Christmas is just around the corner! After over a year and a half of restricted travel and limited holiday celebrations, people are ready to get back to normal. And, nothing quite says it’s the Christmas holidays like visiting a Christmas market. 

You get to walk around crowds of smiling people with Christmas music playing in the background and the smell of fresh pastries in the air. It’s one of the most magical holiday activities you can do. And, good news – this year you can have this experience again! Here are the top five Christmas marketing reopening to travelers in 2021. 

1. Basel, Switzerland

The Basel Christmas market has won Europe’s best Christmas market for many years in a row now. Located in the center of Basel, this market is enormous and goes all out with its decorations. This year, the market runs from November 23 to December 23, operating every day from 11:00 am to 8:30 pm. 

Visitors also get access to over 180 vendors selling artisan goods. As you explore, you might get hungry or thirsty, and you’ll have plenty of stops to curb your needs. You can try fresh waffles, Glühwein, an authentic gingerbread known as Basel Läckerli, Swiss raclette, and grilled sausages. There’s so much to explore, you might find yourself coming to the Basel Christmas market two or three days in a row! 

Current COVID-19 Requirements: As of September 20, 2021, anyone above 16 entering Switzerland must show proof of vaccination or provide a negative COVID test. The unvaccinated will need to show another negative COVID test 4-7 days after entering the country. Switzerland also requires people above the age of 16 to show proof of vaccination to access indoor spaces (restaurants, bars, museums, etc.). 

A woman enjoying a drink that says "Merry Christmas Everyone" on the coffee cup.

2. Budapest, Hungary

The Advent Basilica Christmas market opens its doors on November 29 and runs until January 2. The market’s slogan for 2021 is, “In love, and safety.” The Advent market is renowned for its beauty, as it’s set in front of the stunning church St. Stephen’s Basilica with a giant Christmas tree right in the middle of the market. 

There are over 160 exhibitors of craftsmen, ceramists, designers, jewelers, and leather workers to shop from at the Advent. And, of course, you can enjoy countless treats, including mulled wine, Hungarian pastries, chimney cakes, and stuffed cabbage. If you come at the right time, you might see Santa Claus doing his Christmas shopping at the vendor carts too! 

Current COVID-19 Requirements: As of August 7, 2021, Hungary opened its borders to travelers from specific countries, including the US. Visitors have to present a negative COVID test when entering the country. 

Christmas market pastries

3. Trier, Germany 

The Trier Christmas market in Germany is celebrating its 41st year in operation this year! The market runs from November 19 to December 22. In total, visitors get access to 95 decorative and fun vendor booths. This market may be smaller than some of the other European Christmas markets, but that only adds to the romantic atmosphere of The Trier. Located in front of the Trier Cathedral Square, this market looks stunning during the day or night. 

It’s easy to see why this German Christmas market made our top five list, as it pulls out all the stops. You can enjoy puppet shows, carousel rides, and live performers all throughout the market. And, make sure you have a glass of mulled wine or mulled apple cider as you walk around. Come to The Trier market to join the happy crowds and relish in the Christmas spirit. 

Current COVID-19 Requirements: Germany welcomes Americans who are fully vaccinated to enter the country. Individuals who aren’t vaccinated will need to prove an urgent need to enter Germany. 

German waffles sold by an outdoor vendor

4. Vienna, Austria

The Viennese Dream Christmas Market in front of the City Hall runs from November 12 to December 26. The market beautifully decorates everything around City Hall, including the trees and statues, in lights, Christmas ornaments, and candles. As you walk around the market, you’re overtaken with the aromas of hot drinks, sweet pastries, and savory treats from all the vendors. 

This market is perfect for families, as City Hall has a Christmas workshop for cookie and candle making. The market offers free entrance on the weekends (Friday to Sunday), which is also when international choirs perform Christmas songs from all around the world. 

Current COVID-19 Requirements: As of September 15, 2021, Austria has opened its borders to travelers from the United States. Individuals need to present proof of vaccination if they want to avoid quarantine. Unvaccinated individuals can enter the country but they must pre-register, present a negative test upon arrival, and uphold a 10-day quarantine after arrival. 

Vienna Christmas Market

5. Brussels, Belgium 

The Winter Wonders Christmas market is one of the largest markets in Europe, drawing approximately 2.5 million visitors every year. The market is hosted in the center of Brussels, with over 200 vendors. This year the market will run from November 26 to January 2. 

This massive market is truly a showstopper. Visitors get to enjoy activities such as a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, an ice rink, a daily sound-and-light show, original art installations, cultural activities, and more. There’s a giant Christmas tree, appearances from Santa Claus, and delicious Belgian food and drinks available. It’s not too surprising millions of people flock towards this fantastic Christmas celebration every year. 

Current COVID-19 Requirements: Belgium is welcoming travelers from all over the world. Individuals need to fill out a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) within six months of arriving in Belgium. Once you arrive, you’ll need to either present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. 

Mulled wine from the Christmas market.

Many Christmas markets were canceled last year, so it’s wonderful to see everything start top open up again this holiday season. If you’re ready to make this Christmas extra special, book your trip to one of these amazing Christmas markets. We guarantee it’ll make up for all that missed travel this last year and a half!