Top 5 German Christmas Markets

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Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt
Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt

[ source: Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt - own website]

Many people associate Christmas foremost with stress. First, you rack your brains about what presents to buy for your loved ones, then you raid through various overcrowded shops to hopefully find those items you have thought of and in the end you usually spend much more money than you planned on. Additionally, you need to write and send Christmas cards to family and friends, decorate your house with all the Christmas lights and other stuff you have bought over the years and stored in the attic, and also bake some Christmas cookies. Within all this hustle and bustle it is difficult, not to say impossible, to really enjoy the Christmas season. However, should you be lucky enough to spend the weeks before Christmas in Germany, there is only one thing you need to do to get into a festive mood instantly: visit a traditional Christmas market. Basically every town has one and they are all lovely, but of course some of them are just a little bit better than others. Live Like a German has picked the top five German Christmas markets for you to visit and enjoy.

The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg

At the top of the top five list of German Christmas markets, the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg (Nuremberg vacation rentals | Nuremberg travel guide) is the most famous Christmas market in the world and attracts more than two million visitors every year. In 2011 it starts on the evening of the 25th of November with the Christmas Angel reciting the solemn prologue from the gallery of the Church of Our Lady in the Middle of Nuremberg’s main market square. In the about 180 wooden stalls you can find all the typical Christmas articles you can think of, but the must-haves at Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt certainly are the spicy gingerbread and the so—called Nuremberg Plum People, little figures made from prunes.

Christmas Market in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburgob der Tauber (Rothenburgob der Tauber vacation rentals | Rothenburgob der Tauber travel guide) is commonly known as the capital of Christmas, where you can buy Christmas decoration all year round. So it is not surprising that this town’s Christmas market is amongst the best ones in the country. It is a very small market located in an alleyway in the Old Town, surrounded by half—timbered houses and decorated with thousands of little Christmas lights. A children’s choir singing Christmas carols enhances the peaceful and festive atmosphere even more.

The Dresdner Striezelmarkt

Are you in the mood for a little Stollen? Not to be left off of any top five list of German Christmas markets, the Dresdner Striezelmarkt in Dresden (Dresden vacation rentals | Dresden travel guide) is the oldest Christmas market in Germany and was first celebrated in 1434. Today the Striezelmarkt is mostly known for its giant wooden pyramid, which is almost 50 feet high, contains 42 handcrafted figurines and is even listed in Guinness World Records.

International Christmas Market in Essen

Because of its size, the International Christmas Market in Essen (Essen vacation rentals | Essen travel guide) might not be as atmospheric and romantic as many of the other smaller markets all over Germany, but here it is almost guaranteed that you can buy everything Christmas—related that you can think of. In Essen you are not limited to the traditional German Christmas articles, like wooden cribs and tree angels or bakery goods, like gingerbread and stollen, you can also find Belgian chocolates or English Christmas pudding, as well as arts and crafts products from all over Europe.

Leipzig’s Christmas market

[=destination:leipzig:Leipzig's:] Christmas market is not only the second—oldest one in the country but also the most fun to visit with children. Its main attraction is a freestanding Advent calendar, which is known as the biggest one worldwide. Additionally, children can stroll thought the fairytale forest, visit Santa Clause during his office hours in the afternoon at the main market square or even get creative and make their own Christmas decorations a the Wichtel workshop.

About this Article

Kathrin Wagner

This travel guide has been written by Kathrin Wagner.

She grew up in a small town in Bavaria and then studied Media studies, Literature and History in Erlangen and Munich. As a student she already spent half a year in London and moved back there after graduation in 2006. She is still living in London, where she works in publishing.

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