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Christmas Markets - Willing to go anywhere, where to go?

It's that time of the year in a few months and me and another friend of mine (both in our 20s) want to go Europe to see the Christmas markets!! I am thinking about going for Thanksgiving since flights to the European Union (and UK) are cheap compared to actual Chrsitmas time. But I'm open to either Christmas or Thanksgiving time. I'm also considering doing 2 trips this year (1 to somewhere in Asia like Seoul or HK and 1 to Europe). So if I did Europe in Thanksgiving, then I would go to South Korea for Christmas and vice versa. Not sure if it's better to visit Korea/Singapore/HK/Taipei in late November or during Christmas.

I have been to the Prague Christmas market (was super nice, I loved Prague's market!) and Berlin (was meh, but I LOVED Berlin).

Here are my planned dates if I did consider going during Thanksgiving:

Leave Friday November 17th 2023, and come back home Sunday November 26th.

At first me and my friend were considering Munchen but the market starts on November 27th, the day I would be leaving.

I was thinking of heading over to Talinn, in Estonia. But I'm open to any recommendations on where to go! I'm not too picky, but I would prefer to go to a new place I haven't been to in the EU/CH.

So, where were your favorite christmas markets? Bonus points if it's nearby other places (i.e. Prague and Vienna can be combined, although that's an example of where I've been to before. Wouldn't mind going again though).

Also should I go in Christmas time instead of thanksgiving?

Edit: just realized Talinn is open December 1 - 7th January, so maybe going during Christmas time might be better than thanksgiving?

Edit 2: Rovaniemi in Finalnd looks really cool!

Posted by
18867 posts

Budapest and Vienna (2.5 hours by train apart). Budapest begins 17 November and I believe Vienna too. A good short trip (you have a week on the ground apparently).

Christmas or Thanksgiving? On a short trip maybe Thanksgiving as you wont have to worry about anything being closed. ON a short trip every day will count.

Posted by
6689 posts

Leave Friday November 17th 2023, and come back home Sunday November
26th.

You'll struggle to find Christmas markets during that time. Opening dates vary and there might be some that are open, but in general Christmas markets open on Advent Sunday and close a day or two before Christmas eve. Germany and the germanic countries are a good place, the Christmas market was invented in Germany after all.

Tallinn is also not a bad idea. Being a country with a large orthodox population that celebrate Christmas in January, the Tallinn Christmas market stays open longer. Normally Ukraine would also be a good option for a Christmas markets that stay open until January but currently I can't recommend a trip to Ukraine for the average traveller.

Posted by
173 posts

I'm Ukrainian so I've been to Kyiv before, but never for the Christmas markets. I've only been there in the summer. But yes wouldn't want to go there rn...

Posted by
173 posts

I've already done the Vienna Christmas market back in 2018, but I wouldn't mind repeating that and doing Budapest as my new destination.

Another option I'm considering, Rovaniemi in Finland? Could fly into Helsinki/Talinn, spend 2 nights there or something then do Rovaniemi.

Also considering Brugges, could tack on Amsterdam as well. Again, I'm open to either actual Christmastime or during Thanksgiving as it wouldn't require me to take a lot of PTO. But if it's not recommended I can consider trying to see if maybe I could do a week before christmas like mid December (or early December).

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802 posts
Posted by
2258 posts

The Salzburg Christmas Market opens Nov 23. We really enjoyed this last year!

Posted by
10403 posts

I’m going to the Christmas markets with a friend in early December for 2 weeks. We are starting in Bruges, but I discovered that the markets are only on the weekends and not during the week which is when we will be there. I’m not concerned because we will see other markets and Bruges is worth going to either way. Be sure to check the dates for wherever you are considering going, not only for when the markets begin, but also how often they occur.

Posted by
18867 posts

I've already done the Vienna Christmas market back in 2018, but I
wouldn't mind repeating that and doing Budapest as my new destination.

If you want to skip Vienna, you can fly Prague to Buapest for about $100 in 1.5 hours. Beats the long train ride. Actually if you are looking at the 10 day trip, Prague and Budapest make sense.

Posted by
2403 posts

The best time to go would be between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many markets don’t open until Nov. 27. Some even later because advent is later this year. Many markets close Dec. 23, or have limited hours on Dec. 24.

We are going in early December to Strasbourg and Cologne. Both cities have multiple markets. And there are multiple markets in smaller towns easily accessible by train from each city.