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The Best Eco Christmas Markets to Visit This Festive Season

Colourful decorations, Christmas music, and spicy cinnamon flavours are what await at Christmas markets across the world. But why not keep them going and sustainable?

Christmas shopping doesn’t have to mean joylessly battling through department store crowds or trawling the Internet for bargains. You can visit some of the best festive markets throughout Europe and buy unique gifts and share incredible experiences.

But looking at the environmental cost, it’s not great. In fact, research suggests an average 75g of extra waste is created per visitor at a Christmas market. Now imagine how much waste that is when you consider a Christmas market in a city like Strasbourg, France, where there are over 10 locations with 300 stalls and approximately two million visitors.

The great news is there are many markets around Europe that believe in adhering to sustainable practices. Not sure where to find them?

Well, eCo2 Greetings has decided to create a map of some of the most sustainable Christmas markets that exist across the world. They offer organic, local and fair trade products you can buy without feeling too guilty.

Discover the most sustainable Christmas markets on our fully interactive map here.

What are the most eco-friendly Christmas markets?

The Green Market, Berlin

From the city with some of the best Christmas markets already comes a 100% green market, possibly the biggest in Europe. A 100% organic, fair trade and vegan market, so no products are sourced from animals. A true alternative to the conventional markets.

What to expect

Running for little more than five years, you’ll find seasonal products with a unique mix of street food, fashion, cosmetics and handmade gifts. There is a mix of DJs, live music, cooking shows and even lectures for a variety of entertainment for all.

The market offers suppliers and visitors the opportunity to get to know and exchange ideas. Green Market’s aim is to show that consciously sustainable consumption can be fun – how easy and relaxed vegan life can be while enjoying festive produce.

What makes it eco-friendly?

With a name like Green Market, and a focus on vegan products, this market is as eco-friendly as they come. Visitors can discover many new products and innovations related to the vegan lifestyle from selected, sustainable independent exhibitors.

At the market, whether it’s tasty street food or handmade gifts, you can be sure that there is no plastic involved. In its short time of running, this vegan lifestyle market has become an integral part of the Berlin event scene.

Learn more about eCo2 Greetings’ environmental mission

Christmas Makers Market, London

This Christmas market is all about home-made goods and gives you the chance to find unique stocking-filler opportunities directly from carefully curated, local makers. Despite only being around for a few years, this is one of London’s most popular festive markets.

What to expect

The Urban Makers Market features 50 different designers each day selling everything you can think of from Christmas gifts and decorations to homewares and candles. You’ll also find jewellery, art and accessories, all of which are sustainable and ethical.

With each seller being independent, you’ll find products that are one-of-a-kind and for all recipients at Christmas. The free-entry market also hosts a range of workshops, including candle making, natural skincare, punch needle and Christmas embroidery.

What makes it eco-friendly?

With this being a makers market, vendors can only sell goods that are hand-crafted, hand-painted, or hand-sown in the UK. You cannot sell traded goods at this market, reducing environmental impact.

This means that you can shop with a clear conscience as all items sold at the market come with the promise of being sustainable and ethically made. Each vendor is carefully curated and handpicked locally to meet the sustainable criteria of the Christmas market.

Art Advent, Vienna

This is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Vienna. Art Advent at Karlsplatz focuses on hand-made arts and crafts and organic catering. This market focuses on sustainability with activities for all in a city that is a festive hub in Europe.

What to expect

Art Advent has been going for over 25 years and has stalls selling crafts by local artists that make superb gifts. You’ll also find art installations, workshops, and organic food stands. Locals and visitors alike flock to Karlsplatz for free concerts each evening.

Organisers at the market don’t just put on the event, they also produce their own unique products and offer them for sale. Guest exhibitors are chosen with care to be inclusive, and all goods sold must be hand-crafted.

What makes it eco-friendly?

All aspects of the Art Advent market, from food stalls and waste management to transport and travel, adhere to strict sustainability guidelines to make it one of Europe’s greenest. The children’s carousel is built from discarded goods and even runs on pedal power.

The market itself is certified organic. All stalls that sell goods, as stated, must be hand-made by the stall’s manager – no traded goods. This selection process ensures quality, but also an originality and diversity you’re unlikely to find anywhere else in Vienna.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market, NYC

Located at the entrance to Central Park, visitors can lose themselves in the splendour of Christmas in New York City. Running for 15 years, the market is the perfect place to do all your holiday shopping away from the hustle and bustle of NYC’s many avenues.

What to expect

Columbus Circle market features glittering aisles of art, jewellery, home-made goods and delicious, organic foods from local artisans and designers. With more than 100 vendors there’s something to be found for everyone to enjoy.

A shopping and festive hub for locals and visitors, this market runs right up until Christmas Eve. You can find gifts for little ones or incredible food and drink that reflects this amazing multicultural city. And being in Central Park, you can then go ice skating on the nearby rinks.

What makes it eco-friendly?

Much of what you can buy at Columbus Circle is handmade and sustainable. The market even promises to be 100% eco-friendly. This mainly extends to the produce and goods sold at the market, many of which are organic certified.

You’ll find that many of the gifts are labelled with an Artisan Pledge symbol, meaning that the item meets the criteria required to be considered environmentally conscious. These items are usually made from recycled, reused, or vintage materials.

Read more about our incredible eCards – Premium and for Christmas

Mercatino Green, Trentino, Italy

Running for almost 30 years, this Christmas market brings a warm and magical festive atmosphere. You can discover the best of Alpine hand-made crafts together with local and regional food and wine. An unforgettable mix of lights, colours, aromas and flavours.

What to expect

You can explore 93 wooden houses located across the two historic squares of Trento, Piazza Fiera and Piazza Cesare Battisti. From one chalet hut to another, you can discover truly unique local products to regional flavours and live demonstrations.

The Mercatino Green gives you the chance to live authentic experiences of the territory and its ancient traditions. With the Dolomites as its backdrop, this stunning market runs for well over a month and rightly earned the nickname of Città del Natale, or “Christmas Town”.

What makes it eco-friendly?

The Mercatino prides itself on being eco-friendly and has previously focused on recycling, organic and seasonal food and using only washable or compostable disposable. In addition to this, the market puts sustainable mobility at the front of its eco-credentials.

Mercatino has gone even further, with eco-friendly paper and maps for visitors, clean energy produced by renewable sources and bread-made dishes. That’s right, in addition to recycled bags, dishes are made from bread to reduce harmful waste.

Bolzano Christmas Market, Italy

The largest Christmas in Italy also happens to be one of Europe’s greenest. Nestled in South Tyrol, close to the Austrian border, this market first opened in 1991 and lasts for almost a month in the stunning Piazza with 80 Christmas stalls.

What to expect

The oldest festive market in Italy, you can enjoy delicious local delicacies, such as cured ham, flat-breads and delicious liqueurs in the South Tyrolean capital. The entire piazza smells of cinnamon, Christmas cakes and biscuits, as well as mulled wine.

The streets are covered with lights while artefacts decorate the town. Advent concerts and exhibitions are put on throughout the festive period. Hand-painted Christmas baubles, straw stars, wood carvings and local designs are at the heart of this beautiful market.

What makes it eco-friendly?

All of the trees used around the town for decoration are locally sourced rather than brought in from elsewhere. Low energy consumption is a key point for the market, from lighting to shuttles to limit the number of visitors by car.

Local and seasonal products are the primary product sold at the market which reduces waste from food and drink stalls with sustainable catering. There are also vegan dishes available at the market for even more sustainability.

Wienachtsdorf, Zurich

Held in front of the city’s opera house, this is one of Zürich’s largest Christmas markets. About 100 festively-decorated stalls come together to form the Christmas village – the Wienachtsdorf. This is one of Europe’s biggest markets, full of attractions and gifts.

What to expect

Besides the bright lights throughout the market, the stalls include gifts for jewellery by local designers, trinkets and more. The food and drink at the market are locally produced and includes Swiss specialities and global culinary traditions.

There are plenty of children’s activities available at Wienachtsdorf, including theatre performances, art, and carousel rides, making this an inclusive market. Adults can enjoy cups of hot mulled wine, and even have a go at ice skating or Bavarian curling.

What makes it eco-friendly?

Aside from locally-sourced, organic produce, the Wienachtsdorf market throws a sparkling spotlight on recycling. You can find gifts made with clever upcycling products for sale, from bikes to clocks.

These include bags made with particular attention to fair trade products which guarantee a safe, clean and fair workplace. Other sustainable stalls found at the Wienachtsdorf include eco-friendly and ethical fashion as well as recycled materials in hand-made trolleys.

Learn more about our Christmas eCards for the upcoming season

Advent Feast, Budapest

This enchanted city-centre Christmas celebration is rich with Central European traditions in front of Budapest’s grandest cathedral. Running for almost 10 years, this market combines innovation, tradition and sustainability, so there’s something for everyone.

What to expect

There is so much to enjoy, from delightful gift items, delicious foods – such as the Hungarian chimney cake, ‘flódni’. This market also features modern elements such as flash mobs and a wide range of the best native contemporary hand-crafted products.

For innovation, there is a stunning light show that, with 3D glasses, gives a new dimension to the façade of St. Stephen’s Basilica, which overlooks the market, and serves as the screen several times each evening.

What makes it eco-friendly?

Like many of the markets on this list, the Advent Feast features organic produce and local, hand-crafted gifts for sale. At the heart of it all, the Advent Feast is held with a community spirit in mind, where guests can enjoy charity-boosting concerts.

To preserve the environment and boost the market’s sustainability, food and drink stalls use eco-friendly cups, plates, and cutlery to reduce their environmental impact, while as much waste as possible is recycled.

Manchester Christmas Market, UK

One of the biggest Christmas markets in the UK that’s now been going for 20 years and attracts around nine million visitors a year. It’s held across eight unique sites in Manchester so you can see more of the city while enjoying the market.

What to expect

There are lots of attractions and features to enjoy, from local produce to traditional German fayre, such as bratwurst. Manchester’s market expanded in 2019 to include Piccadilly Gardens, one of the busiest points in the city.

Cathedral Gardens is one of the more spectacular sites of the market, with an ice rink, ice tavern, and Grotto.

What makes it eco-friendly?

Each year, Manchester brings back its Christmas market mugs. Aside from being highly collectable and a memento of your days or evenings there with family and friends, the market cuts back on waste while you get a festive souvenir.

A trend that’s been in place in Europe for years, these little mugs or glasses can be used across all stalls. You pay a £3 deposit, and once you’re done, you can return or keep them. Furthermore, the wooden Christmas huts use timber from recycled sources and energy-efficient voltage lighting is installed into the wooden chalets.

Discover our Christmas games, perfect for family, friends and colleagues

Tollwood Christmas Market, Munich

Germany is a leader in everything that is organic, green and eco-friendly, and Munich’s Tollwood Winter Festival represents this trend. This Christmas market is located where the OktoberFest takes place and you will find lots of innovative and unique stands.

What to expect

The Tollwood Christmas market offers an abundance of delicious fair trade organic food and novel handicrafts that are expertly and beautifully made. The Christmas spirit is enhanced on the festival grounds by some incredible shows, many of which are free of charge.

Running for over 20 years, this market is based on a multicultural society making it open to all and a family-friendly environment.

What makes it eco-friendly?

Tollwood market’s eco-credentials include more than 200 stalls selling international handcrafts or organic food from all over the world. You can also enjoy environmental activities for all ages to educate visitors about sustainability.

Just some of the stalls include the tasting of hot coconut milk or anti-animal cruelty sculptures. This is a sustainable Christmas market that seems truly original and much more interesting and 21st-century offering than most traditional Christmas markets.

Which cities will you be visiting to experience festive cheer in an eco-friendly way?

Learn more about festive eCards with eCo2 Greetings and how to reduce your environmental impact.

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