Manchester named Europe’s favourite Christmas market AGAIN

As the most magical time of the year approaches a comprehensive study has been revealed ranking Europe's top ten Christmas markets.

This new study, based on a range pf criteria, provides insights into the most beloved holiday markets across the continent.

Manchester, UK: The Crown Jewel of Christmas Markets

Photo: Mark Waugh

Topping the list is Manchester’s Christmas market, hailed as Europe’s favourite, welcoming an average of 9 million visitors annually.

This festive extravaganza boasts 220 stalls, garners an impressive 13.2 million TikTok views, and holds an outstanding overall Tripadvisor rating of 4.5.

With a monthly search volume of up to 40,500, Manchester’s Christmas market is a cherished destination for families and friends looking to embrace the holiday spirit.

This year marks a special year for the UK’s capital of Christmas as it was exactly 25 Christmases ago that Manchester’s first-ever Christmas market took place in 1998.

A quarter of a century later the markets continue to attract Mancunians and visitors alike to the city in their thousands to fill up on the fantastic festive treats on offer.

With over 225 stalls across nine sites throughout the city centre this year’s Christmas markets will see the iconic ski chalet market stalls take over Piccadilly Gardens – once again set to be transformed into the Winter Gardens – as well as Market Street, Cathedral Gardens, Exchange Street, New Cathedral Street, St Ann’s Square, Exchange Square, The Corn Exchange and King Street.

You can check out I Love MCR’s Christmas page by clicking here

Vienna, Austria: A Christmas Wonderland

Securing the second spot is Vienna’s Christmas market, which welcomes approximately 3 million visitors each year.

Open for 45 days, this Austrian market features 150 stalls and boasts a Tripadvisor rating of 4.5. With over 8,000 monthly searches and 1.5 million TikTok views, Vienna’s market is a true winter wonderland.

UK Dominance in the Top Five

The UK claims two more spots in Heald’s top five, with Birmingham ranking third and Glasgow sharing the fifth position with Frankfurt’s German market.

Both festive events attract over 6 million visitors annually, offering 180 stalls in Birmingham and 50 in Glasgow.

Paris, France: A Top Tourist Destination

Paris secures the fourth spot in the new study, drawing in approximately 15 million visitors.

With 200 stalls and a Tripadvisor rating of 4.5, the City of Light’s Christmas market continues to enchant visitors.

Other Enchanting Destinations

The best Christmas markets in Europe include cities like Cologne, Brussels, Bruges, Dresden, London, and Nuremberg.

This study was conducted by security expert Heald LTD, and you can find out more on the study by clicking here

Return of the Christmas Parade in Manchester

Also back this year is the heart-warming event of the season for young and old alike, the magical Manchester Christmas Parade.

Taking place on Sunday 3 December it promises to be bigger and even better than last year’s unforgettable first-ever Christmas Parade which saw thousands of families line the city centre streets.

Furthermore, The Manchester Christmas lights trail will be back – perfect for all those crucial Christmas selfies – illuminating the city centre throughout the festive season with giant walk-through baubles, a Manchester bee, and of course Santa Claus himself, keeping a watchful eye on everyone for his naughty or nice lists, from his perch on high in front of Central Library on St Peter’s Square.

Councillor Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “Christmas is looking even better than ever in Manchester this year, with the opening of our world-famous Christmas markets now only three weeks away and a stocking rammed full of things for all the family to see and enjoy over the festive season, including our magical Manchester Christmas Parade.

“And what a special year for our world-beating markets!  Hard to believe it was exactly 25 Christmases ago that Manchester’s first-ever Christmas market took place.

“A quarter of a century later the markets bring visitors from quite literally all over the world to fill upon the fantastic festive treats on offer.

“Everyone knows Manchester is the city that Santa loves best and we just can’t wait to share all the Christmas fun and festivities with everyone.”

Manchester’s Christmas markets open on Friday 10 November and close on Thursday 21 December.

They are open daily at the following times:

All craft stalls 10 am – 8 pm

All bars and food stalls 11 am – 9 pm

Father Christmas will take up residence in St Peter’s Square after Remembrance Sunday.

The Ice Rink in Cathedral Gardens will be open for Christmas skaters from 2 November – 2 January, but will also be offering spooky Scare Skates (only if you dare!) from 27 October to 31 October.

The food and drink stalls in Cathedral Gardens alongside the skate rink will remain open until 31 December.

You can check out I Love MCR’s Christmas page by clicking here.


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

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