Set before the gothic backdrop of Cologne Cathedral and under the largest Christmas tree in all of the Rhine, is Weihnachtsmarkt Am Kölner Dom – the biggest and most popular Christmas market in Cologne. Explore its glittering wooden pavilions to find handmade gifts including wood carvings, tree decorations and soaps.
With a particular emphasis on regional organic foods, this is a perfect place for foodie travellers. Grab yourself a mug and fill up on gluhwein, before joining in the festivities with song and dance in the streets. There's entertainment provided for all ages, including young ones, who can enjoy a ride on an old-fashioned merry-go-round, or spin their fate on the wheel of fortune.
Elsewhere in the city you'll find the Angel’s Christmas Market, which is renowned as Cologne’s oldest. It features various artisan stalls and mulled wine stands around the shopping district, and has an added sprinkling of magic by angels spreading glitter through alleyways. With a chance of luck, you may even see Santa Clause riding around on a horse.
Other markets worth visiting include the beautiful Old Market Christmas located at the front of the town hall, as well as the Harbour Christmas Market by the chocolate factory.
Dates: 23 November - 23 December 2023
More information: Weihnachtsmarkt Am Kölner Dom
With a blaze of lights glittering over the river, a thick scent of mulled wine in the air, the sound of festive music and the twirling of carousels, Dresden Striezelmarkt sets the atmosphere for Christmas cheer.
Not only is it the oldest Christmas market in Germany, but it also showcased the world's tallest Christmas pyramid in 1999, which reached a staggering height of 14.62 metres. The most recent record was crowned at Berlin Christmas Market at a height of 20 metres.
While exploring the stalls, keep an eye out for traditional handcrafted nutcrackers that are favourites at the market, as well as the Dresden Pflaumentoffel – a small chimney sweep made out of dates. Aside from miniature statues, visitors can indulge in Germany's classic stollen fruit loaf.
Dates: 29 November - 24 December 2023
More info and opening hours: Dresden Striezelmarkt
Believed to be the most beautiful square in Berlin, Gendarmenmarkt is particularly eye-catching during the festive season. Browse as craftsmen intricately carve wooden gifts and dressmakers sew in their stalls. It is also a popular spot for artists to gather and display their work; expect everything from jugglers and fire-eaters, to a variety of musical performances.
Märchenhafter Weihnachtsmarkt at Jagdschloss Grunewald makes for a scenic day trip not far from the city centre. Set beside a reflective lakeside, market stalls open in the courtyard of Berlin's oldest palace on Advent weekends, where visitors are greeted by fairy tale characters such as Hansel and Gretel.
Dates: 27 November - 31 December 2023
More info and opening hours: Christmas In Berlin
Boasting almost 300 ornately decorated stalls, with prizes handed out for the best, it’s no surprise the Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt is regarded as one of Europe’s most beautiful.
Take a medieval meander before the imposing backdrop of the New Castle, Old Castle and Collegiate Church. Be charmed by the choirs, fill up on local delicacies and have a slipping good time at the ice rink.
Close by is the Esslingen Medieval Market, where there will be 100 stalls of beautiful Christmas decorations, medieval traders and sweet treats. Here, there's plenty of fun to be had on the carousel and at the candle workshops.
Dates: 29 November - 23 December 2023
More info and opening hours: Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt
Centred around the historic Marketplatz, around 300 stalls, dwarfed by the bulk of the Old Town Hall make up the Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt – the second oldest in Germany, dating back to 1458.
The thick of the market thins out through the adjoining streets with a bombardment of lights, music and parades streaming through it all.
Dates: 28 November - 23 December 2023
More info and opening hours: Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt