Christmas Markets in Germany

Our Top 10 Favourite Christmas Markets in Germany

When it starts to get cold and the days become shorter, lots of people start to look forward to Christmas. In addition to baking Christmas biscuits and putting up a Christmas tree, visiting Christmas markets is one of the most popular Christmas traditions in Germany. More than 2,000 towns and cities in Germany organise a Christmas market every year, where visitors can enjoy roasted almonds, punch and mulled wine and get into the Christmas spirit. The history of the Christmas markets dates back to the late Middle Ages, and at the beginning of the 20th century they developed into a pre-Christmas tradition that is now indispensable. In this article we will show you the best Christmas markets in Germany.

A map of the best Christmas markets in Germany

Fantastic Christmas Markets in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg

You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to Christmas markets in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. They are usually located in a historic setting, which adds a charming touch to the ambience. Our favourite markets in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg can be found in Munich, Nuremberg, Esslingen and Chiemsee.

Nuremberg Christmas Market

The Christmas market in Nuremberg is world famous and they are also one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany. It is located in the centre of Nuremberg's Old Town, which gives it a very special flair. Above all, the Christkindlesmarkt is famous for its particularly festive opening by the Nuremberg Christ Child himself. From a culinary point of view, you can find everything here, from Nuremberg roast sausages, Elisen gingerbread and chocolate covered fruits. The so-called "Zwetschgenmännla" figures made from dried plums make an excellent souvenir or gift.

Medieval Christmas Market in Esslingen

If you enjoy going back in time, you should definitely visit the medieval Christmas market in Esslingen am Neckar. The performers, such as fire eaters, town criers and stilt walkers are an absolute highlight. Some visitors even dress up in medieval costumes for the Christmas markets. These Christmas markets are known for their special flair, which could also give you some fantastic ideas for a funny photo for your Christmas greetings card! In addition, don’t miss out on the absolutely unique "bathtub", which you can bathe in. The wooden barrel is filled with water that is heated to 37 degrees in a very old-fashioned way.

The medieval Christmas market in Esslingen.

Fraueninsel Christmas Market: Something Truely Unique

Hardly any other Christmas markets are as romantic as the one on Fraueninsel on Lake Chiemsee. It is also the only Christmas market that can only be reached by boat. It takes place every year on the first two weekends of Advent, where the island is turned into a Christmas wonderland with numerous stalls with handicrafts, jewellery and other gift ideas. There are also countless delicacies that you can try and they attract thousands of visitors every year. There is even a small petting zoo with fluffy alpacas for families with children.

Insider Tip: Pink Christmas Market in Munich

There are usually over 30 Christmas markets in Munich, all of which are special in their own way. The most famous is definitely the Christmas market at the Marienplatz, which attracts millions of visitors every year. If you would like to enjoy your mulled wine away from the big crowds, then visit the LGBTQI Christmas market "Pink Christmas", which takes place at Munich's Stephansplatz in Glockenbach. It was organised by the city's queer community and is one of the most popular in Munich. This is due to the travesty artists who organise a stage show on several evenings.

A map showing the different Christmas markets in Germany.

Amazing Christmas Markets in Saxony, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia

The regions of Saxony, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia are also home to many wonderful Christmas markets that are among some of the best in Germany, which means you'll be spoilt for choice. Below we have picked three of our favourites:

The Very Old Christmas Market in Dresden

It's hard to believe, but the "Striezelmarkt" in Dresden was first organised in 1434, making it the oldest Christmas market in Germany. It takes places every year in Dresden's Old Market Square, right in the heart of the city. You can enjoy the Christmassy atmosphere whilst drinking some punch and trying sultana stollen in the lead up to Christmas. The walk-in candle arch from the Erzgebirge is something that should definitely not be missed. It’s 14.62 metres and it even made it into the Guinness Book of Records in 1999 as the largest candle arch in the world.

The Christmas Market at Cologne Cathedral

The most popular Christmas market in Germany is located directly in front of the magnificent Cathedral in Cologne. Every year, around four million visitors visit the Christmas markets and enjoy getting into the Christmas spirit. You can enjoy lots of delicious food and drinks such as mulled wine, crêpes, candied fruit and more. The huge red spruce tree in the centre of the square at Roncalliplatz is particularly impressive and is beautifully illuminated. It is surrounded by almost 150 market stalls with bright red roofs.  A little tip for a great photo, try and take a photo of the Christmas market from above and you will have a fantastic photo for your next photo book!

The Christmas markets in Cologne.

Charming Christmas Market in the Historic City Centre in Frankfurt am Main

The old town in Frankfurt am Main is something very special, as this is where historic and modern come together. The quaint old city centre is famous for its winding small streets and picturesque buildings, but in the background you can see the modern skyscrapers. The Christmas market in Frankfurt am Main is one of the most charming Christmas markets in Germany and here it takes place every year. It also attracts numerous visitors every year who want to try regional specialities such as "Brenten" and "Bethmännchen", which are delicious pastries made from marzipan dough. What also makes the Christmas market so special is the ringing of around 50 bells from 10 different churches. They ring out at certain times and this gives the city a very festive atmosphere.

The Best Christmas Markets in Northern Germany

Our favourite Christmas markets in northern Germany have one thing in common, they are all located by a river, which gives them a unique flair. If you are planning a holiday in the winter and you would like to visit Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein & other regions in the north of the country, you should definitely add the following Christmas markets to your list:

White Magic in Hamburg

Hamburg is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany, which can also be seen in the lead up to Christmas. The city is also known as the "Pearl" and at Christmas time the city is lit up and decorated wonderfully which gets everyone into the Christmas spirit. The "Weisser Zauber" Christmas market takes place directly on the Alster along the entire Jungfernstieg. Not only do the white pagoda tents stand out, which are set up instead of traditional wooden huts, but the historic Ferris wheel dating back to 1899 is lit up very impressively with thousands of light bulbs. Almost no other Christmas market is comparable to the Christmas market in Hamburg. Lastly, not forgetting the marvellous panoramic view of the glittering Alster.

The White Magic Christmas market in Hamburg.

Christmas Market on the Schlachte in Bremen

The Schlachte in Bremen is a lively area and it is famous for its numerous cafés, bars and restaurants. In winter, fans of mulled wine, roasted almonds and chocolate covered fruits enjoy coming here, as there are countless market stalls that line the Weser promenade. This is one of the most magical Christmas markets in Germany. As the market is located directly on the banks of the river, you have a great view of the boats decorated with lights, some of which offer a variety of treats to eat and drink. Make sure to visit the Schlachte-Zauber to get into the Christmas spirit and be wowed by the wonderful stalls and atmosphere!

Christmas Market in Lübeck

The Christmas market in Lübeck also has a long tradition. Sellers have been setting up their stalls on the market square, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1648. The market stalls are set up in the heart of the historic city centre. In the festively lit city centre, visitors can sample the local delicacies, such as gingerbread, marzipan cappuccinos and baked apples with a marzipan filling. The Christmas markets here are very impressive and well known for their exquisite products. If you are looking for something individual or Christmas decorations, toys or handicrafts, then this is the right place for you. If you still need some inspiration for the perfect Christmas gift, you will definitely find it here. You can individually design your own tote bag to make sure you have a bag with you for when you go shopping at the Christmas markets.

From the whole ifolor team, we wish you a merry Christmas!

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