10 German Christmas Markets For Your Travel Wish List
Categories: Sightseeing, Cultural and History, Entertainment, General Travel Info
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Every Advent season, starting in late November, Germany transforms itself into the Land of Christmas. There are Christmas markets literally everywhere and the larger the city, the more there are likely to be. The largest and best known are probably Dresden’s Striezelmarkt, Munich’s Christkindlmarkt, Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s Reiterlesmarkt and Stuttgart’s Weihnachtsmarkt. But to say that’s the tip of the iceberg is an understatement. Here are 10 special Christmas markets to know about—for now or in the future.
WeihnachtsZauber means Christmas Magic and this splendid market at the beautiful Gendarmenmarkt in Mitte is aptly named. The atmosphere is cosmopolitan, the merchandise high end, there’s a champagne bar, food from top Berlin restaurants, and an outdoor stage with an ongoing performing arts program. The Christmas Market at Schloss Charlottenburg in the forecourt of Berlin’s largest palace is another sophisticated and upscale shopping experience. It’s made even more special by the colorful lightshow beamed across the façade of the Baroque palace. The Lucia Christmas Market is set in the courtyards of an historic brewery in Prenzlauerberg. This is primarily a Scandinavian market, featuring regional specialties, colorful street entertainment and even a yurt.
In the heart of the Altstadt (old city), the Heinzelmännchenmarkt salutes the helpful and industrious gnomes (Heinzelmännchen) of Cologne. This charming and nostalgic market is a favorite of both children and grown-ups.
DRESDENAt the foot of the magnificent Frauenkirche cathedral, Advent at the Neumarkt, takes visitors back to the year 1900. It features modern merchants working in crafts that were being produced near the Neumarkt around the turn of the 20th century. Even the market stalls reflect the architecture of the period so it’s all very cohesive. Stepping further back in time—to medieval times, in fact—the Stallhof Advent Market is set in the former mews of the Dresden Royal Palace. Guildsmen sell hand-crafted products, jugglers and other street performers provide entertainment. Go after dark for the most romantic experience.
Also supremely romantic is the white-tented Winter Magic at Jungfernstieg looking out on the festive lights of the Alster Lake. This is Hamburg at its most chic, reflected in the level of taste and quality of the goods for sale at this market.
There’s a double treat in store at the Christmas market on Karlsplatz: a stunning setting at the foot of Heidelberg Castle along with what may be Germany’s most attractive skating rink (rentals available). The celebration is called Christmas on Ice and, for those who prefer to watch rather skate, the market is full of stalls selling Glühwein, Bratwurst, Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and other traditional seasonal favorites.
The Schwabing Christmas Market in Munich’s artists’ quarter sells and showcases creations by artists from all over Germany. In addition to hand-made products, there’s a dedicated Art Tent displaying the work of painters, sculptors and conceptual artists
Regensburg, a port of call on Danube river cruises, has several Christmas markets, but the Romantic Christmas Market at Thurn und Taxis Palace is in a class of its own. Once inside the walls of the palace courtyard, the modern world fades away. A daily highlight is a visit from the Regensburg Christkindl.
About this Article
This travel guide has been written by Joy Anderson.
Joy Anderson began her GermanyAtChristmas blog in 2010, inspired by her personal travel experiences at the famous German Christmas markets.
She describes herself in her blog as “a travel writer with a strong romantic Europe has always been my favorite destination. I love good food, drink, design, art, and music—all of which Germany has in abundance, in a fairy-tale setting, to boot.
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