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Envision gothic churches, medieval architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and beautiful cities – now combine this with the crisp winter air, the magical atmosphere of Christmas, the sweet aroma of mulled wine and sausage rolls – and you get Christmas markets in Germany.
Unique traditions, different customs, delicious food and local specialities, gorgeous backdrops to the Christmas markets, and hundreds of uniquely designed stalls all await you in Germany.
Urban legends, Christmas carols, little prune men, many versions of Father Christmas, and an array of activities all make Germany the perfect to place to spend your Christmas holidays at. Enjoy the warm food, the mulled wine, festivals, the stalls, and take a journey through time in Germany’s Christmas markets!
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German Christmas Market #1 Berlin
Prepare to be mesmerized by Berlin and its Christmas markets. An incomparable magical charm, an alluring lively atmosphere, and a mixture of the cold and snowy winter with the large boulevards, squares and Christmas markets will surely make your visit worthwhile. There are over 60 Christmas markets that open starting from the end of November until the end of December, each offering a completely different experience than the one next to it.
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Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market
This is considered one of the most elegant markets in all of Germany – a market that reflects true class and luxury with gourmet food and handmade foods. It’s situated on one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin and is right between the French and German cathedral. This market is mostly famous for its unique handmade products and old handicrafts. All sorts of manufacturers, from wood carvers to stonemasons come specifically to showcase their talent live, and present their work.
The market costs 1 euro to enter, and then you’re immediately engulfed with the cozy atmosphere this place brings, as you stroll around the beautiful square with a gigantic Christmas tree, try tasty products from local food to special types of food like fried apple and white chocolate milk. There will be daily live shows and plays to really put you in that Christmas mood, along with jugglers, acrobats, dance groups, choirs, and sometimes even famous artists.
Winterwelt is the definition of a winter wonderland, and one of the locals’ favorite. It transforms the Potsdamer Platz, in which it takes place in, into a magical wonderland with an array of fun activities for people of all ages. You can ride down Europe’s largest toboggan – where you basically slide down a 7-meter long hill on a rubber tire – or you can try playing ‘Eisstockscheißen’ which is a mixture of both, curling and bowling, or go ice-skating!
Apart from all of this, of course, you can enjoy the live music, the hundreds of stalls, the Christmas goodies, the delicious food, and the overall Christmas vibe you can get in Berlin! Don’t miss out on the after-ski party in the evening!
Other markets to check out in Berlin :
Wintertraum am Alexa:
This is considered the most modern Christmas market in Berlin and is quite popular amongst teenagers. Wintertraum am Alexa offers you a chance to get onto a large Ferris wheel or ride a rollercoaster!
This market is for people craving that nostalgic feel and wanting to run away from the modern markets. Berliner Weihnachtszeit is one of the oldest Christmas markets and is all decorated in the style of early 1900’s, which gives the whole, place a unique vibe, unlike all the other markets.
It’s the perfect mini gateway for couples that want to wander around the nostalgically designed stalls, go ice-skating or ride a Ferris wheel. There’s even a small farm for children with animals that they can pet, play with, and feed.
German Christmas Market #2 Dresden
Dresden is a traditional city, with the largest number of Christmas markets in the Eastern part of Germany. It is known for having a strong traditional history, many interesting customs and beautiful Christmas markets. The scent of mulled wine, the lights, the Christmas music, and the bustling markets mixed with Baroque architecture under the twinkling stars will cleanse your soul.
This is the oldest Christmas market in the world dating back to 1434. Over 570 Striezelmarkt have taken place in Dresden over the years, and the market usually takes place on the Altmarktsquare by the historical city center.
You can find all types of traditional Christmas gifts that were initially invented a long time ago, and tradition does not only affect the gifts – but the décor of the stalls as well. You’ll find Christmas pyramids, wooden figures, nativity scenes, bakers at work, Santa doing different activities (like showering!), elves doing their work and much more.
Again, do not miss out on the wonderful views you’ll get from the Ferris wheel, or unleash the child inside of you and have a ride on the carousel!
Things to check out:
- The world’s tallest Christmas pyramid lies in the middle standing at 14 metres high, and right next to it is the world’s biggest nut cracker. It would be hard to miss out on that since they’re the focal point of the market.
- The 250 stands offering all sorts of gifts, ornaments, candle pyramids and more.
The highlight even is the Dresdner Stollenfest, where a parade takes place in the Old Town, and then a huge stolen is divided into thousands of pieces and distributed amongst the guests of the festival.
To really get a taste of Dresden, you need to check out the city’s specialities and buy some as a souvenir! The Pflaumentoffel are good-luck charms that are made of dried prunes and are a representation of the boys who used to clean the chimneys.
German Christmas Market #3 Stuttgart
One the oldest and one of the largest markets in all of Europe lies in Stuttgart. The Old Palace acts as a gorgeous backdrop to the 200+ stalls in the market. The Winterland and the music being played in the Renaissance courtyard all make the market so much better.
The festive ambience created by the music being played in the Renaissance courtyard, or the twinkling festive illuminations, the angels hung up everywhere is incomparable. You’ll find all types of Christmas items and gifts, and incredible scents of cinnamon and vanilla all over the place.
Weihnachtskinderlandis the perfect market for kids, where they can do all sorts of activities like paint and bake. In Schlossplatz, there is an ice-skating rink that you can unwind in.
Karlsplatzis one of the markets you cannot miss out; it’s a medieval antique market offering rare handmade antiques, jewellery, clocks, books and much more – making it every collector’s dream place.
Not only this, but there is a Finnish Christmas village right there offering Finnish specialities and gifts like reindeer sausages, and a different type of mulled wine – the ‘Glögi’ mulled wine.
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German Christmas Market #4 Munich
Munich’s Christmas markets go back to the 14th century, and the Christmas markets take place in Marienplatz – the heart of the city center. What’s nice about Munich’s markets is the fact that there are so many different things to do – it’s not just strolling around wandering around stalls and skating, but every market gives you a completely different experience.
The Kripperlmarkt is a market solely specializing in nativity scenes and cribs reflecting the history that has affected all the markets in Munich since the 14th century. In Neuhauser Strasse, you’ll also find the largest manger market in Germany with authentic nativity scenes.
There are musical concerts going on from the balcony of the Munich’s town hall, and a nonstop party going on at Wintertollowood. Another market you should not miss is Tollowood – which is usually described as a mini Oktoberfest because of the shared location they both have, and it usually has very eccentric ethnic festivals, with international performers.
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German Christmas Market #5 Nuremberg
Nuremberg is known as the little town of wood and cloth and has an incredible medieval charm and over 180 market stands. It’s mostly popular for its Christkindlesmarktwhere on the Friday before the first advent Sunday, the Chris kind – who is like the German female Santa – opens the market while reciting a prologue from the gallery of the church of Our Lady. The famous mulled wine aroma, the Nuremberg sausages, and the aroma of gingerbread will make the market much
The famous mulled wine aroma, the Nuremberg sausages, and the aroma of gingerbread will make the market much more cozier as the smells surround you. Do not forget to check out the Nuremberg Plum People – the little figures made entirely from prunes, and check out the competition where all stall holders compete for the most beautiful stall designs and presented with awards.
German Christmas Market #6 Dusseldorf
Dusseldorf is transformed into a festive world where Christmas markets offer you the opportunity of endless shopping delights. There are over 200 decorated huts and many differently themed markets there that will keep you on your feet throughout your entire stay.
The holiday, and the markets, officially begin there – right at the Town Hall where a large tree gets illuminated, and the city hall becomes the official city for the market square. The huts have very similar architecture to the City Hall, and everything is offered there – from handmade delights to mulled wine, to hot chocolate, crafts, glass blowers and more, and what’s even better about all of this is that all vendors are happy to demonstrate their set of skills to you live and show you how they created their crafts.
Lastly, don’t forget to try out the recently renovated 100-year old merry go round and then check out the Bethlehem – a life-sized handmade manger.
“Engelchenmarkt” (“Little Angel Market”)
A normal square becomes transformed into a stretch of thousands of lights reflected upon the hundreds of golden angels hung there – creating the ultimate heavenly atmosphere.
Don’t forget to check out: On Flinger Straße – all market stalls in this market are modelled on the old town houses in Dusseldorf.
German Christmas Market #7 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
A beautiful scenic little town untouched by any modern influences, and a Disney-like picturesque place with over 42 towers, half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets one has been one of the most architecturally impressive towns in Europe for the past 1000 years. The untouched medieval architecture, the fascinating history, the authenticity of this place makes it the perfect setting for a Christmas market that feels like something straight out of a Disney movie.
Don’t miss out on:
- “Rothenburg Rider: Rothenburg’s own Santa Claus – a mythical creature who has become the friendly messenger bringing gifts to people in Germany.
- Try white mulled wine.
- Try the RothenburgerSchneeballen” (Snowball) which is made from sweet dough fried and covered with either powdered sugar or chocolate.
- Check out the German Christmas Museum
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German Christmas Market #8 Erfurt
Erfurt has one of the most extravagant markets in Thuringia, and some of the nicest medieval squares, quarters and houses. A candlelit Christmas tree standing at 25 m tall, surrounded by half-timbered buildings, townhouses, and a quarter that dates back almost 1270 years, is the focal point of the market. Along with the Christmas tree, you can find 12 m high Christmas pyramids telling the story of the people who made Erfurt what it is today.
Do not miss out on:
- Thuringian bratwurst – a special Christmas cake
- and Erfurt’s ‘Schittchen’ – a trademark stolen.
Now that you have a wide number of Christmas markets to choose from, you should see which city matches your personality the most and embark on a magical journey in one of the many winter wonderlands offered by Germany and make this Christmas a truly magical one.
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