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Where To Find the Best Christmas Markets in Germany (and How to Visit)

Christmas market in Berlin, Germany
Hi, I'm Helen!

South Londoner on the loose in Switzerland, with a cat and baby in tow. Trained teacher, student, and travel writer, with a passion for drama, drag, and adventure.

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Hi, I'm Helen!

South Londoner on the loose in Switzerland, with a cat and baby in tow. Trained teacher, student, and travel writer, with a passion for drama, drag, and adventure.

see more

Traditional home of both the Christmas market and Christmas tree, there’s no better destination than Germany for getting into the Yuletide spirit. From late November, cities and towns across the country transform into winter wonderlands, where you can sip authentic glühwein (German mulled wine) from themed mugs beneath twinkling canopies of Christmas lights; browse artisanal gifts set out on festive wooden stalls; and hear traditional music sung around a towering Tannenbaum (Christmas Tree). Here’s our guide to where to find Germany’s best Christmas markets, with tips on how to visit.


Berlin's Christmas markets are among the best in the country. | Photo Credit: S.Borisov / Shutterstock

The capital is a must at Christmas.

Germany’s enormous capital city boasts a variety of markets to match its scale. Over 100 Christmas markets take place across the city each December, the most famous being the WeihnachtsZauber at Gendarmenmarkt, which features live concerts, handmade crafts, and gourmet dining. Other highlights include the Charlottenburg Palace market, with stalls and rides backdropped by baroque architecture, as well as the Japanese Christmas Market at Festsaal Kreuzberg.

Opt for a walking tour that ticks off several city markets or combine Christmas sightseeing with culinary immersion, taking advantage of packages that include tasters of local specialities.


Munich's picturesque center is ideal for the Christmas season. | Photo Credit: FooTToo / Shutterstock

Home to one of the oldest Christmas markets.

Munich’s oldest market, the Christkindlmarkt at Marienplatz, dates back to the 14th century. Here you’ll find folk musicians, crafting stations, and Germany’s largest selection of Nativity figurines for sale. Over at the Munich Residence, a charming Christmas Village offers a glimpse of traditional Bavarian life with Alpine horn players, carol singing, and glühwein flowing by the mugful. If you want to step back even farther in time, the Medieval Christmas Market at Wittelsbacherplatz specializes in ancient crafts and unusual delicacies, such as Drachenglut (dragon embers) mead.

Explore on foot for an intimate glimpse of each market, munch your way around Munich on a tasting tour, or zip around by bike for a wider perspective of the city.


Nuremberg Christmas market and happy shoppers perusing the wares.
Nuermberg is known for having one of the oldest markets in Germany. | Photo Credit: ecstk22 / Shutterstock

A Christmastime classic in Germany.

Arguably one of the most famous Christmas markets in the world, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is visited by millions each year. A complex of stalls, canopies, and a Christmas pyramid fills the square in front of the iconic Frauenkirch, where you can buy trinkets, gingerbread, and Nürnberger Rostbratwurst (Nurenberg grilled sausage). There’s also a children’s fairground on the adjacent Hans-Sachs-Platz, featuring a multistory carousel, steam train, and ferris wheel.

Private tours are a particularly family-friendly option and tasting tours are also popular, given Nuremberg’s unique culinary heritage, while a ride on the traditional Bimmelbahn (tourist train) is a great way to get your bearings away from the Christmas crowds.


Dresden Christmas market in the daytime.
Dresden is a must-visit in winter. | Photo Credit: Marina Datsenko / Shutterstock

Known for incredible decorations and great food.

Begun in 1434, the Streizelmarkt on Altmarkt Square is today best known for its enormous Erzgebirge pyramid, candle arch, and vast selection of Pflaumentoffel (edible plum-based figurines). Other notable markets include the Winterlights of Dresden market on Prager Strasse, complete with Santa’s Grotto and 49-foot (15-meter) Christmas tree, as well as the traditional markets around Frauenkirche, the Zwinger, and Dresden Castle.

Historical tours are a great way to soak up the Christmas sights while learning more about Dresden’s eventful past, with private tours offering personalized insight into the city’s cultural traditions or World War II history, depending on your interests.


Hamburg Christmas items for sale.
There are Christmas markets to suit all moods in Hamburg. | Photo Credit: Laura Battiato / Shutterstock

A variety of markets to suit every type of traveler.

Hip Hamburg boasts around 30 different Christmas markets, with options to suit everybody. The Bergedorf Christmas market is a cozy affair, set in fairy-tale–like grounds with live music, children’s workshops, and sweet snacks aplenty. Over in St. Pauli, you’ll find an adults-only fir-tree forest offering frivolous festivities well into the night. Then there’s the LGBTQ+-friendly Winter Pride Market in St. Georg; Gingerbread Village in Gänsemarkt; and Rathausmarkt, where Santa himself can be regularly seen flying overhead.

Hop-on hop-off buses are a great way to get around while learning a bit more about Hamburg’s history, while private tours can be focused on your choice of Hamburg’s many Christmas markets.


Stuttgart Christmas lights.
Pay a visit to Stuttgart this Christmas season. | Photo Credit: FooTToo / Shutterstock

Understated but well worth a visit.

Though branded as one singular market, Stuttgart’s Christmas scene is actually made up of several sections of stalls. The main hubs are around Marktplatz and Schlossplatz, where you’ll find ornaments, glühwein, and sweet treats for sale against a backdrop of mechanical reindeer, giant baubles, and towering teddy bears. On adjoining Karlsplatz, there’s a Finnish market selling glögi (Finnish mulled wine), salmon, and Yule goats, while just out of town in Esslingen you’ll find a live-action medieval market.

Tick off the main markets then cruise around Stuttgart’s other sights on a hop-on hop-off bus or get more personalized service on a private Christmas market tour.


The Cologne Cathedral and the Christmas market at night.
The Cologne Cathedral serves as the ideal festive backdrop to the market. | Photo Credit: Grassmemo / Shutterstock

Ideal for families in Germany this Christmas.

Cologne’s largest Christmas market takes place directly beneath the city’s iconic cathedral. It’s made up of some 150 unique stalls, plus a giant fir tree, carousel, and traditional Christmas Pyramid. Other Christmas crackers around the city include the Heinzels Wintermärchen market in the Old Town, known for its woodland fairy tale theme; the Harbour Market at the Chocolate Museum; and the Angel Market on Neumarkt.

The Christmas-Market-Express tourist train is a convenient way to get around Cologne’s main markets. Since Cologne is also well known for its beer, look out for packages that include Christmas highlights along with warming stops at local breweries.

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See all Germany tours
2,869 tours & tickets
Cityscape image of Regensburg with Old Stone Bridge over Danube
See all things to do in Germany
11 Epic River Journeys Around the World to Add to Your Bucket List