14 Best Christmas Markets In Germany
Christmas markets, known as “Weihnachtsmärkte” in German, are a beloved and time-honored tradition in Germany. As the air grows crisp and the days shorten, these enchanting Christmas markets in Germany come alive, offering a magical journey through centuries-old traditions, enticing aromas, and the twinkle of lights.
Christmas markets in Germany are like stepping into a storybook scene, where the spirit of the holiday season comes alive in all its splendor. Promising a tapestry of festive delights with twinkling lights, Christmas trees, Glühwein – which is a popular spiced mulled wine, bratwurst sausages, gingerbread cookies (Lebkuchen), Stollen fruitcake, roasted chestnuts, traditional crafts, ice skating, rides and so much more.
Germany boasts numerous Christmas markets, each with its own character. Cities like Nuremberg, Munich, Cologne, Dresden, and Berlin host some of the most famous markets. Local traditions vary. For instance, Nuremberg’s market features the Christkind, a symbolic figure who opens the market. Cologne’s market showcases a life-sized nativity scene. Uncover the essence German Christmas with some of the best Christmas markets in Germany.
Dates: 29th November to 24th December 2023
Dating back to the 15th century and representing Germany’s most popular and oldest Christmas market is the Dresden Striezelmarkt. The historic Altmarkt Square in Dresden is transformed into a winter wonderland. Every year, the main attractions include a towering 48-foot Christmas pyramid (likely to be the world’s largest walk-in candle arch), a vintage Ferris wheel featuring candy-striped gondolas, and over 200 Christmas booths that are bursting with traditional foods, mulled wine, handmade crafts souvenirs. There is also a daily lineup of cultural Christmas events along eith elaborate nativity scenes.
One of the must-try at this Christmas market is Germany is a traditional sweet braided cake called ‘Christstollen’ or ‘Stollen’. In fact, this Christmas markets name ‘Striezel’ actually refers to the ‘Stollen’ cake and one of the highlights at the Dresden Striezelmarkt is the Stollen Festival, where a grand Stollen cake is paraded through the streets of the city before being shared with the public.
Where To Stay: Gewandhaus Dresden is located in Dresden’s historic city centre just a short walk away from Dresden Striezelmarkt Christmas market. Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski Dresden is another good option to easily access the markets.
2Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt am Kölner Dom)
Dates: 23rd November to 23rd December 2023
The Cologne Christmas Market at Cologne Cathedral, also referred to as “Weihnachtsmarkt am Kölner Dom” in German, stands as one of the notable Christmas markets in Germany. The impressive cathedral backdrop, adorned with hundreds of glittering lights spread out above the Roncalliplatz (square), along with a majestic Christmas tree, perfectly encapsulates the essence of Christmas markets in Germany.
Immerse yourself in rows and rows of village lanes which boasts over 100 red-roofed wooden stalls give off a cosy festive feel, the beautifully decoarted booths offer a wide selection of gastronomical delights and handmade objects which are a testament to German craftsmanship and culinary heritage. The main highlight however, is the entertainment, Cologne Christmas market boasts over 100 stage performances all of which are free. Another integral part of this market is the nativity scene, meticulously crafted to depict the heartwarming Christmas story.
Where To Stay: Excelsior Hotel Ernst is located right behind the Cologne Cathedral.
How To Get There: The closest airport is Dresden Airport. Book your flights
3Munich Christmas Market (Munich Christkindlmarkt)
Dates: 22th November to 24th December 2023
Located in Marienplatz Square, this traditional market dates back to the 14th century, although it’s only taken place in this square since 1972 and stands as Munich’s original Christmas market. With the backdrop of the Neo-Gothic town hall towering over the more than 150 stalls, the market is not only one of the oldest but one of the best Christmas markets in Germany.
Alongside an array of festive stalls selling traditional foods and drink such as delicious gingerbread, spiced mulled wine and handmade goods, you’ll be dazzled by the centrepiece Christmas tree decked out with more than 2,500 lights. Since 1977, the city’s Christmas tree, proudly stationed before the Town Hall, has been donated by communities in Bavaria and the Alpine Countries. For a spectacular view of the market, climb the 300 steps to the top of St Peter’s Church for a bird’s eye view of the enchanting market.
Where To Stay: BEYOND by Geisel overlooks the Marienplatz Square – you couldn’t be any closer to the market. If you want prefer to be a little further away from the action the Mandarin Oriental is a good option.
4Nuremberg Christmas Market (Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt)
Dates: 1st December to 24th December 2023
Thought to date back to 1530, or at least officially dating back to 1628, Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is located in the central square of Hauptmarkt and is one of the best Christmas markets in Germany, thanks to its unique and famous symbol – the Christkind – an angelic figure with blonde hair who gives gifts to little ones. The market’s location in Nuremberg’s Old Town lends it a distinct medieval charm.
You won’t find Christkind at any other market in Germany, and she officially opens the market with a speech given from the balcony of a gothic church overlooking the square. 180 stalls charmingly decorated with red and white covers offer up a wealth of treats. Nuremberg is famous for its bratwurst and delicious lebkuchen – a type of gingerbread and traditional handmade crafts such as wooden nutcrackers and zwetschgenmännle (figurines made from prune).
5Berlin Christmas Market (WeihnachtsZauber at Gendarmenmarkt)
Dates: 27th November to 30th December 2023
Germany’s capital city has over 70 different markets for you to choose from, but WeihnachtsZauber is considered to be the best Christmas market in Germany. Located in Gendarmenmarkt Square, close to some of Berlin’s most historical buildings: the Berlin State Opera House, St. Hedwig’s Cathedral and the stunning listed Alte Bibliothek, the historic location adds to the market’s charm and provides a regal backdrop. A festive Christmas ambiance takes shape through an array of of over a thousand sparkling Christmas lights, baubles and large sparkling Christmas tree.
You’ll find a whole host of culinary offerings, from traditional Bavarian and Austrian dishes such as Neuburger Rahmbrot, as well as gourmet delicacies served in the luxury heated pop-up restaurants. Swiss fondue and wiener schnitzel are just some of the dishes to be found. The arts and crafts tent has plenty of unique exhibitors displaying their treasures, and there are multiple performances such as musicians, dancers, acrobats and even fire performers.
Note – From 2022 to 2024, due to a construction site, the Christmas market WeihnachtsZauber will not take place on the Gendarmenmarkt as usual, but will be relocated to the nearby Bebelplatz.
6International Christmas Market Essen (Weihnachtsmarkt Essen)
Dates: 17th November to 23rd December 2023
The lesser-known city of Essen, located just a 30-minute train journey away from Düsseldorf, boasts perhaps the most underrated, but fantastic Christmas market in Germany. The market’s charm lies in its blend of traditional and contemporary elements. More than 250 stalls offer an array of products, from handcrafted gifts and ornaments to local culinary delights from more than 20 countries around the world. The scent of roasted chestnuts, bratwurst sausages, and mulled wine fills the air, creating a warm and festive ambiance.
As one of the most charming Christmas markets in Germany, Essen is renowed for its sparkling canopy of lights. Starting right as you exit the train station and stretching right across the city, the main star of the show is the Kennedyplatz square where a stunning canopy of sparkling lights drapes across the stalls creating the most magical atmosphere, alongside its notable commitment to sustainability. The entire celebration operates solely on eco-friendly energy, and every vendor adheres to environmentally conscious and fair trade principles.
7Düsseldorf Christmas Market
Dates: 23rd November to 30th December 2023
Düsseldorf’s Christmas Market boasts seven uniquely themed markets, all within walking distance, transforming the city’s downtown into a sprawling christmas market during the holiday season creating a magical atmosphere. Adorned with over 200 beautifully-decorated stalls, stunning light displays, paired with the early opening dates makes Düsseldorf Christmas Market one of best Christmas markets in Germany,
Altstadt Markt is the star of the show, conveniently located in the Old Town, the stalls here are modelled after the historic burgher houses found in the city. Märchen-Markt is like a fairytale Christmas wonderland, where German fairy tales are read aloud and a visit from Father Christmas comes surrounded by beautiful 15,000 sparkling lights. With a Ferris wheel, an ice rink and curling to enjoy throughout the city, there’s lots to do when you’re done wandering the stalls.
8Leipzig Christmas Market
Dates: 28th November to 23rd December 2023
With origins dating back to 1458, the country’s second-oldest Christmas Market is also one of the largest and best Christmas Markets in Germany. Located in the heart of the city in front of the Old Town Hall, the Leipzig Christmas market radiates a festive spirit against the backdrop of historic architecture. The city’s marketplace and its surroundings come alive with lights, decorations, and an array of stalls, creating an enchanting winter wonderland that captures the essence of the holiday season. Over 250 ornately-decorated stalls adorned with twinkling lights, seamlessly integrated into the tapestry of the historic surroundings and sell sell a variety of festive goods and delicious culinary delights.
Sample Leipziger Lerche (a sweet pastry-like delicacy) and sip on hot Glühwein (mulled wine) as you wander the traditional medieval market and marvel at the “Magical Forest” light installation. Don’t forget to try some of the regional food on offer and keep an eye out for the daily performances such as the trombonists who play from the balcony of the Town Hall.
9Braunschweig Christmas Market
Dates: 29th November to 29th December 2023
Dating back to 1505, Braunschweig Christmas Market is is steeped in tradition and heritage. Located in the historic old quarter, surrounded by the beautiful St. Blasii Cathedral and Dankwarderode Castle, around 130 beautifully decorated stalls showcase handcrafted gifts, seasonal decorations, and culinary delights.
The traditional German mulled wine glühwein is served with a shot of local Braunschweiger Mumme, adding a unique regional twist to this beloved festive drink. Additionally, Don’t miss the life-size nativity scene and Christmas concerts that play at the cathedral along with the ice rink.
Where To Stay: Steigenberger Parkhotel Braunschweig located in a park with beautiful view just a short walk away from the centre.
10Stuttgart Christmas Market (Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt)
Dates: 29th November to 23rd December 2023
As the festive season unfolds, Stuttgart undergoes a magical transformation into a picturesque Christmas market destination. Nestled on the fringes of the Black Forest, Stuttgart Christmas Market is one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets with roots tracing back to 1692, beyond its historical roots, its allure is heightened by its picturesque setting with festive lights, nestled against the backdrop of Stuttgart’s 10th-century Old Castle – you’ll find yourself seamlessly transported to the heart of the festive season’s charm.
There are over 200 stalls offering enticing handmade goods and delicious food, as well as unique attractions such as the giant Advent calendar! Boasting extravagant decorations, there is a competition for the most beautiful stall each year, and the sellers go all out on the festive decor. Enjoy nightly performances from local choirs, jazz orchestras and don’t miss the mouth-watering maultaschen – a regional delicacy consisting of a meat-stuffed ravioli-like dumpling and wash it down with a warm glühwein.
Where To Stay: Hotel Unger is centrally located to access the Christmas markets.
11Erfurter Christmas Market
Dates: 28th November to 22nd December 2023
Situated in the gorgeous old quarter, the Erfurter Weihnachtsmarkt finds itself immersed in the charm of the city. The grandeur of St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Church of St. Severus gracefully graces its surroundings, Erfurt is one of the popular Christmas markets in Germany thanks to its beautiful scenery and tasty traditional treats.
Over 200 stalls dotted around Domplatz, Fischmarkt and Willy-Brandt-Platz squares sell a variety of festive goods. Take a look at the annual Christmas floral exhibition showcased in the vaults of the Felsenkeller, marvel at the beautiful enchanted forest display and take a whirl on the dazzling Ferris wheel. Hungry bellies shouldn’t miss the Thuringian bratwurst and erfurt schittchen – a delicious 15th-century fruit bread which has now been trademarked.
12Aachen Christmas Market
Dates: 24th November to 23rd December 2023
Annually, as Christmas draws near, Aachen’s Old Town is transformed into a winter wonderland, adorned with twinking lights accompanied by the melodies of festivities and the enticing aromas of the season. At the heart of the city, the main Christmas market finds its place at Marktplatz am Rathaus, Katschhof, and Münsterplatz. Amid the myriad of options, Aachen Christmas Market holds its position as one of the finest Christmas markets in Germany, drawing in crowds with its timeless charm.
What sets the Aachen Christmas Market apart is its focus on craftsmanship and traditional products. More than 120 stalls offer a variety of handcrafted items, including wooden toys, intricate ornaments, and textiles, all carefully curated to reflect the city’s cultural heritage.
Aachen is known for its specialty, “Aachener Printen,” a type of spiced gingerbread with an anise flavor that has become synonymous with the city. This sweet treat, along with other seasonal goodies like kartoffelpuffer, a potato fritter with a delightfully crisp edge, and candies infused with the essence of mulled wine, roasted almonds, crepes, and mulled wine, adds to the market’s sensory allure.
13Trier Christmas Market
Dates: 24th November to 22nd December 2023
Located just an hour from Luxembourg, the Trier Christmas market is nestled within a picturesque medieval backdrop of 13th-century Trier Cathedral and medieval Main Market. Boasting over 90 festive market stalls selling traditional German crafts, decorations, and gifts. The market boasts an extensive array of delectable specialties, including the renowned “Original Moselle Vintner Mulled Wine”.
Entertainment is a key element of the Trier Christmas Market. Live music performances, choirs, and festive shows contribute to the joyful atmosphere, enhancing the overall experience. Marking a fresh approach, the family-oriented schedule undergoes nearly daily transformations, offering an array of experiences from historical puppet theater to captivating performances. Among the plethora of Christmas markets in Germany, Trier Christmas market emerges as a true gem, celebrated for its festive allure and vibrant offerings.
How To Get There: The closest airport is Luxembourg. Book your flight
14Magdeburg Christmas Market (Magdeburger Weihnachtsmarkt)
Dates: 27th November to 29th December 2023
Magdeburg Christmas Market, also known as the “Magdeburger Weihnachtsmarkt” in German, is an annual Christmas market held in Magdeburg, Germany. The Christmas market typically takes place in the historic city center, often centered around the city’s iconic Cathedral Square (Domplatz) and the Alter Markt (Old Market Square), offering picturesque backdrop.
The entire Magdeburg city center sparkles and glitters with the Magdeburg World of Lights, over 1.2 million LED lights and 80 large lighting elements make the city shine. The Magdeburg mulled wine culture is legendary here, with over 50 different types of mulled wine on offer. As one of the best Christmas markets in Germany, The Magdeburg Christmas Market exudes a warm and inviting atmosphere with its beautifully decorated wooden stalls, twinkling lights, and festive decorations.
The market is known for its unique and authentic atmosphere, with over 150 stalls selling a wide range of traditional Christmas gifts including traditional handicrafts, holiday decorations, Erzgebirge handicrafts, toys, and regional specialties. The ice rink at the Magdeburg Christmas Market is one of the most popular attractions at the market. Located in the heart of the Old Town lace up your skates and glide across the ice in a beautiful and festive setting.