12 best Christmas markets in Germany

12 best Christmas markets in Germany

The season is finally here but you're overwhelmed by the choice? Here's a round-up of the biggest, brightest, most festive and fun German Christmas markets to visit in 2023.

When do Christmas markets start in Germany?

Christmas markets generally get the show on the road in the third week of November in Germany, meaning there is plenty of time to enjoy them before you sing Happy Birthday to Mr J. Christ.

If New Year rolls around, your pockets are full of 10-euro notes from your grannies and you aren’t sick of cheese and potatoes, you can also celebrate well into January with the diehard Christmas heads. Some markets are open for business until the second or third week of the new year.

But you might find that you can only afford potatoes by then since the virtue of charity applies to just one aspect of your Christmas market visit: the entry. While most markets across the German federal states are free to enter, the cost of German food and beers or Glühwein can be pretty steep once you get in. Enjoy the fun while it lasts!

Looking for the perfect German Christmas market?

If you have guests coming to visit or just feel like reigniting that festive spark inside you, a trip to one of the best Christmas markets in Germany can work a charm.

While Mariah Carey defrosts and before you have to start peeling potatoes for 25 guests by yourself, here are the 12 best German Christmas markets to visit as we ease into the festivities.

Biggest Christmas markets in Germany

Germany is the undisputed land of the Christmas market. Gigantic, small, tiny, medieval, erotic, underground, forest, Japanese and pink are all adjectives that have been placed before “Christmas market” in Germany to give the old favourite a new slant. But before we get to those, here is a list of the biggest and best for wowing your guests.

Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt

Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt is often cited as the German Christmas market to end all Christmas markets. The Chriskindlesmarkt was first mentioned in the German history books all the way back in 1628. Even before then, it’s thought that the one-and-only Martin Luther did his Christmas shopping at an earlier incarnation of the market.

Today in Nuremberg it still literally geht um die Wurst. For over 700 hundred years the market has been serving up Nüremberger Bratwurst to hungry guests.


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Christmas Market Cologne

Cologne’s gothic cathedral is one of the most iconic attractions in Germany, and just beneath it, from November to late December each year, stands the city’s largest Christmas market. With over 4 million annual visitors heading to the 150 stands on Roncalliplatz each year, the market is one of the largest and most famous in the country.

Head to the market in Cologne for all of your Christmas market staples and regional specialities, Käsespätzle, Aachener Printen, Glühwein and gifts to bring home to the family.


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Dresden Striezelmarkt Christmas market

This market stretches as far as the eye can see. A labyrinth of glowing lights and Christmas wonder make up the oldest Christmas market in Germany. This year, the Striezelmarkt will take place for the 589th time.

The history of one of the most beloved Christmas market snacks can be traced all the way back to this German city. A tradition started by Augustus II the Strong in 1730, who asked the Bakers’ Guild of Dresden to make an incomprehensibly big Stollen to be shared among the market visitors, continues today as the Dresden Stollen Festival. The festival takes part in the market each year and for just six euros you can get your own slice of the cake.


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Best small Christmas markets in Germany

Away from all the glitz and glamour of the big-name Christmas markets in Germany, some of the most charming to be found across the country are definitely those on the smaller and cosier side.

Ravennaslucht Christmas Market

This Christmas market is a big hit and it is obvious why. There are few other Christmas markets in the world that rival the magic of the Ravennaslucht Christmas Market, which sits in the Ravenna Gorge in Baden-Württemberg

Beneath the historic railway viaduct, you can enjoy the regional delicacies of the Black Forest around a Christmas tree so sparkling and so tall that it almost reaches the trains trundling above. If you’re lucky you be there on a snow day, which is quite likely for this part of Germany in December, dress up cosy.


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Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt Berlin

The Nordic lands are some of Germany’s top competitors when it comes to maximum Christmass-y-ness. So if you want to double down on Yule tidings the Lucia Christmas Market should be on your list, one of the many Christmas Markets in Berlin.

Named after the Lucia (Saint Lucy’s Day) celebrations on December 13, which are predominantly recognised in the Nordic countries, the Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt in Berlin is a mini market located in the Kulturbrauerei. Here you can expect all the Christmas market classics with some Nordic snacks to make things extra sweet; think liquorice, Finnish honey and Swedish Glögg (Glühwein).


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Schloss Grünewald Christmas Market

The Schloss Grünewald Christmas market outside of Solingen, North Rhine-Westphalia is so tiny and cosy that it basically feels like you’re in someone else’s garden. 

Germans love to recognise the Advent days throughout December and this Christmas market is designed to do just that. Open only on weekends during December, visitors to the Grünewald Christmas market can expect all things crafty, from wooden Christmas carvings to felt Hausschuhe galore. This one can be busy, so best to book a ticket in advance!


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The best traditional Christmas markets in Germany

While the aforementioned Dresdener Streizelmarkt is the oldest in the land, there are plenty of others that have been keeping the tradition alive for hundreds of years already. Dating back as far as 1505, here are some Christmas markets which offer the most traditional atmosphere.

Heidelberg Christmas Market

Heidelberg is a beautiful historic city surrounded by forest on the banks of the Neckar River. From late November to December the small city hosts no fewer than seven Christmas markets. Here you can expect the usual favourites, one of those cute Glühwein mugs to take home, sausages and Schupfnudeln, all while gazing up at the illuminated palace above.

At the Heidelberg Christmas market, you can also arrange to meet the man himself (Nikolaus not Jesus) for just five euros. Isn’t he the one that is supposed to gift presents, not gift his presence?


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Christkindlmarkt Munich

There are over 10 Christmas markets in Munich, but the one in the city’s Altstadt has the cosiest, most traditional feel. Located before the Gothic town hall on Marienplatz, the Munich Christkindlmarkt Christmas market has its roots back in the 14th century, as the original Christmas market in the capital of Bavaria.

Again, you can expect all the favourites here, from Glühwein to Aachener Printen. But this Christmas market is also particularly good for those who busy themselves with the nativity scene. Head down to pick up some uncanny wise men and mini donkeys to complete your collection of stable staples.


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Braunschweig Christmas Market

Braunschweig Christmas Market has been keeping the party going since 1505. Its 130 stands surround the St. Blasii Cathedral and Dankwarderode Castle and offer specialities specific to the Braunschweig region - they love their roasted almonds and hash browns.

With a mini Ferris wheel, merry-go-round and plenty of chocolate-covered everything, the Braunschweig Christmas Market is perfect for a taste of the original Weihnachtsmarkt feel.


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Best non-traditional German Christmas markets

While everyone is striving to visit the most authentic Christmas market, sometimes tradition can get a little same-y and you don’t want to feel like you’re living in 1567. Whether you want to escape back to our modern day, or simpler medieval times gone by, there is a German Christmas market for you.

Pink Christmas Market Munich

There is no better season to be jolly and gay than Christmas. Head down to the Pink Christmas Market at Stephansplatz in Munich for the most uninhibited pink-light display you will ever see in your life. 

Of course, this market has everything a traditional one has to offer, but with drag performances and sultry mermen tree decorations on sale to gift to your loved one as the cherry on top. If you’re not in Munich, check out your local scene, there is a Pink Christmas Market in many German cities these days!

Vegan Christmas markets Berlin

Berlin’s vegan Christmas market has been serving up animal-free treats on Fehrbelliner Platz since 2019. Head there during every Advent weekend in December to snack on a vegan sausage and some Plätzchen while looking for a gift for your vegan cousin back home.

Those frequently in Berlin will also know the semi-regular Vegan Sundays events hosted by Green Market; head down to their Winter Edition market for Christmas vibes vegan style and expect to see all the big names in the Berlin vegan scene on site.


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Medieval Christmas Market Esslingen 

This market is so traditional that it can be classed as non-traditional in the mainstream Christmas market world. If you yearn for a Christmas when you couldn’t read your own carol lyrics and the best most of us could hope for was a bowl of oats on the big day, this is the market for you.

At the 100 stalls of the Medieval & Christmas Market Esslingen you can chatter with the blacksmith over roasted chestnuts, visit the glass-blowers and basket weavers for some old-timey gifts and watch the jugglers and fire-eaters swirl around in their medieval robes, all to the rhythms of the hurdy-gurdy. As with the Pink and Vegan markets, medieval markets are pretty popular in Germany, so check out your local scene if you're not in Esslingen.


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The best Christmas markets in Germany in 2023

Of all the Christmas markets across all of the land which has been your favourite visit so far? Let us know in the comments below!

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Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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