Whether you are a Christmas enthusiast or simply plan to spend the most magical time of the year in Germany, you will quickly realize the country takes the tradition of Christmas markets very seriously. As you can imagine there are loads to choose from, so trying pick one Christmas markets in Germany to visit can be overwhelming. Don’t let that damper the holiday spirit, we’re here to help with a list of the best German Christmas markets!
The Christmas markets are usually housed in town squares all over the country and fill the air with the scents of roasted almonds and mulled wine. Additionally, markets are often associated with a specific theme and include plenty of fun-fair for kids making them the perfect place to celebrate the season with the whole family!
From small towns tucked away in the Black Forest to major cities like Berlin, where no less than 80 Christmas markets are held, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. Let us take you on a tour of Germany’s best Christmas markets and what makes each of them special.
The Best Christmas Markets in Germany
Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt – Nuremberg Christmas Market
- Dates: November 29 – December 24, 2019
- Hours: Daily, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
- What Makes It Special: The Nuremberg Christmas market kicks in on the first Friday before the first day of Advent with an impressive ceremony where the Christkind, the symbol of the market and a gift-giving feminine figure dating back from the Reformation, opens up the event with a speech from the balcony of the Frauenkirche.
Arguably the country’s most famous Christmas market, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, or Nuremberg Christmas market, is held in the city’s main square, Hauptmarkt. While it seems the first documented mention of the Christmas market can be traced all the way back to 1628, locals believe it is even older.
The tradition of this Christmas market is important, and emphasis is put on regional delicacies and arts and crafts, including the Prune men, or Zwetschgenmännle, small figurines made of dried prunes. Do try the Nuremberg gingerbread and the local spicy sausages.
Spandau Christmas Market – Berlin
- Dates: November 25 – December 22, 2019
- Hours: Sunday to Thursday (11:00 am – 8:00 pm), Friday and Saturday (11:00 am – 10:00 pm)
- What Makes It Special: Every Wednesday, Santa Claus visit the market for Family Day, which will certainly please the young children who are invited to sit on his lap and tell him their wishes.
If you find yourself visiting the German capital, you will probably notice that there is not a single Christmas market, but rather more than 80. Ranging from small community Christmas bazaars to full-fledged municipal markets, there is surely one you will fall in love with.
Ours is the Spandau Christmas market, the largest of the capital. Spanning all over the old town of Spandau, the Christmas market has been around for over 40 years.
Attracting thousands of Berliners and visitors annually, this Christmas market is definitely the one you need to visit if you want to feel like you’ve been transported to a small provincial town instead of Berlin. Handicrafts and yummy goods can be found at the wooden stalls near the St. Nikolai church but don’t miss the chance to head to the Gothic House for the artisan market, where you will definitely find the perfect Christmas ornament to bring home with you.
Lake Constance Christmas Market
- Dates: November 28 – December 22, 2019
- Hours: Daily, 11:00 am to 8:00 pm (food & drinks until 9:30 pm), Friday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 9:30 pm
- What Makes It Special: Even in a dreamy location as Lake Constance, the Christmas spirit is well-established and palpable. The market also has a fantastic children program, where the little ones can learn how to bake Christmas cookies, puppetry and much more.
If you are looking for a Christmas market with a memorable setting look no further than Lake Constance, Germany’s largest lake. Featured as one of the ten best Christmas markets in Germany by GEO Magazine, Lake Constance Christmas market consists of over 170 stalls sprawling from the central market square in the old town to the shores of the lake with no less than 100,000 glittering lights. Another highlight of the market is the 360° panoramic ice bar aboard the Christmas ship moored on the lake.
Grab a mug of glühwein (mulled wine) and marvel at the wide range of handicrafts and local specialties, including the traditional Schupfnudeln potato dumplings.
Ludwigsburg Baroque Christmas market
- Dates: November 26 – December 22, 2019
- Hours: Daily, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
- Tip: Stuttgart is a mere 12km away from Ludwigsburg, which is easily accessible on a 15-min ride on the S-Bahn from Stuttgart central train station.
Christmas lights enthusiasts should look no further than Ludwigsburg Baroque Christmas Market for the ultimate Christmas market experience. Set in a marvelous market square dominated by two Baroque churches and glittering arcades, the Ludwigsburg Baroque Christmas Market is a treat for all the senses.
From the twinkling lights to the brilliant assortment of authentic crafts offered to the tasty treats available, this Christmas market puts a lot of the more popular ones to shame.
Children will love all the rides available at the market as well as the kiddy program, which includes daily puppet shows and even musical performances.
While you are in town, don’t miss a chance to visit the Ludwigsburg Residential Palace.
Altötting Christmas Market
- Dates: November 23 – December 15, 2019
- Hours: Monday to Thursday (2:00 pm – 8:00 pm), Friday, Saturday and Sunday (11:00 am – 8:00 pm)
- What Makes It Special: For an authentic Bavarian Christmas market experience, this is definitely the one. Make sure to attend the traditional Advent concerts with choirs and orchestras from Upper Bavaria and Salzburg!
The small Bavarian town of Altötting proves that sometimes smaller is definitely better. A pilgrimage destination for centuries that’s at the the same level of Lourdes or Fatima, Altötting is known for its little chapel in the center of the town square which is home to a statue of a miraculous Madonna.
As such, the Advent season sees the Kapellplatz square, which features several churches and Baroque buildings, turn into a village of wooden stalls and nicely illuminated Christmas trees. Here, St Nicholas, the patron saint of children, visits the Altötting Christmas market daily.
Furthermore, local culinary specialties such as the Christmas stollen, a rich cake with dried fruits or the star-shaped crumpet, the Sterntaler can be sampled.
Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market
- Dates: November 29 – December 22, 2019
- Hours: Friday (3:00 pm to 9:00 pm), Saturday (2:00 pm to 9:00 pm), Sunday (1:00 pm to 8:00 pm)
- What Makes It Special: The Black Forest under a white mantle is already picturesque enough but add this beautiful Christmas market and you have the perfect formula for incredible pictures.
- Tip: Freiburg Free shuttles are available at Hinterzarten or Himmelreich stations.
Want a traditional Christmas market with a twist? This is what the Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market is. This is the only Christmas market located in a gorge at the foot of a 40-meter-high viaduct in the Black Forest Highlands, just one hour by car from Freiburg.
Visitors can stroll around the 40-something huts selling Christmas-themed handicrafts and local delicacies such as flammkuchen, a German-style pizza. The whole atmosphere is completed with live music performances and several animations.
Leipzig Christmas market
- Dates: November 27 – December 23, 2019
- Hours: Sundays & Thursdays (10:00 am to 9:00 pm), Fridays & Saturdays (10:00 am to 10:00 pm), November 27 (5:00 pm to 9:00 pm), December 23 (10:00 to 8:00 pm)
- What Makes It Special: Leipzig is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany, going back to 1458.
Stretching all the way from Augustusplatz to Petersstrassein, the Leipzig Christmas is a fascinating place to enjoy the holiday festivities. This beautiful market dates back to the 1400s and features hundreds of stalls selling German treats, handmade crafts, Christmas ornaments, and décor.
Furthermore, the Christmas village includes a Ferris wheel, a carousel, a Nativity scene with live animals and a Finnish village, where you will find roasted salmon and Finnish mulled wine. Don’t forget to bring your little ones to Santa’s Grotto when they can sit on his lap and whisper their wishes in his ear.
Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market
- Dates: November 25 – December 23, 2019
- Hours: Sunday to Wednesday (11.00 am – 9.00 pm), Thursday and Friday (11.00 am- 10.00 pm), Saturday (10.00 am – 10.00 pm)
- Tip: You can also take the chance to visit the five other Christmas markets happening in the city, including the Gay and Lesbian Christmas market.
If you are on the lookout for a fantastic backdrop to a Christmas market in Germany, rest assured that the Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market is a must. Set at the foot of the magnificent Gothic cathedral listed as the third highest cathedral in the world, the market is an enchanting market where young and old will feel the magical spirit of Christmas.
One of the highlights of the market is undeniably the tall Christmas tree, and you will love perusing through the 160 wooden huts while sampling a variety of Christmas treats and delicious specialties. Wash them all down with a mug of mulled wine and find you’re a quaint souvenir from the many craft stalls. The Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market also includes a varied program of live music performances, as well as events for the younger ones.
While you are there don’t miss the opportunity to see Cologne’s Love Bridge, Hohenzollernbrücke (Hohenzollern bridge) where you will find more than 40,000 padlocks.
Aachen Christmas Market
- Dates: November 22 – December 23, 2019
- Hours: Daily (11:00 am – 9:00 pm), November 21 (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm), December 23 (11:00 am – 8:00 pm)
- What Makes It Special: Because of its convenient location near Belgian and Dutch borders it attracts over a million of visitors from the region and the neighboring countries, so you will get an international vibe in this traditional German event.
- Tip: While there, why not take advantage of your visit to discover the hot water springs that made the city famous since the Roman era? The Carolus Therme Hot Springs Spa is open daily, even Christmas and New Year.
During the Advent season, Aachen sees the squares and streets around the Aachen Cathedral and the town hall transformed into a beautiful and colorful Christmas village.
When visiting the Aachen Christmas Market be sure to try the gingerbread-style cookie known as Aachener Printen, but don’t ignore other treats such as marzipan bread or spekulatius that you will find among the 120-something wooden cabins.
Of course, a Christmas market wouldn’t be the same without a mug of mulled wine and a beautiful choir ensemble, all of which you will find and enjoy at this beautiful Christmas market.
Dresden Christmas Market
- Dates: November 27 – December 24, 2019
- Hours: Daily (10:00 am – 9:00 pm), November 27 (4:00 pm – 9:00 pm), Christmas Eve (2:00 pm on Christmas Eve)
It is impossible to mention the top Christmas markets in Germany without mentioning Dresden’s market. This one is actually the oldest Christmas event, and as such, it is the most traditional. The Striezelmarkt, as it is called, originally started back in the 15th century and it is most famous for the dried fruit and marzipan Stollen (or actually a Striezel) cake.
The market, held at Dresden Altmarkt square, is also famous for fairytale house, its puppet theatre and for hosting the largest Christmas Pyramid. On top of all the Christmas staples, here, you can also enjoy seeing artisans in action at the crafts market.
Frankfurt Christmas Market
- Dates: November 25 – December 22, 2019
- Hours: Monday – Saturday (10:00 am – 9:00 pm), Sunday (11:00 am – 9:00 pm)
- What Makes It Special:Because of its long history, the Frankfurt Christmas Market has developed a strong Frankfurt quality where visitors can buy handicrafts, wooden toys, and treats, including the famous Brenten and Quetschemaennchen, or miniature candy figures, made only by local artisans.
One of the largest and oldest Christmas markets in all of Germany, the Frankfurt Christmas Market, or Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt, is a massive event that covers a vast area in the center of the city, from the Hauptwache square to the banks of the river Main. With its origin dating back to 1393, when it was paired with the presentation of ecclesiastic mystery plays in the main square. But today, with its giant Christmas tree towering the festivities, its traditional wooden huts and the beautiful backdrop of the Römerberg, it attracts thousands of locals and visitors every year. Enjoy a delicious bratwurst, a mug of mulled wine and the delicious marzipan treats available while listening to the Christmas songs performed by local artists.
Why is it so special? Because of its long history, the Frankfurt Christmas Market has developed a strong Frankfurt quality where visitors can buy handicrafts, wooden toys, and treats, including the famous Brenten and Quetschemaennchen, or miniature candy figures, made only by local artisans
Rüdesheim am Rhein Christmas Market
- Dates: November 21-23 & November 25 – December 23, 2018
- Hours: Daily (11:00 am – 8:00 pm), Friday & Saturday untily 9:00 pm
- What Makes It Special: The Rüdesheimer Christmas Market of Nations has a unique flair since it celebrates 12 cultures, their cuisine and their handmade crafts with German Christmas traditions.
The Christmas market in Rüdesheim am Rhein is definitely a must. Set in the beautiful old town, the event called the Christmas Market of Nations, or Rüdesheimer Weihnachtsmarkt der Nationen, includes a collection of over 120 stalls spread around the Marktstrasse (Market Street) into Droselgasse, the heart of the city, and through to Rhine Street.
Get ready for a rich and colorful program of Christmas carols, treats, and music performances. Many say that the main highlight, however, is the traditional parade for St. Thomas’ Night on 20 December, so make sure to be there.
Advent Market in the Spitalgarten in Regensburg
- Dates: November 28 – December 23, 2019
- Hours: Monday – Friday (4:00 pm – 10:00 pm), Saturday (11:00 am – 10:00 pm), Sunday (11:00 am – 9:00 pm)
- What Makes It Special: The Advent Market at Spitalgarten is less touristy than the other Christmas markets happening in the city. It also closes at later hours, which means it is perfect if you are pressed by time.
Just like in the rest of the country, Christmas in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Regensburg, located in Bavaria, is not a small affair. Here again, several markets are happening during the Advent, but we just fell head over heels for the Advent Market in the Spitalgarten, a beer garden located on the other side of the Danube.
While it is rather small compared to the traditional Christmas market on Neupfarrplatz, it is a favorite for small groups of friends and families who prefer a more low-key event, with a daily program of live musical performances. Here, the highlight of this market is the live lambs located at the back of the market, which would certainly bring a smile on the faces of the little ones (though we are sure it will work on adults too). Furthermore, besides the usual Christmas staples, the food offer includes lamb burgers or even churros.
Why is it so special? The Advent Market at Spitalgarten is less touristy than the other Christmas markets happening in the city. It also closes at later hours, which means it is perfect if you are pressed by time.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market
- Dates: November 29 – December 23, 2019
- Hours: Monday – Thursday (11:00 am – 7:00 pm), Friday – Sunday (11:00 am – 8:00 pm)
- Tip: Don’t miss the chance to see the market from the town hall tower every Friday and Saturday until 8:00 pm.
You probably have heard of Rothenburg, the medieval village tucked away in the Franconia region of Bavaria where you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale. Well, now you have another reason to visit it as Rothenburg is the perfect place to enjoy a traditional German Christmas market.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market dates as far back as the 15th century, this Advent tradition enjoys a rich heritage. As such, several traditions go hand in hand with the market, including the Rothenburg Rider, which was thought to be a messenger from another world, who used to fly through the skies, carrying the souls of the dead in winter. Today, however, he is seen as a friendly messenger, and every year, young and old await his arrival, marking the beginning of the Advent season.
The market is held in front of the town hall, where its stalls are filled with everything to please the senses. From traditional wooden crafts and local delicacies, “white” mulled wine and a wide range of Christmas gifts and souvenirs for you to bring home, the magical spirit of Christmas turns the village into a true Christmas postcard.
Hamburg’s White Magic Christmas Market
- Dates: TBD
- Hours: Daily (11:00 am – 9:00 pm), Friday & Saturday until 10:00 pm
- What Makes It Special: Fantastic lake views from.
Christmas is a beloved season in Hamburg and the city welcomes several Christmas markets, including the main one, the Weihnachtsmarkt, which is held in front of the Town Hall. But for a more magical spin, we would like to recommend to head to the Jungfernstieg promenade for the Weisser Zauber Christmas Market, held on the shores of the Binnenalster, the artificial lake in the center of the city. Here, wooden huts are replaced by white stalls and, should you be tired of mulled wine, you can have a hot caipirinha instead.
Nonetheless, the White Magic Christmas Market still retains the holiday spirit, with ginger- and cinnamon-scented sweets, roasted almonds, Bratwurst and Christmas souvenirs and gifts.
While you are there, jump on the Ferris wheel to enjoy fantastic views of the lake and the promenade.
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