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Travel Tips
December 2022

What is it about Christmas markets that makes us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside? Is it the smell of homemade cookies and other traditional Christmas pastries? Is it the decorations and the music?  We’re not sure, but what we are sure of is this: Whatever it is, we love it. We love seeing different booths huddled together, managed by locals selling baskets filled with home-grown produce, crafts, toys, books and so much more depending on local traditions. That festive feeling combined with the coming together of a community is nothing short of lovely.  


So we decided to dig deeper into Christmas markets and rather than list the best of the lot from around the world, which you can easily find while searching the Internet, we decided to introduce a twist on our overview of these markets. And it will go like this: 


  • We will share which is known to be the biggest market (or one of…).
  • We will inform you on which country apparently hosts the most Christmas markets. 
  • Annnnd, we will take a look at some non-European markets.  




But first, a little history on Christmas markets because…why not?


Apparently, the first Christmas market dates back to the late thirteenth century in Vienna and legend has it that the Emperor allowed shopkeepers to come together and host a market for a couple of days so that the locals could stock up on supplies to help them through the harsh winter months. This market was known as Dezembermarkt (December Market). These December or winter markets came to be known as Christmas markets about a century later in Germany, where also the tradition of gift-giving became more commonplace. These markets flourished first in Munich, then in Bautzen and finally in Frankfurt. But more on Germany later…


The Biggest Market 


This is by no means a scientific research and some may qualify other markets as the biggest. But for the sake of the Christmas spirit, we will not squabble here and we’ll simply say, “one of the biggest markets”. 


In light of the above, the award for (one of) the biggest Christmas markets in the world goes to…The Vienna Christmas World on Rathausplatz. 



  • It brings in over 3 million people every year (pre-pandemic of course!). 
  • It features an Advent theme park called Adventzauber which includes workshops and cultural performances for all ages. 
  • It hosts a 3,000 sqm ice rink with frozen paths that also run through the Rathausplatz Park. 


Seems impressive, no? 


The Country with the Most Christmas Markets 


All research seems to point towards Germany. And before we go through these markets, let’s just say that Germany is renowned for its Christmas traditions and for having some of the oldest and (yes) best Christmas markets in the world. And the Germans take these markets very seriously and simply turn them into winter wonderlands by delivering some Yuletide magic. 


Our research shows that there are over 100 Christmas markets in Germany and we are fairly sure each one brings something interesting to the table. The most referenced of these are listed here below, covering many areas across the country. So, let’s take you through the mother lode of Germany’s Christmas markets:


  1. Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg

One of the oldest markets in the world. ‘Nuff said. 

  1. Munich Christmas Market

Because who wouldn’t want a Christmas market in the capital of Bavaria. 

  1. Striezelmarkt, Dresden

Feast your eyes on the world’s biggest nutcracker & the largest Christmas pyramid in Germany.

  1. Leipzig Christmas Market

Go back in time and step into a Medieval Christmas. 

  1. Frankfurt Christmas Market

Feel the Christmas spirit in the most beautiful square of the city. 

  1. Cathedral Christmas Market, Cologne

Admire both the Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO-listed site and one of the largest Christmas trees in the region. 

  1. Reiterlesmarkt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber

This medieval Bavarian town simply turns into a Winter wonderland. 

  1. Berlin Christmas Markets

Where a number of Christmas markets await you. 

  1. Düsseldorf Christmas Markets

Eight themed markets in one. 

  1. Eisenach Christmas Market

Held in the UNESCO-listed Wartburg Castle.

  1. Erfurter Weihnachtsmarkt

Old town Christmas magic awaits


And of course, there are the markets in Stuttgart, Aachen, Hamburg, Guteneck, etc. 


The non-European Christmas Markets 


It is simply true that in our minds and as far as literature goes, the best Christmas markets are predominantly found in Europe. However, we’ve pinpointed some interesting Christmas markets that are not in Europe and that seem to be spreading that same festive magic. 


Hibiya Park Tokyo Christmas Market, Japan

When the Japanese do something, they don’t do it halfway. And Tokyo’s Christmas market is no exception. So go ahead and enjoy a German-style Christmas market in the heart of the Japanese capital: sip on glühwein or hot cocoa and shop for food, crafts and toys and appreciate the festive pyramid installation brought in from a German village!  

The Distillery Winter Village, Toronto, Canada

The historic distillery district simply makes a perfect backdrop for a Christmas village, with its 19th century houses lined on cobbled streets. Enjoy the locals’ take on gifts, food and crafts while enjoying carolers and other performers. End your day sipping on mulled wine while enjoying the view of a 55-foot illuminated silver fir tree. 

The Christkindlmarket, Chicago, USA

So it seems that Chicago is home to an important German community, one of the biggest in the US. So of course, it makes perfect sense that they really hone in on their annual Christmas market. “For a quarter of a century locals have been gathering in November and December on Stammtisch (‘reserved tables’) to down bratwurst, pretzels and flaky strudel, washed down with beers and glühwein.” – 


We hope you enjoyed our roundup of Christmas markets and that you are ready to dive into the holidays.  Don’t forget your travel insurance policies so that you can travel worry-free. Click here to get yours now.