With their twinkling lights and the smell of mulled wine and gingerbread, Germany’s Christmas markets are one of a kind. Not only are the markets considered some of the best places to shop for holiday souvenirs and gifts, but they’re also bursting with a festive atmosphere that’s guaranteed to put you in the Christmas spirit.
Although you can find different Christmas markets around Europe, Germany boasts some of the most famous ones in the world. Each city has dozens to choose from. You’ll find charming neighborhood markets as well as large, bustling markets in the city center.
Every year, millions of visitors and locals flock to the Christmas markets in Germany for shopping, dining, and overall merry-making. Not only can you find an assortment of handmade gifts, but there are also plenty of food stalls where you can try traditional and seasonal delicacies. No matter what you’re looking for, the Christmas markets will inevitably get you ready for the festive holiday season.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you want to know about Christmas markets in Germany. We’ll discuss which markets to see in our favorite cities, as well as what to expect during your visit. Put on your Santa hat, strap on your winter boots, and come find out what to do at a famous German Christmas market.
What dates are the Christmas Markets in Germany in 2019?
The exact 2019 starting dates and hours will vary depending on which German Christmas market you are visiting. Generally, most Christmas markets in Germany will open on the last weekend of November and are open until December 23 or 24th. However, it’s possible to find one or two markets in each city that open a few days or one week earlier.
How long do the Christmas markets last in Germany?
As for closing dates, most Christmas markets in Germany run until December 23 or 24, but some run until the new year. Because Germany is a predominately religious country, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a market open on Christmas Day, which is a national holiday. Therefore, you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to do your shopping!
German Christmas Market Hours
During the day, the Christmas markets open starting at 10 or 11 in the morning. They’ll usually run all day and close from around 9 pm. Individual market times can vary, but generally, most will be open from 11 am-9 pm daily.
German Christmas Markets FAQ (Christkindlmarkt)
Q: Which is the best Christmas market in Germany?
A: With hundreds of Christmas markets to choose from across the country it’s hard to pick just one, but the size and scale of Frankfurt’s Christkindlesmarkt is hard to top. Instead of having many small markets scattered around the city, Frankfurt’s Christmas Market is condensed into one large market in the city’s historic quarter. This Christkindlesmarkt dates back to the 14th century and is one of the largest German Christmas markets.
Q: What’s the Best place to spend Christmas in Germany?
A: Christmas is a great time to visit any part of Germany, not many cities can boast as many Christmas markets as Berlin with more than 70 located around the city full of gifts ranging from traditional to as funky as Berlin itself is.
Q: Best small Christmas markets in Germany?
A: Many people favor the smaller more intimate Christmas markets found in small towns and cities. We always love the small charming town of Passau, Germany during the holidays.
Q: Where in Germany is the Christmas market?
A: In Germany, nearly every town big or small will have a Christmas Market. However, the biggest and arguably the best are found in the larger cities like Nuremberg, Frankfurt, and Berlin.
9 Best Christmas Markets in Germany
1. Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt
As one of the most picturesque Christmas markets on this list, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is a must-visit for most tourists. With rows and rows of red and white striped booths, this market is a truly magical sight to behold. For the best view, climb to the top of the Frauenkirche cathedral to see the breadth of the market from the outdoor balcony.
With 400 years of tradition, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt has something for every shopper. Handmade soaps, glass ornaments, and wooden toys are just a few of the items you’ll find available for purchase.
Besides shopping, you can’t miss sampling the famous Nuremberg delicacies. For a savory snack, order a drei im weggla, which is three Nuremberg sausages in a bun. If you have a sweet tooth, you must try the famous Lebkuchen, or gingerbread. Although you can find Lebkuchen all over Germany during the holiday season, it’s was originally created right here in Nuremberg.
- Hauptmarkt, 90403 Nürnberg
- Nearest metro station: Lorenzkirche
- Nuremberg Christmas Market Dates 2019: November 25 – December 31, 2019
- Daily 10 am – 9 pm
- December 24: 10 am – 2 pm
2. Passau Christmas Market
Compared to other Christmas markets on this list, the Passau Christmas market is relatively small. But don’t let its size fool you. With over 70 stalls full of gifts and foods, it’s still one of the best markets in Germany. Located in the old town in front of the St. Stephan Cathedral, the Passau Market is a great place to shop with the locals.
Sip hot mulled wine, indulge in sweets and pastries, and browse through the booths of handicrafts. With the Italian Baroque buildings of old town surrounding you, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more picturesque Christmas market than the one in Passau.
Although you may come to shop, you should stay for the impressive live entertainment lineup. Every day, you’ll have the chance to listen to concerts and choir performances on the center stage. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, St. Stephan Cathedral hosts live organ concerts on the world’s biggest cathedral organ.
We visited this German Christmas market while on our Christmas market cruise with Viking Cruises. This laid back Christmas market in Germany was one of our favorite stops on our trip.
- Address: Bahnhofstrasse 28, 94032 Passau
- Nearest metro station: Lorenzkirche
- Passau Christmas Market Dates 2019: November 27 – December 23, 2019
- Monday – Thursday: 10 am – 8 pm
- Friday – Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm
- Sunday: 11:30 am – 8 pm
Winding through the alleys and streets of Regensburg is the traditional market at Neupfarrplatz. This is the city’s oldest market and has been around for the last 200 years. Up to 10,000 people visit every day, also making it the busiest Christmas market in Regensburg.
During your visit, you’ll get to browse through dozens of light booths selling wooden ornaments, traditional wood carvings, and delicious snacks. Children of all ages will also love to take a spin on one of the two illuminated Christmas carousels in the market.
When you get thirsty, then of course you can stop for a hot mug of mulled wine. Neupfarrplatz is said to serve over 40 different types of mulled wine, including cherry, amaretto, elderberry, and smoked flavor. Due to the wide variety of mulled wine, it’s common for groups of friends and locals to make the Neupfarrplatz market they nightly meet up spot.
- Old Townhall, Rathausplatz 493047 Regensburg
- Nearest metro station: Lorenzkirche
- Regensburg Christmas Market Dates 2019: November 26 – December 23, 2019
- Sunday – Wednesday: 10 am – 8 pm
- Thursday – Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm
If you find yourself on the Eastern side of Germany, make sure to visit the Dresden Striezelmarkt in Dresden. Although it may look like your typical market, the Striezelmarkt is actually the oldest Christmas market in the entire world! It started as a one-day market back in 1434 and has continued to bring festive cheer to visitors for over 585 years.
With over 240 stands, it’s also one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany. Besides shopping for ornaments, wooden carvings, and toys, there are a few things that set the Striezelmarkt apart from others.
For one, you’ll find a children’s adventure world with an arts and crafts center, hands-on bakery, carousel, and railway train. There’s also a nightly puppet show to keep children of all ages entertained.
During your visit, you should also try Stollen, a delicious fruitcake from which the market gets its name. With candied fruit and powdered sugar, the cake is decorated with the seal of August the Strong, Dresden’s famous King.
- Altmarkt, 01067 Dresden
- Nearest tram/bus station: Prager Strasse
- Dresden Christmas Market Dates 2019: November 26 – December 24, 2019
- Hours: Daily 10 am – 9 pm
With a spinning carousel and dozens of wooden houses, the Römerberg Christmas market in Frankfurt is an adorable place for shopping. Unlike the towering skyscrapers and financial buildings Frankfurt is known for, the charming timber huts are a nice break from the bustling metropolitan life of the city.
The decorated Christmas tree stands over 100 feet tall in the center of the square and wows millions of visitors each year from around the world. As you shop for gifts and goodies, you’ll listen to the ten churches in Frankfurt ring their bells in unison.
With a variety of daily events, there’s always something happening at the Römerberg market. Meet Santa Claus, ride the historic steam train, and listen to live carolers. There are also several advent concerts that take place during the opening weeks of the market.
- Römerberg 23, 60311 Frankfurt am Main
- Nearest tram/bus station: Dom/Römer
- Frankfurt Christmas Market Dates 2019: November 25 – December 22, 2019
- Monday – Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm
- Sunday: 11 am – 9 pm
There are dozens of Berlin Christmas markets to choose from while you’re in Berlin. Although each one has it’s one character and atmosphere, the Weihnachtszauber at the Gendarmenmarkt is a favorite among tourists and locals.
Situated in a sprawling square between the Deutscher Dom, the Konzerthaus, and the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche, this famous market is teeming with Christmas cheer. Between the Christmas trees and light-bulb covered buildings, it’s easy to see why the Weihnachtszauber at the Gendarmenmarkt is the most festive market in Berlin.
Here, you’ll have the opportunity to shop through 150 different souvenir and food stalls looking for the ultimate gift. You’ll also find booths from local artisans who sell everything from posters and dresses to ceramics and figurines.
The live entertainment lives up to the vibrant Berlin standard. Each night, you’ll find mimes, fire-jugglers, dancers, carol singers, and even acrobats. Keep in mind that this market charges a 1 Euro entrance fee. With so much happening in one location, you might not even have to shop at any other market in Berlin!
- Leipziger Strasse 65, 10117 Berlin
- Nearest metro station: Stadtmitte
- Berlin Christmas Market Dates 2019: November 25 – December 31, 2019
- Daily 11 am – 10 pm
- December 24: 11 am – 6 pm
- December 31: 11 am – 1 am
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Situated in front of the towering Cologne Cathedral, the Weinachtsmarkt Am Kölner Dom is by far the most popular market in Cologne. At the center of the market is the largest Christmas tree in the entire state of the Rhine, which sparkles and serves as the backdrop to the magical market.
Each of the small, wooden booths are strung with lights and festooned in greenery and red ribbons. Not only will you find traditional handicrafts and gifts, but also a wide variety of delicious sweets and local jams and spices. If you are looking for gifts for your foodie friends back home, you’ll have no problem finding a mouth-watering gift at the Weinachtsmarkt Am Kölner Dom.
Each night, you’ll also be treated to different live entertainment and musical acts. You might recognize a few western Christmas songs, but you’ll also have the chance to hear some traditional German tunes.
Best of all, the Weinachtsmarkt Am Kölner Dom is centrally located to most major attractions and tourist locations in Cologne. You’re also just a few minutes away from a handful of other Christmas markets in the city center.
- Domkloster 4, 50667 Köln
- Nearest metro station: Dom/Hauptbahnhof
- C0logne Christmas Market Dates 2019: November 25 – December 23, 2019
- Sunday – Wednesday: 11 am – 9 pm
- Thursday – Friday: 11 am – 10 pm
- Saturday: 10 am – 10 pm
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Located in the heart of the city center, the Bremen Weinachtmarkt is a colorful, festive market for visitors of all ages. Not only is it the largest market in the city, but it’s also considered the third-largest market in the entire country of Germany. Once you set eyes on the town hall and Roland statue in the background, you’ll be transported to a magical world full of Christmas cheer!
Every night, over 170 wooden stalls and shops open their doors and sell a variety of fun and unique gifts to eager shoppers. However, the Bremen Weinachtmarkt has one unique thing that sets it apart from other Christmas markets in Germany.
The Bremen Weinachtmarkt is known for its medieval vibe. Lining the streets of the market are small taverns, fire-lit torches, and costumed medieval knights.
- Am Markt 21, 28195 Bremen
- Nearest metro station: Bremen Domsheide
- Berman Christmas Market Dates 2019: November 25 – December 23, 2019
- Monday – Thursday: 10 am – 8:30 pm
- Friday – Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm
- Sunday: 11 am – 8:30 pm
Like many other cities on this list, Munich is crammed full of Christmas markets in December. From quaint neighborhood markets to the famous all pink Christmas market, there’s something in Munich for every shopper.
However, you can’t miss a visit to the Marienplatz Christkindlmarkt. Centered in the heart of the old city, this sprawling market is situated right in front of the beautiful Rathaus, or town hall. Nestled between the shopping malls and retail shops, the Marienplatz Christkindlmarkt is by far the most popular market for tourists and locals.
In a city that prefers beer over wine, you’ll be able to try a variety of unique alcoholic beverages to keep you warm while you shop. Although white and red mulled wine are available, you can sample the unique Beerglühwein, or beer mulled wine.
- Marienplatz, 80331 Munich
- Nearest metro station: Marienplatz
- Munich Christmas Market Dates 2019: November 27 – December 24, 2019
- Monday – Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm
- Sunday and December 24: 10 am – 2 pm
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