How Europe Has Adapted Its Christmas Markets This Holiday Season

All across the EU, the Christmas Markets have historically been huge attractions. The economy normally takes a small hike for small and big businesses alike, however, this year Europe might be looking at a radical departure from this holiday tradition. If you’re in Europe or plan to travel there, there still seems to be hope for a few Christmas markets, and we’ll let you know what to expect at several of the most anticipated.

Even though countries like Italy, France and Germany have imposed strict protocols and allowed only scanty gatherings on terraces, the governments are trying their best to lift the morale of their citizens. The Croatian city of Rijeka has been decked up in holiday decorations just as usual but the stalls are socially distanced and the popular Santa Claus Train will not offer any rides this year.


“The night before Christmas” by Bernd Thaller is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The situation in Austria is far from uniform across the country— while some cities are moving forward with their Christmas traditions with extreme precautions in place, others have chosen to cancel events for the year. So far, the Christmas markets in Vienna have stayed on. The Viennese Dream Christmas Market began on November the 13th, and the Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace has been in full swing from November the 20th and will be celebrated till December the 26th 2020.

Salzburg has also been hosting its Christmas market in the city centre from November 19th,but unfortunately,  Advent of the Villages, St. Leonhard Advent Market, Stern Advent and Winter Market, and the Advent Market at Hohenwerfen Castle have all been cancelled.

United Kingdom

“9” by Jesus Del Toro is licensed under CC BY 2.0

All across The United Kingdom, there have been many Christmas market cancellations. Even the famous Bristol Christmas market, Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland, the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland in London and the Stratford-upon-Avon Christmas market stand cancelled. Earlier, the Edinburgh Christmas market had caused quite some controversy when the officials decided to proceed, but the festival has since gone digital. 

The Christmas markets in Swansea and Cardiff are still scheduled to take place for now but in Wales, both the Winter Fair and the carol service at Aberglasney Gardens and Blaenavon Christmas market have been cancelled. 


One of the oldest and most famous holiday attractions in Italy is the Christmas market in Trento. Trento, sometimes referred to as “The City of Christmas”, will not hold its markets in 2020.  Even the Christmas markets in Eggental, Glurns, Bolzano, Cimego, and Gröden have been cancelled. Nonetheless, the Christmas markets in Milan, Venice, and Florence seem to be proceeding but the officials are doing so with bated breath.


“Germany 2019_1423-HDR” by stevenroundrock is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This year, for the first time in 73 years, the Nuremberg Christmas Market has been cancelled. It is one of Germany’s oldest (dating back to the 1600s) and it is not the only one to be shut down this year. Other major markets, including the Phantastischer Lichter Weihnachtsmarkt in Dortmund, the Cologne Christmas market, Dresden Christmas market, Frankfurt Christmas market, and Weihnachtsmarkt am Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin, were all called off.

Some smaller Christmas markets in Hamburg, Koblenz, Berlin, Franconia and other regions have planned to proceed, but in scaled-down versions. There will be fewer crowds and more space requirements to keep up with the socially distanced norm. These cities might get some more of the Christmas spirit since mulled wine and food stalls will be scattered throughout the cities.


Le Marché de Noël des Tuileries à Paris

The iconic Jardin des Tuileries Christmas market in Paris, has been cancelled, as have the Christmas markets in  Lille, Grenoble, Province and Arras. However, some Christmas fairs in the Alsace region are scheduled to take place , including the Christmas market in Strasbourg, which is known as “The Capital of Christmas”.

Czech Republic

Old Town Christmas Markets

After a lot of calculated decisions and backlash, Prague Christmas markets have been cancelled, but the decorations and atmosphere seem to have got a go ahead and will be there until January the 6th but with tightly maintained protocols. The citizens of Prague will still be able to enjoy the presence of the traditional Christmas tree in Old Town Square, but see none of the usual festive stalls surrounding it.

If you’re heading to Prague outside of the holiday season definitely be sure to check out one of the most comprehensive guides to the sights of the city that we’ve seen anywhere, here courtesy of the adventurous duo at ‘’.

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