It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The days are getting shorter, decorative lights are being suspended in local streets, and a host of charming Christmas markets are popping up in city squares throughout Europe. It truly is the time to be jolly. What could be better than warming your soul with a piping glass of mulled wine, shopping for some handcrafted hampers, and appreciating the aroma of chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Not much we say! So to make the most of the festive season, we’ve filled our stocking with the best Christmas markets in Europe for you to enjoy.
What? HEAVENUE Christmas Market
When? November 21 - December 23
Cologne is one of Germany’s gayest cities, so if you are looking to celebrate a gay Christmas this year, Cologne should definitely feature on your wishlist. For years, Cologne has hosted a gay Christmas market in the Rudolfplatz district, however, this year there will be a new concept, HEAVENUE. While the name and style may differ slightly from previous years, you can still expect a Christmas wonderland showered with colorful booths, mulled wine and various stage shows with popular acts. HEAVENUE aims to be dazzling, colorful, and extraordinary, and from what we’ve heard so far, we think it’s going to deliver on this! The festive fun will transpire in the plaza between Hahnenstrasse and Schaafenstrasse. Highlights include a cheeky Christmas show by popular entertainer, Nina Queer.
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What? Strasbourg Christmas Market
When? November 22 - December 30
Arguably one of the crowning dames of the Christmas market scene in Europe, Strasbourg lives and breathes the Christmas spirit during the holiday season. For over one month, this charming city that has historically straddled the border of Germany and France comes out in color with light illuminations, pine trees, and an abundance of market stalls. With more than 300 different stands, you will be at no shortage when it comes to finding the perfect mug or two of mulled wine. While Strasbourg does not rival the gay scenes found in other French cities such as Paris or Montpellier, various gay clubs and saunas will keep you entertained - and warm!
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What? Hamburg Gay Christmas Market
When? November 25 - December 23
Another German Christmas market that packs a punch for gay travelers is the one found in the country’s northern city of Hamburg. Things sure can get a little chilly in Hamburg, but fortunately the city’s gay Christmas market, located in gayborhood St. Georg, is guaranteed to leave you feeling toasty. With only a dozen or so stands, this is a much smaller market than other ones found in Germany, but that’s not to say it doesn’t deliver. You can look forward to stage shows and different stands hosting local LGBTQ associations, so grab yourself a bag of roasted chestnuts and get mingling.
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What? Prague Christmas Markets
When? November 30 - January 6
The Christmas market in Prague is so desirable, it stays open right through until January 6. While the Czech capital may be most famous for its astrological clock along with addictively cheap beer, Prague has made leaps and bounds in terms of LGBTQ rights and recognition, with the city’s colorful Pride uniting the community every year since 2011. For a gay Christmas, a visit to the markets in Prague is well worth the trip. From late November, the city’s iconic Old Town Square will sparkle with market stalls, local food treats including gingerbread and cookies, and one gleaming Christmas tree.
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What? Pink Christmas Market
When? November 25 - December 22
Ready to come out in pink in Munich? You can do just this at Munich’s unique, and renownedly social Pink Christmas Market. Setting up shop in the city’s quaint Glockenbachviertel neighborhood, this market offers all the usual staples including festive ornaments, gluhwein, and local treats to warm the soul. What makes Pink Christmas Market a little more unique, however, is its nightly lineup of entertaining performances. Almost every evening from 7pm, you can look forward to musicians, comedians, and local stars who will add that final touch of sparkle to the market. Highlights include nightly show-acts and of course Glühwein - we're in Germany after all!
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What? Vienna Christmas Market
When? November 15 - December 26
The reigning queen of the best Christmas markets in Europe, Vienna has a lot to be proud of. Each year from the middle of November, the picturesque City Hall Square welcomes more than 150 market stalls, which fill the space with mulled wine, traditional sausages, Christmas tree ornaments, and other festive additions. In addition to this, Austria’s capital is also home to the Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung and the romantic Christmas Market in front of Schönbrunn Palace. While Vienna may not be as out and proud as other cities in Europe, the city is home to plenty of gay bars and clubs catered to mixed tastes.
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Got Christmas covered, but need a little inspiration for NYE? Check our NYE bucket list to the best gay parties
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