I remember my first Christmas Market experience when I was living in Germany. It was delightful; the beautiful Christmas stalls set up in these gorgeous alpine chalet-style huts; the laughter and chatting of people getting together and clinking their glasses to warm Gluhwein. The most striking feature was the smell of delicious food being roasted, grilled and smoked. From then on, I was totally hooked on visiting the best Christmas markets in the world and trying out all the amazing Christmas market foods.
Some of the best Christmas Market food that I have tried are at the German Christmas Markets, but there are so many more beautiful European Christmas Markets to experience, all with their own specialities. With the help of some experienced travellers, we have compiled a list of some top Chrismas Market Foods you must try and where you can find these. Let us know in the comments below your favourite Christmas Market Foods 🙂 and make sure to Pin and Share with others 🙂
If you are spending your Christmas in London with family, check out our Ultimate Family Friendly Guide for Free Things to do in London with Kids for Christmas.
Here are our Top Christmas Market Foods You Must Try!
Hungarian Goulash in Budapest
Budapest is a romantic, historical capital in Hungary that straddles the Danube. The river was in fact running in the middle of Buda and Pest until they were united with Óbuda to become Budapest in 1873 and became a bit city. There are so many things to see and do on both sides of the Danube, and a few locations are transformed into Christmas markets during the holiday seasons.
The Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival is located in the heart of the city in front of the well-known Café Gerbeaud, right outside the Vörösmarty station of the historic M1 metro line. Food stalls offering classic food and drinks like mulled wine, chimney cakes and grilled sausages fill the market. There are also stalls showcasing local handicrafts with a great variety, from scarves, ornaments and decorations, books, and more.
The Christmas market opens from 10 am to 9 pm (until 10 pm from Friday to Sunday); one popular delicacy that is special in the market is Hungarian Goulash soup. The hearty soup is a traditional dish or stew that is filled with tender beef and vegetables (mainly onion) with a hint of paprika. The dish originated in Hungary and became one of the most popular in Central Europe – it has a rich and savoury flavour. The best way to serve Goulash is in a big bread bowl; a serving of this soup with mulled wine can effectively warm you up in the cold outside during winter.
Recommended by Kenny from Knycx Journeying
Dutch Mini Pancakes, Belfast Christmas Market
If you are looking for a Christmas market this year that will give you the chance to try some of the best mini Dutch pancakes, you cannot miss the Belfast Xmas Market! Every year, it delights thousands of visitors from all over the world with its festive atmosphere, tasty food options, and bountiful shopping opportunities.
The Belfast Christmas Market hit the city back in 2004, and it has been going strong since then. This year it will take place from the 19th of November to the 22nd of December within the grounds of Belfast City Hall at Donegall Square (as always). Visitors to the market can expect over 100 exhibitors from 28 counties, beer tents, and all of the usual festive bits and bobs, like crafts and sweet treats.
The market’s opening times are usually:
- Monday to Wednesday: 10 am to 8 pm (bars open until 9 pm)
- Thursday to Saturday: 10 am to 10 pm (bars open until 11 pm)
- Sunday: 12noon to 6 pm
If you end up in Belfast during this period, you can’t miss the mini dutch pancakes, a favourite of all ages, at this outdoor market. Watching them made with an expert wrist flip is half the fun.
The tradition wants them served with melting butter and powdered sugar. However, in recent times there have been several twists to the original, in fact, you can drizzle over Nutella or Bounty sauce, syrups, white chocolate, honey, and fresh fruit.
A serving of these mini pancakes is perfect for sharing and making the holiday festivities even merrier. Go and have a try!”
Recommended by Francesca at Travel Heal Love
Berliner Ball at the WinterWelVaart in the Netherlands
Groningen is a picturesque town in the north of the Netherlands where you’ll find a special kind of Christmas market: the WinterWelVaart.
Most Christmas markets are concentrated in the city centre, but the Groningen Christmas market follows the city’s most scenic canals instead. The houseboats that live on the canals are decorated in lights, and more than a dozen historic boats sail up the canal to join the festivities.
Stalls line the cobblestone streets selling piping hot glühwein and a treasured Dutch winter treat: the Berliner ball. A Berliner ball is a sphere of sweet deep-fried dough cut open and filled with whipped cream.
While technically of German origin, the Berliner ball is a special tradition in the Netherlands. The individual stalls selling these and other winter delicacies start to pop up around the city in late November, but for the prime Christmas experience, get yourself a Berliner ball at the WinterWelVaart.
After the New Year, the stalls disappearing from city street corners signal that the holiday season is officially over. Thankfully though, the Christmas lights linger for several weeks into the year, brightening up the dark and dreary winter nights.
The exact dates and times for the Groningen WinterWelVaart haven’t been released yet, but they’ll be announced on the WinterWelVaart website. The event is generally held after the Dutch holiday Sinterklaas on December 5th and before Christmas.
Come explore the Groningen Christmas market for a day or stay for an extended workation – there’s no shortage of things to do in Groningen in winter.
Recommended by Kayla at Writingfromnowhere
Tarte Flambée at Christkindelsmärik in Strasbourg
If you find yourself in the Northeast during the holidays and are looking for a regional speciality, go no further than the tarte flambée. This flatbread, also known as Flammkuchen, is typically made with sour cream, onions, and bacon and baked into a thin, oval “pizza.” The crust is indeed similar to that of pizza, and toppings range from the usual tomato sauce and cheese to mushrooms and even apples.
This is available in Strasbourg, home to the oldest Christmas market in France (Christkindelsmärik). The Strasbourg Christmas market is home to some of the most famous and delicious treats in the world, including the Tarte flambée. If you are ordering this Alsatian equivalent of pizza, ask for a “gratinée” version if you prefer a lot of cheese. Or, if you’re looking for a more authentic Alsatian experience, ask for your order to be prepared using Munster cheese. As the tarte flambée has gained in popularity, it is now also served in Alsatian eateries. However, the atmosphere of the Christkindelsmärik adds to the authenticity of the experience.
From late November to right before Christmas, the Christkindelsmärik (or Marchés de Nol) takes place in the city of Strasbourg. You can visit the markets in the Place de la Cathédrale any day of the week between the hours of 11 AM and 8 PM. On Fridays and Saturdays, the hours are extended to 9 PM and 10 PM, respectively. You can reach Strasbourg from Paris via train, travel time usually takes only about two hours.
Recommended by Imee Magbag at Journey To France
Churros con Chocolate at Fira de Nadal in Barcelona, Spain
Spain might not be the first destination in Europe you think of when planning a trip for Christmas time, but the country in the south of Europe will definitely surprise you. That’s because there are plenty of delicious Spanish Christmas foods at the Christmas markets here to warm you up in the cold December weather. Probably the most popular snack at Christmas time are churros con chocolate.
You can find them at almost any Spanish Christmas market, such as the Fira de Nadal, the beloved little Christmas market in Barcelona. The market is set up every year in the small park across from the famous Sagrada Família and is considered one of Spain’s most popular Christmas markets.
At the Fira de Nadal, there are otherwise mostly typical Catalan Christmas decorations to discover, such as the caga tiò, which has a long tradition in Catalonia, crafts, and fir trees.
Churros are simply part of winter in Spain. The sweet dough pastry tastes best when freshly fried and served while still hot with a bit of sugar. According to typical Spanish tradition, the pastries are served with a cup of hot liquid chocolate. The churros are then dipped in this and eaten together. If you’re not on a diet, you can also add some sweet cream on top of the chocolate.
While you can find churros all year round, they are an especially popular breakfast or snack during the holiday season. Especially in combination with the hot chocolate, they warm not only your cold fingers but also your heart.
Recommended by Vicki at Vickiviaja
Escargots (Snails) at Metz Christmas Market in France
Metz Christmas Market is one of the most popular markets in the North-East region of France during the Holiday season. Located just a couple of hours by train from Paris, Metz is a stunning historical and architectural city with famous landmarks such as the train station, the Cathedral and the year-round fresh market. The Christmas Market is spread over Metz’ most beautiful squares, including Place St Louis and Place d’Armes by the Cathedral and the Ferris Wheel. It is usually open between the 20th of November and ends on the 31st of December until 8 or 10 pm, depending on the day of the week.
At Metz’ Christmas Market, you will find one of the French delicacies called Escargots. Originating from the Burgundy region of the country, Escargots is one of the most surprising food that France offers both in the eyes of foreigners and French people. Although the dish’s name translates directly to “snails”, which could put off more than one person, Escargots are considered one fine food and is commonly part of the French Christmas traditions.
Usually served at Christmas dinner, the dish consists of six or twelve escargots, in their shells, cooked in parsley butter. They are served in special plates that contain twelve holes where each escargot is placed. This dish is usually accompanied by some toasted bread to dip in the parsley butter. At the market, visitors are given small two-point forks to grab the snails and pull them out of the shells. A tip any French person would give you is to get some mulled wine to go with it.
Recommended by Mary at Be Right Back By Mary
Lebkuchen at Nuremberg Chrostmas Market, Germany
One of Europe’s most popular Christmas markets is the one in Nuremberg, Germany. The city is long known for its history and medieval buildings. The market takes place on the Hauptmarkt square in the old town, from the end of November to the 25th of December, daily from 10 am to 9 pm. Nuremberg’s Christmas market speciality is the Lebkuchen cookies. The most famous one is the Nuremberg Lebkuchen or the Elisenlebkuchen.
These Christmas cookies have been a tradition since medieval times. The local Jewish population and traders brought dried fruits and nuts from the Middle East; spices came via the Italian traders from Asia, and the Lebkuchen was born!
The large cookie sits on a communion wafer to hold its shape during the baking process. The original Nuremberg Lebkuchen do not include flour, or only a minimum quantity, making the cookies, especially moist and soft with the ground mixture of fruits and nuts. The cookies are completed with a sugar or chocolate glaze.
Many other Lebkuchen variations exist, such as the classic Lebkuchen, which is a spiced flour dough, rolled and cut out into figurines, just like the American gingerbread. Lebkuchen hearts and houses are prepared from another Lebuchen dough. The Nuremberg Lebkuchen, however, are special in their own right. Make sure to buy a few packs of these cookies on a trip to Nuremberg because they will get over within minutes, and the best ones are only found in Nuremberg.
Recommended by Paul D’Souza at Paulmarina
Raclette, Lausanne Christmas Market in Switzerland
There is no place like Switzerland to spend Christmas. Snow-capped mountains, wooden chalets, glühwein galore and of course, the omnipresence of delicious cheese. If you happen to be visiting the Vaud region in Western Switzerland during Christmas time, trying a typical raclette is an absolute must.
Traditionally eaten at home, this dish is made up of cheese that is layered over meats or potatoes in an iron skillet which is then warmed up to melt the cheese. It is a dish that is best shared with friends and loved ones. In Switzerland, however, the raclette is not solely eaten at home. In fact, it can be indulged in at any Christmas market you head out to.
If you are lucky enough, it will be served in front of a warm fire. Prices range depending on the location, and type of ingredients chosen additionally (bread, meats, potatoes). Expect to pay anywhere between CHF 10 – CHF 40 for a good quality raclette.
The Christmas market in Lausanne (the capital of the Vaud-region) kicks off in the middle of November and continues all the way through to the end of December. Leaving you ample time to try this dish! The city is transformed into an open-air Christmas market. Head to the Place d’Europe Christmas Market to try a typical raclette. This Christmas market also has a ton of other regional specialities that are just waiting to be tried. If it rains, make your way to the covered Christmas market on Place Saint-François to stay nice and dry.
Recommended by Caroline at Veggiewayfarer
Bretzel or Pretzel – Alsace Christmas Market
One French region outdoes every other when it comes to the best Christmas Markets, and it is Alsace. While there is a wide variety of Christmas Markets in Alsace, including whole villages turning into Christmas fairytale towns like Riquewihr, the most well-known Christmas Market in Alsace is the one in Strasbourg.
Strasbourg is a self-proclaimed capital of Christmas, which immediately tells you they take Christmas seriously. Located on the border with Germany, Strasbourg is a perfect mix of French and German influences.
Christmas in Strasbourg starts on the 25th of November and lasts for a month until the 26th of December. But, Christmas decorations stay up until the 15th of January! The Market is open every day from 11 am to 8 pm, but it closes earlier on Christmas and Christmas eve.
You can easily spend a whole day in Strasbourg admiring half-timbered, colourful houses decorated with Christmas ornaments. The most picturesque quarter is La Petite France with its many Christmas shops. Market stalls spread around the city centre, in front of the Cathedral and Place Broglie. You will find the Great Christmas tree on Kleber Square!
You can try many different foods on the Market, but keep it simple and go for a bretzel!
Bretzels are a simple yet typical and tasty Alsatian snack and cost around 1,50€. You will find them everywhere you look, hanging from the market stalls or piled on a counter. Bretzels are crunchy and salty on the outside and soft on the inside. Perfect snack as you browse around the busy market!
Recommended by Natali at She’s Abroad Again
Beaver Tails, Vancouver Christmas Market in Canada
December brings crisp mornings which take your breath away, snow-covered mountains, and
Christmas markets. The markets allow you to shop for unique gifts and savour delicious food. If
you visit Vancouver, Canada, in December, you can attend its market at Jack Poole Plaza
Modelled on an authentic German Christkindlmarkt, the anticipated event features wooden
huts selling gourmet food, a scavenger hunt for kids, and a walk-thru Christmas tree. You’ll
enjoy the sounds of the seasons and the aromas of tasty treats.
You can visit the market from November 12th to December 24th. The hours are 4 pm to 9:30
pm Nov 12 – 25, 11:30 am to 9:30 pm Nov 26 – Dec 23, and 11:30 am to 6 pm on Christmas Eve.
Traditional drinks like Glühwein (mulled wine) and German and Austrian beers are available for
sampling. Along with favourite German foods, the market offers a Canadian treat too. After all,
Beaver Tails are fried flattened pastries made into the shape of a beaver’s tail. The frying
process makes it crisp on the outside but soft inside. Traditionally, the wheat flour treats were
sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. However, these days, you have more options.
If you have a sweet tooth, why not try the Bananarama, with the addition of chocolate hazelnut
spread and banana slices? The apple pie version adds caramel sauce and apple slices, making it
more of a strudel-type pastry.
While you can still opt for the traditional, who can resist the toppings of Oreo cookies, Reese’s
Pieces or brownie pieces? Arrive at the market hungry because you’ll want to eat more than
Recommended by Karen at ForeverKaren
Candied Almonds, Berlin Christmas Markets
Berlin has over 50 different Christmas markets throughout the city ranging from traditional to quirky, laid back to upscale. They generally start mid to late November and run until right before Christmas Day, although a few Berlin Christmas markets do stay open until the end of December. If you’re visiting Berlin in winter, some local favourites are Gendarmenmarkt, Charlottenburg Palace, and Lucia.
German Christmas markets are a wonderful place to enjoy some festive cheer, and they’re the perfect place if you have a sweet tooth. One of the most traditional German Christmas market foods is candied almonds, and you’ll find them at virtually every Christmas market in the country.
Candied almonds are made by cooking a blend of cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar and then adding the almonds. This is the traditional and most popular combination of flavourings.
If you’re visiting Berlin Christmas markets, you can find several markets that sell a wide variety of flavours and types of candied almonds. The Rotes Rathaus Market, in particular, has many stalls selling almonds flavoured with chocolate, chilli, candy bars, alcohol, and more. And it’s not just almonds. While almonds are the most common, you will also see walnuts, cashews, peanuts, macadamias, and even sometimes sunflower seeds.
Candied almonds or other nuts are sold in paper cones, usually about 100 grams in a cone. The paper is easy to wrap up again if you don’t want to eat them all at once. Usually, a 100-gram cone will cost about 3 to 4 euros. If you’re unsure about a particular flavour, most sellers will let you try an almond for free before you commit to buying.
Recommended by Ali at Berlin Travel Tips
Kurfurstenkugel, Heidelberg Christmas Market, Germany
Looking for something sweet to snack on at the Christmas Market? The kurfurstenkugel is a speciality of Heidelberg, located an hour from Frankfurt in southwest Germany.
The Heidelberg Christmas Markets are world famous for their food, atmosphere, and cheer. The markets are open for advent through Christmas Day. The kurfurstenkugel is a must-try dessert. These delicious sponge dough balls are filled with nougat cream and covered in chocolate. Costing only three euros a piece, it’s the perfect combination of sweet, rich flavours that is sure to get you into the Christmas spirit.
They are named after the Prince-electors of the Holy Roman Empire, who were known as Kurfürsten in German. The kurfurstenkugel is a Heidelberg speciality, so you’ll only be able to find them at markets in this German city. They’re the perfect treat to enjoy while strolling through the market and taking in all the sights and sounds of Christmas. So, if you’re ever in Heidelberg during the holidays, be sure to add a kurfurstenkugel to your list of must-try Christmas Market foods!
Recommended by Cassie Yoshikawa at Cassiescompass
Lángos at Edinburgh Christmas Market
A delicious Christmas market food that is a must-try is Lángos. This Hungarian treat will explode your senses.
This treat can be tried at most European Christmas markets, but we’ve had the best Lángos among the stalls of Edinburgh’s Christmas Market. This market is one of the top things to do in Edinburgh during the winter and sprawls over the Prince’s Street Gardens and encompasses three different levels of treats, activities, and souvenirs.
The market is open from November 19th to January 3rd this year. While many details are yet unannounced, you can bet that the scent of spiced wine and tempting treats will waft through the air. A children’s section that includes rides and other games excites even the littlest of visitors as merriment and Christmas cheer take over in downtown Edinburgh.
Lángos is a traditional Hungarian food made up of fried dough (sometimes with potatoes added in) topped with your choice of many different toppings. You can eat Lángos plain or try the traditional version, which comes slathered with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. Other varieties can include garlic, salt, yoghurt, and kefir. Although it sounds somewhat strange, the end result is a delectable treat!
Make sure you queue for the Edinburgh Christmas Market early! While you don’t need a ticket to enter, waits were, at times, over an hour last year just to get into the market!
Recommended by Taylor at Traversewithtaylor
We hope you enjoy your Christmas Market experience. It is a time we really love looking forward to 🙂