Germany’s Best Christmas Markets in 2021

Christmas markets in Germany have been canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. This year, however, authorities are optimistic that most of the fairs will take place, so make sure you check out their official websites before booking the trip.

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

Whether you choose to browse the most popular ones or those hidden in some quaint, lesser-known medieval villages, one thing is for sure: visiting a Christkindlmarkt is the ultimate holiday experience!

Christmas markets in Germany usually start in late November and last until around the 23rd of December annually. They’re mostly traditional affairs steeped in history and local culture, though in the last few years, more original, alternative options have started to pop up in forward-thinking cities like Berlin, Hamburg, and Cologne.

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. Festive shopping aside, they offer visitors an enchanting experience that combines culture with entertainment and holiday cheer in a magical fairytale-like setting.

From Stuttgart to Hamburg, these are the best Christmas markets in Germany in 2021:

Dresden Christmas Market

Dresden Christmas Market
Photo: massonforstock/

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.

Annaberg-Buchholz Christmas Market

Annaberg-Buchholz 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 destination for visitors in search of a smaller, more intimate winter fairyland.

The event kicks off with the traditional Christmas Pyramid on November 26th 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.

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.

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 a spectacular, exquisitely illuminated Christmas tree, an amazing Nativity Scene of human-sized wooden figures, the 12m tall Erzgebirge Christmas Pyramid, and the traditional Christmas floral exhibition held daily in the vaults of Erfurt’s Domberg.

Hopefully, the enchanted forest on Domplatz square, already regarded as a local tradition, will be once again a highlight of Erfurt Christmas Market, enticing people of all ages with its handcrafted figures and artistic decors depicting scenes from fairytales. Also, we’re looking forward to seeing the beautifully decorated wooden huts fascinating everyone with their marvelous range of handcrafted products, colorful decorations, and regional delights.

Leipzig Christmas Market

The Christmas Market in Leipzig
Photo: markovskiy/

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 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.

Nuremberg Christmas Market

Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt
Photo: markovskiy/

Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt is one of 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 26th, 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 the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg – also known as the “Little Town from Wood and Cloth” – one of the best Christmas markets in Germany and an experience not to be missed during your winter holidays.

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.

Berlin Christmas Markets

Berlin Christmas Market

With more than 70 Christmas markets dotted throughout the city between the end of November and New Year’s Eve, it’s no wonder Berlin has a special glow around Christmas.

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

Christmas Markets in Germany

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 historic 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.

Cologne Christmas Markets

Christmas market in Cologne, Germany

Cologne, the city that gave birth to the delicious mulled wine, welcomes 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.

Stuttgart Christmas Market

Stuttgart Christmas Market
Photo: in.Stuttgart / Thomas Niedermüller

With over 280 wonderfully decorated wooden huts set up in the heart of the city center, Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt is one of the biggest Christmas markets in Germany.

During the Advent season, the Inner City is ablaze with holiday spirit as the squares are bathed in festive lighting and market stall owners compete for the most beautiful rooftop decor. Christmas concerts take place daily in the Renaissance inner courtyard of the Old Palace and Stuttgart’s town hall is transformed into a gigantic Advent calendar. Old-fashioned carrousels, a fairytale grotto, and the traditional miniature railway drawn by a real steam locomotive will keep children happy while parents shop for gifts and sip on delicious mulled wine.

In addition to the usual gingerbread and roasted chestnuts, Stuttgart Christmas market offers a variety of Swabian culinary specialties, including Maultaschen – a giant ravioli filled with mincemeat and spinach.

Esslingen Medieval Christmas Market

Esslingen Medieval Christmas Market
Photo: Esslinger Stadtmarketing & Tourismus GmbH

Held in magnificent half-timbered surroundings, Esslingen Medieval Christmas Market takes visitors on a journey back in time with jugglers, fire-eaters, stilt walkers, and merchants wearing historical costumes. Adding to the time-warp feel are archery tournaments, medieval music and dances, as well as unique workshops where one can learn how to smoke and cure food, or watch craftsmen practicing ancient trades.

To fully immerse yourself in the medieval atmosphere, swap your mulled wine for gluhbier (mulled beer) or try the local mead – a honey wine popular in the Middle Ages.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber Reiterlesmarkt

Rothenburg ob der Tauber Reiterlesmarkt
Photo: © Rothenburg Tourismus Service, W. Pfitzinger

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful Christmas market than that one in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a storybook Bavarian town with fanciful half-timbered houses, red-tiled roofs, and cozy boutique-lined cobblestone streets. Smack in the well-preserved medieval quarter, the 15th-century Reiterlesmarkt turns the city into a living Christmas card. Pair that with guided torchlight walks, ancient German pastries, and a year-round Christmas Museum full of historical decorations and you’ve got what they call Germany’s Christmas capital.

Hamburg City Hall Christmas Market

Hamburg City Hall Christmas Market
Photo: markovskiy/

Hamburg’s edginess is proudly reflected in the city’s collection of over 30 Christmas markets, which range from dog-themed to maritime-flavored to the world’s first erotic Christmas market.

The largest and most impressive, however, is Weihnachtsmarkt, held in front of the City Hall. Here, masterful craftsmen and artisans from all over the country display and sell their handicrafts in elaborately decorated huts set around a giant Christmas tree. You’ll find wood carvings from Tyrol, pottery from the Lausitz region, original Nuremberg gingerbread, and even handcrafted Christmas ornaments from the Erzgebirge region.

Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market

Ravenna Gorge, Germany Christmas Market

Tucked away below the illuminated stone arches of a 130-foot-high railway viaduct, in the middle of the Black Forest, you’ll find one of Germany’s most unique Christmas markets. The peculiar fair stands out for its dramatic setting in a snowy valley surrounded by steep forested mountains and consists of 40 wooden chalets selling traditional handmade ornaments and tasty food. The dreamlike atmosphere is completed with live piano music and captivating light shows.

The Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market is about an hour by car from Freiburg and will only be open during the Advent weekends. Free shuttle buses take visitors from Hinterzarten and Himmelreich stations to the fair and back.

What’s your favorite Christmas market in Germany?

  1. Thanks for this post. I just moved to Berlin and experienced my first Christmas Market ever today. We went to Alexander Platz though, and as I have understood it, this market isn’t nearly as good as the others… I will definitely try some of those out that you wrote about!

    1. Thanks:)! I’m happy to know that my post has inspired you. Have a wonderful time at Berlin’s Christmas markets! Looking forward to see some first-hand impressions on your blog.

  2. I personally love the Stuttgart Weihnachtsmarkt. Esslingen, thought a smaller town, is also lovely- medieval-themed. I’m very looking forward to visiting the ones you listed, though! A German Christmas is like nothing else- no one does it better!

  3. Of course, any list of German Christmas Markets would be incomplete without Kathie Wolfhart and Rothenburg ob Tauer. Not the tourism but the look of the town on a cold snowy December day…..that was the most enjoyable part of my trip which included Wurzburg, Frankfurt, and Kaiserslautern.

    1. Rothenburg for me too but I also loved the uniqueness of Ravenna Gorge

  4. francaangloitalian francaangloitalian says:

    We were in Munich last year and loved the Christmas market and atmosphere there, we are in Berlin right now, we should really check the places you suggested 🙂

    1. That’s great! Let us know how Berlin’s Christmas Markets look and feel this year:).

  5. Shaun scow foft Shaun scow foft says:

    I recommend Rotenburg beautiful old place nice festive atmosphere

  6. You discovered Duesseldorf? 😀
    All of the Christmas market you wrote about are great but I think that they are to full for normal travelers. Maybe you could cover some markets that are located outside the big german cities (for example in castles). But however: Very good and interesting post. I loved to see Duesseldorf in a blog.

  7. Yess! Dresden top the list! We were there last year with several other places such as Magdeburg, Frankfurt, and Munich, but we were very certain Dresden is the best and yes we’re right. Love the ambiance, love the path that brings you to the shore of Elbe. Amongst the best Gluhwein, we had all over Germany and Austria.

  8. The Cologne Christmas market looks beautiful, what a backdrop! Definitely looking forward to visiting next month.

  9. I really enjoyed the Christmas markets in Regensburg! This year I hope to check out a few from your list as well. Thank you for the article:)

  10. I started visiting some smaller Xmas markets and one of my favorites has been Aachen!
    Definitely much smaller than all the others you mentioned but still charming. As we went with a bigger group traveling and getting around was easier. A day or two is plenty which makes it a perfect weekend destination (or if you can during the week as it does get busy too).

  11. Simone Cuarino Simone Cuarino says:

    Frankfurt am Main is my favorite!
    Great memories from my childhood- from the smell of the delicious foods, the beautiful tree, the sound of the choir singing, the beautifully decorated area, the carousel, the multitude of booths with candies and the most unique gifts, to the small shops and cafes surrounding the market – the ambience is most wonderful!

Your email address will not be published.