If you are seeking a magical, family-friendly Christmas experience, look no further than Europe’s festive holiday markets. Take a stroll along cobbled streets adorned with fairy lights to admire traditional handmade gifts, beautiful ornaments, and gorgeous decor, and to taste an array of local festive delicacies. Today, join travel blogger and UK mom of two, Aimee Keeble, as she explores the very best family-friendly Christmas markets in Europe for you to visit with your children. 

‘Tis the season

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and also the season of travel! For families looking for a fun and unique way to celebrate the season, there’s no better way to discover the magic of the holidays than by immersing your family in the European Christmas markets.

As the winter chill sets in and twinkling lights illuminate cobblestone streets, it’s time to pack your bags, grab the little ones, and embark on a festive journey that you won’t find any other time of year. From snow-dusted fairytale settings to mouthwatering treats that will tantalize the taste buds and gorgeous hand-made ornaments, toys, and decor, join me on a virtual sleigh ride through Europe’s most magical Christmas market destinations. Get ready to create cherished memories and discover the true spirit of the holidays in the heart of these winter wonderlands.

Preparing to visit the Christmas Markets 

If you haven’t visited a European Christmas market before, here are a few top tips for an enjoyable visit;

Payment methods

Since the pandemic, most small vendors have switched to accepting card payments, however not all will. Be sure to bring both your credit cards and cash in the correct currency to spend on smaller items. 

Dress warm

To enjoy long periods of time outside in winter, don’t forget to pack thermal base-layers, insulated coats, gloves and hats.


Most Christmas Markets in Europe are in town/city centres so you will get the best experience by booking a central place to stay and exploring on foot or by using public transport. European cities have excellent public transport systems with trams, buses, and underground lines. Not only will you see more of the local sights, but you can enjoy the mulled wine and spiced ciders without having to drive!

top 5 christmas markets in europe for kids and families

Stay safe

Christmas Markets can be very busy places so take the usual safety precautions of agreeing a meeting point in case you are separated, taking a photo of your child clothing on the day, and having your phone number in their pocket. If you are heading out in the dark to admire the lights, consider reflective coats or attachable lights to help your children stand out. 

Cobblestone streets

Cobbles and steps are very common across European cities so be sure to consider stroller suitability – bigger wheels or carriers are best. 

Timing is everything

Christmas markets can get crowded, especially on weekends and evenings. Plan your visit during off-peak hours to avoid the biggest crowds. Arriving early in the day can also provide a more relaxed experience for your family.

best european christmas markets for kids and families

Best European Christmas Markets for kids and families

Ready to journey through Europe’s most enchanting Christmas markets? Here are our five favorites. Each of these European cities promises an unforgettable holiday experience for kids and families, blending tradition, wonder, and the timeless joy of the Christmas season.

1. Tallinn, Estonia 

By far, our favourite Christmas market can be found in Tallinn, Estonia. The medieval Old Town transforms into a fairytale landscape, offering not only artisanal crafts but also performances and a charming Christmas train for the little adventurers. Held in the historic Town Hall Square, the small market hosts a huge Christmas tree, live music, and a little carousel. You won’t find mass-produced items here, but rather locally crafted Estonian products such as winter jumpers, beautifully painted baubles, and warm gloves.

Be sure to taste some of the local delicacies like sour cabbage and glögi (mulled wine). Adorned with fairy lights and often snowy, Tallinn is the most magical Christmas Market to visit. We particularly love this market because it’s smaller and pedestrianized, so it’s perfect for children to explore. Plus, once you’re finished with the market, there’s the epic Seaplane Harbour Museum to check out!

2. Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium, hosts a slightly larger Christmas Market with both locally crafted products and more widely available items. The city takes on a storybook setting in the winter with its cobbled streets and historic squares. For the children, there’s an outdoor ice rink and a light trail to explore. Bruges is compact and easy to navigate on foot with young children in just 2-3 days, which makes it ideal for a long weekend with the family. After that, you could take in Ghent, which also has a wonderful market, or if you are looking for a larger, bustling vibe, head over to Brussels. 

3. Prague, Czechia

Prague, Czechia, is a winter wonderland of incredible architecture and spirited market stalls, inviting families to explore a magical carousel, an ice-skating rink, and a puppet theater for festive delights. The festivities in Prague are spread across the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, where you can discover a wide range of Christmas gifts, including ceramics, lace, wooden toys, and knitted clothing. Prague’s Christmas market is the perfect place to discover new food by tasting some Czech delicacies such as klobása (sausage), trdelník (sweet pastries) and svařák (mulled wine). 

This market is great for families with plenty to keep the children entertained, including creating their own traditional Czech Christmas crafts (weekends) and petting the lovely animals at the stable in the Old Town Square. Again, the city is small and easy to explore on foot. 

exploring the christmas markets with kids

4. Vienna, Austria

The historic city of Vienna has multiple Christmas markets to explore with children and an excellent transport system to hop between them easily. Here, you will find beautiful wooden toys and the most delicious pretzels! The City Hall also offers activities for the children, including Christmas cookie decorating and candle making. Once you’re done with the markets, there’s also the oldest fairground in Europe to visit, which the kids will love!

5. Budapest, Hungary

You will find Budapest’s main Christmas market outside St Istvan Bazilika (St Stephen’s Basilica), where there’s a delightful range of traditional handmade crafts and sweet treats (be sure to try the ‘Kurtoskalacs’ – Hungarian chimney cake!). Here, the children can also enjoy laser light shows and skate at the ice rink, which circles the Christmas tree in St Istvan Square. Once you’ve finished browsing, head up to the Basilica for some rooftop views of the city.

Nearby, you will also find the historic Christmas fayre in Vorosmarty Square, surrounded by beautiful 19th-century buildings. This one is ideal for quaint handmade gifts and mulled wine! After exploring the markets, be sure to visit the thermal baths. 

European Christmas markets for families

Under the glow of twinkling lights and amidst the festive cheer, exploring Europe’s enchanting Christmas markets with your family promises to be a memorable experience. Each destination I’ve featured today offers unique activities, experiences, foods, traditions, and delights for your children to experience. I hope you’ll have a chance to make it to the Christmas markets this year. And as you navigate through the market stalls, be sure to savor seasonal treats, as well as the joy on your children’s faces. 

tips for exploring EU Christmas markets with kids

Additional resources

What’s your favourite Christmas market?

About the author

Aimee is a humanitarian worker and photographer based in the UK. As a mum to two young boys, she spends much of her time outdoors in nature and enjoys traveling with her family. Aimee loves to support other families to explore with young children by sharing tips and inspiration.

You can find more from Aimee online in the following locations:
Instagram: @how_i_wander_uk
Website: How I Wander