7 Best Christmas Markets in Slovakia: A Local’s Advice


Christmas markets have an integral place in Slovak culture. Every year in the pre-Christmas period they take place in almost every Slovak city. They are a place where you can enjoy a peaceful and festive atmosphere.

At Christmas markets in Slovakia, you always find a big Christmas tree and Crib of Baby Jesus. You can enjoy food such as roasted sausages, halušky, or roasted chestnuts. Mulled wine or mead will keep you warm. The best Christmas markets can be found in Bratislava, Košice, and other Slovak cities.

In this post I show where you find the best Slovak Christmas markets, what you can taste there and why they are so unique and beautiful. So keep reading, you will like it.

Best Christmas Markets in Slovakia

In many Slovak cities, Christmas markets symbolize the real Christmas atmosphere. You can visit Christmas markets not only in almost every city in Slovakia, but also in many villages.

The organization of Christmas markets has a long tradition in Slovakia. Christmas markets are becoming more popular from year to year. And to be honest, I’m not even surprised. They are a great opportunity to buy Christmas gifts or spend some pleasant time together with family or friends.

Below I will introduce you to the most beautiful and interesting Christmas markets in Slovakia.

Interesting fact: Since 2018, almost all Christmas markets in Slovakia have been striving for the concept of ‘zero waste’. The reason is an effort to prevent the generation of waste and also to reduce the amount of municipal waste. Therefore only returnable cups and plates made of compostable materials will be used.

Bratislava, Hlavné Námestie Square

Christmas market in Bratislava (source)

There are several Christmas markets in Bratislava. You can find the main Christmas markets on the Hlavné námestie (Main Square) and Františkánske námestie (Franciscan Square) in the historic city center.

The main decoration of these Christmas markets is the Christmas tree, which is about 15 meters high and is really nicely decorated. At the Christmas markets in Bratislava you will find around 100 Christmas stalls with refreshments and various traditional but also modern Slovak products.

You can also find there around 10 stands of non-profit organizations that will present their charitable activities.

If you like a cultural program and like to have fun, you will also enjoy yourself at these Christmas markets. In the part of Franciscan Square there is a stage where concerts and other cultural events take place every day.

Short summary about Christmas markets in Bratislava:

  • Where: The Main Square and basically the whole area of the historic center (map).
  • When: Beginning at the end of November and ending before Christmas Day.
  • What to expect: Lots of traditional Slovak dishes, but also modern Slovak food and drinks and a rich cultural program.
  • Entrance fee: No entrance fee is paid, admission is free for everyone.

LOCAL TIP: You can find more amazing Christmas Markets in Bratislava, I wrote about them in this post:

Best Christmas Markets in Bratislava by Locals

Košice, Hlavná Ulica Street

Christmas market in Košice (source)

The most beautiful and largest Christmas markets in Eastern Slovakia take place in Košice. Christmas markets in Košice take place at the pedestrian zone on Hlavná street.

You will be able to visit these Christmas markets from the beginning of December, with the official launch of the Christmas markets and the lighting of the Christmas tree scheduled for the fifth of December each year.

In addition to many traditional dishes and drinks, you will also find there interesting cultural events such as music concerts or theater performances.

Short summary about Christmas markets in Košice:

  • Where: The pedestrian zone of Hlavná Street (map)
  • When: Start on the 1st of December and end on 6th of January (official start is scheduled for 5th of December)
  • What to expect: Lots of traditional Slovak food and drinks, stalls with demonstrations of traditional Slovak crafts.
  • Entrance fee: No entrance fee is paid, admission is free for everyone.

Prešov, Hlavná Ulica Street

Christmas market in Prešov (source)

Other Christmas markets in eastern Slovakia that are worth visiting are those in Prešov. They are located, as in Košice, on Hlavná Street in the city center.

There are around 80 stalls in the city center for visitors to the Christmas Markets and around 30 of them offer Christmas specialties and drinks. The atmosphere is completed by Christmas music, which is played during opening hours of the Christmas markets.

Are you one of the people who don’t like winter or don’t like standing outside for a long time? If so, in that case, the Prešov Christmas Markets will delight you with a seating zone with a capacity of 130 seats near the refreshment stalls. Rattan armchairs, warm blankets, and heaters are available to visitors.

Short summary about Christmas markets in Prešov:

  • Where: The pedestrian zone of Hlavná Street (map)
  • When: Start at the end of November and end on the 31st of December
  • What to expect: Stalls with traditional Slovak food and drinks, traditional Slovak crafts, Christmas music, and book exchange or hand-made markets.
  • Entrance fee: No entrance fee is paid, admission is free for everyone.

Trenčín, Mierové Námestie Square

Christmas market in Trenčín (source)

In Trenčín, Christmas markets take place in the area below Trenčiansky Hrad Castle, specifically on Mierové námestie Square, and their official name is The Magic of Christmas Under the Castle.

The main attraction of the Christmas markets in Trenčín are stalls with demonstrations of traditional Slovak crafts such as blacksmithing, carving, or embroidery.

The interesting thing about these Christmas markets is that all the food stalls were selected on the basis of a tender. The city of Trenčín wants to ensure the high quality of the offered services and their diversity in this way.

Therefore, you can look forward to, for example, vegan burgers, non-traditional waffles, homemade hot lemonades and other traditional and non-traditional dishes and drinks.

Short summary about Christmas markets in Trenčín:

  • Where: Mierové námestie Square (under the Castle – map)
  • When: Official start is on the 5th of December and ends before Christmas Day.
  • What to expect: Not only traditional Slovak food and drinks but also food from international cuisines, a lot of stalls with traditional Slovak crafts and unique atmosphere under Trenčiansky Hrad Castle.
  • Entrance fee: No entrance fee is paid, admission is free for everyone.

Banská Bystrica, Námestie SNP Square

Christmas market in Banská Bystrica (source)

Christmas markets in Banská Bystrica take place on SNP Námestie Square. This square is one of the most beautiful Slovak squares and therefore the Christmas atmosphere on it is unique and really charming.

The organization of Christmas markets is divided into two parts. Refreshment stalls are available from the end of November until the first days of the new year. On the other hand, stalls with handicrafts and other traditional products are available only from the beginning of December to Christmas Day.

If you visit the Christmas markets in Banská Bystrica, the advantage is that they are open until midnight so you will have plenty of time to try different traditional Christmas dishes and drinks.

Short summary about Christmas markets in Banská Bystrica:

  • Where: SNP Námestie Square (city center – map)
  • When: Start at the end of November and end at the beginning of January
  • What to expect: Stalls with traditional Slovak food and drinks, traditional Slovak handicrafts, Christmas music, long opening hours.
  • Entrance fee: No entrance fee is paid, admission is free for everyone.

Banská Štiavnica, Courtyard of the Kammerhof

Christmas market in Banská Štiavnica (source)

I assume that you will not find this city in any other list of the best Christmas markets in Slovakia. And do you know why? Because they are not written by locals. But this is not the case.

Banská Štiavnica is one of the most beautiful Slovak towns which belongs to the UNESCO list and the Christmas atmosphere only intensifies this environment. Simply put, you will feel like a fairy tale here during the Christmas season.

As in other Slovak cities, Banská Štiavnica hosts Christmas markets in the city center during December. However, the specialty is the so-called Styavnycký Vjanočný Jarmok, which takes place only during one weekend in December in the courtyard of the Kammerhof, the most valuable monument in the historic center of Banská Štiavnica.

If you attend this event, you can look forward not only to traditional delicious Christmas food and drinks but also to a rich cultural program, which includes educational and entertaining games for children, performances from the puppet theater, live Bethlehem, and more.

Short summary about Christmas markets in Banská Štiavnica:

  • Where: Courtyard of the Kammerhof (map)
  • When: One weekend in December (the exact date will be announced soon)
  • What to expect: Unique game for children called Putovanie s baníkom za Betlehemskou hviezdou (Wandering with a miner for the Star of Bethlehem)
  • Entrance fee: No entrance fee is paid, admission is free for everyone.

Žilina, Mariánske Námestie Square and Námestie Andreja Hlinku Square

Christmas market in Žilina (source)

The last city on this list is Žilina, the representative of the region of Northern Slovakia. Žilina is the largest city in the region and therefore the Christmas markets in Žilina are the best and most beautiful.

Christmas markets in Žilina take place on Mariánske Námestie Square and Námestie Andreja Hlinku Square. As in other cases, you will find stalls with snacks and traditional products at these Christmas markets.

The most interesting point of the introductory program is a demonstration of life in a medieval farm with a presentation of medieval crafts together with live animals. Another attraction is the large lighting Christmas ball, which is located in the middle of the Christmas markets and people often take pictures in it.

Short summary about Christmas markets in Žilina:

  • Where: Mariánske Námestie Square and Námestie Andreja Hlinku Square (city center – map)
  • When: From the end of November to the Christmas Eve
  • What to expect: Stalls with traditional Slovak food and drinks, demonstration of life in a medieval farm with a presentation of medieval crafts.
  • Entrance fee: No entrance fee is paid, admission is free for everyone.

What to Do, Eat, and See at the Christmas markets in Slovakia?

You already know which Christmas markets in Slovakia are worth visiting. In short, I have already described to you what Christmas specialties and what culture program will be waiting for you there. So let’s take a closer look at the specialties of Christmas markets.

Food at the Christmas markets in Slovakia

Traditional Slovak food at the Christmas markets (source)

At the Christmas markets in Slovakia, you can enjoy not only traditional Slovak dishes but also various foreign specialties. Below I will describe traditional Slovak dishes, which are definitely worth trying and which you will find at almost every Christmas market in Slovakia.

But first of all, here are the average or normal prices for all these dishes. It is good to know these prices to avoid becoming a victim of a scam on foreign tourists.

Name of the dishPrice
Kapustnica (cabbage soup)3 – 5 €
Pečená klobása (Grilled sausage)3 – 5 €
Cigánska (pork roast on the spit)4 – 6 €
Plnené lokše (stuffed lokshe)1.50 – 2.50 €
Štrudla (strudel)1.50 – 3 €
Slovakia Christmas markets food prices

Kapustnica (cabbage soup)

Kapustnica is one of the most traditional Christmas dishes in Slovakia. It is a cabbage soup to which sausage, mushrooms, and possibly potatoes are added.

Kapustnica is one of the must-try dishes from Slovakia. And try this amazing soup on the Christmas markets is a great option.

Pečená klobása (Grilled sausage)

The smell of grilled sausages attracts visitors to Christmas markets from afar. You can try classic or spicy sausage. In Slovakia, it is most often consumed with bread and mustard.

Cigánska (pork roast on the spit)

Pork roast on the spit is a very popular dish in Slovakia and I recommend you try it. Pork roast is served on the fresh spit along with mustard and roasted onions.

If you do not eat pork or this meat is too heavy for you, you can try the variant with chicken, which is also commonly available.

Plnené lokše (stuffed lokshe)

Do you know what are the lokše? Lokše are pancakes made of potato dough baked directly on the stove. At the Christmas markets, you will find both salty versions with bryndza, cabbage, or with goose liver, but also sweet versions, which are served with poppy seeds or jam.

Personally, I recommend you try lokše with poppy seeds, it is one of the most delicious desserts I know.

Štrudla (strudel)

You maybe already know Štrudľa (strudel) from surrounding countries such as the Czech Republic or Austria. It is one of the most popular desserts in the region of Central Europe.

The most famous is apple strudel, but at the Slovak Christmas Markets you can also try strudel with poppy seeds or cottage cheese and cherries.

Drinks at the Christmas markets in Slovakia

Traditional Slovak drinks at the Christmas markets (source)

Standing in the Christmas markets in winter may not be completely pleasant and therefore it is necessary to warm up with some excellent traditional Slovak drink. Below I will describe to you three of them, which belong to the Christmas specialties.

As in the case of traditional dishes, I enclose the current or normal prices of traditional drinks at the Christmas markets in Slovakia.

Name of the drinkPrice
Varené víno (mulled wine)1.50 – 2 €
Vianočný punč (Christmas punch)2 – 2.50 €
Medovina (Mead)1 – 2 €
Slovakia Christmas markets drink prices

Varené víno (mulled wine)

The mulled wine will undoubtedly warm you up during the cold winter evenings. At the Christmas markets in Slovakia, you will find mainly red mulled wine, flavored with cinnamon.

Vianočný punč (Christmas punch)

Christmas punch is a worldwide classic. At the Christmas markets you can have it in various flavors and also its non-alcoholic version.

Medovina (Mead)

Mead is one of the Slovak specialties and you can have either ordinary, cold mead, or heat mead. In the winter months, I recommend the second option to try at the Christmas markets.

Cultural program and activities at the Christmas markets in Slovakia

Christmas markets in Slovakia are not just about eating and drinking, but they are also a place of interesting cultural events. At almost every Christmas market you will find a stage where various concerts or theater performances take place.

Music concerts and theater performances

Almost every day, a music concert or theater performance takes place during the Christmas markets. Various children’s or charity bands or ensembles perform on stage. It is customary for a few well-known Slovak bands or artists to appear on stage too.

Live Nativity scene

The Living Nativity scene is also one of the Slovak traditions at the Christmas markets. You will find it next to the Christmas tree most often. It is common to find there live animals and sometimes also actors representing the Holy Family.

Conclusion

If you are visiting Slovakia during December, I recommend you to visit one of the above-mentioned Christmas markets. And even if you are not in one of these places, a visit to any other Christmas market will also pay off and you will experience a unique and pleasant atmosphere there.

TIP: Are you interested in how and when Slovaks celebrate Christmas? Read this post and learn everything about Christmas in Slovakia:

How does Slovakia Celebrate Christmas? Dinner, Customs & Traditions

Let me know in the comment section below if you have already visited some Christmas markets in Slovakia and what you liked about them or if you found beautiful Christmas markets in other cities. I am looking forward to your experiences with Slovak Christmas markets!

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Jano

The Slovakian guy who loves his little big home country.

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