Top 10 Christmas Market Destinations in Germany

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Top 10 Christmas Market Destinations in Germany
Top 10 Christmas Market Destinations in Germany

[ source: Wikipedia]

So, are you ready to start your discovery of the world of German Christmas Markets? If your answer is a joyous "Yes!" then you probably already realize that now comes the daunting task of figuring out exactly where you want to go. With hundreds of choices, how does one ever decide? Here is a top 10 list of Christmas market destinations in Germany to help you figure out your itinerary.

Dresden (Dresden vacation rentals | Dresden travel guide) Christmas Market

Dresden - Any top 10 list of Christmas market destinations in Germany must begin with the country's oldest market. Established in 1434, the Dresden Striezelmarkt bears this honor. Striezel was the predecessor to the popular Dresdner Stollen and was initially made of flour, oats, and water. As time passed, the bread became richer and is today a staple in many Germany households. This year the Striezelmarkt will have about 235 booths, making it one of the largest markets in Germany. Besides Stollen, the Dresden market features the renowned woodwork of the Erzgebirge region.

Leipzig (Leipzig vacation rentals | Leipzig travel guide) Christmas Market

Leipzig - It makes sense that if Saxony is home to Germany's oldest Christmas market, it would also be the home of the 2nd oldest one as well, reflecting the spread of the Christmas market tradition. The Leipzig Christmas market was first mentioned in written records in 1458, and today the market is so large that it covers 6 distinct market areas. With 250 booths, the Leipzig market is one of the biggest in Germany. The main attraction for this market is a 857-square meter free-standing Advent calender, the largest in the world. The Leipzig Christmas market is popular because it is is especially child friendly with a fairy tale forest on the Thomaswiese and an elves' workshop at the Stadtbuero Katharinenstrasse.

Nuremberg (Nuremberg vacation rentals | Nuremberg travel guide) Christmas Market

Nuremberg - If Saxony is home to the two oldest markets, Bavaria has the honor of having the most well-known Christmas market: the Nuernberger Christkindlesmarkt. Last year, 2.3 million visitors visited this market. Over 180 booths with their traditional red and white striped roofs lend a festive air to the scene. Traditional goods at the Nuremberg Christmas market include Nuremberg Lebkuchen, golden angels, and nativity sets. One unusual but beloved souvenir from the Nuremberg market is the so-called Nuernberger Zwetschgenmaennle, figures made of dried plums. If you can, try to be in Nuremburg for the Children's Christmas (Kinderweihnacht), which features a procession of 1,500 local boys and girls carrying lanterns they have made themselves through the city to the castle for a reading of the Christmas story.

Munich (Munich vacation rentals | Munich travel guide) Christmas Market

Munich - The Munich Christmas Market covers 20,000 square meters and transforms the city center into a winter wonderland. Unlike some of the other Christmas markets in Germany, the Munich market is primarily a goods venue. Of the 156 stands at the market, only 17 Gluehwein stands and 12 food stands were approved. At this market, the emphasis is placed on Alpine handwork and Bavarian Christmas wares. One notable exception to this is the stand hosted by Munich's partner city, Kiev, which offers Russian Christmas goods.

Frankfurt (Frankfurt vacation rentals | Frankfurt travel guide) Christmas Market

Frankfurt am Main - No top 10 list of Christmas market destinations in Germany should exclude what might be the most visited of fairs, the one in Frankfurt a.M. With about 3 million visitors a year, this is one of the biggest and most important markets in Germany. Located between the Roemerburg and the Paulskirche, the Frankfurt market offers a broad array of traditional Christmas goods, Erzgebirge products, marionettes, and contemporary art works. The food served here is rustic in nature, including Maronen, waffles, goose, and soups.

Cologne (Cologne vacation rentals | Cologne travel guide) Christmas Market

Cologne - Visitors to Cologne during the Christmas season should be prepared to avail themselves of a variety of Christmas markets scattered throughout the city. The Christmas Market Koelner Altstadt is a rustic market and home to the famed Heinzelmaennchen. The Market of Angels is charmingly decorated and features unusual items for sale. Fairy tale magic characterizes the Fairy Tale Christmas Market on Rudolfplatz. Other Christmas markets include the Hafenweihnachtsmarkt near the Chocolate Museum and the Weihnachtsmarkt in the City Garden.

Berlin (Berlin vacation rentals | Berlin travel guide) Christmas Market

Berlin - Like Cologne, Germany's capital hosts numerous Christmas markets that make an extended stay in Berlin all the more desirable. Some of the markets can be found in the following locations: Muensterplatz, Waisenhausplatz, St.-Michaels-Heim, Frohnau, Winterfeldplatz, Schloss Britz (Britz vacation rentals | Britz travel guide), Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin-Mitte (Berlin-Mitte vacation rentals | Berlin-Mitte travel guide), Oberschoeneweide, Wedding, Rathaus Spandau, Opernpalais, and Alt Buckow (Buckow vacation rentals | Buckow travel guide).

Hamburg (Hamburg vacation rentals | Hamburg travel guide) Christmas Market

Hamburg - Hamburg also offers an array of Christmas markets for the discerning shopper: St. Michaelis, Spitalerstrasse, Hamburg-Harburg, Grindelviertel, Ottensen, Petri-Kirche, and Torhaus Weckingsbuettel.

Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf vacation rentals | Düsseldorf travel guide) Christmas Market

Duesseldorf - Unlike the 3 aforementioned city's, Duesseldorf hosts one large Christmas market which spreads over 6 areas in the downtown area. With over 200 decorated booths, the highlight of the Duesseldorf Christmas market is the 450-square meter, free ice skating rink, sure to attract visitors of all ages. Each of the market areas offers something unique. The Engelchen-Markt is characterized by its Art Nouveau flair, while the Buergermarkt booths are modeled on historic Duesseldorf houses. The Buergermarkt is also the site of a Gluehwein pyramid, which no mulled wine aficionado will want to miss.

Erfurt (Erfurt vacation rentals | Erfurt travel guide) Christmas Market

Erfurt - With a city center considered by many to be the best preserved medieval inner city in Germany, Erfurt is the perfect backdrop for a Christmas market. Highlights of this market are the 25-meter tall Christmas tree and the almost lifesized, handmade wooden nativity figures near the St. Severikirche and Dom St. Marien. Erfurt's Christmas market offers over 200 booths and features an array of Thuringian specialities, such as Rostbratwurst and Schittchen (Stollen). Special goods available for purchase at this Christmas market include Blaudruck textiles, Christmas tree ornaments, and blown glass pieces.

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Bettina Kraft

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