If you pick one Christmas market to visit in Europe, let it be the Strasbourg Christmas Market. Known as “the capital of Christmas,” it is arguably the most iconic “Christmas market” around.
This last year I had the chance to spend one week in Strasbourg during the prime Christmas Market season. Eating our weight in Alsatian food, and experiencing the Christmas magic and decor on the Grande Île, I can say this is the best one I’ve been to thus far. Known as a Marche de Nöel, Strasbourg is an icon and historic city for market traditions.
The Strasbourg Christmas Market or “Christkindelsmärik,” holds the honor of being one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe, with its origins dating back to 1570. This market is steeped in tradition and history, located in the heart of Strasbourg, a city that perfectly embodies the spirit of Christmas in the region of Alsace, France. In the early days, the market primarily sold food, crafts, and seasonal items, bringing a surge of vitality to the city during the frosty winter season.
My husband and I traveled here with our toddler in tow and found ourselves just absolutely smitten by the Christmas spirit here. What took me most by surprise was how many markets in one city there were to discover! It’s not a single market, but rather almost a dozen spread throughout Strasbourg.
With a bit of planning, it’s an easy French city to reach to experience the pure joy and magic of Christmas. I’ve put together my list of comprehensive notes for how to best visit, where to stay, and what you can’t miss while at the Strasbourg Christmas markets.
Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks For Where to Stay in Strasbourg:
- Maison Rouge Strasbourg Hotel & Spa, for best luxury boutique hotel near Place Kléber
- Hotel Kaijoo by HappyCulture, for the best budget, centrally-located hotel
- Carpe Diem Home, for a 2-bedroom apartment within the footsteps of the cathedral
Strasbourg Christmas Market Guide
What You Need to Know About The Strasbourg Christmas Market
Strasbourg Christmas Market Dates 2023
This year’s dates for Strasbourg Christmas Markets are November 24 to December 24, 2023.
The Best Way to Get to Strasbourg
What makes Strasbourg so convenient to visit is that it is easily accessible by train. It’s around a 2.5-hour train ride from Paris city center on the TGV. You could even consider flying into its international airport (airport code: SXB).
You will absolutely want to book your train tickets in advance. The major city departures (especially on weekends) always sell out and you need a confirmed seat on the train.
Are the Strasbourg Christmas Markets Worth It?
As someone who has experienced several of the Alsace markets, none quite compare to what Strasbourg offers. Grand in size, with incredible Christmas decorations, and amazing food, I would highly recommend visiting.
Do You Need Tickets for the Strasbourg Christmas Market?
Nope! That’s what makes it so special is that it is free for everyone to enter and experience the magic of Christmas in Strasbourg.
How Crowded is the Strasbourg Christmas Market?
The most popular question asked is about the crowds. It is no doubt one of the busiest markets in Europe. With that said, if you avoid weekends and go out in the morning, you can still enjoy the markets sans the big crowds.
Where to Stay For Strasbourg’s Christmas Markets
Where you stay in Strasbourg to visit the Christmas market is super important. It can make or break your time in the city and how easy it will be for you to get around to visit.
My number one recommendation is to book your accommodations immediately once you have your dates.
Being the most visited market in France, thousands of visitors come and accommodations book up fast. Below, I’ve listed my favorite, luxury, budget, and apartment stays in Strasbourg. For a deeper dive, don’t miss my guide to the best hotels in Strasbourg.
My Top Picks for Luxury Hotels in Strasbourg:
- Maison Rouge Strasbourg Hotel & Spa, for best luxury boutique hotel near Place Kléber. The hotel is modern yet ever so elegant and you’re within walking distance of the main markets.
- Hotel & Spa Regent, for best luxury hotel in La Petite France. The half-timbered house offers warm and quaint rooms with a spa center.
- Hotel Cour du Corbeau, for best luxury hotel in Le Krut. You’ll be located just out of La Petite France but close enough to walk in for the markets. This area has a lot of restaurants and other things to do as well.
My Top Picks for Budget Stays:
- Hotel Kaijoo by HappyCulture, for the best budget, central location. You’re a 4-minute walk to Place Kléber and close to the tram that can take you throughout the city.
- Hannong Hotel, for the best budget option in the old town. The location is perfect and I love how modern the design here is with a touch of local architecture.
- Le Nid De L’Ill, for the best budget option in La Petite France. There are not many budget hotels in this part of Strasbourg, but this one is a gem of a choice for quaint rooms. They even offer apartments with kitchens to rent as well.
My Top Picks for Family-Friendly Apartments
- Carpe Diem Home, for a 2-bedroom apartment that is on the first floor. This listing is within footsteps of the cathedral.
- Appartements de la Pléiade, for a modern 1-bedroom apartment. The location is super convenient for exploring Strasbourg.
- Apartment Cocoon, for a charming 1-bedroom apartment. Its location is within walking distance of the main train station and all of the markets.
The Strasbourg Christmas Market Locations
What many don’t know is that there is not just one but several Christmas markets in Strasbourg. Set out through town, each market has different stalls, food, and decorations. This interactive map is the most useful for finding chalet locations in Strasbourg.
Opening Hours: The markets are open from 11 am until 8:00 pm every day, except for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 9:00-10:00 pm.
If you’re visiting, these are the ones you don’t want to miss:
1. The Strasbourg Christmas Market at Place de la Cathédrale
The most visited market in all of Strasbourg is the grand market in front of the cathedral. There are hundreds of stalls here selling everything from food to souvenirs. My favorite time of the day to visit this market was come night time when the cathedral lights up and the twinkling lights of the market sit in front.
It’s very magical but can be overwhelming with crowds, which is why I recommend going mid-week for this market if possible. Be sure to see the nativity scene that is set up right in front of the cathedral!
Address: Pl. de la Cathédrale
2. Le Village du Partage at Place Kléber (Where the Grand Sapin is)
This is the location where the magnificent Grand Sapin, or the large Christmas Tree, stands. Generously provided by the National Forestry Office of France, it measures a minimum of 30 meters. Each year, the search for this perfect embodiment of holiday spirit begins early, as early as March.
One of the most extravagant Christmas trees, there are dozens of stalls lined up in front of the grand tree. This was one of our favorite markets while in Strasbourg as I found the food and artisan shops to be the best here.
My favorite stands here were the hot chocolate, freshly-made gaufre (keep an eye out for the one who is making the waffles on the spot), and tarte flambeé. One stall also sold wooden figurines that we ended up getting a whole set for our daughter.
Address: Place Kléber
3. The Christkindelsmärik at Place Broglie
One can’t miss the oldest Christmas market in Strasbourg at Place Broglie. The very first Christkindelsmärik took place in 1871 and the tradition has continued since. You’ll find all of the classics here from sausages, fresh pretzels, and traditional handmade gifts.
It’s not my favorite market in Strasbourg but well worth a stroll to experience the historic market with Christmas decorations.
Address: Place Broglie
4. The Small Producers of Alsace Christmas Market at Place des Meuniers
Another foodie favorite in Strasbourg was the Small Producers market. The smaller market offers regional food where you can find things to try and take home. For truffle-hunters, come here!
Address: Place des Meuniers
5. The Carré d’Or Christmas Market at Place du Temple-Neuf
This was one of my favorite markets as it was on the smaller more quaint side. It’s right in front of the 19th-century Temple Neuf church. The vendors here sell high-quality hand-crafted gifts like “etoiles lumineueses” or light-up houses. You’ll find regional food here as well.
Address: Place du Temple-Neuf
6. Advent Village at Square Louise-Weiss
We took our toddler to this advent village in Petite France and become one of our favorite things we did with her. Several interactive spaces, concerts, and even workshops are held here. It’s great for a stroll and come night time it gets busy.
Address: Square Louise-Weiss
7. Place Benjamin Zix
This was one of my favorite smaller markets in town located in Petit France. There were about a dozen or so stalls, each selling the most beautiful handcrafted wooden decor. It’s well worth a visit here when strolling in Strasbourg.
8. Place Gutenberg International Guest Christmas Market
Located on Place Gutenberg, every year Strasbourg dedicates this village to a different country. The stalls offer special cuisine and traditional items from the guest country. TBD for 2023’s guest country!
Address: Pl. Gutenberg
9. The Alsatian Delicacies Market at Place du Marché-des-Poissons
Situated right on the terrace of the Palais Rohan is the Alsatian Delicacies Market. If you’re a foodie, you don’t want to miss a stroll through this one, you could easily eat your way through. You’ll find regional favorites like vin chaud, mannele, local wines, and even craft beer here.
Address: Place du Marché aux Poisson and the terrace of the Palais Rohan
10. Place Saint Thomas Marche
Known for stalls sending regional cuisine, there are around a dozen here to peruse. I grabbed my cans and jars of foie gras at this market to take home.
The Full Strasbourg Christmas Market 2023 List:
- Place de la Cathédrale de Strasbourg
- Place Kléber
- Place Broglie Christkindelsmärik
- Place du Château
- Place du Marché aux Poisson
- Place du Temple Neuf
- Place Gutenberg Christmas market
- Advent Village at Square Louise-Weiss
- Place Saint Thomas
- Place des Meuniers
- Place Benjamin-Zix
- Place du Corbeau
- Place Grimmeissen
What to Eat at the Strasbourg Christmas Markets
- Vin Chaud (mulled hot wine that comes in white or red)
- Alsatian Wine (several regional options within the market)
- Chocolate chaud (flavored or not, if you can find noisette or hazelnut, it’s a must-try)
- Tip: When you order a drink, it will come in a plastic mug (can keep it if you like) but you can return it to any vendor and they will give you a few Euros back.
Best Savory Food:
- Galette de Pomme de Terre (Grumbeerekiechle)
- Tarte or baguette flambée (wood-fired pizza that is covered in crème fraiche, bacon, and onions)
- Spätzle (an egg noodle that is typical from Germany)
- Knack d’Alsace with choucroute (Knack is a sausage and is often served with choucroute, a pickled cabbage that is heated up)
Best Sweet Food:
- Gaufres (waffles topped with Nutella or other sauces. My favorite is topped with “creme de marron” or sweet chestnut paste)
- Beignet (warm pastry that is sweet and fried)
- Chouquette (a choux pastry that is covered in sugar)
- Bredele (specialty cookies that are traditional staples of the market. They come in several shapes and flavors like anise and chocolate.)
- La Corde à Ligne for my favorite restaurant in Strasbourg, serves Alsatian classics. Reservation is required and one of the few restaurants with a high chair
- Café Bretelles for my favorite coffee shop in town
- Madame Julia for a cozy coffeehouse that serves brunch
- House of Tanners Restaurant for traditional regional cuisine
- La Cloche à Fromage Restaurant for a chance to eat raclette
- Le Clou for a good Alsation restaurant that is super cozy and close to the center
Must-See Christmas Displays with Locations in Strasbourg
What makes Strasbourg is how much magical decoration there is. I honestly was not prepared for the level of decor that was here, it felt like we were transported to the North Pole. There are some famous storefronts and alleys to visit, so I’m listing them here for you to keep in mind when here.
The most famous view is that of the Strasbourg Cathedral. Come nighttime, the cathedral lights up, and with a market right in front, it feels extra magical. The first street to not miss is Rue Mercière which is lined with angels with trumpets — I think this is one of the best views in town. My second favorite view is from Place de la Cathédrale coming from Rue des Hallebardes. It’s overwhelming how large the cathedral is as you turn this corner.
Rue des Orfèvres
One of the most beautiful streets to go for a stroll is Rue des Orfèvres. Lined with glistening lights, every storefront here goes to the nines in decor. Lights and ornaments hang over the small street creating a winter wonderland. Afterward, stroll through to Rue du Chaudron. The main reason to come here is for the House of Hanssen & Gretel facade. Their storefront is truly a scene out of a fairytale and well worth a look.
Rue du Maroquin
The very famous Rue du Maroquin and its storefronts. A stroll down this brings you to probably the most photographed facade — The House of Bears next to restaurant Zum alten Straßburg (5 Rue du Maroquin). This street is the most festive with a wonderful array of decor and lights.
Rue des Grandes Arcades
A larger street that runs down Rue des Grandes Arcades features the cutest gingerbread figurines hanging across the buildings. A favorite for kids.
Rue du Bain-aux-Plantes
Right in the Quartier de la Petite France is the cobblestone street that winds through. Some of the most charming storefronts are here like the Lohkäs Restaurant.
Favorite Souvenirs at The Christmas Markets
Every market in Strasbourg is full of traditional items, souvenirs, and goodies to buy. You could spend hours exploring looking for the perfect ornament, decoration, or packaged food to bring home. While I was there I tried to bring back a few items.
I ended up picking up regional food like foie gras, some chutneys, and a bottle of Alsatian wine. I found it personally overwhelming to narrow down, so I went with the ones that didn’t feel overly touristy.
The second thing I stocked up on was handmade ornaments. I brought back around 30 ornaments that were made of glass and wood, to keep for myself and to give as gifts. There are so many ornaments but my favorites were the stalls in front of La Corde a Ligne restaurant.
The other purchase made was hand-carved wooden forest animals by Brin d’Ours. Made with nontoxic materials, I created a little snowy mountain scene of wooden creatures for my toddler. They were definitely expensive but honestly, the best “non-touristy” item I saw. I found the market stall at Le Village du Partage at Place Kléber and can be found on the map here (just search under Place Kléber).
Best Christmas Markets Near Strasbourg
While visiting Strasbourg, you may consider visiting some nearby markets. We spent a week in Strasbourg as our home base so that we could do several day trips to nearby markets. Favorite markets were:
If I could pick one nearby small market it would be Obernai. The town is very small but the traditional market set in the heart of town felt magical. I personally found Colmar overwhelming as there is so much in a small area I think it really needs an early start to beat the masses. Riquewihr was a stunning village as well and can be visited near Colmar by car.
Having a rental car is super helpful to be able to explore at your own pace, I would recommend picking a car for either the day or a few days and parking at one of the bigger parking garages nearest to you (which is what we did). It is most convenient to stay in one place and do day trips if visiting!
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