If there’s anywhere you should be going for the best Christmas markets in Europe, it’s Germany. The Christmas markets in Germany were among some of the first and one of the largest is in Nuremberg.
Germany truly embraces the festive season and has Christmas markets is pretty much every city or town. It’s because of the sheer number of Christmas markets and how close they are together that I recommend Germany as the place to go for a Europe Christmas market trip.
While Germany has some of the best Christmas markets you can also easily combine the Christmas markets in Bavaria (southern Germany) with a trip to some of the Christmas markets in Austria for other top markets worth visiting.
Get ready to fill your belly with mulled wine, see massive Christmas trees and the best German Christmas markets!
When to Go to Christmas Markets in Germany
Planning on when to go to Christmas markets in Europe is essential as they are only open for a short period! Most will open in late November, some earlier than others but the last week of November is generally a safe date to bet that they start and they run through until just before Christmas.
The closer it gets to Christmas the busier the markets will get so if you prefer to avoid crowds then go earlier. Keep in mind that accommodation goes up in price and gets booked out in advance.
Best Christmas Markets in Germany
Get ready to have a few German Christmas market trips planned, I’m sure you’re going to want to visit multiple cities!
Already a beautiful city, Munich comes even more alive in the Christmas season with a number of markets that are worthy of your time.
Munich has got lots of variety from traditional Christmas markets to a Medieval market and even a pink market! Here are some of the top markets:
This is the main Munich Christmas market with a stunning backdrop of Neues Rathaus. But because of its central location this is also the most popular market in the city by far.
Chinese Tower Christmas Market
This market is perhaps the most romantic of them all in Munich. It’s set in the large English Garden and has the typical assortment of goodies, food and handmade crafts.
Location: Chinese Tower in the English Garden
Residenz Christmas Village
This Christmas market was my personal favourite. It’s smaller but it’s set in the courtyard of a royal palace (yeah, you read that right!). It does get quite tight so I recommend visiting earlier in the day before it gets too busy.
Location: Courtyard, Residenzstrasse 1
Medieval Christmas Market
This puts a twist on your traditional market where things sold are like objects and jewelry from medieval times. Vendors even dress up in costumes and you can drink your glühwein from a goblet.
Location: Wittelsbacher Platz
Pink Christmas Market
Need I say more? It’s a pink Christmas! Performances are held nightly and it’s set in Munich’s LGBTQ neighbourhood, Glockenbachviertel.
And of course there’s more! You can find more information and markets on the official Munich website. But in all honesty, if you just walk around the city you’re bound to stumble into a few!
Where to Stay in Munich
Heidelburg is easily one of the most beautiful and romantic destinations in all of Germany. I highly recommend making a stop here just to see the city itself which is even more beautiful in a blanket of snow (unless it’s a snowstorm like I got caught it).
The Heidelburg Christmas Market is actually across 7 different locations through the old quarter, all easily within walking distance of one another.
Heidelburg Christmas Market
It’s truly a treat to roam through Heidelburg in the winter all decorated with these markets. There’s even a Christmas on Ice skating rink in Karlsplatz square.
Location: Bismarckplatz, Anatomiegarten, Universitätsplatz, Marktplatz, Kornmarkt
Where to Stay in Heidelburg
- Luxury: Hotel Europäischer Hof Heidelberg
- Mid-Range: Pension Jeske Heidelberg
- Budget: Lotte – The Backpackers
All hail the Christmas market of all Christmas markets, Nuremberg is home to the most famous Christmas market in all of Germany, Christkindlmarkt, which you should definitely be adding to your itinerary.
Christkindlesmarkt Christmas Market
This Nuremberg Christmas market is seriously something else. First off, it’s huge and second, it has been held annually since the 17th century. Talk about some history.
You will find plenty of Christmas stalls here that you’ll love.
Check out this site if you’d like some more info and to see what other Christmas festivities are held in the city.
Where to Stay in Nuremberg
- Luxury: Melter Hotel & Apartments
- Mid-Range: INVITE Hotel Nuremberg City
- Budget: Five Reasons Hostel & Hotel
Even though Berlin is not a traditional German city,you can still find plenty of traditional and unique Christmas markets in this must-visit city.
You’re going to have a few too many options as there are around 80 Christmas markets! I’ve narrowed it down to just a few of the best Berlin Christmas markets.
Winter World on Potsdamer Platz (Tiergarten)
This Berlin Christmas market is a local favourite and excellent for visitors who will be visiting outside of the Christmas season as this Christmas market in Germany is the longest-running, starting in early November and not finishing until the beginning of January.
It turns this large square into a winter wonderland and you can even find the largest toboggan in Europe.
Location: Potsdamer Platz
Alexanderplatz Christmas Market
One of the largest Christmas markets in the city, Alexanderplatz Christmas Market is another one that pops up in a square selling traditional Christmas goodies and more. Plus there is an ice rink and a party house!
Christmas Market at Charlottenburg Palace
Is there anything more magical than strolling through a Christmas market with the smell of chestnuts roasting and a palace dusted with snow as the backdrop? I don’t think so. It’s a large market too with over 250 vendors and rides.
Location: Spandauer Damm
Weihnachtszauber at the Gendarmenmarkt
One of the most popular markets in the city, this is one you won’t want to miss as stunning architecture stands in the background as you roam through the thousands of lights strung about. There is a € 1 fee but that covers performances and the rest goes to charity.
Eco Christmas Market
With the number of vegans and number of locals who are eco-friendly, it doesn’t come as a surprise to have an eco-friendly Christmas market in Germany that focuses on selling food and products that are fair-trade and ecological.
Location: Sophienstraße, Mitte
You can find a full list of the Christmas markets in Berlin as well as events here.
Where to Stay in Berlin
- Luxury: Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof
- Mid-Range: Hampton by Hilton Berlin City Centre Alexanderplatz
- Budget: The Circus Hostel
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
This town is different than the rest of the destinations in Germany for Christmas markets because other cities and towns have modernized but this town in Bavaria looks as if it has stayed in the past, which gives it a truly authentic Christmas feel.
The traditional buildings are a draw year-round but the real treat is seeing them dusted with snow and feeling like you’re stepping back in time.
Forget the market, it has pretty much taken over the entire town. Roam through the streets of this medieval town for an authentic Christmas market experience that has taken place here for over 500 years.
Where to Stay in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Luxury: Historik Hotel Gotisches Haus garni
- Mid-Range: Hotel Reichs-Küchenmeister
- Budget: Hotel-Gasthof Post
Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage city that acts as a charming backdrop to the Christmas markets that apear each year. It’s located right on the Danube River in Bavaria with a medieval city centre.
The Regensburger Christkindlmarkt is a traditional Christmas market which the people love. In fact, it has been voted one of the top Christmas markets in the entire country.
Romantic Christmas Market
Right in the courtyard of Thurn & Taxis Palace you can stroll around lit candles and lanterns and watch performances.
Location: Castle Thurn and Taxis
Stop by Lucrezia Markt if you wish to find some one-of-a-kind handicrafts and local delicacies and performances.
Where to Stay in Regensburg
Cologne has no shortage of Christmas markets and they all offer a traditional take on the Christmas market tradition. So if that’s what you’re after then a stop in Cologne is in order.
Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market
This Christmas market in Cologne takes its festivities to the next level with the largest Christmas tree in Rhineland that stands tall against the 4th tallest church in the world. Over 150 vendors sell goodies and lights twinkle everywhere for perfect pictures.
Location: Cologne Cathedral
Angel’s Christmas Market
This market isn’t quite as touristy as more locals gather here but sell mostly the same stuff as the Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market.
Old Town Christmas Market
Set in the beautiful Old Town, you can find all of the usual goodies, handicrafts and products here. The best part is the skating rink. Skates are available for rent.
Location: Heinzel’s Wintermärchen
There’s more! You can find all of the Christmas markets in Cologne here.
Where to Stay in Cologne
- Luxury: Park Inn by Radisson Köln City West
- Mid-Range: Ibis budget Koeln Messe
- Budget: Black Sheep Hostel
Known as the Christmas capital in Germany, Dresden is where you’re going to want to explore the picture-perfect Christmas streets that are lit up with lights.
The city holds the most Christmas markets in any city in eastern Germany and is said to have the oldest seasonal Christmas event in the country.
You can’t miss Germany’s oldest Christmas market where you’ll find traditional products and food being sold in the picturesque wooden huts. A ferris wheel, puppet show and more keep all ages entertained.
Weihnachtsmarkt Romantic Christmas Market
The name says it all. It’s got a beautiful backdrop of a palace as well. There’s a very relaxed feel and an ice rink.
Location: Next to Hotel Kempinski
Get your cameras ready, you’re going to find plenty of Instagram-worthy shots here with the number of lights decorating the city’s main shopping street. A 12-metre tree is used as decoration and local folk art and more is sold in the huts.
Location: Prager Strasse
Find more Christmas markets in Dresden here.
Where to Stay in Dresden
- Luxury: Hyperion Hotel Dresden Am Schloss
- Mid-Range: Motel One Dresden – Palaisplatz
- Budget: a&o Dresden Hauptbahnhof
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