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These Were The 5 Worst Christmas Markets We Visited in Europe

Caleb and I spent 2 months exploring so many markets across Europe, and we have to say, many of them were not what we were expecting. Some of the most famous markets felt like a way to make money on Christmas, and we never want to go back there again, to be honest.

In this short post, we’re sharing some spicy opinions on the 5 worst Christmas markets that you should miss on your Christmas market trip, like Colmar, Nuremberg, and Vienna. We’ll share specific markets to avoid in each city and why we think that is!

Let’s get into it!

1. Colmar

Millions of people crowded at the Colmar Christmas Market

Specific markets to avoid in Colmar: honestly? All of them.

Putting Colmar at the top of the list really hurts my heart, TBH. I had “visit Colmar at Christmas” at the top of the to-do list that I have as a note on my phone (because I’m a dinosaur like that) for literally 3 YEARS.

I saw it on Instagram, and it looked SO CUTE that it became my dream.

Unfortunately, everyone else in the universe saw it on Instagram, too, and also put it at the top of their to-do list.

Millions of people crowded at the Colmar Christmas Market

Colmar at Christmas was the busiest place we have ever been in our lives and was a Christmas market not worth visiting. We could barely even move; it was like being in a mosh pit in the entire city. It was so busy that the cell towers stopped working because everyone was pinging them, and even the credit card machines went down.

Caleb and I got separated and could not call each other due to the service being down, and it was the scariest hour of my life until we finally bumped into each other, only a couple of feet away from each other. That is how busy it is.

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You really can’t enjoy how cute Colmar is because of all the people and all the influencers trying to take the perfect photo. We did get there at sunrise one day, and it was enjoyable for about an hour, but the markets weren’t even open yet.

Honestly? Give yourself a miss on this one because it’s not going to be the experience you think you’ll have based on your Insta-research.  Go to the Christmas markets in Strasbourg instead.

What we hated: the crowds

Aerial view of Nuremberg's Christmas market at night, showcasing the busy crowd and the festive stalls with twinkling lights.

2. Nuremberg 

Specific markets to avoid in Nuremberg: the main Christkindlmarket. 

This is a very spicy opinion because the Christkindlmarket in Nuremberg is the biggest market in all of Germany and one of the most famous in the world

…Buuuuut we’re telling you not to go? It’s true.

As soon as Caleb and I walked in, we ate some of the famous traditional Lebkuchen (which was so good we brought it home. So, you could go just for that) and then looked at each other and said, “Wanna leave?”

Because it’s SO famous, it’s SO busy. And, it’s honestly not even that pretty, which makes the busyness not worth it.

And, because it’s SO big, a lot of the trinkets felt mass-produced, and the food at the markets was some of the worst we have had at the markets, with the exception of the fabulous cookies that are so soft you can’t even imagine.

What we hated: The crowds, the mass-produced trinkets, prices and the food.

The busy Christkindlmarket in Vienna Austria

3. Vienna  

Specific markets to avoid in Vienna: Christkindlmarket in the City Hall Square.

Why does everywhere say Vienna at Christmas is so magical? This was one of our very first Christmas market stops during our 2-month adventure in Europe at Christmas, and it was the one that made me realize that this “Christmas market thing” may not be what I thought it was going to be.

We could barely move. I almost scalded myself so many times as I carried my mulled wine (that was cold by the time I got it), and people bumped into me left, right, and center. The sausages were really expensive.

The only saving grace here was the hot apfel strudel drink, which tasted like hot, boozy apple strudel (obvious, I know), and we didn’t see it anywhere else in Europe. But it also may have only tasted so good because we really needed some booze after the experience? Logic, my friends.

The markets we did like here were the Freyungplatz Christmas Market and Am Hof Market. We went to these ones in the morning, one of the best times to visit Christmas markets, and they were romantic and magical. 

What we hated: The crowds and the prices

A very busy Christmas market in Vorosmarty Square Budapest

4. Budapest 

Specific markets to avoid in Budapest: In front of Saint Stephen’s Basilica and Vörösmarty Square.

This one also hurts a little since we lived in Budapest and love the city. But, the super famous market in front of Saint Stephen Basilica is just not our favorite. 

One of the main problems we have with it is that the square in front of the Basilica is not all that big, so trying to fit a market in is SUPER cramped without people. BUT THEN, you add a TON of people (because Budapest has been voted the best Christmas market in Europe before, for some reason), and it’s just absolutely nuts.

Also? The prices are HORRIBLE. Everyone thinks Budapest is cheap, but it is NOT anymore. We paid almost $20 for 3 little balls of marzipan. Not making this up, folks.

Mulled wine was close to $10 for less than a cup without adding rum or anything. Just ridiculous.

The same goes with the biggest Christmas market in Budapest, Vörösmarty Square. Personally, we really just aren’t fans of Budapest at Christmas and would say to leave it out when planning your Christmas market trip.

What we hated: the crowds and prices.

Hyde Park in London at Christmas

5. London

Specific markets to avoid in London: Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park

No other market in Europe felt as commercialized as Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. It kinda felt like the Disney Land of Christmas markets and had no authentic-ness to it at all. For how massive it is, we walked through it super quickly, and both were like, “won’t do that again.”

The stalls that sold trinkets all looked mass-produced, and the food was also pretty generic and overpriced. The only delicious thing we had was a waffle topped with Speculoos cookie butter. 

Did we mention it COSTS MONEY to get in?  Yep. Although it’s not too expensive, you can put those dollars into a good glass of mulled wine at a cuter Christmas market in London, like the “Winter by the River” market near Tower Bridge.

The two saving graces of this market were the skating rink, which was cool to be able to say you skated in Hyde Park. And the Bavarian village area is cool with the fires and little ski chalets. But, still feels highly touristy. 

What we hated: the crowds, that it cost money to get in and the over-commercialization of everything.

How We can Help You Next:

Want to know which markets were our favorite? We got you! We put it all together in a guide to the 10 most beautiful and romantic Christmas markets in Europe!

So, do you agree? Disagree? Does this help you plan your Christmas market trip? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Other Christmas Market Posts:

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A couple embraces while watching the sunset behind the Crystal Palace in Madrid's Retiro Park, a moment of romance and tranquility by the reflective waters.

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