Visiting Trieste in winter is like stepping into a cool wonderland, with the city’s distinct Austro-Hungarian architecture lending a unique charm to the festive season.
As you wander the cobblestone streets, you’ll get a feel for the local lifestyle, especially around the pretty Christmas market lining the Grand Canal.
In this article, I’ll take you through the stalls, delicious specialties and festive events that make the Trieste Christmas Market one of the best in Northern Italy.
Confirmed 2023 dates, opening times, and locations of the markets and ice skating are listed below.
Wandering through Trieste in December, you see decorative lights adorning the streets and the gentle scent of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts in the air.
Embrace the seasonal specialties by indulging in Italian classics, such as panettone and pandoro, preferably topped with butter or, my favourite, Nutella.
Trieste Christmas Market 2023
I’ve spent a lot of time in Trieste and suggest the first thing you do on your visit is to make your way to the Piazza Unità d’Italia.
This is one of the largest squares in Italy, where a towering Christmas tree takes centre stage, framed by stunning illuminated buildings.
Further along, you’ll cross Piazza della Borsa and Trieste’s Grand Canal, where the Christmas market has been located over the last couple of years.
As the market grows each year, you’ll now find around 65 stalls selling unique artisanal crafts, handcrafted ornaments and food specialties.
This is a very European market, with only 20% of vendors coming from the local Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy. Of the 65 stalls, 25 are food stalls, with ten countries represented.
Don’t forget to warm up with a steaming cup of vin brulé – the Italian version of mulled wine – as you take in the atmosphere, complete with live performances and skating on the nearby ice rinks.
Dates and Information
Trieste Christmas Market dates: 8th December 2023 to 7th January 2024.
Location: The Grand Canal, Piazza Sant’Antonio and towards Piazza della Borsa.
Opening times: Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 8pm. Friday and Saturday: 10am to 9pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights: Yes, along the Grand Canal and Piazza Unità d’Italia.
Ice skating: Yes, located at Piazza della Borsa (adults) and Piazza Ponterosso (children).
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten-free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Reason to visit: Coastal location; mix of Central European and Mediterranean cuisine; beautiful sunsets.
Recommended tour: Customisable walking tour of Trieste.
Specialties: Frittole (Venetian doughnuts), grilled polenta, vin brule, roasted chestnuts, chimney cakes, raclette, bratwurst, Calda Calda.
Where to stay: YouMe Design Place Hotel is a great value hotel, 4-minutes from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Trieste Christmas Market
Walking through the streets of Trieste, you’ll discover the city’s events in the heart of the city around the Grand Canal. This pretty area is the perfect spot to stay if you want to be near the market (but don’t forget to visit Castello di Miramare).
YouMe Design Place Hotel is a highly-rated hotel just one street from the festive stalls and Trieste’s top restaurants and sights. This hotel is excellent value for money in a city that can be relatively expensive at times.
Read my guide to hotels near Trieste Christmas Market for more options covering a range of budgets.
Suggested Walking Tours
A city tour of Trieste is a fantastic way to experience the city’s history and diverse culture. With its alluring blend of Austro-Hungarian and Italian architecture, Trieste is a unique city that I personally love, even if it isn’t your typical Italian city.
I recommend this walking tour of Trieste as you get to see all the city’s highlights. It’s a private tour, so you can customise it to suit your preferences.
On a city tour, you’ll visit Trieste’s most iconic landmarks and attractions, including the Piazza Unità d’Italia, Miramare Castle and the Cathedral of San Giusto.
Otherwise, you might like to take this Prosecco tour to learn about this fantastic sparkling where and enjoy some tastings. Prosecco is local to the Trieste area, so this is an ideal opportunity to get hands-on and visit the town. Food tastings are included too.
For an insider’s perspective on travelling in Italy, my Italy Christmas Markets guide can help you plan a the rest of your trip and add to your itinerary.
Christmas in Trieste
Pandoro: A golden, star-shaped sweet bread originating from Verona, often dusted with powdered sugar to resemble the snowy peaks of the Italian Alps.
Panettone: Hailing from Milan, this fluffy, dome-shaped bread is packed with dried fruits and citrus zest, perfect for enjoying with a warm cup of coffee or mulled wine. You can eat this on its own or add some butter or Nutella.
Torrone: A nougat confection made from honey, sugar, egg whites, and toasted nuts, usually almonds or hazelnuts, with a history dating back to Roman times.
Brodo di Natale: A comforting Christmas soup made with homemade vegetable broth, often featuring a variety of seasonal vegetables and pasta shapes.
Caponata: A Sicilian vegetarian dish comprised of eggplant, tomatoes, olives, and capers, typically served as an entree or side dish.
Cenci: Tuscan fried pastries, also known as “Chiacchiere,” are lightly dusted with powdered sugar and typically enjoyed during Christmas.
At the Food Stalls
Frittole: An incredibly delicious Venetian-style doughnut, deep-fried and dusted with sugar, found at the markets in Trieste and in the surrounding region.
Mulled Wine: Sip on this spiced, hot drink made from red wine, a Christmas market staple that will warm your hands on a chilly winter day. Known as vin brulé in Italy.
Roasted Chestnuts: A classic winter treat, these fragrant chestnuts are roasted over an open fire, filling the market with their enticing aroma and providing a warm, earthy snack.
Kurtoskalacs: Venture into the flavours of Hungary with this unique, chimney-shaped pastry, also known as “chimney cake,” made from sweet, yeasty dough that’s wrapped around a wooden spit, grilled, and rolled in sugar or cinnamon. I highly recommend this one.
Raclette: Indulge in this Swiss specialty, where half a wheel of cheese is melted and scraped onto a plate, served with various accompaniments like potatoes, pickles, and cured meats. I highly recommend this one too.
Bratwurst: Sample the iconic German sausage, typically grilled to perfection and served in a crispy roll with mustard or sauerkraut, offering a savoury and satisfying bite.
What to Buy
Handcrafted Ornaments: Discover unique, locally-made decorations to adorn your tree and home, reflecting the charm and artistry of the Trieste region.
Illy Coffee: Treat yourself or your loved ones to the iconic Triestine coffee brand, Illy, where you can buy a range of blends and roasts to suit every discerning coffee lover’s palate.
Local Wine: Explore the diverse selection of regional wines, including the famous Friulano white and Refosco red, perfect for gifting or savouring during your festive celebrations. Of course, don’t forget Prosecco, the famous sparkling wine that is produced in the region.
Olive Oil: Bring home the essence of Italian cuisine with high-quality, cold-pressed olive oil from nearby Istria, renowned for its fruity, aromatic, and slightly peppery flavour profile.
Terrano Wine Vinegar: Add to your culinary creations with this distinct vinegar, produced in the Karst region, adding a touch of Italian acidity to your dishes.
Local Honey: Savour the sweetness of Trieste with a jar of locally-produced honey, available in a variety of flavours derived from diverse blossoms, such as acacia, chestnut, or wildflower.
For invaluable information and resources to make your Trieste experience truly remarkable, check out the tourist office website, which is designed to provide you with an overview and specific details to plan your perfect adventure in this Northern Italian city.
Sustainable Travel Tips
Many of us are increasingly concerned about climate change and sustainability. Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Trieste at Christmas.
Renewable Energy: Choose a hotel that uses renewable energy sources. There are a couple of sustainable hotels in Trieste to choose from.
Sustainable Tours: Book guided walking tours that showcase the city’s history and culture, rather than energy-consuming bus or boat tours, reducing your environmental impact while exploring Trieste. Try to book a local, independent guide to support local businesses.
Reducing Food Waste: Support local initiatives like Last Minute Sotto Casa, an app that allows you to purchase unsold food items from participating restaurants and shops at discounted prices, minimising food waste. When indulging in the seasonal treats at the markets, only order portions you can finish.
Ethical Consumption: Shop at eco-friendly stores like Silene Bottega Eco Equa, which sell a wide range of sustainable and ethically sourced products, from clothing to household items. The market stalls in Trieste are filled with handcrafted items. Purchase things you need and will use, and try to support local and regional artisans whose work contributes to the community.
Sustainable Diets: Trieste is a port city with access to fresh seafood. Order sustainable seafood or plant-based options over red meat to reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying local flavours.
Sustainable Transport: Embrace Trieste’s excellent public transportation system or rent a bike from BiciTrieste to traverse the city more eco-consciously, enjoying the picturesque scenery and festive atmosphere. Cycling is a great way to get around Trieste if the weather allows. Make use of buses or the Opicina Tramway instead of hiring a car. The Opicina tram is unique because it functions both as a regular tram and a funicular. When the line ascends steep slopes, it switches from a tram-like system to a cable-pulled funicular system. I definitely recommend taking this tram for fun if you have time.
Support local culture: Trieste blends Italian, Austrian, and Slovenian influences. Respect and engage with this cultural diversity to enrich your own understanding and support local communities.
Engage with charity stalls: At the Christmas market, you’ll notice two stalls given free to local charities. Take a moment to visit these. Your engagement helps raise awareness for social causes and allows you to give back directly to the local community.
The Trieste Christmas Market 2023 takes place from the 8th December to 7th January 2024.
The Christmas Market in Trieste is located in the city centre, along the Grand Canal and within the Piazza Sant’Antonio Nuovo and Piazza della Borsa, transforming the area into a magical winter wonderland.
The Christmas markets are open Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 8pm. Friday and Saturday: 10am to 9pm.
Winter in Trieste can be chilly, with temperatures ranging from 0°C to 10°C (32°F to 50°F). Packing warm clothing and dressing in layers for a comfortable and enjoyable visit is advisable.
Trieste is generally considered a safe city for visitors, even during winter. However, it’s always wise to follow standard safety precautions and remain aware of your surroundings during your travels.
Aside from the Christmas Market, Trieste offers a variety of events and attractions during the winter season, such as the Nativity Scene Exhibition, various concerts and shows, and historical sites and museums that can be explored year-round.
I spent a couple of months in Trieste a few years back. It’s a fun yet relaxing Italian city that is well worth visiting, even in winter.
I can’t say anything negative about it. Except maybe that it’s quite a small city, so that might not be to everyone’s taste. But that’s not a bad thing.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll love exploring the historic streets and watching the sunset over the sea every evening. Visit and support this lovely city!
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Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Trieste, Italy. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.