Nothing says Christmas in Germany quite like the charming, quintessential Christmas markets that decorate the country during this magical time of year.

From traditional handicrafts and quirky ornaments to tasty local delicacies and sweet-scented mulled wine, there’s absolutely nothing you can’t find in a German Christmas market, whether you choose to browse the most popular ones or visit those hidden in some quaint medieval villages.

In addition to festive shopping, Germany’s best Christmas markets offer visitors an enchanting experience that combines culture, entertainment, and holiday cheer in a magical fairytale-like setting.

Dresden Christmas Market

Dresden Christmas Market

With a history that dates back almost 600 years ago, Dresden Christmas Market, also known as Striezelmarkt, is the oldest and certainly one of the best Christmas fairs in Germany. It befalls each year at the end of November in the city’s baroque Old Town, with the imposing Church of Our Lady as its backdrop.

Highlights of Dresden’s major Christmas Market include the Stollen Festival, the Pyramid Festival, a huge Christmas carousel, and the world’s biggest nutcracker. Twinkling lights add to the charming atmosphere and foodies are spoiled for choice with a variety of Saxon culinary delights.

As for the gifts, no worries, this superb winter attraction features over 230 booths filled with authentic Christmas handicrafts, pottery, candles, handmade toys, wooden ornaments, and many, many more.

This year’s dates for Dresden Christmas Market: 28th November 2018 to 24th December 2018 

Annaberg-Buchholz Christmas Market

Annaberg Christmas Market

Nestled in the charming, beautifully decorated Old Town of Annaberg-Buchholz, this is one of the loveliest and most authentic Christmas markets in Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains), and a perfect choice for visitors in search of a smaller, more intimate winter fairyland.

The event kicks off with the traditional Christmas Pyramid on November 30th and culminates with the Grand Mountain Parade on December 23rd. During these weeks full of merriment and festive atmosphere, visitors have the chance to purchase all sorts of Christmas goodies, from quirky ornaments and decorations to mouthwatering regional foods such as potato pancakes, stollen, chubby sausages, and of course the ubiquitous gluehwein (mulled wine).

A special feature of Annaberg Christmas Market is certainly the high-quality traditional merchandise on offer, which includes Erzgebirge figurines, fascinating local toys, and handmade lace from Plauen.

Dates: November 30th to December 23rd, 2018

Dusseldorf Christmas Market

Dusseldorf Christmas Market

Besides being one of Germany’s most beautiful Christmas fairs, Dusseldorf Christmas Market promises a hell of a show this year, with a variety of locations throughout the city.

Each address will have its own distinctive theme, ranging from the delightfully traditional Christmas Market on Marktplatz to the Scandinavian inspired Christmas Market on Schadowplatz. Obviously, the spectacle will be complemented by picturesque lights, nativity scenes, gingerbread houses, gleaming crystals, and lots of nostalgic stalls selling authentic Christmas goods.

Dusseldorf Christmas Market 2018 takes place between November 22 and December 30

Erfurt Christmas Market

Erfurt Christmas Market

Set in the heart of one of the best preserved medieval Old Towns in Germany, Erfurt Christmas Market is among the largest and most atmospheric fairs of its kind in Europe. Top attractions include the spectacular, exquisitely illuminated Christmas Tree, the amazing Nativity Scene with its human-sized wooden figures, the 12m tall Erzgebirge Christmas Pyramid, and the huge Ferris wheel.

Already regarded as a local tradition, the German fairytale scenes created by two of the city’s talented artists will be once again a highlight of Erfurt Christmas Market, enticing people of all ages. Furthermore, the beautifully decorated wooden huts will fascinate everyone with their marvelous range of handcrafted products, colorful decorations, and regional delights.

2018 Dates: November 27 – December 22

Leipzig Christmas Market

Leipzig Christmas Market

Leipzig prides itself with the second oldest Christmas market in Germany, a tradition that dates back to 1458. Located in front of the Old Town Hall, in the city’s historic center, Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt greets its visitors with over 250 glowing stalls full of fascinating holiday gifts and delicious foods. It is a magical place bursting with culture, history, and traditions, where the festive atmosphere is maintained by trumpet fanfares and Christmas concerts performed by the illustrious St. Thomas Boys Choir.

Don’t miss the unique Finnish Village on Augustusplatz, whose Scandinavian style tents entice passersby with native delicacies like smoked salmon and Glögi (berries mulled wine), or the historical Christmas Market of “Ancient Leipzig“ at the Naschmarkt, which is a showcase of the best local art and craft.

Leipzig Christmas Market is also home to the world’s largest free-standing Advent Calendar (857 m2), a lofty Saxon spruce Christmas tree, a 38-meter-high Ferris wheel, as well as the Fairytale Forest, where children can meet Santa Claus.

This year, Leipzig Christmas Market runs from November 27 to December 23

Nuremberg Christmas Market

Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg

Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt is one the world’s most famous Christmas markets, a charming winter fairyland sprinkled with picturesque wooden stalls, old-fashioned carousels, and lazy snowflakes.

The postcard-perfect Nuremberg Old Town comes to life on November 30th, when its lovely Christmas stands are tastefully decorated with fresh garlands and red-and-white cloth, while tempting scents of gingerbread and roasted almonds fill the chilly, crisp air.

The products on offer are renowned for their high quality. Neither plastic decorations, nor taped carols are allowed here, so prepare yourself for a truly authentic display of Christmas ornaments, unique toys, and superior handcrafts. The same exigency applies to food, therefore your culinary experience will certainly be something special.

Traditional foods include Nuremberg’s spicy gingerbread, the delicious Nuremberg Bratwursts, and all sorts of freshly baked goods. A series of events and celebrations complement the enchanting atmosphere, making Nuremberg Christmas Market – also known as the “Little Town from Wood and Cloth” – an experience not to be missed during your winter holidays in Germany.

Dates: November 30th to December 24th, 2018

Magdeburg Christmas Market

Magdeburg Christmas Market

Although not as popular as the Christmas markets mentioned above, the one in the Saxony-Anhalt’s capital still has its fair share of Christmassy charm added to the gorgeous historical backdrop.

The cheerful stalls selling all kinds of seasonal decorations and tasty goodies, the medieval buildings bathed in festive glow, the seductive aromas of candy floss and mulled wine, the magical Christmas music, and the children’s fun fairs make Magdeburger Weihnachtsmarkt an ideal Christmas destination.

And it’s not just the shopping that draws tourists here each winter, but also the fascinating family-friendly events and the cozy, festive atmosphere that shrouds the Magdeburg Christmas Market every December.

This year dates: 26 November – 30 December

Berlin Christmas Markets

Berlin Christmas Market

With more than 60 Christmas markets dotted throughout the city, it’s no wonder Berlin has a special glow around Christmas (between the end of November and New Year’s Eve).

Widely regarded as the capital of Christmas markets, the city boasts an incredible variety of fairs, where artists, jewelers, and musicians lure visitors into a wonderful atmosphere. The diverse mix of vendors, the handmade Yuletide decorations, the atmospheric lights, and the many fragrances that spring out from the stalls endow the German capital with tons of festive cheer throughout December, transforming it into a magical winter wonderland.

From the idyllic traditional stalls of Adventsmarkt and Alt-Rixdorfer Christmas Market (on Richardplatz) to the Advent Artist Station at Mexikoplatz and the Finnish Christmas Bazaar at the Finland Centre, the eclectic German capital has a holiday fair for each type of visitor.

Some of the best and most popular Christmas markets in Berlin can be found at the Charlottenburg Castle and next to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, both of them featuring gorgeous historical settings, all kinds of traditional local goods, and an intoxicating Christmas vibe.

Also worth visiting are the rooftop Christmas market at Klunkerkranich, the traditional eco-market on Kollwitzplatz, and, of course, the legendary Spandau Christmas Market, with its adorable animals and merry-go-rounds.

For Christmas shopping with a twist, head to the Scandinavian-themed Lucia Christmas Market or stop by Christmasrodeo, a Design Christmas Market teeming with fashion, jewelry, quirky works of art, and delicious street food.

Frankfurt Christmas Market

Frankfurt Christmas Market

Dating back to the 14th century, Frankfurt’s Christmas Market is one of Germany’s oldest, biggest, and most captivating. It spreads across the city’s historical old town, with most of the action taking place around Römerberg, surrounded by traditional half-timbered houses and fairy lights.

In addition to the ever-present mulled wine, baked apples, roasted nuts, and fragrant gingerbread, the Weihnachtsmarkt in Frankfurt is especially famous for its delicious regional goodies, including hot apple wine, small dried plums figurines, and Bethmännchen (traditional marzipan and almond biscuits).

Otherwise, over 200 handsomely decorated stalls sell everything from native arts and crafts to genuine honey-based products. A giant Christmas tree and choirs singing heavenly carols only add to the festive atmosphere.

Frankfurt Christmas Market 2018 runs between November 26th – December 22nd

Cologne Christmas Markets

Christmas market in Cologne

Last but not least, Cologne, the city that gave birth to the delicious mulled wine, invites its winter tourists into a magical land of Christmas markets. From traditional to glamorous and from the old town to the Rhine, each of Cologne’s Christmas markets has its own unique charisma.

Probably the most impressive of all is the one set up against the city’s spellbinding Gothic Cathedral (Cathedral Christmas Market), where more than 160 stalls full of life and magic seduce visitors with an excellent array of arts and crafts. With the same charm, but another magnificent backdrop, Cologne’s Old Christmas Market stands out due to its rustic appeal that perfectly complements the cobbled Alter Markt.

Equally delightful are the tenderly festooned Angel’s Christmas Market on the Neumarkt; the maritime flavored Harbour Christmas Market overlooking the Rhine; the idyllic village-like Christmas Market at Stadtgarten; as well as the hip Christmas Avenue at Bermuda Triangle – Cologne’s gay and lesbian Christmas Market.

In 2018, Cologne’s Christmas markets stay open between 26th November – 23rd December

What’s your favorite Christmas market in Germany?


Written by Meeroona

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