European Christmas Markets by train

European Christmas Markets By Train: Full Itinerary

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Table of Contents

European Christmas Markets By Train: Self-Guided Itinerary
Europe Travel Checklist
How To Get Around European Christmas Markets By Train
European Christmas Markets With Interrail Pass
European Christmas Markets With Eurail Pass
DAY 0. Arrive In Budapest, Hungary
Where To Stay In Budapest: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
Where To Stay In Prague: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
Where To Stay In Salzburg: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
Experience Austrian Tradition – Krampus
Where To Stay In Nuremberg: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
Where To Stay In Brussels: My TOP TIPS for Accommodation
More Tips For European Travel

Winter is around the corner, and European cities are preparing for the most special time of the year. If you want to get into the Christmas mood, Europe is definitely the place. Its Christmas markets just open at the end of November and welcome you with delicious food and drinks, souvenirs, and a magical atmosphere.

As winter starts and roads are covered in snow, it’s generally much easier to get from one city to another by train. Therefore, I’ve prepared the perfect itinerary for you to see European Christmas Markets by train. So take it, and visit some of the best Christmas markets in Europe next winter. You’re about to see 4 European countries after completing this itinerary. Let’s get round to it.

European Christmas Markets By Train: Self-Guided Itinerary

  1. DAY: Budapest (Hungary)
  2. DAY: Train from Budapest to Prague
  3. DAY: Prague (Czech Republic)
  4. DAY: Train from Prague to Salzburg
  5. DAY: Salzburg (Austria)
  6. DAY: Train from Salzburg to Nuremberg
  7. DAY: Nuremberg (Germany)
  8. DAY: Train from Nuremberg to Brussels
  9. DAY: Brussels (Belgium)

I’ve created this itinerary for you not only to see the most magical Christmas markets in Europe. But to also visit the most beautiful cities, so that it doesn’t get too boring for you in the middle of the way, only seeing Christmas stuff. Each place has its own specific things to do apart from the Christmas markets. So grab this itinerary, buy your Interrail train pass, and experience the Christmasy Europe.

I’ve planned one day in each city, which is enough to explore their Christmas markets. On the other day, you’ll travel by train between each destination. The cities are pretty close to each other, but train rides are rather longer. So plan accordingly.

So I recommend spending the second day in each city exploring it, and taking a train to the other destination in the afternoon/towards the evening. This way, you’ll get the most out of your Christmas markets itinerary and each city.

Europe Travel Checklist

Before you set off for your European Christmas adventure, there are a couple of things you’ll need to manage. Here are the top essentials for you to think of before traveling to Europe:

  • travel insurance
  • car rental/train pass/tickets
  • book a flight
  • passport
  • visa
  • accommodation

Travel Insurance For Europe

Choosing travel insurance can be doubting. So I’ve done extensive research for you on the best travel insurance for Europe. Check out my article for a comparison of the best 3 travel insurance companies, so you can choose for yourself.

Get The Best Travel Insurance For Europe

Airport Transfer

If you want a private transfer from the airport, check out Get Transfers. They offer reliable transfer services within Europe. Especially if you travel in a small group, it can be a good deal to book with them.

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Book A Flight

Another thing you’ll need to do is to book a flight ticket.

Use flight aggregators to check the top flight deals. They gather information and all flight tickets from airlines around the world and select the best deals for you. Among the best are Skyscanner, Hopper, Kayak, and Priceline.

After you see the results in their search engines, I recommend going to the website of the particular airline they showed you. Check on the airline site for how much they offer for the same flight ticket.

If the price is more or less the same, book directly with the airline (simply because it’s easier to communicate with them if issues happen during your journey). If a flight aggregator has a much cheaper ticket, book with them.

Passport & Visa

Check the expiration date of your passport. Most airlines don’t even take you on board if your passport expires in 6 months. Avoid issues with boarding and on the road. Make sure your passport won’t expire in the next 8 months. Think about how long you’ll travel as you still have to come back home with the passport.

Lastly, check if you need visa to each country. One of the best site for visa pre-check is iVisa. They also inform you about other necessary documents you might need to travel to Europe.


When you go through this Christmas markets itinerary, you’ll get accommodation tips from me in each place/city. So just scroll down and find the best hotel deals and beautiful accommodation spots in each day.

How To Get Around European Christmas Markets By Train

Now that you know our packed itinerary let’s talk about how we’ll get from one city to another.

We’ll use our beloved Interrail/Eurail Pass. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this pass:

Interrail and Eurail Pass is a train pass you can use to travel through Europe. You can choose the number of days you want to travel within a month. It can be on a flexible schedule or on consecutive days. With Eurail pass, you also have to select countries you’ll travel to.

The difference between Interrail and Eurail Pass is that the former is for European citizens. In contrast, the latter is made for non-European citizens. 


European Christmas Markets With Interrail Pass

For our Christmas markets itinerary, we’ll need the 5-day Interrail pass (or 5-day Eurail pass) on flexible days within 1 month. This will cover our train rides from one city to another as we’ll have 4 travel days out of the 9-day itinerary.

To use up the 5th travel day, you can use it to travel from Brussels (end destination) to the airport or to 1 more European city you want to see.

However, I recommend you think further and buy the pass even for more days if you want to stay in Europe after this itinerary and explore more destinations. So plan accordingly. Check out their website to see which countries to travel to with Interrail pass. In some countries, you can even use ferries and public transportation in cities, so read carefully.

European Christmas Markets With Eurail Pass

Eurail pass works slightly differently than the Interrail pass. With the latter, you can select the number of days you want to travel within a month. 

When buying a Eurail pass, you’ll have to select the countries you want to travel through. Based on the countries and distances, the price is generated. So insert each country mentioned in this itinerary and

With both passes, you’ll only have to pay extra for the high-speed and night train seat reservations. All other journeys are included, so you can just hop on and off the trains when getting in between the destinations on your itinerary. It’ll save up a lot of money and give you much flexibility.

So buy the pass online and use it on your first day when travelling from Tallinn to Budapest.

Get Interrail Pass

Get Eurail Pass


Hungary with its capital city will perfectly put you into the Christmas mood, and you’ll feel ready to explore more.

So firstly, get to Budapest, Hungary, on the first day. Check in to your accommodation and take the first glimpse into the city in the evening.

Where To Stay In Budapest





Budapest Christmas markets are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in entire Europe. No wonder the city itself creates a very special atmosphere with the impressive buildings and lights reflected in the Danube River.

You’ll get to try local specialties such as chimney cake (Kürtőskalács), apple strudel, langos (fried dough with toppings), potato pancakes, fried sausages with local bread, stuffed cabbage rolls, delicious goose with red cabbage, or cured meat. Then drink local mulled wine and tea.

You can also buy chocolate, handmade toys (local grandmas create beautiful stuff), and some Christmas ornaments.

Budapest Christmas Markets will be held from the 17th of November until the 31st of December 2023.

European christmas markets by train Budapest
European christmas markets by train: Budapest


You can take some time to explore Budapest in the morning. Then, around lunchtime, take a train directly to Prague. That way, you’ll reach Prague in the evening, ready to check in to your hotel.

I recommend taking either EC Train or Regiojet.

Regiojet is a Czech company providing trains and buses around Europe. Their trains are very comfortable. And you’ll get a coffee or tea free of charge, so go for it. All train rides covered by Regiojet are included in your Interrail and Eurail Pass, which is amazing.

Use your Interrail/Eurail website to check the timetables of the trains. Some are direct connections from Budapest to Prague. With others, you might have to change trains in Vienna.

The train ride from Budapest to Prague takes approx. 7hours & 30minutes. So plan accordingly.

Where To Stay In Prague





Don’t worry if you haven’t had enough of the Chimney Cake or are missing any other specialty from Budapest, don’t worry. You can catch up in Prague. The capital city of the Czech Republic has equally stunning Christmas Markets as Budapest. However, Prague has an even more unique atmosphere. You have to see for yourself.

Enjoy more food such as homemade gingerbread, traditional fish soup, sweet dumplings filled with jam, and pancakes. Then finish with a big jar of Czech beer, the most delicious and cheapest in Europe.

Central European countries have beautiful handicrafts that local grandmas prepare. Prague is not an exception. So it might be the place for you to buy some decorations for your Christmas Eve back home.

The main Christmas Markets are held in Old Town Square and Wencelas Square. The beginning is on the 26th of November, lasting until the 6th of January 2023. This makes them the longest-lasting Christmas Markets in Europe.

If you want to visit city’s highlights, get my self-guided walking tour for Prague. It’ll show you the city so you won’t miss anything.

Prague’s Christmas markets begin on the 2nd of December 2023, lasting until the 6th of January 2024.

European Christmas markets by train Prague
European Christmas markets by train: Prague


Salzburg is quite close to Prague, but you’ll have to change trains in Vienna again. So take some time in the morning to explore Prague. Or eat more delicious things on its Christmas markets (maybe more Chimney cake?).

Around lunchtime, hop on a train again to Salzburg.

To get from Prague to Salzburg, you can again take Regiojet or use the Austrian railway train network called ÖBB. If you travel with ÖBB, watch out for the Railjet train. Railjet is a beautiful, spacious train. I personally love travelling with Railjet. But, who is going to beat Regiojet with its free coffee?… well, you answer that.

The train ride from Prague to Salzburg takes approx. 8hours.

Where To Stay In Salzburg

To see which accommodation you should book in Salzburg, check out my Salzburg itinerary for 3 days. Scroll to the end and see my accommodation tips.

Use my Salzburg itinerary for more tips on what to see and do in the city besides its great Christmas markets.


Salzburg is the most charming city on this list, so it must be on our Christmas Market tour through Europe. It’s a small town in Austria, close to the border with Germany. And I’d say it’s more worth visiting than Vienna, the Austrian capital. So if you are hesitant about which one of these cities to visit, you can make a choice now.

Go to Residence Square for the main markets, one of the oldest markets in Europe. Then walk across the Salzach River to Linzergasse street until you reach the Mirabell Gardens. Get the best views of the Salzburg Fortress from the gardens and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere.

Sip hot glühwine, enjoy local sausages, and finish with delicious Mozart kügel (chocolate pralines) for dessert.

The Christmas Markets in Salzburg will start on the 23rd of November 2023 and finish on the 6th of January 2024.

Salzburg is a beautiful city so once you’re there, I recommend doing a walking tour of its sights. Then, check out my Salzburg itinerary for 3 days for guidance. Also, visit other places in the Salzburg region, making some day trips from Salzburg.


Experience Austrian Tradition – Krampus

If you are in the region on the 6th of December, you’ll also experience a unique tradition – Krampus. It’s a parade of creatures called ‘Krampus.’ These are hand-carved wooden scary masks. Locals dress up and go to the streets and scare everybody.

It’s actually very creepy yet interesting to experience. The purpose of this tradition is to scare away all the bad energy from the places and people before Christmas and prepare for the arrival of Jesus Christ.


Finally a shorter train ride awaits us today, crossing the border to Germany. We’ll get to explore another stunning medieval city, Nuremberg.

Salzburg has a lot to see, so take some time today in the morning to appreciate Classical music in Mozart’s birthplace, go up to Salzburg’s Fortress, and chill in the Mirabel Gardens before you take the train.

In the evening, get to Nuremberg and have a good rest. Tomorrow, we’ll explore the city with its markets.

You’ll have to change in Munich to get from Salzburg to Nuremberg. You can take a regional train from Salzburg to Munich (blue-yellow train) and then change to an Intercity train. Or take 2x Intercity trains organized by DB (Deutsche Bahn – German Railways).

The train ride from Salzburg to Nuremberg takes approx. 3hours.

Where To Stay In Nuremberg




Nuremberg is a beautiful medieval city and, without doubt, the best Christmas market in Germany to my mind. Stepping into the town, you’ll immediately feel the Christmas atmosphere and tradition. These markets have been around since the 16th century.

This is where you finally have to try mulled wine (glühwein), local Nuremberg sausages, and delicious gingerbread.

Besides its charming Christmas markets, Nuremberg has a lot more to see. You have to visit its castle, walk through the historical walls around the city, admire its beautiful architecture, and learn more about the Nazi regime in the Nazi Party Center.

Nuremberg’s Christmas markets start on the 1st of December, and end on the 24th of December 2023.

European Christmas Markets
European Christmas Markets


Our last train ride on this European Christmas markets itinerary will take us to the home of European institutions, delicious chocolate with waffles, and more craft beer. So today, take a train from Nuremberg to Brussels and head to the city to explore the last destination of this trip.

There is no direct train from Nurember to Brussels. You’ll most often have to change in Frankfurt. You can take trains from DB, German Railways. They’ll get you to your final destination.

Getting from Nuremberg to Brussels by train takes approx. 6hours.

Where To Stay In Brussels




The Sound & Light show at the Grand Place (main square) makes the Christmas markets in Brussels so special. The square is beautiful on its own, with impressive buildings such as the Town Hall. During the show, they all turn into a different world, and you standing in the middle of it will also be taken away. The show changes each year, so it never gets boring. It starts at 5pm and is repeated every hour until about 10pm daily.

Apart from the light show, you can enjoy a big ice skating ring and Ferris wheel, and sometimes see animals in stalls such as sheep or goats.

Hands down to the local specialties you have to try. Brussels Christmas markets will amaze you with delicious Belgian waffles, some of the best chocolate, glühwein, and local craft beer. Don’t forget to also get Belgian french fries, which are said to be the best in Europe (I agree, they are delicious).

Brussels Christmas Markets will be open from the 25th of November 2023 until the 1st of January 2024.

More Tips For European Travel

This is our itinerary to travel the best European Christmas markets by train. You don’t have to plan anything. Take it, book your Interrail pass, and travel to Europe this winter. They’ll put you into the proper Christmas mood, I promise. If it’s too much for you, skip some cities and only visit a few of them from the itinerary.

If that’s the case, I highly recommend starting in Budapest, after travelling to Prague and finishing in Salzburg. Central European markets have a unique charm. So if you don’t have time to complete the entire itinerary, make it at least to these 3 cities.

If you want to see more European places, check out my travel itineraries. They’ll take the burden from your planning, and you’ll only enjoy the journey.

If you prefer to visit only one of the cities from this itinerary and explore the rest of the country, I have you covered. Take my Austria road trip itinerary for 10 days if your preferred city is Salzburg. Take my Czech Republic road trip itinerary for 10 days if you want to see Prague’s Christmas markets.

Or travel to southern Europe and explore Spain with my Spain itinerary for 14 days. Possibilities are endless, so get excited, pack yourself, and set off.

If you’re in to explore more places in Europe in November or even December, check out my article about the best places to visit in Europe in November.

Happy Christmas time in Europe and Happy Travels!