Frohe Weihnachten! Germany's top 10 Christmas markets

Planning a Christmassy short break? Whether you fancy a medieval meander in Guteneck or a taste of tradition in Munich, Germany's a festive wonder. Our guide reveals the best German Christmas markets...

8 mins

Please note: The market programmes are subject to change due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please check websites before travelling for the latest updates.

1. Weihnachtsmarkt Am Kölner Dom, Cologne

Cologne Christmas Market (Shutterstock)

Cologne Christmas Market (Shutterstock)

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.

Christmas cheer runs from: 22 November to 23 December 2021

More info and opening hours: Weihnachtsmarkt Am Kölner Dom

2. Dresden Striezelmarkt, Dresden

Dresden's Christmas Market at night (Shutterstock)

Dresden's Christmas Market at night (Shutterstock)

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.

Christmas cheer runs from: 22 November to 24 December 2021

More info and opening hours: Dresden Striezelmarkt 

3. Berlin's Christmas markets, Berlin

Charlottenburg Palace lights up during the Berlin Christmas Market, Germany (Shutterstock)

Charlottenburg Palace lights up during the Berlin Christmas Market, Germany (Shutterstock)

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.

The 18th Fairy-Tale Christmas Market 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.

Christmas cheer runs from: 22 November to 31 December 2021

More info and opening hours: Christmas In Berlin

4. Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt, Stuttgart

A Christmas stall in Stuttgart, Germany (Shutterstock)

A Christmas stall in Stuttgart, Germany (Shutterstock)

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. Due to the pandemic some popular stalls will not be there this year, including the hot tubs and the artist stages, but there's plenty of fun to be had on the carousel and at the candle workshops.

Christmas cheer runs from: 24 November to 30 December 2021

More info and opening hours: Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt

5. Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt, Leipzig

The Ferris Wheel at Leipzig's Christmas Market, Germany (Dreamstime)

The Ferris Wheel at Leipzig's Christmas Market, Germany (Dreamstime)

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.

Christmas cheer runs from: 23 November to 23 December 2021

More info and opening hours: Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt

Leipzig Christmas Market, Germany (Shutterstock)

Leipzig Christmas Market, Germany (Shutterstock)

Did you know? The popular Christmas song ‘Silent Night’ first found its fame in Leipzig.

Four peasant children known as the Strasser siblings walked for a month into Leipzig to sell gloves. When that plan failed, they started singing Silent Night...

6. Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt, Aachen

Aachen Christmas Market, Germany (Shutterstock)

Aachen Christmas Market, Germany (Shutterstock)

Each winter, the grounds before the flood-lit Aachen Cathedral and Town Hall are transformed into an authentic Christmas village, with clusters of wooden chalets drawing the Christmas crowds to Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt.

Don’t just eat a famous Aachen Printen (gingerbread) but meet the six-metre Printen gingerbread man mascot. Fill stockings for everyone with gifts ranging from the very traditional to the extra special and make time to appreciate the carefully erected fair that’s so well loved by locals and visitors alike.

Christmas cheer runs from: 19 November to 23 December 2021

More info and opening hours: Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt

7. Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg

Nuremberg's Christmas Market, Germany (Shutterstock)

Nuremberg's Christmas Market, Germany (Shutterstock)

Packed into the Old Town, the gold-hued Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt oozes with history and tradition. Attend the opening ceremony outside the church and look up at the balcony to hear the festive prologue being bellowed out amongst a flair of trumpets.

Order a drei im weggla (three in a roll) Nuermberg Brahurst or the famous Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and search the stalls for gifts from all over the world, such as Czech wooden angels and French marmalade.

Meet the crowned, gilded-cloaked Christkind, passing on your wishes to them. Climb to the top of the Church of our Lady to see the red and white booths on the streets below.

Christmas cheer runs from: 26 November to 24 December 2021

More info and opening hours: Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

8. Münchner Christkindlmarkt, Munich

Munich Christmas Market, Germany (Shutterstock)

Munich Christmas Market, Germany (Shutterstock)

Munich’s main and extremely traditional market, the Münchner Christkindlmarkt, bursts out of the Marienplatz, winding all the way up the shopping street and reaching the Richard Strauss Fountain. Expect a Bavarian extravaganza with hand-painted glass balls and home-brewed Beerenglühwein, plus a massive Christmas tree in front of the town hall which lights up the stalls.

Christmas cheer runs from: 22 November to 24 December 2021

More info and opening hours: Münchner Christkindlmarkt

9. Hamburger Weihnachtsmarkt, Hamburg

Hamburg's Christmas Market glittering across the square (Shutterstock)

Hamburg's Christmas Market glittering across the square (Shutterstock)

The historic Hamburger Weihnachtsmarkt is housed in Hamburg’s largest square, with around 80 vendors setting up stalls in front of the glittering town hall.

A stroll down these antiquated streets will soon make you forget all about your mobile phone and be entranced by the unusual gifts displayed instead. The Glühwein here is a must-try, made specifically for Hamburg's market by a small winemaker ­- you can’t taste it quite like this anywhere else.

In previous years, Children have enjoyed rides on a large model railway through the toy lanes and could see Father Christmas on his reindeer-led sleigh announcing himself with a merry ‘ho, ho, ho!’. 

Christmas cheer runs from: 22 November to 23 December 2021

More info and opening hours: Hamburger Weihnachtsmarkt

10. Weihnachtsmarkt Schloss Guteneck, Guteneck

Hosted in the grounds of the pastel-yellow Schloss (castle), the Weihnachtsmarkt Schloss Guteneck plays host to the Middle Ages, with strings of lights wrapped round trees and roaring fires dotted around for warmth. 

A variety of music can be enjoyed throughout the festivities, including baroque flautists, brass bands and concerts in the barn. The aroma of mulled wine and flame roasted-almonds scents the air, while fried doughnuts and Langosch are the fair's more unique culinary choices.

Christmas cheer runs from: Various dates from 25 November to 19 December

More info and opening hours: Weihnachtsmarkt Schloss Guteneck

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