Romanian Christmas Markets 2023: Your Ultimate Guide

Sibiu Christmas Market, the best Christmas market in Romania

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Nestled in the heart of Eastern Europe, Romania unfurls a tapestry of traditions that come alive during the festive season. Each winter, its cities sparkle under thousands of fairy lights, beckoning visitors with the promise of warmth, joy, and delightful culinary adventures at their incredible Romanian Christmas Markets. 

As someone who has lived in the enchanting realm of Transylvania for over three years, I’ve had the unique privilege of witnessing firsthand the festive fervor that grips Romania. While Europe brims with renowned Christmas markets, there’s something undeniably magical about the Romanian ones, each reflecting the spirit of the region they belong to.

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for the bustling capital city of Bucharest, the historical charm of Sibiu or the dynamic energy of Cluj. Romania’s Christmas markets offer an enchanting blend of old-world charm and contemporary festivity. Whether you’re sipping on steaming mugs of mulled wine, marveling at artisan crafts, or soaking in the atmosphere, you’re bound to get into the festivities!

Best Romanian Christmas Markets

Bucharest Christmas Market: Celebrations in the Capital

Overly decorated Christmas market in Bucharest, Romania.

When it comes to festive splendor, the Bucharest Christmas Market certainly stands out. While the Bucharest Christmas Market offers a delightful slice of the holiday spirit, it’s also a gentle nudge to delve deeper into Romanian Christmas traditions. From age-old customs to mouthwatering festive feasts, there’s a whole world waiting to be explored.

Location and Dates

Heralding the joyous season from November 20th to December 26th, the Bucharest Christmas Market takes center stage in Constitution Square. Having returned to its beloved pre-pandemic location, the market shines brighter than ever against the city’s iconic backdrop.

Visiting Hours

If you’re planning a visit, the market welcomes guests every day from November 20th to December 26th. On weekdays, it’s open from 12:00-23:00. Over the weekends, the festivities begin a tad earlier at 10:00 and wrap up by 23:00. 

Main Attractions

The grandeur of the market is immediately evident through its symbolic Christmas tree, marking the heart of the festivities. And for the little ones? A delightful rendezvous awaits at Santa’s House – a dreamy space echoing with merriment, elves’ giggles, and the enchanting tales of reindeer.

This year, the Capital City Hall, in collaboration with ARCUB, PROEDUS, and CREART bodies, has woven together a unique tapestry of innovative ideas. From the dazzling ice rink measuring 30m by 20m – perfectly positioned to provide a scenic view of the massive Christmas tree – to a carousel that evokes nostalgic memories, and a soaring panoramic wheel stretching almost 40 meters high, the market promises a whirlwind of emotions.

Dedicated themed areas scatter around the market, offering interactive games, artistic shows, and themed Christmas games. Children can revel in a world of magic with elves and deer, and of course, the star attraction – Santa Claus himself.

The artistic schedule is a treat for the soul. With performances from choirs of the National Palace of Children, the Comic Opera for Children, and vocal ensembles from various places of worship, there’s a melodic blend of carols and traditional Christmas melodies. The rich tapestry of Romania’s traditions will be showcased by folk groups from different regions, scheduled for specific dates throughout the festive season.

Shopping and Gastronomy

Boasting around 70 quaint wooden cottages, the Bucharest Christmas Market is a haven for shoppers and gastronomes alike. As you meander through the market, allow the array of winter holiday presents, traditional toys, handcrafted goods, and Romanian souvenirs to captivate you. And of course, one can’t miss the traditional Romanian beverages and cuisines that waft through the air, promising a sensory journey like no other.

The Enchanting Sibiu Christmas Market

Piata Mica decorated for Christmas in Sibiu
Ferris wheel at Sibiu Christmas market

Sibiu, with its cobblestone streets and medieval charm, is the very definition of a winter wonderland. The city’s Christmas market is the gateway to an enchanting festive season, and its inauguration is a sight to behold, with the Large Square illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights. As the season draws near, let’s explore what the Sibiu Christmas Market has in store for 2023.

Location and Dates

Located in the historic Large Square of Sibiu, the Christmas Market officially heralds the winter season, filling the air with festive joy. The first moments of the market’s inauguration are truly memorable, as the square is bathed in luminous glow.

Dates are currently TBD, but you can expect to experience Sibiu Christmas magic from late November to early January.

Visiting Hours

While specifics for 2023 haven’t been detailed yet, based on previous trends, visitors can expect consistent access to the fair throughout the Christmas season. The hours are likely to be the same as previous years – 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM.

Main Attractions

The Panoramic Wheel, an attraction that captivated hearts in its 2019 edition, returns to dazzle visitors. Towering at a height of 22 meters, this modern marvel lets you enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the Great Square, all while being wrapped in thousands of shimmering lights. This unique experience comes at a price of 20 lei per shift.

Also nestled amidst the wintry bliss stands Santa’s interactive workshop. Here, Santa’s industrious elves guide children through delightful activities like painting gingerbread, baking biscuits, and crafting colorful candles. After an hour of festive fun, children leave with precious souvenirs, a personalized diploma, a keepsake photo, and memories to cherish.

And of course, what’s winter without ice-skating? The Large Square of Sibiu boasts a sprawling natural ice rink where visitors can glide gracefully. For those without skates, fret not! Rentals are available on-site. The rink welcomes skaters daily from 07:00 to 10:00-22:00, at an entrance fee of 10 lei.

The little ones can add a dash of whimsy to their visit by hopping aboard Santa’s Little Train. Embarking from a specially designed “train station,” this delightful ride meanders through Sibiu’s picturesque Citadel Street, eventually returning to the bustling Large Square.

Christmas is synonymous with melodious carols, and the Sibiu Christmas Market doesn’t disappoint. A series of concerts and themed carols are slated to serenade visitors, adding to the holiday spirit in the Large Square. Keep an ear out for special performances, including the joyous tunes of the Band of Musical Grandfathers.

Plan to spend a few days in Sibiu, as there are plenty of things to do to keep you entertained! During the winter months, you can even take a horse-drawn sleigh at Astra Open Air Museum!

Shopping and Gastronomy

Over 100 exhibitors from all corners of Romania set up shop at the market, ensuring that visitors have a plethora of choices. From porcelain jewelry, hand-painted mugs, intricate Christmas decorations, to hand-carved items, shopping here is a dream. However, with just as many quality stalls, you have an equal number of stalls selling cheap, mass-produced (and, IMO, ugly) items. Choose wisely!

And when hunger strikes, dive into a range of gastronomic delights, whether it’s local sausages, Hungarian delicacies, Angus beef burgers, or fresh vegetables. My favorite food product to purchase at the Sibiu Christmas market is their dulceata de ardei iute (hot pepper jam). 

If you’re tired of eating ‘stall food’, you can check out some of the best restaurants in Sibiu, all of which are accessible on foot from the Christmas market.

Cluj-Napoca Christmas Market: The Heartbeat of Transylvania

Stalls at Cluj Napoca Christmas market.

Ah, Cluj-Napoca. A city I hold dear to my heart, for it’s where I reside and where I’ve had the joy of experiencing the festive spirit countless times. Let me whisk you away to my beloved city, right into the heart of Transylvania, to give you a firsthand account of the enchantment that awaits.

Location and Dates

Situated in Piata Unirii, Cluj-Napoca’s Christmas Market will cast its spell from 18th November to 31st December 2023. Come Christmas, it undergoes a transformation – with dazzling arches adorned in golden lights, a mammoth tree twinkling with festive joy, and a constellation of lights shimmering over the main arena.

Visiting Hours

You can visit the Targul Craciun on weekdays from 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM and on weekends from 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM.

Main Attractions

Here, family isn’t just the immediate kin; it’s the ‘FAMILION,’ an encompassing embrace of children, parents, grandparents, extended relatives, friends-as-family, and even family pets. As you step into this world, it’s like entering a storybook – with picturesque white houses offering unique wares and the glistening ice rink beckoning you for a dance around the iconic Matia Corvin statue.

For those seeking a cozy escape, Santa’s house, with its heartwarming crafting workshops, welcomes one and all. And for a touch of magic, hop onto Santa’s Tram, offering an enchanting tour of the city.

One of the unique charms of this market is its inclusivity. It’s not rare to see many visitors with their furry companions. The market’s outdoorsy nature makes it dog-friendly. However, during peak times, it’s advisable for pet owners to either stick to the market’s edges or ensure their pets are comfortable amidst the crowd.

Dominating the skyline is the Ferris Wheel, offering panoramic views of the Christmas expanse below. And for younger attendees, the carousel promises timeless joy.

The market’s main stage, an architectural delight in itself, hosts an array of talents. Iconic Romanian musicians, like Voltaj and Subcarpati, have previously graced the stage, setting a lively atmosphere.

Beyond the market, there are plenty of fun and exciting things to do in Cluj-Napoca, whether it’s going on a winter hike in the neighboring Apuseni mountains or experiencing one of the city’s best bars and restaurants.

Shopping and Gastronomy

You’ll find a number of restaurants surrounding Piata Unirii, however the real gastronomic treats lie in the stalls themselves. From artisanal cheeses and cured Hungarian sausages to Chimney Cakes and Langos, there are plenty of things to snack on without breaking the bank at the tourist-oriented restaurants.

Despite Sibiu’s reputation as the best Christmas Market in Romania, I find the shopping to be better in Cluj-Napoca. The stalls have more handcrafted items (think jewelry made from antler and bone, stained glass, hand-knitted garments) as opposed to cheap and kitschy souvenirs.

No two stalls are alike. While some tantalize with fast food, cakes, and the quintessential Kurtos, others display handmade treasures from Transylvania. For the gourmets, charcuterie and cheese stalls are a must-visit, often enticing with free samples.

A Christmas Tale at Brasov Christmas Market

Brasov Christmas Market in Romania with its iconic tree.

The picturesque city of Brasov, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Carpathian Mountains, becomes a winter fairy tale during the festive season. Known locally as “Târgul de Crăciun din Piața Sfatului”, this market is the centerpiece of Brasov’s winter celebrations.

Location and Dates

The Brasov Christmas Market is located in Piața Sfatului Square and the Old Center of Brasov. You can visit the Brasov Christmas market from late November to early January.

Visiting Hours

Daily: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM

(However, on certain days, the market might operate from 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM)

Main Attractions

The heart of the fair is marked by the majestic natural Christmas Tree. As with all of the other Romanian Christmas markets, the affair is marked by the large number of vendors selling handcrafted goods, yummy Christmas treats, and a hefty number of kitschy souvenirs as well.

The stage in Piata Sfatului resonates with the melodies of traditional Romanian Christmas songs. Highlight performances from various historical regions of the country will take center stage on 21st December, starting from 5:30 PM. The New Year’s Eve celebration promises an electrifying atmosphere with DJ music, popular bands like Mandinga, Smiley & Live Band, culminating in a grand fireworks display.

Kids can look forward to daily free workshops in Santa’s House. A delightful carousel and an electric train ride ensure their days are filled with fun and frolic.

The Brasov Christmas Market is about on par with Cluj-Napoca. While there are plenty of things to do in Brasov (and fun day trips to take!), the Christmas market itself is not particularly original in comparison to other Romanian Christmas markets.

Shopping and Gastronomy

The stalls that surround the main Christmas tree, draped in festive decor, offer a rich selection of traditional Romanian handicrafts, artisan decorations, and souvenirs, all crafted by the skilled hands of local artisans.

The fair offers a tantalizing array of traditional Christmas treats. From homemade jams, Pălincă, and mulled wine to a selection of meats and the unique brânză (cheese), visitors can savor the authentic flavors of Romania.

Sighisoara Christmas Market: A Medieval Affair

Sighisoara Christmas market in the Citadel.

In the heart of Transylvania, Sighisoara’s medieval citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is transformed into a festive wonderland during Christmas. Steeped in history and tradition, Sighisoara offers a unique take on Romanian Christmas traditions, complete with cobblestone streets, centuries-old buildings, and the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula.

Location and Dates

The main festivities unfold within the Historic Centre of Sighisoara, with the market sprawling around the iconic Clock Tower and the main squares of the citadel. Expect the market to open the first week in December through the first week in January.

Visiting Hours

Daily: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Main Attractions

The Clock Tower, illuminated with festive lights, provides a stunning backdrop for the market. The stalls are a blend of medieval charm and Christmas festivity, offering handcrafted goods, intricate decorations, and traditional Transylvanian artifacts.

Expect choral renditions of age-old Christmas carols, folk performances, and local musicians that bring the spirit of Transylvania to life. The medieval backdrop adds a unique charm to the musical evenings.

Kids can enjoy storytelling sessions that delve into Transylvanian legends and folklore. Traditional rides, including wooden carousels and puppet shows, are sure to enchant the young ones.

Of course, one of the best things to do in Sighisoara is check out Vlad Tepes’ house, aka Dracula. And in the heart of winter, the church on the hill and the German cemetery are nothing short of picturesque, covered in a blanket of snow. 

Sighisoara is a small town, providing you with enough to do for a day or two. It’s best to visit as a stopover on your Transylvania road trip or Romania itinerary.

Shopping and Gastronomy 

OK, I’ll admit, for the most part, the shopping in Sighisoara isn’t very original, save for the fact that you have a high number of Dracula-inspired gift shops and souvenirs from which to choose. In addition to the Christmas market stalls, you should also head down Strada Turnului for a nice jewelry shop and a boutique clothing store – both of which I forgot the name of, but they’re the only shops on the street.

Dive into a culinary journey with traditional Transylvanian treats. From kürtőskalács (chimney cake) to mămăligă (polenta) and sarmale (cabbage rolls), the market offers a rich taste of the region. Don’t miss out on the local wines and tuica, a traditional Romanian spirit.

Craiova Christmas Market: A Celebration of Oltenian Traditions

Craiova Christmas Market at night, clown with balloon animals in the foreground.

Nestled in the southwestern region of Romania, Craiova – the capital of Dolj County – unfurls a festive extravaganza during the Christmas season. Known for its rich Oltenian heritage, impressive Baroque architecture, and vibrant arts scene, the city offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity during its Christmas celebrations.

Location and Dates

The heart of the festivities is centered in Craiova’s Central Square, a spacious area surrounded by historical buildings and adorned with a monumental fountain representing the city’s emblem. The Christmas market runs from late November to the end of December.

Visiting Hours

Daily: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Main Attractions

The mesmerizing Fountain of the Lads (Fântâna Băieților), with its iconic sculptures, is illuminated with festive lights and serves as a central gathering spot. Around it, wooden stalls exude warmth, showcasing traditional crafts, decorations, and other treasures.

A lineup of performances by local artists and bands keep the festive spirit alive. Expect a blend of modern and folk music, with a touch of the region’s distinctive rhythms and dances. Throughout the month, various themed nights, such as “Oltenian Evenings,” showcase regional art and traditions.

Beyond the usual carousel rides and games, children can engage in workshops focused on crafting traditional Oltenian ornaments and toys. Storytelling sessions, drawing from regional folklore, promise to captivate young minds.

Beyond this market, Craiova offers plenty of attractions. Visit the Art Museum, housed in the Dinu Mihail Palace, to see one of the largest collections of sculptures by Constantin Brâncuși. Or simply stroll the streets to admire the Christmas lights and the city’s historical charm.

Shopping and Gastronomy

Try to find some regional, Oltenian gifts to bring home for your loved ones! You can find virtually anything at the stalls here at one of the top Romanian Christmas markets. 

A culinary journey into Oltenia awaits. Relish local delicacies like mămăliguță cu brânză (polenta with cheese) or tocană olteană (Oltenian stew). And to ward off the winter chill, sample the mulled wine or the potent plum brandy – țuică.

Timișoara Christmas Market: A Festive Fusion of Tradition and Culture

Timisoara Christmas market seen from above at night.

Celebrated as the 2023 European Capital of Culture, Timișoara elevates its festive atmosphere during the Christmas season. With its cultural accolade, this year’s Christmas Market promises an immersive blend of traditions, arts, and modern festivities.

Location and Dates

The main festivities are centered in Union Square. Known as Piața Unirii, it’s renowned for its vibrant Baroque buildings and its significance in Romanian history. The Timisoara Christmas market takes place from the last weekend in November to the first weekend in January.

Visiting Hours

Daily: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Main Attractions

Union Square transforms into a magical winter wonderland, with rows of wooden chalets, each glowing with fairy lights, against the backdrop of pastel-hued Baroque buildings. A towering Christmas tree adorned with thousands of twinkling lights becomes the square’s shining centerpiece.

In honor of its title as the European Capital of Culture, expect a curated series of performances. From traditional Romanian carols to modern concerts, folk dances to theatrical performances, there’s something for every cultural enthusiast.

Children can immerse themselves in puppet shows, craft workshops, and rides. Special storytelling sessions recounting Timișoara’s rich history and folklore ensure an educative and entertaining experience.

Beyond the market, Timișoara is teeming with exhibitions, art installations, and plenty of other things to do. Explore the iconic Metropolitan Cathedral, delve into the Museum of the 1989 Revolution, or simply wander through the city’s parks.

Shopping and Gastronomy

Shopping in Timisoara’s Christmas market is a great option to pick up some regionally-inspired souvenirs from Banat! Christmas ornaments or traditional clothing make great gifts! 

Sample the Banat region’s culinary specialties, like ciorbă de perișoare (meatball soup) or sângerete (blood sausage). Warm up with a cup of spiced mulled wine or indulge in sweet treats like kürtőskalács (chimney cake).

Oradea Christmas Market: A Festive Jewel in Romania’s West

Aerial view of Oradea's Christmas Market.

Oradea, with its Secessionist architecture and serene riverfront, exudes a unique charm, further amplified during the festive season. The Christmas Market here is a beautiful blend of the city’s Austro-Hungarian heritage and Romanian tradition.

Location and Dates

Oradea’s main festivities can be found at the iconic Union Square, surrounded by colorful Baroque palaces and elegant buildings. The Christmas market in Oradea runs from mid-late November into the first week of January.

Visiting Hours

Daily: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Main Attractions

The square becomes a shimmering domain, with ornate wooden stalls adorned with twinkling lights. The sight of the grand Baroque buildings illuminated in festive decor, combined with the towering, beautifully decorated Christmas tree, creates a magical atmosphere.

Visitors can enjoy a series of performances that resonate with Oradea’s rich cultural history. Traditional Romanian carols, classical music concerts, and dance performances set the festive mood.

Children will be thrilled with the various workshops, where they can learn traditional crafts, puppet shows, and enchanting carol singing. A mini train ride around the square offers a delightful tour.

Oradea offers more than just the market. Visit the Oradea Fortress, a 12th-century architectural marvel, or relax in the city’s famed thermal spas. As the festive lights reflect upon the Crisul Repede River, the entire city seems to come alive with Yuletide joy.

Shopping and Gastronomy

Oradea has some of the most beautiful hand-crafted Christmas ornaments I’ve seen at all of the Romanian Christmas markets. Be sure to pick one up for your tree! 

Dive into local culinary delights, such as plăcintă (filled pastry) and mămăligă (polenta). For those cold nights, nothing beats a cup of mulled wine or hot chocolate, possibly followed by a traditional Romanian dessert.

Sausages hanging beneath Christmas ornaments in Romania.

Honorable Mentions

While the prominent cities boast grand festivities, there are many smaller yet equally charming Christmas markets in Romania that offer a unique festive experience.


  • Location: Ovid Square by the Black Sea coast.
  • Highlights: A maritime winter wonderland. Expect a blend of traditional and seaside-themed decorations. Indulge in fresh seafood treats and enjoy carol performances with a unique coastal twist.


  • Location: Central Avram Iancu Square.
  • Highlights: Admire the Christmas tree towering over quaint wooden stalls, and explore Arad’s history by visiting the nearby Neolog Synagogue and St. Anthony of Padua Church.

Piatra Neamț

  • Location: King Stephen’s Tower surroundings.
  • Highlights: Set against the scenic Carpathian Mountains, the market offers a cozy atmosphere with handcrafted goods and winter sports activities.

Târgu Mureș

  • Location: Rose Square (Piața Trandafirilor).
  • Highlights: Known for its rich multicultural history, the Christmas market here is a blend of Romanian and Hungarian traditions. The two cultures come alive with folk music, dance, and traditional food stalls.

Alba Iulia

  • Location: Within the fortress walls of Alba Carolina Citadel.
  • Highlights: Travel back in time within this star-shaped fortress. The citadel offers a historical setting, reenactment shows, and a medieval atmosphere alongside the market festivities.

Râmnicu Vâlcea

  • Location: Downtown promenade.
  • Highlights: Renowned for its artisanal crafts, the market here is a haven for those seeking authentic Romanian souvenirs, including intricately designed ceramics and textiles.

While the major cities are known for their epic Romanian Christmas markets, these lesser-known markets offer a more intimate experience. Dive into the heart of Romania and discover the diverse Yuletide celebrations that await. Each market, with its unique charm, ensures that the spirit of Christmas is felt in every corner of the country.

Couple with baby at Cluj Napoca Christmas market.

Embracing the Magic: The Allure of Romanian Christmas Markets

Romanian Christmas Markets are not just a showcase of festive spirit; they are a heartwarming testament to the country’s rich history, vibrant culture, and the indomitable spirit of its people. Each city, from the bustling metropolis of Bucharest to the tranquil streets of Oradea, brings its own flavor, traditions, and tales to the holiday celebrations.

The tapestry of lights, the aroma of traditional foods, the melodic tunes of carolers, and the artistry of local craftsmen at Romanian Christmas markets create an atmosphere that is both enchanting and nostalgic. Whether you’re seeking handcrafted gifts, wanting to taste winter delicacies, or simply wish to immerse yourself in a fairy-tale winter wonderland, Romanian Christmas Markets are the perfect destination.

As winter approaches and cities adorn their squares with twinkling lights and festive stalls, Romania beckons travelers and locals alike to experience the magic. So, wrap up warm, let the sound of carols guide you, and let the festive spirit of Romania fill your heart with joy and warmth.

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