The cities along the Rhine and Moselle valleys provide an idyllic setting for an ideal Christmas break. Christmas Markets in Germany with half-timbered stalls are festively lit… The aromas of mulled wine out of the local vineyards and savory cinnamon smells go thru the air at traditional Christmas markets...
Glühwein doesn’t taste the same on the streets of Manchester and a grilled banger is nothing like a Bratwurst eaten from a stall in Nuremberg!
Let’s have a look at the best Christmas markets in Germany together:
Dusseldorf Christmas Market
During the period Dusseldorf’s City Hall will be constituting a magical setting for the Christmas Market on Marktplatz. A Christmas market quarter will stretch across the square at the feet of the statue of mounted Jan Wellem with huts modelled in colour and style of the brick building of the renaissance city hall situated at the heart of Düsseldorf’s old town. Mulled wine and hot chocolate will invite guests to stay for a while and craftmen working with glass blowers and as wood turners will offer their wares here. And there’s more: the craftmen and craftwomen will always be happy to demonstrate their skills to interested visitors. While on the square, a lovingly restored almost 100-year old merry-go-round will be the attraction for both young and old. Also, the hand-carved life-sized manger from the Bethlehem is always a major attraction.
Cologne Christmas Market
The city of Cologne has a variety of Christmas markets, being the fourth largest city in Germany.
The most popular and best-known is in front of the famous Cologne Cathedral. The organizers expect over 4 million visitors each year to the 150 stands in the Roncalliplatz. But there are quite a few others on offer – some in the centre and some in quieter parts of the city.
Frankfurt Christmas Market
On the Roemerberg, a beautifully decorated fir tree reaches toward the skies. Frankfurt’s historical old town is brightly illuminated by thousands of fairy lights reflecting off the windows of the square’s traditional half-timbered houses.
The scent of baked apples, chestnuts, gingerbread and mulled wine fills the air. It’s Christmas market time again in Frankfurt am Main. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the wonderful wintertime charm of the old world, then the Frankfurt Christmas Market is the place for you!
Over the centuries, the Frankfurt market has developed its own specialities. Two of them are based on baked marzipan mixes: Brenten, which are rectangular, and Bettmännchen, which are mounds with almonds on the side. Another are the strange Quetschemännchen, which are figures made out of prunes and nuts. These go back to the days when young men would send these figures to the girls they fancied. If the figure was not returned, he knew that he had a chance to win the hand of the girl.
Berlin Christmas Market
The capital of Germany, Berlin shines in a festive blaze of lights every year in the period before Christmas. There isn’t just one Berlin Christmas Market – there are about 60 Christmas markets to enjoy, all with different dates. On grand boulevards and squares and also in small side streets and in museums, they’ll surprise you with their magic, charm and Christmassy delicacies. Each of the markets are unique and have a different flavour.
Munich Christmas Market
As the centre of the mainly Catholic state of Bavaria, it is hardly surprising that Munich has one of the oldest and most traditional of Christmas markets.
The Christkindlmarkt is held in front of Munich Town Hall for the three million visitors at heart of the city.
Locals reckon that the roots of the market go back into the 14th century. However it has only been in its prime present position since the 1970s.
Although Munich may well be the capital of a conservative state, it is also known for being a rich and trendy cultural hotspot and the mix of of tastes in other markets is an interesting one.
Hamburg Christmas Market
The city of Hamburg has long been famous for its food markets but the second-largest city in Germany also does a good line in Christmas Markets.
Hamburg’s main Weihnachtsmarkt is held in front of the Town Hall with a large Christmas tree marking the location.
A journey into the children’s days and Christmas miracles, a gentle kiss for the soul, Nuremberg Gingerbread instead of popcorn, fine handicrafts instead of cell phone cases, unusual gift ideas instead of tennis socks and a market architecture with quaint alleys promise the makers of the market.
The lavishly decorated market stalls specially built for Hamburg, the Christmas trees decorated with angels and golden apples, the light-drenched fir garlands, the uniform design of the mulled wine cups, the wrought-iron entrance gate or the treasures from the Roncalli Museum like a children’s carousel from the golden 20s or a sales car from the imperial period create a special atmosphere. Everywhere there are lots of details to look at, be amazed at and of course to take home with you.
Freiburg Christmas Market
A magic atmosphere prevails in Freiburg at the Freiburg Christmas market, right in the heart of the historical old city. It’s where young and old delight in a wide variety of craft products, including glass blowing and colorful wooden toys. An aroma of mulled wine, grilled sausages, gingerbread biscuits and roast chestnuts wafts through the idyllic narrow streets. You’ll find countless ideas for gifts – jewellery, puppets, ceramics, candles, Christmas tree decorations, plus a great deal more.
You’ll soon feel at home between the rustic wooden stalls, amidst the cosy golden glow of all the lights. Come and share this evocative winter fairy-tale atmosphere at the Christmas market with visitors from all over the world.
BONUS – Dresden Christmas Market
Dresden has the largest number of Christmas markets in the eastern part of the country. It’s also among the cities that are able to claim the title of being the oldest seasonal event in Germany.
Certainly it is one of the most traditional, with many of the customs surrounding the main city market stemming from local industries like mining, woodworking and pottery.
The Striezelmarkt originally started back in the 15th century. The word ‘Striezel’ actually refers to a cake made at this time of year. Called a ‘Stollen’, which is also found in other parts of Germany. But in this area is reputed to represent the entrance to the mines in the nearby Erzgebirge range.
Another tradition stemming from the mining history is the Christmas arch – originally a metal but now usually a wooden arch which displays candles and figures. According to local folklore, this stems from the candles that the miners would hang from the entrance to the mine on the last working day before Xmas.