The festive season is almost here, which means Christmas markets will soon be popping up across the globe. So, we decided to do a post on the best Christmas markets in the world.
From the twinkling lights and age-old traditions of Europe’s Christmas markets to the diverse local charm of the Caribbean, we’ll guide you through the world’s best Christmas markets. Whether you’re looking for unique gifts, sampling delicious treats, or simply soaking up the holiday spirit, our ultimate guide to the best Christmas markets 2023 has you covered.
Let’s unwrap the magic of these incredible Christmas markets you must visit if you can!
(Please note: We tried to get images of each market but they’re difficult to source for smaller local markets).
Best Christmas Markets in North America
Union Square Holiday Market (Late November to Christmas Eve)
Location: New York City, New York
Best for: Unique Artisanal Gifts
In the heart of the Big Apple, Union Square Holiday Market boasts an incredible array of artisanal gifts, from handcrafted jewelry to one-of-a-kind artwork. You can warm up with hot cider and stroll through the charming booths – the dazzling holiday lights will surely add a twinkle to your experience of the best Christmas markets in the world.
San Antonio Christmas Market (Late November to Late December)
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Best for: Cultural Diversity
The next one on our list of best Christmas markets is San Antonio’s Christmas Market. It beautifully reflects the city’s rich cultural heritage. You’ll find not only traditional holiday goods but also a celebration of Mexican, Texan, and German traditions. The dazzling River Walk lights and the aroma of Tex-Mex treats create a unique holiday experience – undoubtedly one of the best Christmas markets in the world.
Vancouver Christmas Market (Late November to Christmas Eve)
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Best for: International Flavors
The Vancouver Christmas Market is a delightful blend of European tradition and Pacific Northwest charm. You can savour mouth-watering German sausages, sip on mulled wine, and explore an array of handmade gifts. This market’s picturesque setting, with the North Shore Mountains as a backdrop, adds to the festive appeal.
Best Christmas Markets in Central America
While Central America’s best Christmas markets might not have the Christmas market traditions you’re used to, these markets offer a unique opportunity to experience the beauty and diversity of local culture and traditions. Let’s dive into some of the world’s best Christmas markets that Central America has to offer.
Antigua Christmas Market (Mid-December)
Location: Antigua, Guatemala
Best for: Guatemalan Traditions
When it comes to the best Christmas markets 2023, Antigua might not be the first place that springs to mind. . . But it actually hosts a vibrant Christmas market that showcases the many heartwarming traditions of Guatemala. You can explore local handicrafts, colorful textiles, and festive foods like tamales and ponche. It’s a wonderful place to immerse yourself in the rich culture of Central America during the holiday season.
Panama City Christmas Market (Mid-November)
Location: Panama City, Panama
Best for: Oceanfront Festivities
Panama City’s Christmas Market is next on the list of the world’s best Christmas markets, and it brings the holiday spirit to the seaside. Located along the stunning waterfront, this market offers a blend of local and international goods, live music, and a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. You can enjoy the warm weather and ocean breezes as you shop for unique gifts.
Leon Christmas Market (Early December to Late December)
Location: León, Nicaragua
Best for: Street Performances
León’s Christmas Market comes alive with street performers, music, and dance. Sounds like one of the best Christmas markets in the world to me. The market features a mix of art, jewelry, and clothing, with a special focus on showcasing local talent. It’s a great place to enjoy the arts while celebrating the holiday season and local culture.
Best Christmas Markets in South America
South America’s Christmas markets are as diverse as the continent itself, offering a blend of local traditions, handicrafts, and cultural experiences. Whether you’re in Argentina, Ecuador, or Peru, you’re sure to find a Christmas market that captures the essence of South American holiday celebrations.
Feria de Mataderos (December to February)
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Best for: Argentine Traditions
As far as the best Christmas markets in the world go, Feria de Mataderos, found in the heart of Buenos Aires, is a vibrant celebration of Argentine culture during the holiday season. You can enjoy folk music, dance performances, and savor traditional Argentine barbecue. It’s an incredible place to experience the country’s rich traditions and enjoy the best holiday markets in South America.
Pisac Christmas Fair (Mid-December)
Location: Pisac, Peru
Best for: Handmade Souvenirs
In the picturesque town of Pisac, the Christmas Fair offers an array of handmade souvenirs, including ceramics, textiles, and jewelry made by local artisans. Not only is it one of the world’s best Christmas markets, but the fair’s backdrop of Inca ruins and the surrounding Sacred Valley only add even more magic to the market experience.
Medellin Christmas Lights (Early December to Early January)
Location: Medellin, Colombia
Best for: Spectacular Light Displays
Medellin’s Christmas Lights Festival is a dazzling display of holiday spirit – which is why it’s among the best Christmas markets in the world. The entire city is adorned with millions of twinkling lights, creating a magical atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy parades, concerts, and explore the many lighted exhibits throughout the city.
Best Christmas Markets in Europe
Of course, it goes without saying that some of the best Christmas markets in the world are in fact in Europe. So, it’s hard to decide on the best Christmas markets in Europe. They hold a special place in the hearts of many, both locals and travelers alike. Steeped in tradition and holiday cheer, Europe’s Christmas markets are the embodiment of the festive season.
Vienna Christmas Market (Mid-November to Late December)
Location: Vienna, Austria
Best for: Classical Elegance
Vienna’s Christmas Market is a testament to the city’s classical elegance. Which is why it’s one of the best European Christmas markets. Situated in front of the City Hall, the market offers exquisite crafts, delicious Austrian pastries, and musical performances. The enchanting backdrop of historic architecture and the famous Viennese charm make it an unforgettable experience.
Nuremberg Christmas Market (Late November to Christmas Eve)
Location: Nuremberg, Germany
Best for: Traditional Handicrafts
The Nuremberg Christmas Market is renowned for its traditional wooden handicrafts, gingerbread cookies, and bratwurst sausages as well as for being one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world – that’s the stuff that the best Christmas markets in the world is made of. With its charming medieval setting, including the iconic Frauenkirche, it’s a market that captures the essence of an old-world Christmas.
Dublin Christmas Market (Late November to Late December)
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Best for: Festive Entertainment
Dublin’s Christmas Market is another one of the best European Christmas markets. Offering guests, a lively and entertaining atmosphere, with fairground rides, an ice-skating rink, and a wide selection of food and drink. It’s an ideal place to enjoy live music and street performances while shopping for unique gifts. Definitely one of the world’s best Christmas markets.
For more European Christmas markets read our Ultimate Guide to the Best Christmas Markets in Europe.
Best Christmas Markets in Asia
What sets Christmas markets in Asia apart from their counterparts around the globe is their ability to infuse holiday celebrations with the distinctive character of each nation. Each market beckons with its own unique blend of customs, creating a one-of-a-kind experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Ready for the world’s best Christmas markets in Asia?
Seoul Christmas Market (Early December to Late December)
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Best for: Korean Winter Delights
The Seoul Christmas Market is a winter wonderland where you can savor South Korean winter specialties like hotteok (sweet pancakes) and spicy tteokbokki (rice cakes). That’s definitely best Christmas markets materia! You can also shop for unique Korean gifts, enjoy festive performances, and even try your hand at ice skating. It’s a great place to experience the magic of Christmas and the beauty of South Korean culture.
Goa Christmas Market (Late December to Early January)
Location: Goa, India
Best for: Beachside Festivities
Goa’s Christmas Market offers a unique experience with its wild beachside setting. Visitors can shop for handicrafts, have their fill of traditional Goan cuisine, and enjoy live music on the shores of the Arabian Sea. It’s a perfect blend of Indian and Western holiday traditions, and easily one of my favourite’s on the list of the best Christmas markets in the world.
Hong Kong WinterFest (Late November to Early January)
Location: Hong Kong
Best for: Skyline Views and Festive Lights
Next on the list of the best Christmas markets in the world is Hong Kong’s WinterFest. The market is a dazzling celebration with a stunning backdrop of the city’s iconic skyline. Visitors can enjoy ice skating with a view of Victoria Harbour, explore the Christmas market, and witness the city’s buildings illuminated by spectacular light displays. It’s a unique blend of Christmas traditions in an urban setting, and undoubtedly one of the Christmas markets in the world.
Best Christmas Markets in Africa
From stunning views of iconic landscapes in Cape Town to the vibrant souk atmosphere in Marrakech, the world’s best Christmas markets in Africa provide a delightful way to celebrate the holiday season and experience the diversity of the African spirit. These African Christmas markets provide a rich tapestry of local traditions, artisanal crafts, and cultural experiences.
Cape Town Festive Market (Late November to Early January)
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Best for: Stunning Views
When it comes to the best Christmas markets in the world, Cape Town’s Festive Market is a truly picturesque destination to celebrate Christmas. Located at the V&A Waterfront, overlooking the majestic Table Mountain, you’ll soon see why it’s on the list of the best holiday markets. Buy unique African crafts, enjoy live music, and savor a variety of traditional South African dishes.
Marrakech Christmas Market (Late November to Early January)
Location: Marrakech, Morocco
Best for: Exotic Souk Experience
Marrakech’s Christmas Market offers a unique blend of traditional Moroccan souk culture with a festive twist that earns it a spot in our list of the best Christmas markets in the world. Here, you can explore the bustling market, shop for spices, textiles, and local crafts, and relish the flavors of Moroccan cuisine. The vibrant colors and vibrant atmosphere make it a distinct Christmas market to experience in Africa.
Nairobi Christmas Craft Fair (Early December)
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Best for: Handmade Gifts
Nairobi’s Christmas Craft Fair is a haven for handmade gifts and locally produced items. The market is a literal treasure trove of Kenyan crafts, jewelry, and art. Besides the handmade crafts, the Kenyan culture is welcoming and offers a lovely ambiance for the festive season. Visitors can enjoy live music, storytelling sessions, and a range of Kenyan foods and snacks – and of course, one of the best Christmas markets in the world.
Best Christmas Markets in the Caribbean
If you’re looking for a Caribbean Christmas experiences, how about the world’s best Christmas markets where warm sands and azure waters meet the festive spirit. The best Christmas markets in the Caribbean, means the holiday season is celebrated with vibrant flair. From handmade crafts to delicious island treats, these unique and lively markets promise a Christmas like no other.
Old San Juan Christmas Market (Early December to Late December)
Location: Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Best for: Tropical Festivities
Old San Juan’s Christmas Market brings a tropical twist to the holiday season. Set against the backdrop of colorful colonial buildings, the market offers a blend of local crafts, traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, and lively salsa music. That sounds like the best Christmas market in the world to me. Who wouldn’t enjoy Christmas under the Caribbean sun?
Willemstad Holiday Market (Early December to Late December)
Location: Willemstad, Curaçao
Best for: Dutch-Caribbean Fusion
The Willemstad Holiday Market fuses Dutch and Caribbean traditions in a vibrant celebration. Visitors can explore a range of crafts, savor Dutch treats like oliebollen (fried dough balls), and soak up the colorful architecture of Curaçao. It’s an incredible blend of Dutch and Caribbean culture at this best Christmas market in the world.
Bridgetown Beachfront Bazaar (Late November to Late December)
Location: Bridgetown, Barbados
Best for: Beachside Shopping
Barbados’ Beachfront Bazaar is one of the world’s best Christmas markets, since it offers a relaxed and tropical setting for holiday shopping. With the beach just a stone’s throw away, visitors can browse through stalls offering local crafts, enjoy the sounds of steelpan music, and savor delicious Bajan dishes. It’s a Caribbean Christmas with a beachy vibe – and frankly, that sounds like heaven on earth.
Best Christmas Markets in Australia and New Zealand
From the bustling streets of Sydney to the charming corners of Christchurch, these Christmas markets Down Under offer a unique blend of holiday cheer, local crafts, and delightful treats. Let’s explore the festive spirit and discover the best Christmas markets 2023 in this part of the world, where sun-kissed summers meet yuletide traditions.
Auckland Christmas Markets (Various dates throughout December)
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Best for: Multicultural Festivities
The next one on the list of best Christmas markets in the world is Auckland’s Christmas markets – which offers a diverse and multicultural celebration. You can browse through crafts, sample cuisine from around the world, and enjoy live performances that reflect the city’s cultural richness. It’s a true reflection of New Zealand’s vibrant and diverse spirit.
The Rocks Christmas Market (Late November to Late December)
Location: Sydney, Australia
Best for: Waterfront Festivities
The Rocks Christmas Market in Sydney offers a perfect blend of festive cheer and waterfront charm – which is why it’s one of the best Christmas markets. Visitors can explore artisanal gifts, savor delicious treats, and enjoy live music in the historic surroundings of The Rocks. The market’s proximity to Sydney Harbour also adds a touch of magic to the holiday season.
Christchurch Christmas Market (Early December to Late December)
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Best for: Kiwi Traditions
Christchurch’s Christmas Market is a celebration of Kiwi traditions during the holiday season and definitely one of the best Christmas markets in the world. The market features local crafts, New Zealand cuisine, and live entertainment. It’s an ideal opportunity to experience the warm and welcoming spirit of New Zealand’s South Island and Kiwi people.
Best Christmas Markets in the Middle East
There’s an enchanting world of the best Christmas markets in the heart of the Middle East. From traditional bazaars to modern holiday extravaganzas, the region’s festive spirit comes alive at this time of year. The world’s best Christmas markets in the Middle East are where timeless traditions and holiday cheer blend seamlessly.
Dubai Winter Festival (Early December)
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Best for: Extravagant Celebrations
Dubai’s Winter Festival is a grand celebration of the holiday season and one of the best Christmas markets in the world. With a giant Christmas tree, bustling winter market, and an ice-skating rink, it’s a place for holiday extravagance. Visitors can shop for gifts, enjoy live performances, and even meet Santa Claus amidst the backdrop of Dubai’s impressive skyline.
Bethlehem Christmas Market (Early December to Late December)
Location: Bethlehem, West Bank
Best for: Spiritual Experience
Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, hosts a Christmas Market with a unique spiritual significance – which easily earns it a spot in the world’s best Christmas markets. It offers a blend of traditional handicrafts, local cuisine, and sacred religious ceremonies. Visitors can immerse themselves in the historic and sacred atmosphere of Christmas in Bethlehem and feel closer than ever to the person behind the special day.
Jerusalem Christmas Market (Early December to Late December)
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Best for: Spiritual Reflection
Jerusalem’s Christmas Market offers another sacred and spiritual journey through the heart of the Old City. We just had to include this one in our list of the best Christmas markets in the world. Here visitors can explore stalls selling religious artifacts, enjoy traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, and participate in religious ceremonies. It’s definitely a place to experience the deep religious significance of Christmas.
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