Best cities in Germany for Christmas Markets! Enjoy this magical time with unique eats and treats, shows, and traditional keepsakes.
Best Cities In Germany For Christmas Markets
What we think is awesome is that many cities have both traditional markets and their own unique versions. You’ll find traditional snacks but also unique regional treats. You can have different Christmas Market experiences in just one city!
So which are the best cities in Germany for Christmas Markets? With the help of some friends, we’ve put together this list of 12 cities and highlighted what makes their markets so special. Enjoy!
By Sophie of Solo Sophie
Aachen is located in western Germany and is widely regarded to boast one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe. The city itself is famed for its imposing Carolingian Cathedral, which is known as Aachener Dom in German.
There are no precise locations for Christmas Markets in the city, and instead, the entirety of the space around the cathedral is transformed into a veritable winter wonderland, with stalls in every available space selling everything from local gifts to hearty Glühwein (mulled wine) drinks served piping hot in boot-shaped mugs. There are plenty of hot non-alcoholic beverages available too, including eierpunsch (a version of German eggnog) and hot chocolate.
As with most Christmas Markets in Germany, the star of the show when it comes to visiting Aachen’s market is all of the delicious food on offer. Highlights include potato pancakes (known as reibekuchen in German) and flammkuchen (a pizza-like dish that originates from Alsace).
One of the more unique aspects of Aachen Christmas Market is that you can purchase a special type of gingerbread produced only in the city. Known locally as Printen, this sweet crunchy biscuit is a derivative of Lebkuchen and was once sweetened with honey, but is now, more often than not, sweetened with syrup made from sugar beets.
By Ali of Berlin Travel Tips
Berlin doesn’t get as much attention as it should for Christmas markets, but Germany’s capital has over 50 different markets to enjoy. If you’re looking for some holiday cheer and a wide variety of markets, consider Berlin!
One of the most popular and most beautiful Christmas markets is called the WeihnachtsZauber at Gendarmenmarkt. It normally takes place on Gendarmenmarkt Square, but due to construction, it’s at nearby Bebelplatz through 2024. The setting is just as pretty, with historical buildings as the backdrop. The stalls sell great food and high-quality items, and some Glühwein stalls have some really unique mugs. It’s also one of the few Berlin Christmas markets open after Christmas, perfect for if you’re traveling in late December. This market has a 1 euro entry fee but it’s free on weekdays (except on holidays) before 2 pm.
Another gorgeous market you should check out is at Charlottenburg Palace. The market sits in front of the palace; a perfect setting. You’ll find a good mix of stalls selling food, Glühwein, Christmas decorations, and other gift items. Find the Hungarian stall and climb the stairs to the viewing platform above it for nice views of the market from a higher vantage point.
For a Nordic-themed Christmas market, go to Lucia at Kulturbraueri. This is a local favorite with a cozy atmosphere in the courtyard of a former brewery. In addition to standard mulled wine, you can get Nordic versions called Glögg, plus dishes made from reindeer or elk instead of pork.
If you’re traveling with kids, the Rotes Rathaus Christmas market is a good choice. There’s a big Ferris wheel, an ice rink, and a nativity scene. Another family-friendly market is the one at Potsdamer Platz where kids can ride toboggans.
By Stephanie of The Unknown Enthusiast
The Cologne Christmas Market is one of the most charming markets in all of Germany, thanks to the multiple, highly themed markets found throughout the city.
One popular market was the Angel Market, which had stalls painted in white and silver, with angel cutouts on the top, white lights in the trees, women dressed up as angels walking around the market for photo ops, and even mugs with angels on them for drinks.
My favorite market in the city was Heinzel’s Wintermarchen, with a woodland theme. The stalls looked like little cabins and there was even a blacksmith “shop”. There were little scenes with animal figures, and gnomes were featured prominently – the mugs even had gnomes on them! You can also enjoy a skating rink, a curling rink, and a Ferris wheel at this market.
The main market, the Dom Market, was located in the shadow of the massive Cologne Cathedral, had an enormous Christmas tree in the center, and a blanket of lights that extended from the Christmas tree over the tops of the stalls. The effect is enchanting.
Beyond these markets, there is also the adorable St. Nicholas Market, the Harbor Market, the Heavenue Market (known as the gay market), and the Stadtgarten Market (mostly a market for locals to hang out at and enjoy drinks).
Make sure you try the tree bread at the Angel Market and the muzen at the Dom Market, two delicious and unique treats.
By Jo of World Wild Schooling
You’ll find seven wonderful Christmas markets in Dusseldorf, each one offering something unique. Among them, Handwerker Markt, Altstadt Markt, and Engelchen Markt stand out as the most charming.
Handwerker Markt (Craftsman’s Market) is a great place to find local crafts and handmade goods. It’s the perfect place to pick up a unique gift or keepsake. Altstadt Markt, in the old town, is full of traditional treats. Here you’ll find lots of tasty food, like reibekuchen, a type of potato pancake, and gluhwein, a warm, spiced wine that’s perfect for cold winter days. Engelchen Markt, or Angel Market, is filled with beautiful decorations and a very festive spirit. It is a tiny but very cute market.
Of course, there’s more than just markets. The city also hosts a Ferris wheel, which gives you a great view of the Christmas lights, and an ice rink for skating. If you love shopping, you won’t be disappointed in Dusseldorf. There are plenty of opportunities to browse and buy, from high-end fashion to unique gifts. Don’t miss also the Lichterdom at the iconic Königsallee, the main shopping street.
Make sure you dress warmly, as it can get quite cold. Also, it’s worth noting that the markets can get very busy, especially in the evenings. Try to go on a weekday rather than on a weekend to avoid the crowds.
By Sue of Food Travelist
We traveled to Germany just to visit Christmas markets and started in Frankfurt. It’s a perfect-sized city to explore and it’s a wonderful hub to travel to other markets easily on the efficient German train system.
Frankfurt hosts one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany which locals and visitors have been enjoying for over 600 years.
When you get to Frankfurt, you’ll be surprised that the Christmas market goes throughout the town down to the river. It’s easy to stroll at your own pace checking out more than 200 delicious food, drink, and handcrafts booths. The center of town features a sparkling 30-meter-tall Christmas tree. Time your visit at the center to hear one of the free concerts from the balcony of the St. Nicholas Church.
Food is our favorite thing to indulge in at the Christmas markets. Start with a mug of delicious hot gluhwein. Spiced wine sure takes the chill away. The smell of grilled goodies will fill the air. You’ll find many traditional German sausages and meats. If you’re a beer fan you’ll find plenty of that, too. Our absolute favorite is the kartoffelpuffer. It’s a potato pancake served with either sour cream or apple sauce. Pro Tip: share some of the specialty items you want to try. That way you can try a lot more!
If you’re ready to explore even more markets, you can simply hop on the train. You’ll find Mainz, Wiesbaden, and Rüdesheim along the Rhine River and easily accessible just a train ride away.
By Elle of Only In Germany
Experience the enchanting Fraueninsel Christmas Market in Germany. On the second-largest Chiemsee island, a winter wonderland German Christmas tradition unfolds annually. The Fraueninsel, with 300 residents and Frauenwörth Monastery, lures visitors year-round. However, just before Christmas time, the island becomes a winter fairytale.
Stroll lakeside amid stalls adorned with crafts, treats, and the scent of cinnamon-infused Glühwein. With 90+ exhibitors, the market beckons exploration. Seek warmth and great drinks at Klosterwirt, Inselwirt, or Inselbräu.
Open from November 30 – December 3 and December 7 – 10, hours are 15:00-20:00 Thursdays and 12:00-19:00 Fri-Sun.
Access Fraueninsel via ship from Gstadt or Stock in Prien, a ten-minute jaunt or half-hour voyage, offering Herrenchiemsee views.
Consider also a stop on the Herrenchiemsee Island, exploring the palace and monastery museum. From Prien, the ship docks at Fraueninsel’s main pier; from Gstadt, the main or north pier.
Prien-Fraueninsel round-trip fares: €10.40 (€28.60 families); Gstadt: €6.70 (€18.40 families). Christkindlmarkt entry is free.
As a cherished local spot, Fraueninsel Christmas Market offers a unique experience. Amidst crafts, treats, and festive air, it’s one of Germany’s most beautiful markets. Combine with Regensburg or Augsburg markets for an extraordinary visit.
By Vicki of Vickiviaja.com
If you are a fan of Central European Christmas markets, Germany is undoubtedly one of the best countries to discover these festive markets. While cities like Berlin or Hamburg, with their numerous Christmas markets, are definitely on top of everyone’s agenda, be sure to visit Christmas markets in smaller towns as well. The best example of this is the Christmas market in Goslar.
This small town on the edges of the Harz Mountains is named one of the best Christmas markets in the country every year, and yet, it’s still not as crowded as the famous markets in other larger cities.
The Goslar Christmas Market is held in medieval style every year, matching the UNESCO-awarded historic Old Town. Let yourself be enchanted by the magical scenery and try dishes and snacks that have been prepared here for many years according to their original medieval recipe – but of course, you will also find the typical German Christmas market dishes such as hot pretzels, mushrooms with garlic sauce, German sausages, and mulled wine.
If you visit this Christmas market in Goslar, you should not miss the so-called “Christmas forest” on the neighboring square. Each Christmas, a pine forest made of real trees is set up here, allowing you to enjoy snacks and hot drinks surrounded by fir trees and fairy lights – a truly unique Christmas experience.
One of the best cities in Germany for Christmas Markets is definitely Hamburg. There are many Christmas Markets in Hamburg; some are traditional and some are a bit risqué.
Probably the most well-known Christmas Market is the Rathausmarkt Christmas Market in front of the city’s town hall. There are over 80 stalls with toys, traditional Christmas ornaments, and handmade crafts. Additionally, Santa Claus flies overhead in his sleigh every evening at 4, 6, and 8 PM.
The Santa Pauli Christmas Market is considered Hamburg’s sexiest Christmas Market! It is an adult-only Christmas market, although they have a child-friendly version on Sundays. It’s adult-only because you will see some erotic art and accessories, phallic-shaped chocolates and treats, and you may even see a strip show.
Another popular market is the St. Petri Christmas Market, located in front of St. Petri Church. As you walk around, you feel like you’re in a forest, thanks to the 250 real fir trees placed throughout the market. This market is known for its Dutch treats like Poffertjes (mini pancakes). Kids will especially like this Christmas Market. There is a large toy train that winds its way around the trees and many of the stalls sell high-quality toys.
By Tamara of My Elated Odyssey
When searching for the best cities in Germany for Christmas markets, one destination that can’t be missed is Heidelberg. This charming, historic town comes to life during the winter season with holiday charm.
One of the best parts of why the Christmas markets in Heidelberg are worth visiting is due to the stunning landscape and architecture of the city. The stunning Heidelberg Castle and cobblestone streets create the perfect, picturesque backdrop.
This city is also excellent for Christmas markets because six separate areas host markets! These are Marktplatz, Karlsplatz, Universitätsplatz, Anatomiegarten, Kornmarkt, and Bismarckplatz.
The different markets are full of various activities. Karlsplatz is home to one of the most beautiful ice rinks in the entire country! You can also find a charming carousel at Universitätsplatz, the largest market in Heidelberg. In addition, make sure to explore the different shops and food vendors at the different markets.
The Marktplatz market holds one of the most unique attractions in the Heidelberg markets. This large wooden barrel has a capacity of 120,000 liters! Although the inside is empty, you can enter and get a magnificent market view.
If you’re a foodie, then you’ve found the perfect location. A visit to a Christmas market in the city would be incomplete without a glass of glühwein, which is hot wine to help keep you warm. Noteworthy foods you should try are bratwurst, schokokuss, and spiral potatoes.
By Manouk of Groetjes uit Verweggistan (With Love from Far Away)
The Christmas Markets in Koblenz are lesser known than other German Christmas Markets, but definitely worth a visit. It is a lot more quiet compared to more popular German Christmas Markets. If you do not like crowds this is the place for you, even on weekends.
The most popular activity is the Christmas Garden in the Ehrenbreitstein fortress on the hill. A spectacular event with different light shows and light effects combined with projections. A truly magical experience! You can do this almost every evening during the Christmas Markets in Koblenz.
In the city itself, most Christmas Markets can be found in the historical center. You will find six Christmas Markets: Görresplatz, Münzplatz, Am Plan, Jesuitenplatz en Willi-Hörter-Platz and Zentralplatz. Some have bars, some are more focused on nice souvenirs to take home.
The Willi-Hörter-Platz has a nice cozy bar to have a drink. It is themed white and gold, a more chic Christmas style. You can also buy lebkuchen here, a typical German Christmas cookie with delicious spices.
Münzplatz is where you need to by for food. You can try many different food and drinks in the different stalls, depending on your mood. For example reibekuchen. This is a sort of pancake made of potato. They are usually served with apple sauce. Or do a food tour and try all the stalls!
By Lance & Laura Longwell of Travel Addicts
When it comes to Christmas in Germany, there are a lot of cities that go all out. But Nuremberg may be the Christmas capital of Germany, and there’s good reason for it. Without a doubt, this is the country’s #1 Christmas market. The Nuremberg Christmas Market attracts over two million visitors every year in just four short weeks. It dates to the early 1600s, making it one of the longest continually running markets in Europe.
Unlike other cities that have several markets, Nuremberg’s Christmas Market essentially winds through the squares of the old city in one contiguous market experience. The focal point is the Main Square under the marvelous façade of the Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche). Here, there are hundreds of stalls in neat rows with identical candy-striped awnings. Off the main square are two adjoining squares that host the Sister Cities market (gifts from Nuremberg’s twinned cities) and the children’s market (filled with rides and amusements).
The Nuremberg market specializes in traditional gifts, including “smoker” men (carved wooden statues that hold smoldering incense) and carved wooden toys. In terms of food, the classic option is the Nuremberger sausages (eaten three at a time in a hard roll).
Visitors can also drink from the world’s largest Feuerzangenbowle (Feuerzangen is a stronger, sweeter version of Gluwein where rum is added). If your legs get tired, jump on the horse-drawn stagecoach for a ride around the cobblestone streets.
By Morgan of Crave the Planet
St. Wendel, Germany is home to one of the best Christmas markets in southwest Germany, offering a unique experience for visitors. It’s off-the-beaten-path and offers a glimpse into the authentic traditions in Saarland. The market is divided into three sections: the traditional Christmas market, the Middle Ages market, and the Dwarf market.
In the traditional Christmas market, visitors can browse through adorable stalls selling authentic handmade crafts and enjoy delicious glühwein and snacks. The market stalls are located in the cobbled old town lanes, under the shadow of the Wendelinus Basilica, a pilgrimage destination that has held the remains of Saint Wendelinus since 617 AD.
For a more rustic feel, visitors can head to the Middle Age Market section, which can be accessed through a narrow alley to the south of the Old Town. Here, visitors can enjoy the unique atmosphere of true artisans practicing their crafts right in their stalls, from bearded blacksmiths to camel trainers. The Middle Age Market also offers three daily shows with fire breathing, fire dancing Krampus shows that excite all ages, and offer a truly unique experience.
The Dwarf market is another must-see attraction, filled with dwarf-filled nativity scenes, sometimes in naughty positions. Visitors can also enjoy luxurious wellness amenities with a stay at the Angel’s das Hotel Golf Park, including access to a spa, sauna, and massage year-round, as well as a championship 27-hole golf course in the summer.
With many paid parking lots and a train station, St. Wendel is easily accessible for those with limited mobility or using public transport. Visitors can also enjoy delicious foods and seasonal menus at Cafe Luise or Bruder Jakobs if they want to go beyond the amazing flammkuchen or grilled bratwursts served within the market.
Final Thoughts On The Best Cities In Germany For Christmas Markets
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the best cities in Germany for Christmas Markets. We think one of the best times to visit Germany is during the winter holidays. It’s so fun and festive and there is so much to see and do. And eat!
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