Twinkling lights, Christmas decorations, and the sweet aroma of mulled wine are the first few things you’ll notice when stepping into the Christmas Markets in Germany. Each is different in its own way, but they all have a common theme. The crowds are there, but you don’t really notice as you take your first step toward one of the vendors and see handmade goods.
A warmth is growing inside you, even though the cold is biting your cheeks. It doesn’t matter though as you walk through the Christmas Market towards the carousel and the live music wondering if you could stay there forever.
This is what my first experience was like going to a Christmas Market in Germany. It was one of my favorite things to do whenever I went to Europe for the holidays. I’ve been to a few in Italy, Spain, and Hungary, but I’ve been to more in Germany. So if you’re headed to Germany for the holidays, here is a list of German Markets to visit.
The Best Time to Visit
While there are several Christmas Markets throughout Germany, this list consists of popular Markets in Berlin, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. That said, many of the Markets start on different dates, but the majority start mid-November through December. The weather is about the same in November and December so the best time to visit really depends on you. If you’re worried about the crowds, there will be plenty of people at the Christmas Markets, but from experience I’ve noticed a lot less people during the day compared to during the night.
Christmas Markets in Berlin
1. WeihnachtsZauber at the Gendarmenmarkt
This beautiful Christmas market is located in one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin. When I went this was located near Konzerthaus Berlin, but due to construction, the market is located at the nearby Bebelplatz. So far, it will be there until 2024.
WeihnachtsZauber is one of Berlin’s most popular Christmas markets and it is known for its fine arts and crafts. You’ll also find traditional cuisine and thousands of Christmas lights decorating the market.
The market is open from 12pm to 10pm on Sundays to Thursdays, and from 12pm to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
2. Lucia Christmas Market at the Kulturbrauerei
If you’re spending time in Berlin, and want to visit another Christmas market, then check out Lucia Christmas Market. Named after the Nordic goddess of light, this market has all sorts of goods! Visitors will see a variety of Scandinavian crafts, food, drinks and entertainment.
There is also a spot, where visitors can slip on coats that were warmed by a wood-fired oven. The market is set up at a former brewery and has plenty for kids to do. From a small knights castle to a swing carousel, this market is great for the whole family.
The market is open from 3pm to 10pm on weekdays, and from 1pm to 10pm on weekends
3. Spandau Christmas market
Located in the old town of Spandu, this Christmas market is quite popular! With its Christmas decorations and its winter wonderland appeal, Spandu Christmas market has about 400 stalls to check out.
Aside from the Christmas market classics, there are also Spandu specialities you can try.
The hours for the market are Monday to Thursday and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
4. Winter World on Potsdamer Platz
This market is absolutely amazing! Out of all the ones I have been to, I had never been to one that had so many different winter activities. Aside from being a market, it also has a 12 meter high toboggan run and an ice rink.
The market also offers a variety of Austrian delicacies and there is live music.
The opening hours for the Winter World on Potsdamer Platz are
- Winter World: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., December 24th: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., closed on November 19th and 26th.
- Christmas Market: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., December 24th: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m
Christmas Markets in Hamburg
1. Jungfernstieg Christmas Market
Also known as Weißerzauber auf dem Jungfernstieg, this market has been around for 17 years. Located near the Alster Lake, you’ll find yourself looking at a floating Christmas tree in the middle of the lake. The tents are all white with sparkling stars on top, and aside from the usual hot drinks, cinnamon scented goods, there are also tents full of crafts and jewelry.
The market opens 11 a.m. everyday and closes 8-10 p.m. (depending on the day of the week).
2. St. Petri Church Christmas
The Christmas market at St. Petri Church is one to visit! The whole area around the church transforms into a Christmas fir forest with beautiful Scandinavian-Nordic Christmas hits and thousands of lights to admire.
At the market, you’ll find toys, the classic mulled wine and more.
There are a few dates when they will be closed, and opens everyday at 10 a.m. except for Sunday, which opens at 9 a.m.
3. Blankenese Christmas Market
A charming and cozy market located in the Blankenese neighborhood of Hamburg, Germany, this Christmas market has a wide variety of traditional Christmas treats such as eggnog, mulled wine, crepes, sausages, and more. There is also a nice river view and the neighborhood is quite picturesque.
The Christmas market is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
4. Hamburg City Hall Christmas Market
Also known as Hamburger Weihnachtsmarkt am Rathausplatz, this market is absolutely beautiful. This market is quite popular and has a unique blend of traditional and unconventional stalls, offering a wide variety of culinary delights. There is also a carousel for kids to enjoy as well. Aside from the Christmas market, you can also enter the city hall to check out the beautiful Christmas decorations as well.
This market is open from Monday to Sunday at 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Christmas Markets in Frankfurt
1. Frankfurt Christmas Market at Römerberg
If you love history, then you will love this market. The Frankfurt Christmas market at Römerberg is the oldest market in Germany, dating back to 1393! There are over 200 stalls to check out, many of which sell classic wooden toys, rocking horses, dolls, and decorations as well as food.
This market is full of festivities with a giant Christmas tree as well as Christmas carols.
The market is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
2. St. Nicholas Market
This Christmas market is one of the most traditional markets in Germany. It is located in a charming, historical square, which adds to the magic of the market. There is also a wide range of traditional German Christmas treats such as Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Glühwein (mulled wine), and Bratwurst (sausages).
On weekdays, the market is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends, it open from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
These are just a few of the Christmas markets around Germany. I still have quite a bit to visit as Germany has hundreds of markets to go to.
Before you go
There are a few things to know before you go to the Christmas markets in Germany.
- Some do have an admission fee
As you may have noticed from this list, there are a few markets that have an admission fee. I was completely caught off guard by this when I tried visiting WeihnachtsZauber in Berlin. While they do have free admission on certain dates, make sure to know the cost (if any) so you are not caught off guard.
- Some are themed Christmas markets
When I say themed, I mean some are for a specific community. If you don’t care about this by all means visit the Christmas market of your choice, but if you want a more traditional Christmas market, then definitely make sure to check if there is a specific community tied to the Christmas market you are looking at.
- Some offer more than others
While all Christmas markets are fun to visit, some markets have more than others. Some have carousels, others have an ice rink etc…if you plan to take your little ones, going to ones with a carousel or that have entertainment might be more suitable.