What could be better than a getaway to one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe to enjoy the holidays? Especially since all these famous markets are within easy reach of the train – a comfortable and restful means of transport thanks to which you will arrive fresh and available at your destination! Put an end to the stress of airports and no longer waste time looking for a parking space in the congested streets of big cities: the train drops you straight into the heart of the action.
All that remains is to decide which destination to visit this year. To help you find inspiration, here are our 7 favorite Christmas markets in Europe, easily accessible by train!
From November 23 to January 6, 2021
Place (s): Piazza Fiere and Piazza Cesare
To begin our tour of the best Christmas markets in Europe, head to the pretty city of Trento. It only takes 2 hours by train from Bologna, 2 hours 30 from Milan, or just 4 hours from Rome to reach this charming village surrounded by mountains, which organizes one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Italy every year. . It takes place at the foot of the city walls, between Piazza Fiera and Piazza Cesare Battisti.
On-site, the traditional stands, adorned with seasonal decorations, offer visitors a chance to discover local crafts and traditions. It is also an opportunity to taste the rich gastronomy of the province of Trentino, thanks to the “Sapori del Mercatino,” a course of 15 chalets that highlights local products. During the Christmas season, you can also attend many concerts, exhibitions, and activities for young and old.
Last asset, the Trento Christmas market is eco-responsible and organized to minimize any impact on the environment.
From November 2020 to January 2021 (dates vary according to the markets)
Location (s): Tivoli Gardens, Kongens Nytorv, Strøget Street and Nyhavn Por
Copenhagen hosts four Christmas markets which are among the most beautiful in Europe. To get there, allow 5 hours of the direct train from Hamburg. Once there, Copenhagen train station is opposite the city’s main Christmas market, in the famous Tivoli Gardens which are dressed in their most beautiful lights for the occasion. The wooden chalets offer many decorations and local products to offer as gifts. As for activities, the garden has a real amusement park and its lake turns into an open-air ice rink at Christmas.
The city center also hosts the Nytorv Christmas market, with its stalls, colorful shows, and choirs. The city’s main shopping street, Strøget, is not to be outdone: it hosts the Andersen market, whose chalets each bear the name of one of the famous author’s tales.
The old port of Nyhavn also displays festive decorations at this time of the year and offers many stands along its colorful facades to taste chocolate with cinnamon. Last essential information before jumping on the train: mulled wine is said “gløgg” in Danish. Health!
From 22/23 November to 23 December 2020
Place (s): Neupffarrplatz, Hadiplatz & Kohlenmarkt, Katharinenspital and at the Thurn und Taxis castle
The Bavarian city of Regensburg (or Regensburg, of its German name) is located across the Rhine, less than 6 hours by train from Berlin, 3 hours from Frankfurt, and less than 1 hour 30 from Munich. During the festive season, this splendid city on the Danube, whose medieval heritage is listed by UNESCO, offers four Christmas markets, all different, all magical!
The traditional market is held on Neupfarrplatz, in the heart of the old town. This is the perfect place to taste a traditional Bavarian wurst, before strolling through the cobbled streets lit with garlands, towards the Craftsmen’s Market (Lucrezia-Markt). On-site, you will find a variety of traditional crafts and local artwork. From there, cross the stone bridge that spans the Danube to arrive at the Katharinenspital, where the Advent market, its living nativity scene, and concerts are held.
The fourth Christmas market takes place in a magical setting: the courtyard of the Thurn und Taxis Castle, which hosts the romantic Christmas market. Crafts, gastronomy, and concerts are in the spotlight, in an aromatic decoration of fir trees and pine cones.
From November 22 to December 30, 2020
Location (s): Grande Île
Only 2 hours from Paris by train, the city of Strasbourg proudly bears the title of Christmas capital. And for good reason: the Alsatian city has been organizing the Child Jesus (or Christkindelsmärik) market since 1570. A long tradition which today translates into one of the most magical Christmas markets in France and Europe.
The festivities take place on the Big Island, the historic heart of Strasbourg, located less than a quarter of an hour’s walk from the station. An exceptional setting for a market that is equally so. On-site, more than 300 stands await you, spread over 10 different locations. You will find decorations and artisan traditions there, and of course, mulled wine and local specialties to make you forget the cold.
The main market takes place in Place Broglie, around the huge cathedral. Gourmets will take the direction of the fish market square to taste seasonal meals, drinks, and/or sweets. Place Kleber is also worth a detour: it hosts the star of the market, the Grand Sapin (30 meters high!), As well as the city’s open-air ice rink.
From November 22, 2020, to January 6, 2021
Location(s): Domplatz & Residenzplatz, Hohensalzburg Castle, Mirabellplatz, Sternbräu courtyard. Leonhardau shrine
Austria also has quite a few competitors for the title of the most beautiful Christmas market in Europe. In particular Salzburg, 2 hours 30 by train from Vienna, which bends over backward every winter to offer visitors an unforgettable visual, taste, and sound spectacle.
Mozart’s birthplace, Salzburg honors its heritage by putting music at the heart of the festivities. Don’t hesitate to join the choirs singing on every street corner! Real happiness for the ears, Salzburg also knows how to put in the eyes, with its Advent market, organized in the superb courtyard of the castle of Hohensalzburg decorated for the occasion (the funicular takes you there, with the added bonus of a magnificent view on the city !)
The main market is held on Domplatz (cathedral square) and on the neighboring Residenzplatz, right in the city center. Traditional stalls are lit up with festive garlands and offer local and artisan products, as well as Christmas decorations, in the enchanting setting of Salzburg’s two main squares.
The city also holds festivities at Mirabell Square, Sternbräu Court and St. Leonhard Shrine.
Winter Wonderland, London
From November 21 to January 5, 2019
Location: Hyde Park, London
From mid-November until the beginning of January, Hyde Park, the gigantic London park, becomes the playground of one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe: Winter Wonderland. To get there, just hop on the Eurostar to King’s Cross St Pancras station, in the heart of the city. The train journey from Paris takes less than 2.5 hours.
Winter Wonderland offers all the must-haves of the season: mulled wine, traditional and modern dishes as well as multiple stands for your Christmas shopping. In winter, Hyde Park is also transformed into a gigantic amusement park, with a Ferris wheel, an ice rink, and numerous rides.
If you’re in a festive mood, take the opportunity to sing along at the Hütte karaoke bar, in a recreation of an authentic Alpine chalet, or to have a cocktail in the literally frozen setting of the Ice Bar. Don’t be afraid of the -10 ° C displayed at the entrance: the bar provides you with a coat and gloves.
From November to December 2019 (dates to be confirmed)
Location: Plaza Mayor, city center
Like its European neighbors, Madrid also celebrates Christmas as it should. The Spanish capital, 2.5 hours by train from Barcelona and less than 10 hours from Paris hosts the oldest Christmas market in the country. And what better setting for the end of the year celebrations than the Plaza Mayor, the beating heart of the city?
More than 100 chalets decorated with colored garlands invest the main square every winter. Decorations, souvenirs, stuffing items and handcrafted figurines and figurines rub shoulders with food stalls to warm up and discover the rich Spanish gastronomy. Last detail – and not the least: the Plaza Mayor welcomes between its chalets a huge decorated Christmas tree.
When winter comes, the whole of Madrid celebrates Christmas and lights up with a thousand lights. An ideal season to visit the wonders of Spain’s largest city.
So, this winter, it will be more mulled wine in Strasbourg, vino Caliente in Madrid, mulled wine in London, burnt wine in Trento, glüwein in Regensburg and Salzburg, or gløgg in Copenhagen? Whatever your choice, by choosing the train, you will be sure to enjoy the end of the year celebrations in one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe!