These Beloved Christmas Markets in Europe Won’t Open in 2020

aerial view of Prague's christmas market

Capping off a year of disappointing pivots, the European holiday season is set to be significantly less festive this year. Following the lead of other highly anticipated events, including the 2020 Olympics, many traditional Christmas markets across Europe have been canceled for 2020.

In fact, more European Christmas markets have been canceled than not, and it’s likely that even more will be called off as the season progresses (contingent, of course, on the coronavirus situation in each country). Keep in mind that the markets that do plan on opening will likely look different this year to accommodate “the new normal.”

While the cancellation of these bastions of Yuletide cheer is saddening, remember that it’s for our communal safety — and that the true spirit of the holiday season lives within each of us.

So, crack out your collection of commemorative glühwein mugs, look up a classic gingerbread recipe, and recreate your favorite European holiday tradition at home as you look forward to the return of heartwarming holiday gatherings in the future.

Austria

Illuminated lights at a Christmas market

The Christmas market situation in Austria varies — some are moving forward with extra precautions in place, while others are canceled for the year.

So far, Christmas markets in Vienna seem to be on — the Viennese Dream Christmas Market in front of City Hall is scheduled to begin on Nov. 13, and the Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace is planned to take place from Nov. 20 through Dec. 26, 2020.

In Salzburg, the Christmas market in the city center is scheduled for Nov. 19 through Dec. 26, but sadly, Advent Magic in Hellbrunn, Stern Advent and Winter Market, Advent of the Villages, St. Leonhard Advent Market, and the Advent Market at Hohenwerfen Castle have all been canceled.

Make sure to check Austria’s latest COVID-related travel restrictions before planning a trip.

United Kingdom

ferris wheel lights at a Christmas market

There have been many Christmas market cancellations in England and across the United Kingdom, including the Bristol Christmas market, Stratford-upon-Avon Christmas market, Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland, and the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland in London.

Originally, the Edinburgh Christmas market caused controversy when officials planned to proceed, but the festival has since gone digital. The Aberdeen Christmas Village and Perth Winter Festival have both been canceled.

In Wales, the Winter Fair and carol service at Aberglasney Gardens and Blaenavon Christmas market have been canceled. However, the Christmas markets in Swansea and Cardiff are still on for now.

Italy

One of the most famous holiday events in Italy — the Christmas market in Trento, the “city of Christmas” — will not take place in 2020. Christmas markets in Bolzano, Cimego, Eggental, Glurns, and Gröden have also been canceled. 

However, Christmas markets in Milan, Venice, and Florence seem to be proceeding.

Germany

This year, the Nuremberg Christmas market — one of Germany’s oldest, dating back to the 1600s — was canceled for the first time in 73 years. 

But it’s not the only one — other major markets, including the Cologne Christmas market, Phantastischer Lichter Weihnachtsmarkt in Dortmund, Frankfurt Christmas market, Dresden Christmas market, and Weihnachtsmarkt am Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin, were canceled for 2020.

Many Christmas markets in Munich have also been called off, including the Münchner Christkindlmarkt, Chinese Tower Christmas market, Tollwood Winter Festival, and the market at Munich International Airport.

There are some smaller Christmas markets in Berlin, Franconia, Hamburg, Koblenz, and other regions that plan to proceed, but in scaled-down versions with fewer crowds and more space requirements. There may also be food and mulled wine stalls scattered throughout some cities.

France

In Paris, the iconic Jardin des Tuileries Christmas market has been canceled for 2020, as have Christmas markets in Arras, Grenoble, Lille, and Provins. The Colmar Christmas market has also officially been canceled. 

However, some Christmas markets in the Alsace region are scheduled to open, including the Christmas market in Strasbourg (the “capital of Christmas”).

Czech Republic

Christmas market visitor browsing ornaments

Some Christmas markets in Prague are seemingly on for 2020, while others have been canceled.

Major markets including those at Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, and Republic Square in Prague will not take place this year. At the time of publishing, the fate of the 2020 Prague Castle Christmas market still remains up in the air.

Those who do make the trip to Prague will still be able to enjoy the presence of the traditional Christmas tree in Old Town Square, but without the usual surrounding festive stalls.

Other European Christmas Markets Canceled for 2020

Most Christmas markets across Belgium have been canceled, per the Belgian government, but the famous Winter Wonders event in Brussels seems to be proceeding with caution. For now, festivities are also set to continue at the Christmas markets in Basel and Zurich, Switzerland.

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