Germany is home to some the world’s best Christmas markets. From foodie delights to crafty artisan produce, where’s best to go this year?
Berlin’s classic Christmas offerings
With nearly as many as one hundred Christmas markets dotted around Berlin, there’s a lot to choose from. The Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market is home to classic festivities that suit all visitors getting into the festive spirit. If your budget is more “miniature snow globe” than “grand globetrotting”, the Dahlem Advent Market is a must. Described by some as the “market of the continents”, it offers themed Christmas displays and hand-crafted goodies from distant lands and neighbouring countries alike. The Charlottenburg Palace, with its stunning lighting, baroque architecture and fine eateries in atmospheric, heated tents, is perfect for couples looking for some Christmas romance.
Delightful Dresden is home to 11 stunning Christmas markets, and one of them — the Striezelmarkt — is Germany’s oldest. Savour traditional stollen cake, warm up with mulled wine and enjoy the glistening festive lights that adorn the world’s tallest Christmas pyramid. Each Advent weekend here is dedicated to one of the local traditions. Walk just round the corner to the Neumarkt and you’ll find a world of picture-perfect handmade Christmas decorations, melodic sounds of choir music and chocolate aromas. But, if the traditional red paint and wooden figurines is not what you’re after, Neustädter Gelichter offers a bit of a hipster twist on the traditional festive theme.
Antique gifts and family fun in Stuttgart
One of the oldest in Germany, Stuttgart’s Christmas market is a visual delight of beautifully decorated stalls, glittering baubles, colourful lighting displays and illuminations. The scent of vanilla, cinnamon and roasted almonds will entice you to the traditional delicacies and crafts. Choral music, carols and other seasonal performances take place in the courtyard of the Old Palace. Children will love the traditional Ferris wheel and the classic carousel, while a fairytale grotto completes the magical Christmas experience.
It’s all about spiced wine and Christmas cheer in Munich during Advent
Forget Oktoberfest and beer — instead think Advent! The main Christmas market at the Marienplatz is the city’s oldest. A giant Christmas tree that is nearly 100ft tall glistens and sparkles. Every evening you’ll be delighted with seasonal music performances, and you can even have a go at learning some traditional Bavarian singing techniques yourself. The 500-year old Krampus Run will thrill and surprise as Santa makes an appearance here every afternoon. Several other markets spring up around the city during this time of year. The Middle Ages Market, for example, offers a medieval twist on the traditional Advent idea, while the Schwabing Christmas Market is a buzzing location for festive drinking and nightlife.
Try Nuremberg sausages at the city’s famous Christkindlesmarkt
If it’s tradition and customs you’re after, Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt is the place for you! During the Advent season, the Old Town transforms into a festive hub, with spiced rum flowing and Nuremberg sausages from dusk to dawn. This market is also famed for its “Sister Cities” stalls, offering an exciting selection of goods from Nuremberg-twinned cities around the world. And, just around the corner from Christkindlesmarkt, younger visitors can find the magical Nuremberg Children’s Christmas, where they can make a crafty memento of Nuremberg’s magic.