Travel Notes blog
Holiday magic in the Mediterranean: Our favourite Christmas markets
by Clare Evans
7 min read

Holiday magic in the Mediterranean: Our favourite Christmas markets

Holiday magic in the Mediterranean: Our favourite Christmas markets
Looking for a different kind of Christmas market? Find some of the most magical Christmas markets across the warm Mediterranean.
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The festive season is fast upon us and we can’t wait for things to shine even more merry and bright. From candy canes and mistletoe to spending time with loved ones and enjoying local winter wonderlands, Christmas is filled with magic and merriment - and one of our favourite things to do this time of year is explore a warm and welcoming Christmas market.

We love festive markets, as they are a great opportunity to experience the very best of the local traditions in the area. And while your first instinct might be that most markets are located in the colder parts of Europe, we have found our favourites in much warmer climates. Some of the most magical Christmas markets can be found across the Mediterranean, in Italy, Greece and France. Here are some of our favourites - which we think you’ll love too.


Italy Christmas markets we love

An Italian Christmas is famous for all the right reasons; there’s nothing better than partaking in Italian traditions, food and the all-around good cheer.

Italy is one of the best places to spend the festive period with the people you love. Many of the country’s most beautiful summer destinations become magical winter wonderlands too - even if you are unlikely to see any snow.

Magical Christmas markets in Italy are a lovely part of the festive period and can be found across the country. Here are just a few of our favourites.


Christmas markets in Sicily

Taormina on the east coast of the island is home to some of Sicily's most extravagant Christmas celebrations, and the streets of this magical medieval town come alive in December. Parades, orchestras and nativity plays (presepe vivente) make Christmas particularly special in this Sicilian town.

Want to make your Christmas holiday in Sicily even more magical? Download our hand-selected itinerary and get inspired.


Carretti Siciliani (traditional Sicilian horse-drawn carriages) are pulled through the winding streets, while a bonfire is lit by the town’s cathedral, Duomo di Taormina. Taormina’s Christmas market is a large, vibrant affair, with roasted chestnuts, handmade crafts and delicious food abounding.  The enchanting Villa Carmine sits in the heart of Taormina, offering you a base in the heart of the action.

Book Villa Carmine


Alternatively, our gorgeous, historic La Prora villa lies just a 20 minutes’ walk from all the festivities, giving you the ideal mix of privacy and easy access to the seasonal events.

Book La Prora


Head down the coast to Catania, which features a Christmas market that runs from December and into the new year. Although more relaxed than the market and celebrations of nearby Taormina, Catania’s glittering lights and magnificent Baroque architecture give the town a wonderful romantic glow at this time of year. To soak up the beauty of Catania at Christmas, arrange a stay at our incredible 12-bedroom Don Arcangelo all’Olmo (a 35-minute drive to the city).

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With other wonderful markets in Palermo, Trapani and, indeed, right across the island, Sicily is an immersive, vivacious place to spend the Christmas season.

Explore all of our Sicilian villas


Christmas markets in Puglia

Lecce in Puglia is home to a vibrant Christmas market that fills the streets of its historic town centre. Around the Piazza Sant'Oronzo and Piazza Duomo, market stalls sell the town’s famous handcrafted nativity scene figurines made of papier-mâché. Alongside streets of colourful stalls, visitors will also find the Fair of Nativity Scenes and Puppets, a tradition dating back many centuries.

Get even more inspiration with this Puglian itinerary.


If you need a fabulous place to stay with space for all the family to join in on the festivities, we recommend the nearby eight-bedroom villa Masseria Acquadolce. With its roaring open fireplace, it’s the perfect spot for an Italian Christmas getaway in Puglia.

Book Masseria Acquadolce


Our favourite Christmas markets in Greece

When you think of Greece, you probably think of sandy beaches and clear blue seas - which makes it a beautiful backdrop during the festive season if you’re looking to escape the cold. With traditions as diverse as Greece’s hundreds of islands, you’re sure to have an unforgettable Christmas, whether you spend it near the Ionian or the Aegean.

Christmas markets in Corfu

In the country’s west, take in Christmas on the Ionian island of Corfu. As 25 December approaches, towns and villages come alive with thousands of decorative lights. Head down to Corfu Town where you’ll find the annual Christmas market - you can even pick up local delicacies and everything else you might need for your traditional Corfu Christmas dinner. Just remember that if you want to live like the locals, gifts are exchanged on 1 January, not 25 December, so you’ll need to be patient.

Explore our villas in Corfu

Christmas markets on the mainland

Some of the biggest Christmas markets in Greece are to be found on the mainland in the major cities. Athens boasts its own Christmas market and fairground, known as the Christmas Factory. You’ll be able to find it at the Technopolis Courtyard in Gazi.


If you want to then get away from the hustle and bustle of the capital after a day at the Athens Christmas market, we recommend escaping to the nearby island of Evia. Arocaria provides the perfect secluded property with panoramic views over the sea. Contact us if you’d like us to add a little sparkle and festive cheer to your stay, and you’re ready for a magical Greek Christmas.

Book Arocaria


The best Christmas markets in France

While there are fabulous Christmas markets across France, some of our favourites can be found on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, home to one of the most unique blends of cultures in the region. With both French and Italian influences, Christmas in Corsica will be a new and magical experience. For example, did you know that instead of the Christmas trees you might be used to, homes in Corsica are decorated with strawberry trees this time of year?

Make your next holiday even more magical with our special Corsica itinerary.

There are two main Christmas markets that are set up to delight locals and visitors each year. The first is in Bonifacio, a city that overlooks stunning white cliffs and the Mediterranean Sea. Located in the port, the market hosts more than 40 stands selling local delicacies. If you’re still shopping for gifts, you’ll be sure to find something for even those with the most discerning tastes.

The second is in Ajaccio on the west coast of the island. This isn’t just a market, but a celebration that the entire town joins in with. Expect to see buildings lit up in colourful lights, adding magic to every corner of the squares and streets.


When you’re done exploring the best Corsican Christmas delights, you will want somewhere cosy and secluded to retire to. We recommend our lovely villa L’Alpana, which offers stunning coastal views in a traditional setting. Just bring your nearest and dearest and allow us to add some festive delight for a truly magical Christmas.

Book L’Alpana

We’d love for you to spend your Christmas with us overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean. Across the region there are sensational Christmas markets to explore and festive traditions to discover. And when you stay with us, you know your holiday will be as unique as you are - we can personalise every last detail for you. So why not treat yourself this Christmas? Your perfect villa could just be a click away - contact us to find out more.