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16 Best Christmas Markets in Germany For Holiday Magic

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Venturing through Christmas Markets in Germany is truly an iconic experience that is the textbook definition of holiday magic. The delectable aromas of hot chestnuts, grilled sausages, and Glühwein, coupled with the quaint architecture that braces each town, make all the Christmas markets worth every minute of your time.

Christmas markets in Germany are an excellent and celebrated tradition that dates back hundreds of years. You will find these markets in the center of just about every German town, big or small, and just about every one of them will have the same characteristics. Tourists from all over the globe attend these beloved Christmas markets.

With more prominent cities like Berlin holding more than 70 Christmas markets, Germany has no shortage of these significant events. Even the smallest towns and villages conduct their Christmas traditions annually. Here, local artists and shop owners flock to the markets to celebrate the festive season.

The Christmas season in Germany offers an incredibly unique experience and festive atmosphere that should not be missed. Each of the Christmas markets has its own unique story and different offerings.

Check out a magazine-worthy hotspot like Ravenna Gorge or a kid-friendly extravaganza in Nuremberg. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s an adventure waiting for you in Germany.

If you’re looking for some holiday cheer during winter, you need to experience this at least once in your lifetime. Don’t forget to say “Frohe Weihnachten!” Merry Christmas in German.

Best Christmas Markets in Germany

1. Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg

Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg
Max Schrader / Flickr

First on our list of the most revered Christmas markets in Germany is Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt (or the Nuremberg Christmas Market). And not with a perfect reason! Ideally, this event comes to mind when most people hear of German markets.

It is one of Germany’s oldest and largest Christmas markets and the most popular globally, with an impeccable record of over 2 million visitors annually. If you want a great selection of German Christmas gifts and delicious food, this traditional market offers an incredible opportunity. It runs from December 1 to the 24th unless the day falls on a Sunday.

While its exact origin date is unknown, historians suspect it dates back to the 17th century. A coniferous wooden box dating back to 1628 is the oldest piece of evidence.

The celebrations start with a major custom involving a parade by the holy cherub ‘Christ Child’ – the traditional gifts given during the Christmas Festival. A Nuremberg child plays this role through the city’s main square.

And if you want to carry home some souvenirs, you certainly should. There are numerous of these, including the Franconian region’s specialties, such as clothing (made from beautiful local wool), brandies, jams, wooden toys, etc. It’s a no-brainer why Nuremberg is also known as “the city of wood and cloth.”

Sweet treats of Spekulatius, almond cookies, and gingerbread will also tempt your appetite. These are some of the other top things to do in Nuremberg. If you love Christmas food, book this Christmas culinary tour of Nuremberg.

Where to Stay in Nuremberg:

See Related: Savor The Season With These Traditional German Christmas Foods

2. Dresden Christmas Market (Dresden Striezelmarkt)

Dresden Christmas Market (Dresden Striezelmarkt)

Talk of old, and the Dresden Christmas market (Dresden Striezelmarkt) is on the list. This is the oldest market in Germany and among the oldest markets globally.

Unlike Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt, whose exact origin is unknown, this one has happened since 1434 in Altmarkt Square. Germans even refer to Dresden as the unofficial Christmas capital.

The term Striezelmarkt is coined from the words Dresdner Stollen. In Middle and High German, this is also known as Striezel, a popular type of sweet bread you’ll find in these traditional markets.

The market square, where the events are held, is smack between Dresden’s Old Town stunning architectural gems, with the beautiful River Elbe majestically flowing in the background. With loads of Christmas festivities to do in Dresden, this magical city will enchant you during the holiday season. The wooden stalls, festive glow, Christmas trees, and twinkling lights glimmering in the market square will undoubtedly lure you in.

Where to Stay in Dresden:

See Related: Day Trips From Dresden, Germany

3. Berlin Christmas Markets

Berlin Christmas Market at Dom and Concert House at Night
sborisov / Adobe Stock

It’s no surprise that the country’s capital, Berlin, is home to some of the largest Christmas markets in Germany. Berlin hosts over 80 Christmas markets yearly, whose diversity equals that of the city.

With all the Berlin Christmas markets to choose from, the Lucia Christmas Market is something that Berlin residents and the rest of the world look forward to each year to bask in the holiday cheer. The Lucia Christmas market is held annually at the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg and features rich German traditions blended with Scandinavian influences.

Sweet German traditional songs are playing all over the market, with flags flying from the beautifully decorated stalls. And the mouth-watering aroma of German delicacies, like the elk bratwurst, will make you want to bite in.

If you want a twist in your Christmas shopping, Berlin has the best Christmas markets in Northern Germany because it has all you need with incredible local fashion, original artwork, jewelry, and some tasty street foods. Read our full guide on where to stay in Berlin if you want to make the most of your visit.

Where to Stay in Berlin:

See Related: 3 Days in Berlin Itinerary

4. Leipzig Christmas Market (Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt)

Crowd in Leipzig Christmas Market
Falk2 / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Leipzig city prides itself on hosting Germany’s second-oldest Christmas market. The Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt opened its doors in 1458, 24 years after the Dresden Striezelmarkt. Located in Leipzig’s historical center outside the Old Town Hall, the market welcomes its visitors with over 300 beautifully decorated wooden stalls and charming Christmas gifts.

Leipzig is always magical, with its rich history, culture, and unique traditions. Indulging in delicious German foods will make your visit even better. The celebrated St. Thomas Boys Choir ensures the season’s atmosphere is always lit, with Christmas concerts and trumpet fanfare filling the air.

Also, smack within the city is the planet’s biggest “free-standing Advent Calendar,” at 857 square meters. And that’s not all; the Saxon spruce Christmas tree and even a Ferris wheel, 38 meters tall, are among the most attractive features of the market. A tour of this market is undoubtedly one of the most amazing things to do in Leipzig city and the best Christmas market in the area.

Where to Stay in Leipzig:

See Related: Top Day Trips From Leipzig

5. Munich Christmas Market in Marienplatz

Munich Christmas Market in Marienplatz
Lawrence W.K. Ho / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

This traditional Christmas market on Munich’s famous Marienplatz is a stunning sight. Munich Christmas Market is nestled in the middle of quaint historic buildings, such as the Old Town Hall and the Neo-Gothic New Town Hall, offering even more tourist attractions.

And the numerous wooden stalls all across the square make this place an authentic winter wonderland. Stunningly adorned with lights, garlands, and ornaments, the kiosks offer a spectacular selection of chestnuts, stollen, wine, and other superb German delicacies.

I highly recommend trying the Käsespätzle while you’re there. It’s a cheesy noodle dish that will warm your heart and soul.

You can also shop for traditional Bavarian handicraft souvenirs to help create even better memories back home. Families will love the free craft workshops, so they have souvenirs to take home.

Traveling with kids? They’ll love creating candles and Christmas cards at the Rathausturm’s Heavenly Workshop.

The workshop provides robes and angel wings so kids can dress up as angels while they craft. If you thought Oktoberfest was the only noteworthy festival in Munich, you could think again.

Where to Stay in Munich:

See Related: Top Hotels in Munich, Germany

6. Magdeburger Weihnachtsmarkt, Magdeburg

Magdeburg Christmas Market at Night
LianeM / Adobe Stock

While not among the biggest Christmas markets in Germany, this doesn’t deter it from offering the perfect amount of Christmas treats, a fairytale atmosphere, and reputable mulled wine. In terms of this underrated German Christmas market, Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt’s capital, is among the best destinations in Germany at Christmas. The culture and historical background engrossed in this place is simply stunning.

From the lively stalls containing all sorts of beautiful decorations, German delicacies, and artwork to the old medieval structures around them, it’s a sight you don’t want to miss. And if you are a wine lover, the tasty mulled wine and alluring seasonal melodies will certainly lighten your day.

Also, kids are not left out of this fun. Various children’s funfairs are here, making the place a perfect family destination. When visiting Christmas markets in small towns in Germany, you can either go on a day trip or make it an overnight getaway.

Where to Stay in Magdeburg:

See Related: The Magdeburg Water Bridge

7. Frankfurt Christmas Market, Weihnachtsmarkt

Crowd in Frankfurt Christmas Market
Anneli Salo / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

From as early as the 14th century, Frankfurt has been home to one of the biggest, oldest, and best Christmas markets in Germany. Spreading throughout Frankfurt’s historic Old Town near Town Hall and surrounded by fairy lights on old-style half-timbered structures, you need to be here.

The Christmas Market in Frankfurt is fascinating and offers some of the best mulled wine in Germany, roasted nuts, fragrant gingerbread, and delicious baked apples to keep your belly all sorted. In addition, the Weihnachtsmarkt in Frankfurt is famous for its tiny dried plum figurines, hot apple wine, and the Bethmännchen.

And if you want to take some stuff home, there’s more here than you can carry. The over 200 stalls sell almost everything from original artwork to wooden ornaments and authentic honey-based products.

This is one of the best Christmas markets in Germany to celebrate Christmas in an entirely different and unique way. The Frankfurt Christmas market dates are from November 27 until December 21.

Where to Stay in Frankfurt:

See Related: Top Hotels in Frankfurt

8. Erfurt Christmas Market

Erfurt Christmas Market at Night
Henry Czauderna / Adobe Stock

In Erfurt, over 200 wooden structures packed with beautiful handicrafts, ornaments, and traditional German delicacies create a fantastic view. Sitting among some of the most well-preserved structures in Germany, this Christmas market tops among the liveliest European fairs.

Erfurt is one of the best Christmas markets in Germany to visit for an enchanting experience. Some of the most spectacular features at this traditional Christmas market include:

  • An exquisitely lit and massive Christmas tree
  • Erzgebirge Christmas Pyramid, 12m tall
  • The Nativity Scene (human-size wooden figures)
  • A traditional Christmas floral fair
  • The wooden stall has colorful decorations and sells numerous handcrafted products and regional delights.

The enchanted forest is also a highlight of this fabulous Erfurt Christmas Market. You should certainly add this destination to your following German trip itinerary.

Where to Stay in Erfurt:

See Related: Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Germany

9. Schweriner Weihnachtsmarkt, Schwerin

Ferris Wheel at Schwerin Christmas Market at Night
Jonas / Adobe Stock

The Schwerin Christmas market is held in the old town. The Weihnachtspyramide and a towering pine with 10,000 Christmas lights can be seen along Mecklenburgstraße as you walk to the market. Backsteingotik Cathedral’s 117.5-meter tall towers are far taller than this.

Glögg, a mulled wine typical to Sweden, is the result of Swedish culture’s influence on local industry. Schwerin is accessible by rail, about an hour and a half from Hamburg.

This local Christmas market in Germany is one where the history is unparalleled. The city’s history goes as far back as the 12th century, making the region one of the best places to be, especially for history geeks.

With stunningly decorated, well-preserved, old timber-framed houses lining the streets, the city offers the ideal setting for an unforgettable time to celebrate. Some of the traditional Christmas market highlights include:

  • Weihnachtspyramide (Christmas pyramid), 8 meters high
  • A fir tree with over 10,000 Christmas lights
  • The Backsteingotik Cathedral, 117.5 meters high

The famous Glögg (the region’s mulled wine) also brings back memories of the city’s historic Swedish influence. And if you are staying in Hamburg, Schwerin is just an hour by train. You can enjoy a fantastic day trip from there.

Where to Stay in Schwerin:

See Related: Castles in Germany to Visit

10. Marktplatz, Stuttgart Christmas Market

Typical sales booth and pedestrians at the christmas market in the old town of Stuttgart
FooTToo / Shutterstock.com

If you are looking for the best Christmas markets in Germany offering a more traditional experience, Stuttgart has loads of those. Here, the city’s five main market squares are annually transformed, offering visitors and locals a taste of Germany’s most outstanding Christmas markets.

You’ll even hear some people calling Stuttgart the Christmas city due to the luxury of Christmas activities that the place commands. The presence of numerous stunning historic structures on its cobblestone streets adds to the beauty and attractiveness of this place.

If you want to enjoy more than just Christmas, the Stuttgart Christmas markets undoubtedly offer that. One of the major markets you should try here is the Wintertraum Markt. You can enjoy roasted chestnuts or the traditional honey-sweetened German cookies as you marvel at the sea of exquisite wooden huts decorated with Christmas decorations.

Where to Stay in Stuttgart:

See Related: The Ultimate Black Forest Itinerary

11. Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market

Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market
Superbass / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Cologne Christmas Market is one of Germany’s most popular Christmas markets. It’s located in the city center at the base of the majestic Cologne Cathedral and is filled with festive decorations, food and drink stalls, and Christmas gifts.

This is one of the best Christmas markets in Germany for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s located in the heart of the city and is surrounded by beautiful historic buildings, including the impressive Cologne Cathedral. Secondly, it’s huge and festive with many Christmas decorations and food and drink stalls.

The Christmas market offers tons of local foods you have to try. Try the Reibekuchen, a Cologne-style potato cake.

They also have waffles in the shape of the Cologne Cathedral. Wash it all down with some Kölsch beer, a local specialty. 

And finally, a lovely Christmas village is set up in one corner of the market with traditional German Christmas ornaments, gifts, and decorations. It’s one of the essential things to do in Cologne.

Where to Stay in Cologne:

See Related: Everything to Know About Christmas in Germany

12. Dortmund Christmas Market

Dortmund Christmas Market
prosiaczeq / Adobe Stock

The Dortmund Christmas Market is one of the most popular in Germany, and it’s easy to see why. There are dozens of stalls selling festive wares, from decorations and toys to delicious food and drink. The atmosphere is merry and lively, with Christmas music and carols filling the air.

But the Dortmund Christmas Market is special because it boasts the world’s largest Christmas tree. The tree is crafted from spruce trees from Germany’s Sauerland forests, and it’s always an impressive sight.

Dortmund’s tree glistens with around 48,000 twinkling fairy lights. This easily makes Dortmund one of the best Christmas markets in Germany to visit.

While looking for things to do in Dortmund, you should also check out the market in Fredenbaumpark. This medieval Christmas market is a unique and historical experience. Vendors are dressed in classic medieval attire to create an enchanting atmosphere.

Where to Stay in Dortmund:

See Related: Things to Do in North Rhine-Westphalia

13. Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market

Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market
Roderick Eime from Australia / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0

Rothenberg ob der Tauber is a beautiful city in Germany. It’s one of the best Christmas markets in Germany for a fairy tale setting. If you’re on Instagram and see half-timbered cuteness walls everywhere, Rothenberg ob der Tauber should be on your list of places to visit.

For an unusual perspective over the town, stroll on the city walls to grab a bite while at it and have some Schneeballen, a fried dough ball with sugar and cinnamon toppings. It’s delicious! Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the best Christmas markets in Germany because it has a magical atmosphere that will transport you to a fairytale world.

The old-world charm of the city, combined with the festive decorations and Christmas wares, make this a must-visit for anyone looking for a winter wonderland experience. Like what you are hearing? Check out these other best things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Where to Stay in Rothenburg ob der Tauber:

See Related: Christmas Markets in Europe to Visit

14. Trier Christmas Market

Trier Christmas Market at Night
haiderose / Adobe Stock

The Trier Christmas Market is in the picturesque old town of Trier, surrounded by ancient Roman ruins. This makes for a unique and atmospheric setting for one of the best Christmas markets in Germany. The market is small but still has a good selection of stalls selling Christmas gifts, decorations, and food.

According to trierer-weihnachtsmarkt.de, Trier was voted the best Christmas market in Germany in 2022. This stellar market is at the Medieval main square by the Trier Cathedral.

The atmosphere and architecture are truly astonishing. The vendors have a little something for everyone. Bring home a snow globe, glass figurine, gingerbread, or ornaments.

If you have a sweet tooth, try the Dampfnoodeln. These dumplings are usually drenched with a sweet vanilla sauce.

Different fillings are available, like cherry. It’s something you can’t miss out on. Check out these other things to do in Trier to make the best of your visit.

Where to Stay in Trier:

See Related: Places to Visit in Western Germany

15. Düsseldorf Christmas Market

Düsseldorf Rathaus Christmas Market, one of the best German Christmas Markets
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Visiting Düsseldorf is always a treat. This picturesque city combines incredible livability and enough city life to awaken those nighttime spirits. Düsseldorf is home to some of the best Christmas markets in Germany because multiple opportunities are scattered throughout the city.

There are seven uniquely themed markets you have to check out. Check out the ones at the Rathaus (City Hall), the Ferris wheel along the Rhine River, and the ice rink in the shopping district of Köningsalle, among many other hot spots in between.

Plus, you can double dip by visiting Cologne on an easy 30-minute train ride. I visited this market with my wife, 2.5-year-old daughter, and mom. It was a unique combination of family fun and charming German traditions, which made it truly special.

We stayed at the Living Hotel De Medici, conveniently located near all the markets and in a prime spot near the Ferris wheel. Read our full Living Hotel de Medici review to glimpse the experience.

See Related: Top Breweries in Düsseldorf

16. Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market

Traditional christmas market in the Ravenna gorge,
Olga / Adobe Stock

The Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market is easily one of the best Christmas markets in Germany when it comes to atmosphere and a dreamlike setting. You can find the Christmas market in Germany’s enchanting Black Forest at the base of a railway viaduct.

A free shuttle bus from the Hinterzarten, Himmelreich, and Freiburg train stations is available. Be sure to book your tickets in advance. You will be captivated by the charming ambiance of this stunning Christmas Market.

Purchase traditional crafts, wooden toys, handmade ornaments, and delectable German treats. You can’t leave without trying the iconic Black Forest Cake.

Layers of chocolate and cherry will tickle your tastebuds. The whipped cream and chocolate shavings are the literal icing on the cake. It’s something you can’t miss out on.

Where to Stay in Hinterzarten:

See Related: Things to Do in the Black Forest

Facts About Christmas Markets in Germany

What to Buy at German Christmas Markets

The Christmas markets date back to the late Middle Ages when they were a hotspot for gathering winter supplies. On record, the first Christmas market was in Bautzen, Germany, in 1384.

Christmas markets spread to other parts of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. During the Advent season, you can find markets in almost every city and town throughout Germany. Christmas markets are a popular tourist attraction, attracting millions of visitors annually.

Given how big the country is and how big the tradition is, Germany has over 2,500 Christmas markets alone. Some of Germany’s most famous Christmas markets include those in Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt, Munich, and Stuttgart.

The Dresden market is also one of the oldest, dating back to 1434. Each market has its unique atmosphere and offerings, so check out several.

  • Most markets are in town squares and include stalls with festive decorations, ornaments, and gifts.
  • Visitors can find everything from handmade Christmas decorations to gifts and holiday foods at these festive markets.
  • Popular items include Glühwein (mulled wine), gingerbread, and bratwurst.
  • In the United States, German Christmas markets are held in cities such as Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.

What to Buy at Christmas Markets in Germany

Toys at the Düsseldorf Christmas Market, Germany
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

You could compare a Christmas market in Germany to a fair in the U.S., A big area with lots of stands, but instead of games, these stands are little shops with Christmas items like clothing, ornaments, “Nutcracker” Soldiers, wooden toys, and more. You will also find some rides, just like at the fair in the U.S., but these rides are typically in larger cities and not the main attraction. Check out this epic photo of the Ferris wheel in Düsseldorf:

Ferris Wheel at Dusseldorf Christmas Market
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

There are also many food and drink stands where you will find most of the traditional German Christmas food and drinks, including, but not limited to, Glühwein, Christmas punch, gingerbread, and Christmas cookies.

Glühwein (a warm, red wine served in a coffee-type mug) is the market’s most popular drink. You will find many Glühwein stands throughout the markets with crowds of people around them drinking and socializing. Alternatively, there is refreshing German beer that is equally as tasty.

FAQs

Which is the best Christmas market in Germany?

With hundreds of Christmas markets nationwide, the ‘best’ one often depends on personal preferences on what you want to see and do when visiting. Many consider the best German Christmas market is often considered the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg. This historical market has been an annual tradition since the 16th century and is well-known for its charming setting, festive ambiance, and traditional handicrafts.

What are the dates for Christmas markets in Germany?

The dates for Christmas markets in Germany typically fall between late November and Christmas Eve, with some extending into early January. Bigger cities typically start on the last weekend of November and end on the 23rd or 24th of December.

Smaller towns usually hold their Christmas markets over a weekend. They are generally only held for a weekend or up to a week directly before Christmas Eve or Christmas. It is advisable to check specific dates for each market as they vary, but most begin on or around the Advent period (four weeks before Christmas) and last until December 24th.

Are German Christmas markets worth visiting?

Christmas markets in Germany are worth visiting for their festive atmosphere, traditional crafts, and culinary delights. They offer a memorable experience filled with twinkling lights, the scent of mulled wine, and the chance to enjoy Germany’s holiday traditions. They attract millions of visitors every year, both locals and international tourists.

The overall experience of a Christmas Market in Germany is like no other. It tends to truly bring out the Christmas spirit in all who attend with the “Christmasy” smells, sights, and sounds.

As soon as you arrive, you smell a mix of roasted chestnuts, sweet glühwein, and other goodies. You also hear cheerful Christmas music, which lifts your spirits, even if you don’t understand German.

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