Strasbourg Christmas Market is known as Christkindelsmärik in the local Alsatian dialect. Thanks to its fairytale location and world-famous mulled wine, it’s one of Europe’s most popular Christmas markets and one of the oldest.
The Christmas markets in Strasbourg and festive events are held in the city’s grand squares and alongside the pretty canals lined with half-timbered houses.
In this guide, you’ll find the confirmed dates for 2023, opening times, locations and Alsatian specialties to look out for when you’re there.
Strasbourg is known as the Capital of Christmas, and in 2023 the event is named “Allumons les étoiles”, let’s light up the stars.
Altogether there are more than 300 wooden Christmas chalets and huts selling handmade Christmas toys, decorations, artisan gifts, crafts and delicious food and drinks in Strasbourg at Christmas.
Strasbourg Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas markets in Strasbourg take place over more than 10 locations around the historic city centre known as the Grande Île district.
The largest and most popular is located in Place Kléber. This is where you’ll find the city’s Great Christmas Tree, an enormous 30-metre tree that is decorated with colourful ornaments and fairy lights.
There are also many Christmas chalets around Place de la Cathedral, the centre square dominated by the extraordinary Strasbourg Cathedral.
Dates and Location
Strasbourg Christmas Market dates: 24th November to 24th December 2023.
Location: The main market is located at Place Kléber but there are other markets in the surrounding streets and squares.
Opening times: 11am to 8pm.
Christmas Eve: 11am to 6pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 24th November 2023.
Ice skating: No.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Reason to visit: The 30 metre high Christmas tree in Place Kléber. Strasbourg has one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world as it first opened in 1570.
Recommended tour: Traditional food and city tour.
Specialities: A variety of aromatic mulled wines, tarte flambée, gourmet pretzels, raclette, Riesling, hot cider and Christmas biscuits.
Travel tips: Try to include a side trip to the beautiful Alsatian city of Colmar which is only 30 minutes away by train. If you would prefer to visit a few villages as well as Colmar Christmas market, you could take a this popular tour with a local guide.
Where to stay: Two minutes from Place Kléber is Hannong Hotel, a lovely hotel with an in-house wine bar.
Hotels near Strasbourg Christmas Market
To be near the Christmas markets, anywhere on the Grande-Île de Strasbourg would be suitable as this is where most of the markets are held, including the main market on Place Kléber.
I suggest staying at Hannong Hotel as it’s only a 2 or 3-minute walk to Place Kléber as well as only 4 minutes to Petite-France, one of the most beautiful sights in Strasbourg.
The best hotels tend to book out early, but in my guide to hotels near Strasbourg Christmas Market, I list several options that should help with your planning and booking process.
If you’re thinking of visiting more destinations this winter, my French Christmas markets guide will give you plenty of ideas on where to go.
Alternatively, pick one of these top Alsace Christmas Market destinations which you can reach on a day trip from Strasbourg.
Location of Strasbourg Christmas Market
Christmas in Strasbourg
Christmas Specialties in Strasbourg
- Choucroute Garnie: Imagine a platter heaving with fermented cabbage cooked in white wine, mingling harmoniously with an assortment of meats. Choucroute Garnie typically includes sausages, pork and often ham. Yet, vegetarians don’t have to miss out; meatless variations feature an assortment of root vegetables and tofu.
- Flammekueche: Also known as tarte flambée, this is a tasty cross between pizza and a tart. Its ultra-thin crust is smothered with fresh cream or fromage blanc, topped with thinly sliced onions and lardons. Vegetarian-friendly alternatives often use a variety of vegetables and cheese in place of lardons.
- Baeckeoffe: A traditional Alsatian dish, Baeckeoffe is a slow-cooked casserole incorporating several types of marinated meat, potatoes, onions and Alsatian white wine. Vegetarian versions rely on the hearty flavours of root vegetables and herbs, marinated and slow-cooked until they reach a tender, aromatic perfection.
- Kouglof: An Alsatian culinary icon, Kouglof is a distinctive round cake, usually baked in a fluted mould that gives it its trademark shape. Studded with raisins and often soaked in rum, it provides a satisfying end to your meal.
- Bredele: These small, round cookies are a Christmas tradition in Alsace. They come in a myriad of flavours, such as almond, anise and chocolate, providing a sweet finish to your Alsatian gastronomic experience.
- Fleischnacka: Translated as “meat snail”, Fleischnacka is a dish comprised of minced meat rolled into thin sheets of pasta, then sliced and cooked in broth. For those with plant-based preferences, variations using mushrooms or spinach as the filling are becoming increasingly popular.
- Soupe de Carpe: A traditional Alsatian Christmas Eve dish, this is a delicate fish soup made from carp and vegetables. The fish is often served separately with a horseradish and beetroot sauce. While not traditionally vegetarian, the essence of this dish could be replicated using a rich vegetable broth.
Remember, the charm of Alsatian cuisine lies in its diversity and adaptability. Don’t hesitate to experiment or ask for vegetarian or vegan alternatives when you’re there, as more establishments are accommodating these dietary preferences.
Food at the Christmas Market
- Vin Chaud: When the chill of winter bites, warm your hands on a steaming mug of Vin Chaud. This spiced, mulled wine, often sweetened with honey, is a Christmas market staple, imbued with the flavours of cinnamon, star anise and clove.
- Hot White Wine à l’Alsacienne: In addition to the traditional Vin Chaud, the Strasbourg Christmas market introduces you to a unique local variation. This Hot White Wine à l’Alsacienne is a treat to the senses, combining local white wine, honey and spices like cinnamon and cloves. The result is a warm, comforting drink that is truly an Alsatian specialty.
- Mannele: One of the most charming traditions of Alsace during Saint Nicholas Day, and throughout the festive season, is the Mannele. These are delightful little brioche buns shaped like little men, sometimes dotted with chocolate or raisins for eyes. They are as much a treat for the eyes as they are for the palate and are often paired with hot chocolate.
- Pretzels: No trip to a Germanic region is complete without tasting the ubiquitous pretzel, or Bretzel as it’s locally known. These twisted delights come with a variety of toppings, from classic coarse salt to sesame seeds, and can also be found stuffed with cheese or ham for a filling snack.
- Churros: In Strasbourg, you’ll also encounter popular international Christmas market snacks such as Churros. These Spanish-origin treats are deep-fried dough pastries dusted with sugar, often served with a pot of thick, warm chocolate for dipping.
- Lebkuchen: Originating from Germany, Lebkuchen is a type of soft gingerbread cookie. Often heart-shaped and decorated with icing, these biscuits are synonymous with Christmas markets and make for sweet souvenirs too.
- Roasted Chestnuts: The aroma of roasting chestnuts is an unmistakable sign of the season. Enjoy a paper cone filled with these warm, sweet treats as you wander through the market, a simple yet delicious reminder of why winter has its own unique charm.
- Gewürztraminer Hot Chocolate: The Alsace region brings a local twist to the classic hot chocolate by adding Gewürztraminer, a locally produced white wine. The rich, creamy hot chocolate combined with the aromatic, slightly sweet wine creates a unique, warming concoction.
- Saucisse de Montbéliard Sandwiches: Saucisse de Montbéliard are smoked pork sausages from the neighbouring region of Franche-Comté. Grilled and served on a fresh baguette with mustard and pickles, they provide a hearty snack for those exploring the market.
- Marrons Glacés: From France come these candied chestnuts, slow-cooked in a sugar syrup until they become a delectable, sweet treat. Marrons Glacés are often beautifully packaged, making them a great edible souvenir or gift.
Whether you opt for local or international flavours, Strasbourg Christmas market’s food stalls are brimming with delectable snacks that echo the spirit of the season.
What to Buy
- Alsatian Pottery: Alsace is known for its beautiful, handcrafted pottery. In hues of blue and white, these ceramic pieces range from intricate ornaments to functional dinnerware, each bearing unique patterns that capture the region’s charm.
- Christmas Ornaments: The Christmas markets in Strasbourg have an abundance of festive decorations. From traditional glass baubles to handcrafted wooden figurines, these ornaments add a touch of Alsatian charm to your Christmas tree.
- Strasbourg Nativity Scenes: Known locally as ‘crèches,’ these traditional Alsatian nativity scenes are finely crafted miniature representations of the birth of Christ. Ranging from simple wooden designs to elaborate sets, they serve as both a religious symbol and a beautiful piece of festive decor.
- Alsatian Wine: Alsace is famous for its wine, making it a sought-after product at the market. You’ll find bottles of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Noir among others, all produced locally. They make an excellent gift for wine connoisseurs or a delightful addition to your own wine collection.
- Handmade Toys: Stalls brim with a variety of artisanal toys, from charming wooden animals to colourful puzzles. These handcrafted gifts not only serve as playthings but as a testament to the craftsmanship that pervades the region.
- Gingerbread Moulds: Traditionally used to shape the region’s famous gingerbread or Pain d’Épices, these wooden moulds come in all shapes and sizes. They make a unique gift, especially when paired with a recipe for traditional Alsatian gingerbread.
- Table Linens: Craftsmanship in Alsace extends to textiles as well, with many stalls selling beautiful, hand-embroidered table linens. These pieces, often adorned with traditional Alsatian motifs, can add a touch of elegance to any dining setting.
Things to do in Strasbourg in Winter
Strasbourg brims with an assortment of intriguing activities during the winter season, beyond the bustling excitement of its Christmas markets.
Sampling the rich Alsatian cuisine is an integral part of your visit to Alsace, a region renowned for its distinctive gastronomic delights, from delicious food to exquisite wines and unique cider.
A plethora of cafes, bistros, taverns, gourmet delis, and indoor markets adorn the cityscape, each one inviting you to indulge in the local culinary masterpieces.
From a cultural perspective, Strasbourg has much to offer as well. It houses an impressive array of museums, historic residences, churches, art galleries and concert venues, each serving as a testament to the city’s rich history and vibrant arts scene.
Provided the weather conditions are agreeable, a scenic boat tour along the city’s celebrated canal offers a uniquely enriching experience, highlighted by the journey through an age-old lock.
If this is your first time in Strasbourg, I recommend taking this tour of Strasbourg’s historic city centre. It’s a great introduction to the city and Alsatian history.
If a gourmet food tour is more your thing, this popular food tour is a great choice that takes you around Strasbourg’s food markets where you can sample various Alsatian specialties.
Visit Strasbourg has further information on things to do and the latest Christmas events.
Sustainable Travel in Strasbourg
The choices we make have an environmental and social impact on the places we visit. When visiting the Christmas markets, keeping sustainability in mind is important.
Implement some or all of these simple measures to create a positive impact in Strasbourg.
- Use Public Transportation and Biking: Strasbourg is well-known for its excellent public transportation network and cycling lanes. Reduce your carbon footprint by taking trams or buses to explore the city or rent a bike. Velhop, the city’s bike-sharing system, has several stations around town and is a wonderful way to see the city while staying active and sustainable.
- Opt for Renewable Energy Powered Accommodation: Numerous hotels in Strasbourg are taking significant strides towards sustainability. Search for accommodation that uses renewable energy sources such as solar power.
- Reduce Food Waste: Strasbourg, like many European cities, has initiated several schemes to combat food waste. Look out for establishments with the ‘Zéro Gaspillage’ or ‘Zero Waste’ sign, a Strasbourg initiative encouraging restaurants and cafes to take steps to minimise food waste. These venues commit to using seasonal produce, offering smaller portion sizes, and composting organic waste.
- Choose Ethically Produced Souvenirs: Consider their source and production methods when buying gifts and souvenirs. For example, many of the handmade items at the Christmas Market are locally made, supporting local artisans and reducing carbon emissions associated with transporting goods from overseas.
- Embrace a Sustainable Diet: Many restaurants in Strasbourg offer locally sourced, organic and vegetarian options. Opting for these choices can significantly reduce the environmental impact of your diet.
- Refill Your Water Bottle: Strasbourg’s tap water is safe to drink, and public drinking fountains are scattered throughout the city. Bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated without resorting to single-use plastic bottles.
- Use Digital Tickets: For attractions, public transportation, or events, try to use digital tickets instead of printed ones. This reduces paper usage and is generally more convenient.
- Participate in Strasbourg’s Recycling Programme: The city has comprehensive recycling facilities, including yellow bins for packaging, paper, and plastic and glass collection points. Make use of these during your stay to minimise waste.
The Christmas markets in Strasbourg start on 24th November and continue until 24th December 2023.
Strasbourg’s Christmas markets open at 11am daily.
The Christmas markets close at 8pm except on the 24th, when they close at 6pm.
The main Strasbourg Christmas Market is located at Place Kléber on the Grande-Île de Strasbourg.
Strasbourg has one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. The atmosphere is incredibly festive, and the stalls sell quality decorations, handmade gifts and delicious food. It’s well worth visiting if you can.
No, tickets are not required and it’s free to enter.
I recommend at least 3 nights in Strasbourg to give you 2 full days to explore. You might also want an additional day to take a day trip to beautiful Colmar.
You can walk from Strasbourg to Kehl in Germany by crossing the Pont de l’Europe pedestrian bridge over the Rhine River. It’s a fun walk, although it’s an hour each way from Grande-Île de Strasbourg. I walked across the border one time, but not during winter when it would possibly be too cold.
Tough question! It’s impossible to say if Colmar or Strasbourg is the better Christmas destination. Strasbourg is a larger city, so it has much more going on, while Colmar is smaller, easier to get around and possibly prettier. You won’t be disappointed either way.
If you have any questions or comments about visiting the Strasbourg Xmas market in 2023 or visiting anywhere in the Alsace region this winter, please leave a comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Strasbourg, France. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.