Even if you're not a winter sports enthusiast, there are good reasons to travel through Germany in December: the Christmas markets. In fact, an ever-increasing number of travelers from all over the world take the Christmas markets as an opportunity to travel through Europe in winter, something that would hardly occur to any European, as this is the most unfriendly time of year in most countries on the continent.
Although the Christmas markets are usually very commercialized, they give the often very picturesque German old towns a particularly romantic touch. You won't experience the unique atmosphere of the German Christmas markets at a Christmas market in Singapore, New York or Sydney. So December is probably not such a bad time for non-Europeans to travel to Germany after all. And for many Europeans, the German Christmas markets are relatively easy to reach. Perhaps there is a particularly beautiful one near you.
Since there are about 2,500 Christmas markets in Germany every year, it's impossible to know each of them. Although Christmas markets didn't mean much to me in the past - I had known them since my earliest childhood - I missed them during the pandemic years. In 2020 and 2021, there were no official Christmas markets in German city centers, but there were some wonderful, privately organized events - like the Christmas Garden at the Wilhelma in Stuttgart and the Royal Winter Magic at Hohenzollern Castle - were admitted under strict conditions and with limited numbers of visitors.
In 2022, I visited some of the most beautiful German Christmas markets on a Christmas market trip, focusing on Christmas markets with a special historical ambience. For December 2023, I have planned another two-week trip. In this post I share with you my personal favorites.
Which Christmas markets in the south of Germany are you interested in? Click on your favorites in the list below the map to jump directly to the description.
- Augsburg Christmas Market (Bavaria)
- Baden-Baden Christmas Market (Baden-Württemberg)
- Esslingen Medieval Market and Christmas Market (Baden-Württemberg)
- Heidelberg Christmas Market (Baden-Württemberg)
- Lindau Harbor Christmas (Baden-Württemberg)
- Munich Christmas Market (Bavaria)
- Nuremberg Christmas Market (Bavaria)
- Regensburg: Romantic Christmas market at Thurn and Taxis Castle (Bavaria)
- Rothenburg Reiterlesmarkt (Bavaria)
- Stuttgart Christmas Market (Baden-Württemberg)
1. Augsburg Christmas Market (Bavaria)
The Augsburg Christmas market is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany and dates back to the 15th century. Incidentally, Augsburg is over 2000 years old, making it one of the oldest cities in Germany. The Renaissance town hallthe majestic Pearl Tower and the richly decorated facades around Rathausplatz provide the perfect stage for a festive Advent atmosphere. Over 130 artistically designed stalls offer not only Christmas delicacies such as mulled wine and gingerbread, but also Christmas decorations and arts and crafts.
A special highlight is the Angel gamewhich takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6 pm. 23 young Augsburg women in the guise of angels gather on the ledges of Augsburg Town Hall, secured by the mountain rescue service. Some angels sing, others play Christmas carols on Renaissance instruments, transforming the town hall with its 24 windows into a kind of living Advent calendar. This Christmas spectacle was invented in 1977 by Augsburg's tourism director Fritz Kleiber, who was inspired by a painting by Hans Holbein.
If you are in Augsburg, I recommend a visit to the Fuggerei (advertising link), one of the oldest social settlements in the world, founded in 1521 by Jacob Fugger - then the most important merchant and banker in Europe - was donated for needy Augsburg citizens.
Augsburg Christmas Market Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Augsburg Christmas Market.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at augsburg.de.
2. Baden-Baden Christmas Market (Baden-Württemberg)
Embedded in the backdrop of the elegant spa and cultural city and surrounded by the snow-covered Black Forest mountains, Baden-Baden's Christmas market offers a very special blend of tradition and elegance. There are no mainstream souvenirs to be found at the 100 or so festively decorated stalls in front of the festively illuminated Kurhaus, but rather original arts and crafts and regional delicacies. And perhaps you'll also be tempted by the exclusive Baden-Baden Colonnade stores for a pre-Christmas shopping experience ...
In the corridor of the Pump room the lights of the Christmas tree illuminate the Nativity scene exhibition of artistic handmade nativity scenes. Afterwards, take a stroll along Kastanienallee and marvel at the hand-painted, backlit church windows that line the path.
For children there is a "Living nativity scene" before the Spa housea children's bakery, carousels and a daily changing program on the "Sky stage".
Baden-Baden is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site „Great Spa Towns of Europe" since 2021. Enjoy the unique flair!
Baden-Baden Christkindelsmarkt Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Baden-Baden Christmas Market.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at baden-baden.com.
3. Esslingen Medieval Market and Christmas Market (Baden-Württemberg)
In the Swabian town of Esslingen near Stuttgart, there has been a medieval market in addition to the conventional Christmas market since 1998, where you can immerse yourself in the world of the Middle Ages in the historic old town with its more than 200 half-timbered houses. Here, the craftsmanship of old guilds, such as those of the pewterers, felters, blacksmiths, spoon carvers, broom makers or scissor grinders, comes to life again with all kinds of hands-on activities for children and adults. Jugglers, magicians, musicians and fire-eaters in medieval costumes will provide entertainment. There are 200 stalls and a varied supporting program such as staff fencing course, bookbinding, medieval speaking, smoking, tinder or garment workshop. Word has spread about the market, which now attracts over a million visitors a year from Germany and abroad.
Children's dreams come true at the hands-on circus, the puppet and shadow theater, fairy tales and the world's smallest hand-operated Ferris wheel. In the bakery the little ones can bake cookies, the older ones take part in the archery tournament.
On the market square and on Postmichelbrunnen There are stalls selling mulled wine, punch, confectionery and hearty Swabian delicacies such as Schupfnudeln with sauerkraut. And of course there are also Christmas decorations, knitwear and handicrafts to buy for every taste and budget.
With its atmospheric ambience, the Esslingen Christmas market is certainly one of the most beautiful in Germany.
Esslingen Medieval Market and Christmas Market Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Esslingen Medieval Market and Christmas Market.
Mobility: Information about parking and public transport in Erfurt can be found at esslingen-info.com.
4. Heidelberg Christmas Market (Baden-Württemberg)
The Heidelberg Christmas market is spread over the squares to the right and left of the Hauptstrasse (Main Street) - the supposedly longest pedestrian zone in Europe - from the Bismarckplatz until Karlsplatz.
Heidelberg is a particularly good place to observe the fascination that the tradition of Christmas markets exerts on visitors from Asia and the United States in particular. I was amazed at how many travelers from all over the world are here in December.
The stalls in the main squares of Heidelberg's Old Town sparkle and glitter. The Christmas market begins at Bismarckplatz, the gateway to the Old Town. Children love the antique carousel on the University square The mulled wine under the 10 m high pyramid was popular with the parents.
On the Corn Market A railroad whizzes through a fairytale winter forest, with the romantic backdrop of the Heidelberg Castle. For me, this is the most atmospheric place at the Christmas market.
On the market square there is a huge wine barrel with a capacity of 120,000 liters. This makes it half the size of the original in Heidelberg Castle.
Heidelberg is much too beautiful to spend your time there only at the Christmas market. What you can discover in Heidelberg, I tell you in my post about the most beautiful cities in Germany.
Heidelberg Christmas Market Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Heidelberg Christmas Market.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at heidelberg-marketing.com.
5. Lindau Harbour Christmas (Baden-Württemberg)
The Lindau Harbour Christmas on beautiful Lake Constance combines maritime and alpine Christmas flair in a special way. Where else can you experience a Christmas market right on the water with snow-capped mountains in the background?
The Christmas market in the island city impresses with its unique atmosphere, but also the high-quality products at the market stalls. There is a lot of emphasis on sustainability, regional and fair trade products. And if you can't find any suitable gift (or something to keep for yourself) here, then you're guaranteed to find it in the boutiques of Lindau's Christmas-decorated old town.
The highlight for the children is probably the Fairytale forest on the waterfront promenade be. The little ones can get up close and personal with forest animals and all kinds of fairytale characters.
Extra Tip: Between the Lindau Harbor Christmas and the Bregenz Christmas market (Austria) there is a shuttle boat service on the four Advent weekends. So you can experience two wonderful Christmas markets on Lake Constance in one day!
Lindau Harbour Christmas Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Lindau Harbour Christmas. Note: The Hafenweihnacht only takes place from Thursday till Sunday on the four Advent weekends.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at lindau.com.
6. Munich Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) (Bavaria)
The Munich Christkindlmarkt is one of the most traditional Christmas markets in Germany - its beginnings are said to date back to the 14th century. It had many different locations in Munich over the centuries until it was settled at and around Marienplatz in 1972. The heart of the Bavarian metropolis is transformed into a sparkling wonderland in the run-up to Christmas. In front of the city hall, the landmark of the Christkindlmarkt, the imposing Christmas tree, shines with its 3000 LED lights. If you don't find any suitable gifts at the stalls of the Christkindlmarkt, you are guaranteed to find them in the stores on Kaufinger Straße.
But the classic at Marienplatz is of course not the only Christmas market in Munich. Hopefully, I can ease the agony of choice with this selection of beautiful and original Munich Christmas markets:
Nativity market at the PeterskircheHere you will find nativity figures and nativity accessories from all over the world. Everything you need for a real nativity scene at home - from the stable lantern to the Magi and the ox and donkey - you can buy at the Nativity Market.
Medieval market at Wittelsbacherplatz: On one of the most beautiful squares in Munich, knights, jugglers, craftsmen and musicians with medieval instruments such as Celtic harp, Irish fiddle and Bavarian hurdy-gurdy revive past times. Rustic delicacies such as Celtic spit, suckling pig and Schmalznudeln (Bavarian doughnuts) provide for the physical well-being.
Christmas Village at the Residence: In the imperial courtyard of Munich's city palace, rustic alpine huts with shingle roofs are set up, where you can look over the shoulders of goldsmiths, glassblowers and other artisans. For children there is a wonderful fairytale forest with talking figures.
Pink Christmas: Pink Christmas is the Christmas market of Munich's LGBTQ* community. The Stephansplatz glows pink, there is a changing live program on the show stage and the colorful audience enjoys the Christmas season in an inclusive atmosphere.
Tollwood Winter Festival: The Tollwood Winter Festival on the Theresienwiese is an alternative to the classic Christmas market. Here, the focus is on sustainability and cultural events, with a diverse program of art, music and theater, as well as a unique range of organic and fair-trade products.
Apart from the Christmas markets, Munich is a very worth seeing city with an enormous density of top-class museums. What you can discover in Munich, you can read in my blog post about the most beautiful cities in Germany.
Munich Christkindlmarkt Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Munich Christkindlmarkt.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at muenchen.de.
7. Nuremberg Christmas Market (Bavaria)
"Here is the Christ Child at home." This is the slogan Nuremberg uses to advertise its Christkindlesmarkt, which is visited by around 2 million people from all over the world every year.
The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is one of the oldest and most famous Christmas markets in the world, which is probably due to the famous gingerbread on the one hand, and a sophisticated marketing strategy on the other.
In Protestant Nuremberg, the custom introduced by Martin Luther of giving presents to children on Christmas Eve rather than St. Nicholas' Day became established in the 17th century.
In the 19th century, the Nuremberg Christmas market lost its importance and moved to Schütt Island. Ironically, it was revived by the Nazis as part of their Nuremberg myth. In 1933, the market was moved back to the Hauptmarkt by then Nazi mayor Willy Liebel. The street lighting and the Opening spectacle with Christ Child (then portrayed by an actress, today by a 16- to 19-year-old from Nuremberg chosen by a jury) was his invention. During the war there was no Christkindlesmarkt, but in 1948 it started again in the midst of the ruins. The appearance of the Christ Child was maintained.
The Christ Child opens the Christmas Market at 5:30 p.m. on the Friday before the 1st of Advent and gives the opening speech - the prologue - in the gallery of the Frauenkirche. Nowadays, the Nuremberg Christ Child is an ambassador for the city with television appearances, trips abroad and visits to kindergartens and old people's homes.
From the Friday before the first Advent, the stalls stretch almost through the entire Nuremberg Old Town. The central square of the Christmas market is the Hauptmarkt (literally "main market") in front of the Frauenkirche. North of the Hauptmarkt the the Market of the Twin Cities provides for an international flair with handicrafts and food stalls from all over the world. On the Hans-Sachs-Platz near the Hauptmarkt, there is the Nuremberg Children's Christmas with a variety of offers for the kids, such as cookie baking, craft booth and of course Santa Claus.
You will learn in my post about the most beautiful cities in GermanyWhat sights are there in Nuremberg besides the Christkindlesmarkt and why Nuremberg is one of the most fascinating cities in our country for me.
Nuremberg Christmas Market Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Nuremberg Christmas Market.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at nuernberg.de.
8. Regensburg: Romantic Christmas Market at Thurn and Taxis Palace (Bavaria)
The former monastery of St. Emmeram - today Thurn and Taxis Palace - lends the most romantic Christmas market in the World Heritage City Regensburg a very special historical charm. For many, this Christmas market is the most beautiful in Germany - or at least in Bavaria (even if the people of Nuremberg and Rothenburg don't like to hear that!). In addition, the princely ambience with its location in the magnificent courtyards and gardens of a real palace also makes it a rare highlight.
In the center of the Christmas village of over 130 lovingly decorated wooden houses in the palace courtyard stands the imposing, festively decorated Christmas tree. Countless candles, lanterns and torches bathe the Christmas market in an atmospheric light.
The Romantic Christmas Market at Thurn und Taxis Palace is known for its high-class cultural program. Here you can enjoy live music, choir performances and theater performances. With special attractions such as the alpaca enclosure and the "Children's Magic Forest" with nostalgic carousels, a steam locomotive and a Punch and Judy show, little market visitors can shorten the wait for the Christ Child.
The Princely gardens are open for visitors only during Advent from Thursday to Sunday .
Treat yourself also to one or the other Bavarian delicacy like the "Altoberpfälzer Suppe im Brotlaib" (soup from the Altoberpfalz region in a loaf of bread) or a "Regensburg Knackersemmel with Everything".
Tip: Regensburg is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany with an intact medieval town center. The city deserves you to spend a few days there! The oldest Christmas market in the city is the Christmas market on Neupfarrplatz square,which has been held there for 200 years. Regensburg's artisans present their products on the Lucrezi Market, the Christmas market on the historic Haidplatz.
Romantic Christmas Market at Thurn and Taxis Castle Regensburg Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Romantic Christmas Market at Thurn and Taxis Palace.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at regensburg.de.
9. Rothenburg Reiterlesmarkt (Bavaria)
The medieval town center of Rothenburg ob der Tauber provides the perfect setting for one of Germany's most popular Christmas markets. When I was there, there was even a little snow. It doesn't get more romantic than that! Rothenburg is a small town and the Christmas market is accordingly much smaller than the Christmas markets in the big cities of Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Heidelberg. But it is very atmospheric. A visit to Rothenburg is worthwhile at any time of year, and especially during Advent.
Besides many beautiful houses, churches and the city wall, on which you can walk around most of the city, there is the Medieval Crime Museum in Rothenburg about law, torture, witches and executioners in old times.
Christmas fans can marvel at historic German Christmas decorations at the German Christmas Museum and learn about the cultural and historical development of Christmas. In Käthe Wohlfahrts Christmas Village next door, you can stock up on Christmas decorations all year round.
In my article about The most beautiful cities in Germany you will learn what you can discover in Rothenburg and get more useful tips.
Rothenburg Reiterlesmarkt Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Rothenburg Reiterlesmarkt.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at rothenburg-tourism.com. Rothenburg is manageable and all the sights of the city center are within easy walking distance.
10. Stuttgart Christmas Market (Baden-Württemberg)
Stuttgart's Christmas market is one of the largest and oldest in all of Europe - it was first mentioned in a document in 1692. At the end of the 18th century, the original cattle market developed into a kind of fair with tightrope walkers, magicians, jugglers and even circus performances with dancing bears, elephants and tigers. As early as 1850, about 1,200 merchants supplied the market, which attracted visitors from far and wide.
Even during the Second World War, the Christmas market was still held annually. In the post-war years, due to the lack of new merchandise, the merchants sold their leftover stock from pre-war times in front of the burnt-out ruins of the Old Castle.
In the 1970s, the city began using spruced-up stalls and effective marketing to attract tourists to Stuttgart at Christmas market time.
About 280 stalls will be set up in the large squares of the city center - Schlossplatz, Schillerplatz and Marktplatz - and in the alleys. The Schlossplatz with the New Palace and the Königsbau, the Schillerplatz with the Collegiate Church and the Old Palace form a magnificent setting for the popular Christmas market. The special thing about Stuttgart's Christmas market is that the roofs of the stalls are elaborately decorated. There are fairy tale scenes, towns of the region or their sights in miniature, and winter landscapes. Every year the most beautiful stall is awarded a prize. For children there is a nostalgic carousel, a mini steam locomotive to ride, a children's bakery and all kinds of hands-on activities.
The Best Christmas Markets in Germany's Center
Which Christmas markets in the middle of Germany are you interested in? Click on your favorites in the list below the map to jump directly to the description.
- Aachen Christmas Market (North Rhine-Westphalia)
- Berliners: Christmas magic at the Gendarmenmarkt
- Dresden Striezelmarkt (Saxony)
- Erfurt Christmas Market (Thuringia)
- Frankfurt Christmas Market (Hesse)
- Goslar Christmas Market and Christmas Forest (Lower Saxony)
- Cologne Christmas Market at the Cathedral (North Rhine-Westphalia)
- Leipzig Christmas Market (Saxony)
- Quedlinburg Christmas Market (Saxony-Anhalt)
- Sankt Wendel Christmas and Medieval Market (Saarland)
- Trier Christmas Market (Rhineland-Palatinate)
11. Aachen Christmas Market (North Rhine-Westphalia)
The Christmas market in the imperial city surprisingly has only existed since the 1970s. Because the mighty cathedral, the Kaiserdom - Germany's first UNESCO World Heritage Site -, the town hall and the Gothic town houses around the market square form the perfect Christmas market backdrop. Meanwhile, Aachen's Christmas market, which used to be called Printenmarkt, has become one of the most popular in all of Europe.
With its picturesque backdrop of historic half-timbered houses and the majestic Aachen Cathedral, the Aachen Christmas Market offers a unique and festive atmosphere. Over 120 lovingly decorated stalls present handicrafts and regional delicacies. A taste of the traditional Aachen Printen - a special type of gingerbread baked in Aachen since 1820 - is a must when visiting the Christmas market! The Christmas market opens as soon as the Printenmann is erected at the Gothic town hall in the Katschhof and the Christmas tree is lit.
You can get a lot of useful information about the Aachen Christmas Market - for example about the best photo spots - from Anja at Travel On Toast.
Don't miss the opportunity to visit the magnificent Aachen Cathedral - the burial place of its builder, Charlemagne, and Germany's "oldest" UNESCO World Heritage Site. - and spice up your Christmas market experience with a pinch of culture!
Aachen Christmas Market Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Aachen Christmas Market.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at aachen.de.
12. Berlin: Christmas Magic at the Gendarmenmarkt
As befits a capital city, there are many Christmas markets in Berlin for every taste - in fact, there are said to be over 100! One of the most popular - even with the international audience - is the Christmas magic on the Gendarmenmarkt.
In the historical atmosphere with a big Christmas tree in the center of the square and typical Christmas stalls with white hoods you can enjoy traditional, but also unusual Christmas delicacies. In the arts and crafts tent you can watch girdlers, tailors and woodcarvers at work. On the stage there are daily performances of international artists such as musicians, dancers, acrobats and fire artists. In the gastronomy tents, friends of fine cuisine will be spoiled with all kinds of delicacies.
By the way, from the Gendarmenmarkt it is only a stone's throw to the Museum Island, which since 1999 UNESCO World Heritage Site is. In this unique complex of five top-class museums you can marvel at art and cultural assets from 6,000 years of history.
13. Dresden Striezelmarkt (Saxony)
The Dresden Striezelmarkt is the oldest Christmas market in Germany confirmed by a certificate and has always been held in Advent on the Altmarkt since 1434. It is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Germany and known throughout the world. Incidentally, the name Striezelmarkt comes from the Middle High German word for Stollen (Striezel), the famous Dresden Christmas pastry made of yeast dough. A highlight of the Striezelmarkt is the Stollen Festival, which takes place on the second weekend of Advent. The highlight of the festival is the cutting of the giant Stollen, which is baked on a historic wood-fired oven and cut by a master baker from Dresden. This tradition dates back to Augustus the Strong, who in 1730, on the occasion of the Zelthainer Lustlager - the most magnificent baroque festival of all time - had a master baker from Dresden and 60 baker's servants bake a Stollen weighing 1,800 kg.
The Striezelmarkt attracts with other superlatives, such as the world's largest, 14.61-meter-high Erzgebirge step pyramid, the probably world's largest walk-in candle arch and a daily Christmas cultural program for young and old. The lovingly and individually designed stalls offer a wide range of products, from handicrafts from the Ore Mountains to Saxon delicacies such as Dresden Stollen, Kräppelchen and Pulsnitz gingerbread. The historic Ferris wheel may be small, but it's worth a ride even for adults - because you get a great view of the entire Dresden Christmas Market, which is especially impressive with the festive lighting in the evening.
By the way, not only the Striezelmarkt on the Altmarkt, but also the other Christmas markets in Dresden - such as the Medieval Market in the castle, the Christmas market on Neumarkt, and the medieval Christmas market in the stable yard - are worth a visit.
Dresden Striezelmarkt Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Dresden Striezelmarkt.
Mobility: Information about parking and public transport in Erfurt can be found at dresden.de.
14. Erfurt Christmas Market (Thuringia)
The Christmas market of Erfurt, Germany's newest UNESCO World Heritage city, is one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the country and the largest in Thuringia. The center of the Christmas market is the Domplatz with the illuminated ensemble of Erfurt Cathedral and Severi Church in the background. Offshoots of the Christmas market can also be found in the rest of downtown Erfurt and extend over the fish market, the castle bridge, the Anger to Willy-Brandt-Platz. The magnificent patrician houses and reconstructed half-timbered houses in the winding alleys provide a picturesque setting for the state capital's Christmas market.
The attractions of the Erfurt Christmas Market include the twelve-meter-high Erzgebirge Christmas pyramid, the approximately 20-meter-high festively decorated Christmas tree on the Domplatz, and the Ferris wheel, from which you have a magnificent view over the Christmas market and the historic city center.
In total, in over 200 wooden houses culinary specialties, handicrafts and Christmas decorations are being offered. In any case, you should try the typical specialties at the Erfurt Christmas market - a Thuringian bratwurst and the Erfurt Schittchen. The people of Erfurt attach great importance to the fact that their Stollen is called Schittchen - otherwise there is no difference to the conventional Stollen (at least not for non-Erfurt residents).
Erfurt Christmas Market Info
15. Frankfurt Christmas Market (Hesse)
Already since 1498 a "Christkindchesmarkt" was held in Frankfurt. This makes the Frankfurt Christmas market not only one of the oldest and largest in Germany, but it also offers a very special atmosphere in front of the banking district's skyline.
The heart of Frankfurt's Christmas market is the Römerberg, surrounded by historic half-timbered houses and the Römer, the medieval town hall. The more than 200 festively decorated stalls extend to the banks of the Main river, Friedrich-Stoltze-Platz ("Pink Christmas"/"Rosa Weihnacht") of the gay community) and Hauptwache. Handmade gifts, Christmas decorations and culinary delicacies from all over the world are offered. The landmark of the market is the Christmas tree decorated with 4900 lights in front of the Römer, which is given a name every year. In 2022, for example, the Christmas tree was called "Manni", the short form of the Alemannic first name Manfred, which means "man of peace".
Typical Frankfurt Christmas market specialties include Bethmännchen, a marzipan almond pastry, hot apple wine and Quetschemännchen (little men made of dried plums and nuts held together with a wire).
By the way, Frankfurt is also a city worth seeing away from the Römerberg. The Städel Museum and the Schirn Kunsthalle are among the most important art museums in Europe. The German Romanticism Museum, which opened in 2021, is connected to the Goethe House in Grosser Hirschgraben - where Goethe spent his childhood and most of his youth until he moved to Weimar in 1775 - and its architecture alone is impressive. Paulskirche, north of the Römerberg, is somehow the cradle of German democracy - the first German National Assembly met here in 1848/49. Today, the Goethe Prize of the City of Frankfurt and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, among others, are awarded here.
What makes the Frankfurt Christmas Market so special is the successful combination of tradition and modernity. Here, visitors from all over the world meet and experience the Advent season in a city that is proud of its history, but at the same time is always breaking new ground. The Frankfurt Christmas Market is thus not only a place of celebration, but also a living symbol of the diversity and cultural openness of this fascinating city.
Frankfurt Christmas Market Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Frankfurt Christmas Market.
Mobility: Information about parking and public transport in Erfurt can be found at frankfurt-tourism.com.
16. Goslar Christmas Market and Christmas Forest (Lower Saxony)
With about 60 lovingly decorated wooden huts, the Goslar Christmas market may not be the largest, but it is one of the most romantic and beautiful in the entire country.
Around the market square, the Schuhhof, the Marktkirchhof and the Marktstraße the stalls are lined up, where you can buy Christmas treats like baked apples, roasted almonds, mulled wine, as well as authentic handicrafts.
For several years now, the winter forest of 60 fir trees lit up for Christmas has been creating a particularly romantic atmosphere in the medieval courtyard of the shoemakers.
A special highlight is the "ladder to heaven," on which you can climb 220 steps to the top of the tower of the market church of St. Cosmas and Damian. On the way, you can take a look at the old clockwork of the Weule clock. At the top you will be rewarded with a magnificent view over the old imperial city.
Extra Tip: On the third weekend of Advent, the Rammelsberg Mine -which, together with the old town of Goslar and the Upper Harz Water Management System, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site - welcomes visitors with a Christmas market above and below ground. The half-hour walk through the festively illuminated Roeder gallery is a special experience.
Goslar Christmas Market & Christmas Forest Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Christmas Market Goslar and the Rammelsberg.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at goslar.com.
17. Cologne Christmas Market at the Cathedral (North Rhine-Westphalia)
Situation! Situation! Location! This sums up what makes the Christmas market at Cologne Cathedral, with over 4 million visitors annually, probably the most visited Christmas market in Germany. Strategically located next to the main train station, the mighty Cologne Cathedral (UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998) - one of the largest in the Gothic architectural style - and the Christmas market in red and gold of the otherwise rather dull Domplatte a breathtakingly festive glow.
The highlight is the huge, richly decorated Christmas tree, from which a net of lights with 70,000 LEDs spans Roncalliplatz. On the stage in front of the Christmas tree, concerts and participatory activities take place several times a day.
Culinary wise, the Cologne Christmas Market offers the usual suspects like mulled wine, crèpes, waffles, bratwursts and Reibekuchen, as well as the famous Dom-Spekulatius, a traditional spiced cookie that you have to try, of course!
In addition to the market at the Cologne Cathedral, there are many other Christmas markets in the Rhine metropolis, such as the Christmas market in the Old Town, the Market of Angels at Neumarkt, the maritime Cologne harbor Christmas market and many more. You can find detailed information about the Cologne Christmas markets in the blog post by TRAVEL ON TOAST.
Cologne Christmas Market at the Cathedral Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Cologne Christmas Market at the Cathedral.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at koeln.de.
18. Leipzig Christmas Market (Saxony)
The history of the Leipzig Christmas Market dates back to the 15th century. This makes it one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany and, with over two million visitors annually, also one of the largest. Its centerpiece is the historic market square, where the Christmas tree decorated with 2,300 lights and the stage are located. On the balcony of the Old Town Hall, the tower winders play daily at 6 pm.
Between Marktplatz and Augustusplatz, 250 festively decorated stalls offer handicraft treasures, delicious treats and handmade Christmas decorations. The market is known for its high-class supporting program, e.g. performances by the world-famous St. Thomas Boys Choir.
The market offers several areas, including the popular historical market on Naschmarkt in front of the Alte Handelsbörse (Old Stock Exchange), the eight-meter high Erzgebirge Christmas pyramid in the Nikolaikirchhof, as well as the Finnish village, the South Tyrolean village and the fairytale forest for children on Augustusplatz. On Augustusplatz you can experience the Leipzig Christmas market from a bird's eye view in the Ferris wheel. In Salzgässchen, a multi-storey carousel based on a historical model provides a nostalgic flair.
One of the special attractions of the Leipzig Christmas market is the Erzgebirge miners' parade, which takes place every two years. Seven miners' bands with 265 musicians and 370 uniform wearers parade through the streets of Leipzig playing Erzgebirge songs. The next time you can marvel at this spectacle will be in 2024.
At the Leipzig Christmas Market, smoky figures, candle arches and doughnut stalls bring the city's history to life, and the cozy mulled wine taverns are a great place to get in the Christmas spirit.
Leipzig Christmas Market Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Leipzig Christmas Market .
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at leipzig.de.
19. Quedlinburg Christmas Market (Saxony-Anhalt)
The Quedlinburg Christmas Market has twice won the title of being the most beautiful Christmas market in Saxony-Anhalt, and it's no surprise: you can hardly imagine a more romantic setting for Advent than the World Heritage City with its more than 2,000 half-timbered houses!
The center of the Christmas market is the market square in front of the historic town hall. This is also where the large illuminated fir tree is set up. Some 50 stalls offer regional delicacies such as Schmalzkringel, but of course also handicraft products.
In the run-up to Christmas, the winding alleys of Quedlinburg are a sparkling labyrinth where you can lose yourself among the stalls. From wooden toys to fragrant mulled wine - everyone will find something to their taste here.
Unique in Germany is the Advent in the courtyards.The doors of Quedlinburg's most beautiful courtyards, which are otherwise closed, will be opened. Here, in a wonderful Christmas atmosphere, you can discover many rarities!
Another attraction is Germany's largest Advent calendar on Quedlinburg's Schlossberg. Here the door of one of 24 houses decorated for Christmas opens for children, parents and guests, behind which a fairy-tale surprise is hidden. Meeting point for this spectacle is every day at 16:30 (on 24.12. already 13:00) from 1 to 24 December at the Finkenhäuschen (literally "finch house"), the tourist information office at Finkenherd.
The Quedlinburg Christmas market is still rather an insider tip outside the region. Here you can experience the Christmas season in a cozy, historic atmosphere and at the same time discover one of the most beautiful German UNESCO World Heritage cities , as well as the snow covered Harz Mountains .
Quedlinburg Christmas Market Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Advent city Quedlinburg.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at adventsstadt.quedlinburg-info.de. Quedlinburg is manageable and all the sights of the city center are within easy walking distance.
20. Christmas and medieval market Sankt Wendel (Saarland)
The most beautiful Christmas market in the Saarland is still an insider tip! However, it only takes place between the second and third weekends of Advent. Then the small town 35 km northeast of Saarbrücken is transformed into a medieval village, where merchants in elaborate costumes and all kinds of fairytale creatures take visitors on a journey through time.
The Christmas market itself extends around the imposing 14th-century Wendalinus Basilica, which houses the tomb of St. Wendelin. The market attracts visitors with festive splendor and more than 160 lovingly decorated stalls offering handmade Christmas decorations, regional delicacies and traditional handicrafts. The focal point of the market is a huge artistically crafted Christmas pyramid. On several stages there is a changing entertainment program with magic tricks, participatory theater and evening fire spectacle.
For children, there's a dwarf forest, where 300 top-wearing little fellows cavort, as well as a nostalgia carousel, a living nativity scene, and even a toboggan run!
Christmas and medieval market
Saint Wendel Info
Opening hours: The Christmas market in St. Wendel takes place only from the 2nd to the 3rd Advent weekend! Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Christmas and Medieval Market St. Wendel. There you will also find parking instructions.
21. Trier Christmas Market (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Center of the Christmas market in Trier - the oldest city in Germany - which with its Roman monuments, the Cathedral and the Church of Our Lady to UNESCO World Heritage Site are the medieval Hauptmarkt (main market square) and the Domfreihof (cathedral free court).
At the more than 90 Christmas decorated wooden stalls you can stock up on cookies, mulled wine, potato pancakes, handmade gifts and Christmas balls. From star tenors to historical puppet theaters, you may find a performance to your liking on the festival stage at the cathedral.
By the way, Germany's only mulled wine queen is crowned at the start of the Christmas market. Speaking of mulled wine - the Moselle wineries' mulled wine that you can enjoy at the Trier Christmas market has nothing in common with the cheap Tetrapak mulled wine that is often offered elsewhere.
At the Porta Nigra, the Kulturkarawane has been inviting visitors to stroll through the Brunnenhof on the first weekend of Advent since 2014. Here, regional vendors present their handmade products at about 30 stalls. In the evening, there is magical light show at the Porta Nigra on the hour from 6 p.m. - don't miss it!
Trier's Christmas market cleverly combines the city's Roman past with a traditional German Christmas market, making it a unique destination for the Advent season.
Tip for international Christmas market visitors: Luxembourg airport is only 30 km away!
The Best Christmas Markets in Northern Germany
Which Christmas markets in the north of Germany are you interested in? Click on your favorites in the list below the map to jump directly to the description.
- Bremen Christmas Market and Schlachtezauber
- Hamburg: Historic Christmas Market City Hall Market
- Lübeck Christmas Market (Schleswig-Holstein)
- Rostock Christmas Market (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)
22. Bremen Christmas Market and Schlachte Magic
In Bremen's "good parlor" around the UNESCO World Heritage City Hall and Roland,a Christmas village provides an atmospheric ambience at the market square, the Town Musicians and the Schütting. The first Bremen Christmas market was launched in 1857 by creative merchants under the arcades of the town hall and was immediately well received by the people of Bremen. Today, over 170 lovingly decorated stalls with handicrafts, regional specialties and pretty Christmas decorations provide a romantic and festive flair.
Just a few steps away, the Schlachte Magic on the Weser river invites you to a maritime Christmas market. The Weser promenade Schlachte becomes a paradise for gourmets, where you are spoiled for choice at the huts between regional delicacies such as Bremen Knipp and smoked fish, mulled wine, punch and other treats.
A pre-Christmas supporting program with organ concerts, nativity plays, theater performances and exhibitions makes Bremen's Christmas Market and Schlachte Magic the ideal destination for a weekend trip to the beautiful Hanseatic city!
Bremen Christmas Market and Schlachte Magic Info
23. Hamburg: Historic Christmas Market Rathausmarkt
In Hamburg - as in many major German cities - there are numerous different Christmas markets. The most beautiful and popular is probably the Roncalli Christmas Market in front of the historic backdrop of Hamburg City Hall. A special spectacle is the flight of Santa Claus, who floats above the visitors three times a day in his sleigh together with angels and reindeer.
In various themed streets you can buy culinary and handicraft products not only from Hamburg. Among children, of course, the toy alley and the vintage carousel are particularly popular. When three times a day the "Flying Santa Claus" hovers over the visitors with his sleigh and tells the Christmas story, not only children's eyes light up. In the delicacies alley, adults can treat themselves to mulled wine, Hamburger Schmalzkuchen or bratwurst rolls.
Just a walk from there, the maritime Fleetweihnacht opens up another fascinating view of the city far away from the noise of the big city on Fleetinsel. Here, two old-timer sailing ships decorated for Christmas from the museum harbor make the hearts of seafarers and those who would like to be, beat faster.
Also popular is the frivolous Christmas market "Santa Pauli" on Hamburg's Kiez near Spielbudenplatz, with alternative Christmas attractions such as a strip tent, Pink Christmas Disco in the Wunderbar and show stage.
Hamburg is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany and is definitely worth a visit of several days! Be sure to check out the Speicherstadt on, which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. in 1998.
Historic Christmas Market at the City Hall Market Hamburg Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Historic Christmas Market at the Town Hall Market.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at hamburg-tourism.com.
24. Lübeck Christmas Market (Schleswig-Holstein)
The UNESCO World Heritage City of Lübeck is also known as the "Christmas Town of the North". The traditional Christmas market was first mentioned in a document as early as 1648, and it has since developed into one of the most charming Christmas markets in Germany. In fact, it is a whole series of Christmas and craft markets spread across the Old Town Island, which creates a magical setting with the Hostentor and the city's seven towers.
The classic among Lübeck's Christmas markets is the market around the magnificent town hall, where the stalls smell of roasted almonds, mulled wine and mead. Of course, you can also buy handicraft gifts, delicious regional specialties and handmade Christmas decorations.
At the Historic Christmas Market, craftsmen and women demonstrate their traditional art in the Marienkirchhof and sell their handmade products. A special attraction for children at St. Mary's Church is the Fairy Tale Forest: between Christmas firs, twenty fairy tale houses transport the little ones into the wonderful world of the Brothers Grimm. The handmade figures of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel have been used here for over fifty years. In addition, a nostalgic carousel and a train make children's hearts beat faster.
A highlight is the Maritime Christmas Market at Koberg in the old seafarers' quarter, where fried fish, wooden barrels and fishing nets create a real harbor atmosphere. From the Ferris wheel you have an unforgettable view of the world heritage city and the harbor.
Be sure to also visit the Christmas bazaar at the headquarters of the Niederegger confectionery at Breite Gasse 89 (behind the town hall). Here you can find delicious chocolates and cakes all year round. Much of it is, of course, made using Lübeck's world-famous marzipan. During Advent, the homemade specialties are presented in a particularly tempting way. An exclusive treat for every season is the marzipan nut cake, a piece of which you should definitely not miss!
Lübeck Christmas Market Info
Opening hours: Up-to-date information is available on the website of the Lübeck Christmas Market.
Mobility: Information about Park & Ride parking lots, public transportation and how to get there can be found at luebeck-tourism.com.
25. Rostock Christmas Market (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)
The Rostock Christmas Market is the largest Christmas market in the north with over 1.5 million visitors annually. Over three kilometers in length, more than 250 stalls line up between Neuer Markt and Kröpeliner Tor. With a wide range of culinary delights - including Rostock smoked sausage - mulled wine, handicrafts and Christmas decorations, everything expected of a good German Christmas market is on offer here.
Not quite as common for a Christmas market are the rides we know from folk festivals like the Oktoberfest: At the Fischerbastion, there is a Christmas carnival with bumper cars, flying sofas and a ghost train.
The fairy tale world at Kröpeliner Tor is more contemplative, where the little ones can watch Frau Holle shake their beds and Rumpelstiltskin dance around the fire.
In 2023, for the first time, there will be an atmospheric historical Christmas market with pagoda tents, medieval walk acts, pantomime artists, fire shows and much more. However, depending on the day of the week, an entrance fee of 4 to 6 euros is charged for the varied program (only on Monday is admission free).
Frequently Asked Questions About the German Christmas Markets
When do the Christmas markets in Germany start?
Traditionally, Christmas markets in Germany open after Totensonntag. Most Christmas markets in major cities begin in the week before the first Advent and end on December 23. However, some Christmas markets continue into January. In smaller towns, the Christmas market often takes place on only one or two weekends.
How did the Christmas markets actually come into being?
The first Christmas markets developed in the German-speaking world from the winter markets of the late Middle Ages, where citizens could stock up on food and everyday items for the winter.
How many Christmas markets are there in Germany?
There are about 2,500 Christmas markets in Germany every year with about 85 million visitors - and they come from all over the world.
Since when are children given presents at Christmas?
Thanks to Martin Luther, since the second half of the 16th century children have been given presents "by the Holy Christ Child" on Christmas Eve and no longer on St. Nicholas Day, as was customary before. In bourgeois circles, it became customary in the 17th century to buy these gifts at the winter market.
Which is the oldest Christmas market in Germany?
Dresden and Bautzen have been fighting for the title of the oldest Christmas market in Germany for years. For Bautzen, the first meat market was mentioned in a chronicle in 1384, Dresden's Striezelmarkt was first mentioned in a document in 1434.
Since both cities are located in Saxony, it is at least certain that the first German Christmas market took place in Saxony.
And what is the oldest Christmas market in the world?
The very first Christmas market did not take place in Germany at all, but in 1296 in Vienna, Austria.