snow and the cobbled alleys of the Old Town whispering about ghosts of a tumultuous past simply take your breath away, while Prague Christmas Market, one of the most famous in Europe, is a wonderful place to discover the traditions, cultural values, and delicious cuisine of this landlocked Central European country steeped in history.

Warm up with a hot mug of mulled wine or a spin on the ice skating rink; fill your shopping bag with all sorts of glistening decorations; or attend one of the fabulous concerts that take place in the city’s remarkable churches and halls during Christmas.

Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn Christmas Market
Christmas market in the Old Town of Tallinn

Tallinn is the city of the first public Christmas tree (erected in the Town Hall Square in 1441) and marzipan, a product to which it has dedicated a museum – Kalev Marzipan Museum Room, where visitors can make their own sweet, colorful figurines.

Nevertheless, Christmas in the Estonian capital is much more than just a decorated tree in the Town Hall Square (Raekoja Plats) and some marzipan candy to sweeten your holiday. In the UNESCO-protected Tallinn Old Town, skilled artisans from all over the country gather to delight passersby with traditional dishes and beautiful crafts, handmade using ancient methods.

The festive, delightfully nostalgic atmosphere of Tallinn Christmas Market blends beautifully with the city’s traditions, architecture, and medieval charm, making it one of the most enchanting Christmas destinations in Europe.

Cologne, Germany

Koln Christmas Market
©Kölner Weihnachtsgesellschaft mbH

Also known as Köln, Cologne is famous for its spectacular cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece that dominates the city in more than one way.

From the end of November until New Year’s Eve, the largest city on the Rhine, which is also the birthplace of mulled wine, plays host to no less than 7 Christmas fairs, some of them uniquely themed, others authentic and steeped in tradition.

Regarded as some of the best Christmas markets in Germany, these winter attractions scattered all over Cologne are a wonderful opportunity to enter the magical atmosphere of Christmas and get familiar with the customs of this fascinating nation that gave birth to Christmas markets.

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