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Ultimate Strasbourg Christmas Market Guide 2023 (+ Festive Events)

Last Updated on 5th November 2023 by Sophie Nadeau

Self-proclaimed to be the ‘Capital of Christmas,’ Strasbourg is a true delight come wintertime. Indeed, the entirety of the city is transformed into a true winter wonderland, with illuminations, giant trees, and market stalls installed throughout the city. Here’s your ultimate Strasbourg Christmas Market guide, including travel tips and what to know before visiting.

Strasbourg Christmas Market Dates 2023: November 24th – December 24th (dates of each event held in Strasbourg may vary)

Please note that the Strasbourg Christmas Market is also known the Christkindelsmärik or Marché de Noël de Strasbourg.

Strasbourg Christmas Market Guide

I have visited Strasbourg during Christmas time a handful of times now, and each time feels just as magical as the last. From the pungent cinnamon air to the chance to stroll alongside the banks of the river underneath twinkling fairy lights with a piping hot vin chaud in hand, it’s certainly one of my top choices on places to visit in Europe at the end of the year.

Strasbourg Christmas Market Guide

Why is Strasbourg the Capital of Christmas?

Strasbourg is self-proclaimed to be the capital of Christmas. And, to be honest, they’re not entirely wrong! During November and December, the entirety of the French city is transformed into a mesmerising winter wonderland, with gorgeous twinkling lights, Christmas Markets all over the place, and plenty of festive events. Strasbourg also claims to have the oldest Christmas Market in Europe.

nativity in strasbourg

How old is the Strasbourg Christmas Market?

As I mentioned, the city boasts the claim of hosting the oldest Christmas Market in Europe. As far back as the 12th-century, an annual Saint Nicolas market was held on December 6th every year and known locally as Klausenmärik.

This kind of market was held in many towns across the Holy Roman Empire, including in Vienna. Even at this time, the Saint Nicolas Market was pretty commercial, and there were stalls selling various products like soaps, candles, and gingerbread.

lights at strasbourg christmas market

In 1570, this was transformed into the Christmas Market when Protestantism arrived in The Alsace. At this time, the Saint Nicolas Market was seen as “survival of the papacy”. However, as stall sellers wanted to keep selling around Christmas time, a Feast of the Nativity celebration was permitted, which centred around Christmas day.

Originally, the Christmas Market was only held for the three days prior to Christmas Eve, though this was gradually grew to 36 days by the latter half of the 19th-century.

And so, with some four centuries of Christmas Markets being hosted in town, Strasbourg sure knows how to put on a mesmerising display! This is especially so when you consider that, right up until the 1980s, Strasbourg was the only town in The Alsace to host a market!

christmas market illuminations

Strasbourg Christmas Market locations

One of the most important things to know before visiting the Strasbourg markets is that there are actually Christmas market locations dotted all over the city. There are technically 13 different Christmas Market locations, though these are not all made equally!

While some of the markets consist of a handful of chalets, other events see live music performances and row upon row of Bavarian style chalet. In total, there are over 300 chalets for you to peruse…

christmas market location strasbourg
place kleber christmas market

The Christkindelsmärik at Place Broglie

The oldest and one of the largest parts of the Strasbourg Christmas Market is the part which takes place at Place Broglie. This Christmas market is particularly focused on food, and it’s here where you’ll find all sort of savoury and sweet treats, including potato pancakes and raclette.

There are over 100 stalls here, and one end of the square even has a number of picnic benches where you can take your food to eat while sitting down. Unfortunately, a large number of the stalls in this area sell mass-produced goods and so if you go shopping here then you won’t be coming away with the most unique Christmas Market gifts.

The Christkindelsmärik at Place Broglie

Place de la Cathedrale

Lying in the shadow of the illustrious Strasbourg Cathedral, my personal favourite of the Christmas Markets in Strasbourg is that of Place de la Cathedrale. Thanks to its stunning location, this is probably the most popular Christmas Market in the city and so is always pretty crowded.

There are a few stalls selling various gifts and souvenirs but some are mass-produced things and so the best thing to do at the Place de la Cathedrale is to indulge in a vin chaud while admiring the façade of the cathedral.

Place Kléber

Lying in the shadow of the gigantic tree, this Christmas Market is located pretty centrally, meaning that you’ll likely pass through it several times en route to other Strasbourg markets.

Place Kléber is home to one of the most unique Christmas Markets in the Alsace as this is where the  “Sharing Market” (Village du Partage) is held. Essentially 90 or so charitable organisations set up stalls to explain their missions and, in the spirit of Christmas, visitors are encouraged to donate to charity.

Small producers of Alsace market

If you’re looking for a particularly unique gift to bring home from your time at the Strasbourg Christmas Market, then you’ll want to head to the small producers of Alsace market on Place des Meuniers.

As its name would suggest, this market is all about small producers. And while the largest focus is on food and drink (think cookies and craft beers), there are also a few craft vendors on site.

christmas market food strasbourg

OFF Christmas Market

Yet another market where you might want to do a spot of shopping is OFF Christmas Market, which is held  at Place Grimmeisen. With a particular focus on sustainability, you’ll find vendors selling everything from recycled DIY gifts to fair trade products being sold from repurposed shipping containers.

OFF Christmas Market

Place du Chateau Strasbourg Christmas Market

This Christmas Market is on the other side of the Cathedral from the main one and comprises of a few stalls selling souvenirs and food. This is also where the tourist train departs which you can go on if you fancy a touristy guided visit of Strasbourg (including a little bit of history).

Terrasse Rohan- Marche des Delices d’Alsace

The Palais Rohan is a former residence of the prince-bishops and cardinals which now houses the Fine Arts Museum. From late November to Late December, the square in front of the building is home to an Alsatian delicacies market where you can indulge in everything from local gingerbread to locally produced wines.

Terrasse Rohan- Marche des Delices d’Alsace

Vieux Marché-aux-Poissons 

This market is located right next to the Terrasse Rohan market and is home to a small handful of stalls selling food products like honey, vin chaud, and craft beer from local breweries.

Place Saint-Thomas

Nestled in the shadow of the 12th-century Protestant church of Saint Thomas, the St Thomas Christmas Market comprises of a smattering of stalls selling locally produced crafts and several foodie stalls.

Place du Temple Neuf

Conveniently located close to the Cathedral Market, Place Kléber, and Place Broglie, this small yet pleasant Christmas Market is home to fewer than two dozen stalls.

Place Benjamin Zix

This pint-sized Christmas Market is formed of just under a dozen stalls alongside the canal. On the way to Petite France, here you’ll find stands selling jewellery, wine, and festive decorations.

Place Benjamin Zix

Village d’Advent

Located within the Petite France neighbourhood, this Christmas Market is located between water and pastel hued houses and is best-seen at night when the entire area is bathed in golden fairy lights. This little village boasts stalls selling chocolate, wine, candy, jams, and often is extended until the beginning of the new year.

Regardless of the Christmas Market, I highly recommend going for a stroll through the Petite France area of the city as well, where you can snap photos of timber-framed buildings and see medieval architecture. 

Place Gutenberg

Each year, a guest country is invited to the Christmas Market and they are allowed to set up stalls selling food from their home country and sell souvenirs as well. Place Gutenberg is often home to a Christmas Tree which is illuminated in blue lighting. Past guests have included:

  • 2014 – Belgium
  • 2015 – Luxembourg
  • 2016 – Portugal
  • 2017 – Iceland
  • 2018 – Finland
  • 2019 – Lebanon

Other festive events and things to do in Strasbourg

As well as the markets, there’s a whole host of festive activities which you won’t want to miss out on during your trip including concerts, exhibitions, and shows. From admiring the illuminations to indulging in some local cuisine, here are the most festive things to do in Strasbourg.

gingerbread lights strasbourg

Admire the Christmas decor

If there’s one festive activity that is entirely free and Strasbourg probably does better than anyone else, it’s the magical festive decor. To begin with, much of Strasbourg’s historic old town (Grand Île) is filled with pastel-hued timber-framed buildings.

decor in strasbourg

When this is combined with countless fairy lights, miniature trees, and even teddy bears stuck to certain façades, you end up with a real life-sized Christmas city (and, at moments, it can feel as if you’re waiting for an elf to pop out from around the next corner!)

One of the best places to admire the Christmas decor is along Rue du Maroquin, where many of the vendors have decorated their stores. Yet another location where the timber-framed façades are dripping with sparkling lights and covered in plush toys is Place du marché-aux-cochons-de-lait (Square of the Market of the Suckling Pigs).

christmas decor strasbourg

Giant tree

One of the main highlights of any trip to Strasbourg during Christmastime is the chance to see the impossibly large tree which towers a staggering 30 metres in height and purportedly boasts 7 km worth of fairy lights!

There has been an annual tree since 1994 and it is located in Place Kléber in the town centre so you won’t miss it! Each year the tree has a different theme. If you approach the tree and look underneath, then you’ll notice that there’s a small wooden model of an Alsatian village.

If you visit on the hour, every hour at 5 pm, 6 pm, 7 pm and 8 pm (with music), 9 pm, 10 pm and 11 pm (without music), then you’ll be treated to a five-minute light show.

giant tree strasbourg
strasbourg christmas tree

The Children’s Village, place Saint Thomas

If you’re visiting Strasbourg with kids, then you won’t want to miss the Children’s Village, which is a festive event aimed at a younger audience. There are live performances throughout the month, including circus acts and interactive games.

Ice skating 

There used to be an annual outdoor ice skating rink held on Place Kléber in front of the Aubette building. However, this has been cancelled since 2022 and does not look set to return anytime soon.


If you’re spending any time in Strasbourg during the festive period, then be sure to hang around after dark in order to enjoy the beautiful illuminations strung up all around the city.

My particular favourite place to enjoy the lights is on Rue Mercière, where you can enjoy the sight of angels swooping down from above in front of the Gothic cathedral. The famous light arch saying Strasbourg Capitale de Noel can be found between rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons and Pont au Corbeau.

strasbourg capitale de noel
christmas illuminations

Go shopping 

Not only at the Christmas markets but also in shops around town in which you can buy a souvenir or two from your time in the Alsace:

  • Pain d’épices Mireille Oster (14, rue des Dentelles)- This gingerbread shop sells authentic Alsatian gingerbread as well as other sweet treats
  • Un Noël en Alsace (10, rue des Dentelles)- This shop is open all year round and is dedicated entirely to Christmas! Step inside during opening hours and you’ll find all sorts of fun Christmas decorations for sale.
  • Maison Bollinger ( 2 Rue Mercière)- you can buy Alsatian wine glasses here. These unique wine glasses are marked by their green stems and make for a unique souvenir from your time in Strasbourg that will help you remember your trip for years to come.
shop front at strasbourg

Take day trips to other Alsace towns 

If you fancy seeing a few other Christmas Markets during your time in Alsace, then Strasbourg is a great base from which to explore the surrounding region. If you don’t want to hire a car, then you can take the train to Colmar where you can enjoy the Colmar Christmas Market.

If you would prefer to discover some of the smaller towns in the region, then you can hire a car (check car rental comparison prices here). One of my favourite Christmas Markets close to Strasbourg is the one held in Obernai.

Explore Strasbourg Cathedral 

Strasbourg’s giant cathedral is one of the most striking in Europe and was once the tallest building in the world (between 1647 and 1874). Free to visit, at Christmas time, the church is home to a nativity set which, at 20 metres in length, is one of the biggest in France.

strasbourg cathedral

Food and drink to try in Strasbourg

To be honest, one of the greatest draws of visiting Strasbourg during the festive period is the opportunity to sample lots of delicious Christmas Market food. Here are some snacks you won’t want to miss out on:

bretzels strasbourg christmas market
  • Bretzels – as large as your face, soft, bread-like pretzels
  • Bredeles – these delicious little spiced biscuits are baked in the shape of stars
  • Pain d’epices – this spiced gingerbread is baked in all sorts of shapes and is similar to gingerbread
  • Tarte Flambee (Flammekeuche) – this is the Alsace answer to pizza. Tarte Flambée is a thin breaded crust topped with creme fraiche or cheese, as well as mushrooms or lardons
  • Crepes and waffles- If you’re looking for a snack on the go or a sweet treat, then one of the quickest and most affordable things to do buy is a crepe.
  • Vin chaud – Mulled wine is a firm favourite at the Christmas Markets. You can get vin chaud in both red and white wine (and occasionally even rosé). If you want to make some mulled wine for yourself, check out our hot wine recipe.
  • Spiced apple juice – if you are looking for a non-alcoholic alternative to mulled wine, then spiced apple juice can be found all over the markets
christmas market food

Getting around Strasbourg

Like many medium sized cities in Europe with a medieval heart, you can easily get around much of Strasbourg on foot. Almost all of the markets are within close walking distance of each other. Just be sure to bring comfortable shoes as there are plenty of historic cobbled lanes (particularly in Petite France).

If you need to go a little further afield, then you can easily take the tram or bus between destinations. Buses and trams require the same type of ticket, which can be purchased on a bus, from a kiosk at a stop or in a CTS office. 

It’s more expensive to buy a ticket on the bus so I recommend buying your ticket at a kiosk. Almost all tram stops have a kiosk and so you’ll never be too far away from one. If you’re taking the tram, be sure to validate your ticket before you get onboard as otherwise you risk a fine.

What to know before visiting Strasbourg at Christmas

Like many other Christmas markets in Europe, cash is king and many stall holders still don’t accept credit/ debit card payments. We found this for a number of stalls, including some of the food ones.

You should also note that the crowds in Strasbourg (particularly in the latter half of December and at weekends) are simply unreal. Be sure to keep a close eye on your belongings at all times and carry your valuables in a cross body bag with a zip.

strasbourg at night

You should also pay close attention to where you store your phone. I personally always travel with a phone leash like this one now so that my phone remains easily accessible and yet it’s hard to pickpocket.

If I could give you just one tip, it would be to dress warmly. I recommend packing a scarf, hat, thermal layers, and a warm jacket. Rain isn’t uncommon (and it snowed when I visited the market in 2022) so do be sure to pack an umbrella too!

In order to get any kind of drink, you’ll need to pay a cup deposit, which will be returned to you when you return your cup. Unfortunately, the cups used for vin chaud and the like are not the cute collectors’ mugs such as in Germany but actually plastic cups.

strasbourg christmas scene

How long do you need at the Strasbourg Christmas Markets?

Both times I’ve visited the Christmas Market, I’ve made sure to stay overnight and haven’t regretted it at all! One of the most magical periods of the Strasbourg Markets is post nightfall when the entirety of the city is illuminated by glittering lights.

If you do an overnight stay, then you can also visit the Petite France area first thing in the morning to avoid the larger crowds which form later on. All in all, I would say to stay at least two full days (including one night).

If you want to use Strasbourg as a base to explore nearby towns, then you’ll want to stay three or four nights. If you’re currently planning your trip, then be sure to use our suggested Christmas Market itinerary to help inspire your schedule.

christmas market in strasbourg

Where to stay in Strasbourg

I’m not going to lie: visiting Strasbourg during the Christmas Market period is one of the priciest times of the year to visit and so you’ll struggle to find good affordable accommodation. Even mid-range places tend to hike up their prices from the end of November through to the end of December.

This is because all accommodation places know that they can easily fill up (the markets see a whopping 2 million visitors a year). As such, if you want to secure somewhere good, then your only real choice is to pay the inflated prices and book well ahead of time so that you can ensure you get to stay in quality accommodation. Here are some of the best places to stay in Strasbourg:

Petite France is an idyllic place to stay, where you’ll start off each day of your time in Strasbourg wandering along medieval streets between timber-framed buildings. Here are some of the best places to stay in the area based on web-reviews and location:

Le Bouclier d’Or Hotel & Spa: This luxurious hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of many Strasbourg attractions. Amenities include a spa, parking, and air conditioning. Check prices and availability here.

Pavillon Régent Petite France: For an unforgettable stay during your time in Strasbourg, you’ll want to stay in this five-star hotel. Highlights include a spa, 24 hour front desk, air conditioning, and a fitness centre. Check prices and availability here.

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Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A Francophile at heart, she runs when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She splits her time between Paris and London and travels as much as she can! Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.

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