It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and there’s no better way to get into the festive spirit than to visit one of the European hallmarks of Christmas, the Christmas market. Think mulled wine, hand crafted decorations, roasted chestnuts and spectacular lights, this is what you can expect from the best Christmas markets for families that we have found.
Child friendly Christmas markets in Germany | Best Christmas markets for families in Holland | Child friendly Christmas markets in Belgium | Family friendly Christmas markets in France | Family friendly Christmas markets in Spain
Germans invented the Christmas market, and maybe that’s why no one seems to do them better. The smell of cinnamon and mulled wine permeates the air, and guests can combine shopping with sightseeing and sipping on a warming beverage. Bratwurst is one of the most popular street snacks, along with gingerbread and other delicious delicacies.
If you’re planning on visiting one of the Christmas markets in Berlin, there are no less than 26 to choose from. Wintertraum am Alexa is one of the most child friendly Christmas markets. There are activities and attractions for all ages, so while the kids enjoy themselves, the adults can treat themselves to a glass of spiced wine! It’s hard to miss this market as it has a huge Ferris wheel and other amusement rides, such as bumper cars and small rollercoasters.
When: 25th November – 26th December 2019
Public Transport: Jannowitzbrücke/Alexanderplatz
Travel time from UK: 2-hour flight London (all airports) – Berlin Schoenefeld
Where to stay: Holiday Park Rübezahl
The Christmas market in Dresden was founded in 1434, making it one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany. Traditionally known as Striezelmarkt, this is one of the child friendly Christmas markets because there all kind of sweet festivals, including the Dresden Stollenfest and the Pfefferkuchenfest (a gingerbread festival). At the Stollenfest, Dresdner bakers and confectioners celebrate their Dresdner Christstollen® together with hundreds of thousands of guests from all over the world.
When: 27th November – 24th December 2019
Travel time from UK: 2-hour flight London (all airports) – Dresden
Where to stay: Holiday Park Stausee Oberwald
Every year, magic of the Christmas festivities returns to the city of Cologne. With numerous markets throughout, one of the unique ones is the Cologne Harbour Christmas market, overlooking the picturesque Rhine. This market gives a maritime flavour to the Cologne festivities. With around 70 stalls, this is one of the largest Christmas markets in Cologne.
When: 22nd November – 23rd December 2019
Where: Cologne Chocolate Museum
Travel time from UK: 1hr15m flight London (all airports) – Cologne
Where to stay: Landal Eifeler Tor
Whilst they aren’t so widespread, Holland Christmas markets have been increasing in popularity and are popping up more and more. The ‘gezelligheid’ and warmth of Holland Christmas markets adds to the Christmas atmosphere, even when there is no snow.
One of the most famous and fun Holland Christmas markets is the Valkenburg Christmas market. Being partially set in the caves of Valkenburg this Christmas market is unlike any other and its special features have led to a nomination for the ‘European Best Christmas Market 2020’! This unique Christmas market is one of the best Christmas markets for families to visit. Go to Santa’s grotto, go full speed down the toboggan run, discover different delicacies and be dazzled by the Christmas parade.
When: 15th November 2019 – 5th January 2020
Public Transport: Valkenburg train station (5-10min walk)
Travel time from UK: 1-hour flight London (all airports) – Eindhoven. 2-hour bus/train Eindhoven – Valkenburg.
Where to stay: TopParken Résidence Valkenburg
Leiden Christmas Market 2019
We all associate Holland with its canals, but did you know that there is a floating Christmas market on the canals of Leiden? Leiden Christmas market 2019 is one of the best Christmas markets for families as it has something for everyone. How many child friendly Christmas markets have a floating ice rink? Rent some skates and teach the children or enjoy a mulled wine or hot chocolate when wandering around the winter chalets.
When: 14th December – 25th December 2019
Public Transport: Leiden Centraal train station
Travel time from UK: 1-hour flight London (all airports) – Amsterdam Schiphol. 20-minute train Schiphol Airport – Leiden Centraal.
Where to stay: Holiday – and Amusement Park Duinrell
In early December be prepared to go back in time two centuries as Dickens Festival returns for another year. More than 950 characters from the famous books of Dickens will be brought life. On the Saturday there will be a regular market and on Sunday there will be a market in Christmas ambiance on the main square. This is one of the favourite Holland Christmas markets and especially one of the best Christmas markets for families as it is a fun activity which everyone can participate in.
When: 14th & 15th December 2019
Public Transport: Deventer train station
Travel time from UK: 1-hour flight London (all airports) – Amsterdam Schiphol. 1hr20m train Schiphol Airport – Deventer.
Where to stay: Holiday Park De Scherpenhof
The Christmas market in Brussels is very popular among British holiday makers due to its close proximity to the UK. Just a short train ride from London, it’s easy for tourists to pop over to Brussels for a winter wonderland weekend hassle free, ideal for families. The market in Brussels hosts over 200 chalet stalls selling treats of all sorts – including edible treats! The Brussels Christmas market could be considered one of the best child friendly Christmas markets with the various activities for all ages, including a children’s ice rink for the littlest guests, merry-go-rounds and light shows.
When: 29th November 2019 – 5th January 2020
Where: Place Saint Catherine
Travel time from UK: Just over 2hrs by train from London to Brussels
Where to stay: Combine the Christmas market visit with a stay in nearby Bruges
Like Holland, Christmas markets are not traditionally French, however there are some that are worth visiting. Especially in the region of Alsace where there are plenty of Christmas markets a nod to its past when it was part of Germany.
The Strasbourg Christmas market is set in the Grande Île, a UNESCO world heritage site. Across the city centre there are 11 markets to explore, almost comparable with the German festive atmosphere! Strasbourg is inevitably a great place to find family friendly Christmas markets, everyone will find it entertaining to explore the many streets and joyous stands.
When: 22nd November – 30th December 2019
Where: All markets are located within the Grande Île
Travel time from UK: Approximately 5hrs by train from London to Strasbourg
Where to stay: Pierre & Vacances Résidence Le Clos d´Eguisheim
Have a unique Christmas market experience by visiting one of the warmer European countries. As may be expected the temperature isn’t necessarily much higher but visiting one of Spain’s best Christmas markets for families in the sun is unlike the norm!
Seville Xmas Market
If you’re looking for some winter sun, Seville is the place to go. With several family friendly Christmas markets, explore the different stalls accompanied by the delightful sound of the “campanilleros” (choirs). Not all of Seville’s family friendly Christmas markets have the same start dates, however the first to open is usually Fiera del Belén which some consider as the most important Nativity-themed market in Spain. Enjoy a Seville xmas market this year!
When: 15th November – 23rd December
Where: Avenida de la Constitución and Calle Fray Ceferino González
Travel time from UK: 2h50m direct flight from London (all airports) – Seville
Where to stay: Pierre & Vacances Résidence Sevilla
Book a holiday park near a Christmas market
Christmas is all about spending times with your loved ones during the busy holiday season and what better way than to explore family friendly Christmas markets. Rent a holiday cottage near a Christmas market this year and enjoy the best of the festive season in Germany, Holland, Belgium, France or Spain.