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Spiced mulled wine, gingerbread, and the sweet aroma of grilled sausages are what visitors can expect at a typical German Christmas market. Soak in the cheery ambiance of holiday magic with the sounds of children ice skating under illuminated light displays as shoppers delight in the array of local crafts and treats being offered to eager Christmas shoppers. A delight for the senses, the festive markets in Germany offer something for everyone. From big city buzz to quintessentially quaint, discover how to kick-start your holiday season with one of the top Christmas markets in Germany.
Frankfurt (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Considered the financial hub of Germany, Frankfurt sheds its business image come Christmastime. During this magical time, visitors can hear the sounds of Christmas carols and church bells echoing in the streets as the smell of roasted chestnuts and almonds fill the air. Little ones are eager to indulge in sugary cinnamon stars, as adults are equally as excited to taste their first mulled wine of the season. Visitors will find a jolly atmosphere on the Römerberg and St Paul’s Square with an abundance of stalls doling out toys and local hand-made crafts.
Berlin (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Held beneath the Gedächtniskirche Memorial Church, Germany’s capital holds over 60 unique markets scattered throughout the city. Covered in cheery decoration, hundreds of stalls are selling anything from ornaments, toys, and clothing. Warm frozen fingers with warm ciders, glazed fruit, and grilled sausages. While visitors will find endless entertainment at the Gendarmenmarkt with a buzzing atmosphere of jugglers, acrobats, fire artists, and choirs, the Lucia Christmas Market is a Nordic-Scandinavian themed market for the trendy crowd, and a more traditional market is found at Spandau.
Cologne (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Germany’s second most popular city for Christmas markets is Cologne. Here visitors will find their beer served in traditional stein glasses amongst a crowd of magicians, jugglers, and traditional glassblowers. You’ll be spoiled for choice in what market to choose, as the Fairytale Christmas Market, Market of Angels, and Cologne Harbour Market are all equally popular for their yuletide wares and festive ambiance. The “Am Dom” market in the square of the 600-year-old Gothic Cologne Cathedral stands proud next to a towering Christmas tree.
Dresden (Hotel Prices & Photos)
A historic market that dates back to 1434, Dresden has the oldest Christmas market in the country. Here visitors will find a magical winter wonderland vibe with twinkling lights amongst the backdrop of Germany’s stunning River Elbe. Take a photo with the world’s tallest Nutcracker, watch puppet theater, or fill your stomach with treats from local carvers and bakers. While there are a handful of notable markets held throughout Dresden, none are as beloved as the Stollen Festival where a giant stollen cake is carried through the streets and then small pieces of the rich dried fruit and marzipan cake is distributed amongst the crowd.
Stuttgart (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Boasting an impressive five cobbled squares in the downtown area, Stuttgart is a perfect city to indulge in Germany’s famous Christmas markets. Considered Germany’s oldest and largest market, the Stuttgart market has an awe-inspiring 300 stalls enthusiastically competing with over-the-top decorations that create an illuminated feast for the eyes beneath the Old Palace. A family-friendly market, here visitors will find choirs, musicians, an outdoor skating rink, and Grimm’s fairy tale figures amongst the aroma of cinnamon and vanilla treats enticing sweet-lovers in.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Hotel Prices & Photos)
An impressively spectacular medieval Bavarian town, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the most picturesque Christmas markets in Germany. The Reiterlesmarkt dates back over 500 years and provides visitors with a more intimate feel compare to the big cities, allowing them to explore the magical cobblestone streets and indulge in Rothenburg’s famous snowball dessert made of fried dough covered in powdered sugar, without all the crowds. A stunning city in itself, Rothenburg also boasts the only fully-fledged museums dedicated to Christmas.
Munich (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Marienplatz is Munich’s most famous market held within the city’s center square, boasting all the traditional elements of what makes German’s Christmas markets so attractive. Here visitors will find colorful decorations, carolers, nativity plays, and a plenty of opportunities to indulge in festive goodies. Munich boasts an extensive list of markets to choose from scattered throughout the city, with each neighborhood presenting its own unique theme, from the medieval market to the gay-friendly Pink Christmas Market.
Nuremberg (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Dating back to 1628, the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg is one of the country’s most famous and authentic Christmas markets. Held in Hauptmarkt, the city’s largest square, visitors will find a mix of colors, sounds, and quality handcrafted goods amongst a stunning backdrop of the Alps and the Imperial Castle. Warm yourself up with boots filled with Glühwein, munch on the famous Nuremberg gingerbread, and discover how they make little men out of dried prunes.
Dusseldorf (Hotel Prices & Photos)
In a city that gives off vibes of class and wealth, Dusseldorf has a handful of markets concentrated around the Königsallee (Kö), a designer store-lined street decorated with Christmas lights. Visitors will find a traditional market at the Marktplatz in front of city hall, while children will be ready for a ride on the merry-go-round at Schadowplatz.
Erfurt (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Visitors can’t help but be impressed by the 40 foot Christmas pyramid, life-sized wooden figures in a Nativity scene, and the festive ambiance at the vast Cathedral Square. Fill your stomach with charcoal grilled Thüringer Rostbratwurst and Baumkuchen, Erfurt’s delicious buttery and eggy cake while shopping for unique Thuringian specialities.
Hamburg (Hotel Prices & Photos)
While Hamburg has plenty of Christmas markets to choose from, the Hamburg Town Hall Christmas Market is one of the most treasured. Here visitors will discover an array of brightly decorated stalls and have their punch served by clowns and circus artists. Stocking fillers are in abundance, in addition to the overwhelming scent of roasted almonds and fir sprigs. Hamburg’s enchanting market’s boast old-fashioned carousels, mugs of Glühwein, and even Santa flying high over the market telling the story of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.
Konstanz (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Situated on Lake Constance, Konstanz boasts an Old Town and stunning cathedral that are illuminated by the surrounding snow-capped Alp mountains set by tranquil boats in the harbor. During Christmastime, over 130 food vendors, traders, and artists create an enticing Christmas atmosphere with local crafts and a diverse set of local specialities for visitors to enjoy. A unique feature of the market here is the popular “Christmas Ship, where stalls set up and provide a unique backdrop to the festivities.