In Photos: The 5 Best Christmas Markets in Germany

5 Best Christmas Markets in Germany
5 Best Christmas Markets in Germany

Dresden Christmas Market. Photo: Shutterstock

Germany’s cities are filled with the glitter and aromas of Christmas. Not visiting the Christmas markets during the festive season in Germany is inconceivable. Meet up for a glass of mulled wine, some fruit punch, delicious snacks and a leisurely chat at the most beautiful Christmas markets, where you can also shop for the perfect Christmas gift.

Here are 5 of the most festive Christkindlmarkts in the country

Dresden Striezelmarkt Christmas Market

The Striezelmarkt (the main market) in the baroque city of Dresden dates back to 1434 and is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany. Known for its iconic Christstollen—a delectable fruitcake infused with rum-soaked raisins, orange peel, and almonds—this southeastern German city holds a remarkably significant sway over European Christmas traditions. Presenting over 200 charmingly decorated market stalls, this Christmas market is a treasure trove of delightful treats and enchanting gift ideas. The entertainment lineup features lively dancing, soulful singing, a dynamic schedule tailored for children, along with concerts and timeless traditional celebrations. The festive activities, such as the Secret Santa cinema, puppet theatre, and engaging workshops, promise to add a twinkle to the eyes of the entire family.

Worth seeing: 14 metres high, Christmas pyramid (the world’s largest walk-in candle arch) from the Ore Mountains

Must try: Dresdener Christstollen, Baumkuchen

Souvenirs: Carved handicrafts from the Ore Mountains – Christmas pyramids, nutcrackers and incense burners, for example

Dates: 29 November – 23 December 2023

Nuremberg Christmas Market

Nuremberg Christmas Market

Germany’s largest and most famous Christmas market attracts more than two million visitors and tourists from around the world. Nestled between the historical buildings of Nuremberg’s old town, a little city within a city emerges for four weeks of the year.

Undoubtedly embodying the essence of a German Christmas market, Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt radiates winter warmth and wholesome charm. Boasting almost 200 unique vendors offering handmade crafts, including beeswax candles, intricately carved wooden toys, and figurines crafted from dried prunes (because, why not?), the market provides an ideal setting for Christmas shopping and relaxation after a brisk stroll through the historic city center. Visitors, if lucky, may even meet the Christkind (German Angel believed to be a gift bearer just like Santa Clause).

Must try: At the forefront of delectable local specialties are the Nürnberg Rostbratwurst and Lebkuchen, the latter being first baked in this very market.

Souvenirs: Prune people dollies, tinsel angels

Dates: 1 December – 24 December 2023

Munich Christmas Market

Munich Christmas Market

When darkness falls and the Christkindlmarkt begins to sparkle in a glowing sea of fairy lights, it is then that the atmosphere of the Munich city centre at the Marienplatz square is most enchanting. In the festive season, a 24-metre-high Christmas tree shines out amidst more than 160 market stalls. Beneath the towering Tannenbaum (fir tree), you can relish live concerts every evening, explore charming souvenirs, and indulge in roasted nuts and warm apple wine. It would be a missed opportunity not to explore Munich’s other markets, particularly the eclectic Märchenbazar at Leonrodplatz. With its array of international food stalls and a lively music program, this whimsically ‘Alice in Wonderland’-esque market promises a continuous stream of delightful surprises.

Must try: Kletznbrot, a fruit bread made with dried fruits

Worth Seeing: Kripperlmarkt in front of St Michael’s Church, Germany’s largest market for skilfully carved Christmas crib figures

Dates: 27 November – 24 December 2023

Frankfurt Christmas Market

Frankfurt Christmas Market

This is where the major banking city demonstrates its romantic aspect. A stroll round the Christmas market during the Great Pealing of the Bells on the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent is unforgettable: At precisely 4.30 p.m., some 50 bells of 10 downtown churches ring in the festive season with a performance that’s heard across the city.

The core of the Frankfurt Christmas market is situated on the Römerberg in the historic old town. Here, you’ll encounter the town hall, a majestic 30-meter Christmas tree, and a plethora of stalls to peruse. A standout feature of the Römerberg Christmas market is the carousel, an attraction not limited to children, making it a definite must-try before continuing your exploration. Moving from the carousel towards the Schirn Art Gallery, you’ll come across stalls offering handcrafted wooden decorations, perfect as meaningful keepsakes. As you meander further, you’ll discover some of the finest homemade Glühwein in Frankfurt.

Must try: Marzipan Bethmännchen, hot cider

Worth Seeing: 33-metre-high Christmas tree

Worth Hearing: The Great Pealing of the Bells

Date: 27 November – 21 December 2023

Lübeck Christmas Market

Lübeck Christmas Market

Hanseatic Lübeck’s medieval quarter (a UNESCO World Heritage site) is the perfect setting for a Christmas wonderland. To put you in a festive mood are seasonal concerts in its five brick-built churches. The impressive Brick Gothic town hall forms a stunning backdrop for the Christmas market. A multitude of Christmas stars, fairy lights, and exquisitely adorned Christmas trees weave a magical winter ambiance. The crisp winter air carries the aroma of roasted almonds, deep-fried pastries, and mulled wine, complemented by an array of sausages and delectable treats. Numerous sales booths showcase a variety of Christmas arts and crafts, featuring traditional tree decorations, toys, regional products, and elegant gift ideas.

Must try: Lübeck marzipan, hot rum

Worth Seeing: Maritime Christmas Market in Koberg, the historical mariners

Date: 27 November – 30 December 2023

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