Christmas Markets in Germany

Here are the highlights of Christmas markets in the cities and regions of Germany


Bavaria’s cities, towns and villages are filled with Christmas magic. The Christmas Market season runs from the end of November to the third week of December. The markets are generally held in the Town Square and each has its own unique atmosphere and highlights include decorated stalls heaped with traditional Christmas decorations, toys and gifts and the aromas of mulled wine, grilled sausages, Christmas biscuits and gingerbread . St. Nikolaus, the German Santa Claus, often pays a visit. Christmas carol singing and Christmas concerts usually coincide with the markets, which are generally open seven days a week and run well into the evenings.
Getting there: Flight and onward rail from Munich Bavarian highlights include:

Ammergau Alps:
Charity Christmas Market in Bad Kohlgrub
On Sunday, 10th of December 2017 from 3.30 pm – 6.00 pm, this is a must-go event for the locals and one which has been taking place for more than 4 decades. It has a special atmosphere und most of all a warm heart, for people not able to enjoy Christmas – every Euro and every Cent is given to charitable donations.
Getting there: Flight and Rail from Munich

Guests visiting the Berchtesgadener Advent – a Christmas market in the historical part of town –are sometimes surprised by Christmas traditions in Berchtesgaden: A week before Christmas Eve, starting on December 17th, the Christkind ‘Christ-child’ is ‘rung in’ by church bells and heralded to the sound of large saluting guns every day at 3 p.m. On Christmas Eve the shooting increases in volume between 11:30 p.m. and midnight reminding the inhabitants that it’s time to go to midnight mass.
Berchtesgadener Advent, November 24th to December 31st, 2017
Getting there: Flight and Rail from Munich or Salzburg

Füssen Advent Market
This atmospheric Bavarian Christmas market takes place in the baroque courtyard of the Abbey of St. Mang and lies not far from the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein. The highlight is the Christmas tree auction for a good cause on the last evening of the market. 8th-10th and 15th-17th December 2017
Getting there: Flight and Rail from Munich or Friedrichshafen

Christmas at the Castle in the small Bavarian Town of Isny takes place from Wednesday, December 6th – Sunday, December 10th. Step through the castle gate and into the baroque courtyard of the former Benedictine monastery. Celebrate Advent with gingerbread, candles and fine hand carved wooden gifts; share your secret wishes in the celestial ‘post office’ and watch the Christmas angel float down to Earth.
Daily: traditional angel flight (6:30 pm), art and crafts demonstrations, Christmas
theatre programme, free guided tours of the art gallery in the castle.
Opening times Wednesday-Fridays, 4-9 pm, Saturdays 1-10 pm, Sundays 1-8 pm

Black Forest and Baden Wurttemberg region:

Nowhere has more romantic Christmas markets than Baden Wurttemberg, with medieval and Baroque palaces and houses providing the backdrop for dozens of beautifully-decorated wooden stalls. Towns such as Baden-Baden (November 27th to December 30th 2017) Freiburg (November 27th to December 23rd 2017), Heidelberg and Gengenbach (November 30th to December 23rd 2017) are highlights. Don’t miss the 130-metre-high stone viaduct route of the legendary train journey that runs through the Black Forest via the Ravenna gorge or “Germany’s tallest waterfalls” in Triberg – and betweeb December 25th and December 30th 2017, around one million candles and lights illuminate icicles and snow drifts over the gurgling mountain stream.
Getting there: Flight and Rail from Stuttgart, Karlsruhe Baden-Baden or Basel

City of Celle
Experience a winter’s fairy-tale in front of the historic backdrop of half-timbered houses from 30 Nov. to 27 Dec. 2017. As one of the most beautiful and romantic towns in northern Germany, Celle’s Christmas market is highlighted by an impressive baroque palace, historic alleyways and courtyards and more half-timbered houses of any European city.

Celle’s Old Town turns into a festive Christmas illumination with more than 80 stalls, one of Germanys highest Christmas traditional wooden towers and a specially constructed Christmas ‘wood’ of artisan craftspeople to explore, with demonstrations taking place daily. You can also book a guided tour through the city’s Website. The smells of gingerbread, hot punch and delicious Christmas foods mingle with the scent of fir sprigs, creating very special and lasting Christmas memories.
Getting there: Flight and Rail from Hamburg or Bremen

City of Duisburg:
Every year the warm light of thousands of light strings, festive music and the appearance of the surrounding shops in the city of Duisburg create one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany. Getting presents for your beloved ones, enjoying delicious food and beverages, taking a ride on the ferris wheel or going ice-skating are just some examples of the many things to do at Duisburg’s market, which lasts for more than 5 weeks and is open until December the 30th.
Getting there: Flight and Rail from Dusseldorf

Harz Mountains:
The enchanting Christmas markets across the Harz Mountains transform the small mountain towns into a sparkling winter wonderland. From November 29th until December 30th 2017, a unique Christmas ‘forest’ of 50 Christmas trees in the historic centre of Goslar is a highlight of the market. In the UNESCO town of Quedlinburg, 20 half-timbered houses open their courtyards – otherwise closed to the public – on the first, second and third Advent weekend to artisans and craftsmen.

Above the picturesque town of Wernigerode, the impressive Wernigerode Castle hosts a market in the inner courtyard where fairy tales are read and a local speciality ‘bread-on-a-stick’ can be sampled (December 25th 2017 to January 3rd 2018).
Getting there: Flight and Rail from Frankfurt or Berlin

North Rhine Westphalia region:

Christmas Market highlights in the North Rhine-Westphalia region include:
Hattingen in the Ruhr Area, a sweet little town with half-timbered houses:
Market at the Schloss Dyck: picturesque market in the grounds of an historic castle, with charming market stands selling handmade, specialist goods
The Christmas market with the most visitors is the market in the cathedral city of Aachen with typical culinary specialities like Printen biscuits;
Getting there: Flight and Rail from Cologne or Dusseldorf

Rhineland-Palatinate region:

The Rhineland-Palatinate´s Christmas markets have a long tradition, from big Christmas markets with a large variety of stalls and events to smaller markets in wine villages, at castles or out in the country. The Moselle Wine Region for example has a unique charm and a characteristic atmosphere; with many picturesque villages featuring beautiful old half-timbered houses. At almost all the Christmas markets in the Region, you can enjoy delicious mulled wine straight from the wine-grower, as well as a local specialty: white mulled wine made from the famous Riesling of the Moselle Region

The four most recommended markets would be:

  • Bernkastel-Kues (from November 24th to December 23rd), which has the most spectacular lights, a mesmerizing torch-lit swimming event on the icy Moselle and a super-size advent calendar
  • Cochem (from November 24th to December 17th), at night on the banks of the Moselle and in the shadow of the Reichsburg, they have a wonderful lights and play that recounts the tale of Mary and Joseph as well as many activities for children, such as a puppet play and a Santa Claus event
  • Trier (from November 27th to December 22nd), Germany´s oldest city, where there are over 100 stalls with decorations and craftsmanship embedded in the magically decorated old city around the dome and a beautiful Santa Claus event for Children as well as a puppet play
  • Traben-Trarbach (from November 24th to January 1st), where they hold Christmas wine tastings and culinary events at night in underground wine cellars, which is exceptional as it is unique in Germany, there are also a variety of concerts to provide further entertainment.
Getting there: Flight and Rail from Frankfurt, Cologne or Stuttgart

The Ruhr Region:

The Ruhr Metropolis, so easy to reach from the UK via Cologne or Dusseldorf, offers a selection of memorable Christmas markets, in historic old towns or castles. The aroma of mulled wine and roasted almonds warms the hearts of Christmas strollers while wandering from one booth to the next. One highlight is the 45 meter high Christmas tree in Dortmund. Some markets are already open from mid-November and are accessible until the end of December. Plenty of time to visit the most beautiful Christmas markets in the Ruhr Area and to dive into the relaxed and contemplative atmosphere of the pre-Christmas period.
Getting there: Flight and Rail from Cologne or Dusseldorf

Saxony region:

Saxony is a Christmas wonderland. It’s home to the oldest Christmas market in Germany, the Dresden Striezelmarkt, but that magical, authentic Christmas atmosphere is found all over Saxony. Explore towns such as Görlitz, Meissen or Freiberg and the area’s romantic castles and palaces. Centuries-old traditions are thrive in Saxony, in a density unique in Germany. Try the mouthwatering gingerbread, the ‘Herrnhut’ Advent stars and of course the world-famous Dresden Christmas Stollen. Visit the Ore Mountains – home to the unique traditions of woodwork, where you can visit artisan craftspeople and see how the famous angel and miner, nutcracker and rotating Christmas wooden towers (‘pyramids’) are hand made. Special seasonal events include the miner’s parades, performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and the
“Stollen” Festival in Dresden.
Getting there: Flight and Rail from Frankfurt or Berlin

Schleswig Holstein region:

Famous for its vast Christmas Market is the beautiful port City of Flensburg in Schleswig-Holstein. Flensburg is very close to the Danish Border and the Danish influence can been seen everywhere: part of the market is the famous “Red street” (“Rote Straße”). It is known for its historical merchant houses, such as the “Wein- & Rumhaus Braasch“, where Rum is still distilled the old fashion way and you can enjoy a famous Christmas “Braasch-Punch”. Another good place for a stop is the “smallest bar in the world” where you can experience the legendary Tallinn Punch or a traditional mulled wine.
Getting there: Flight and Rail from Hamburg

A full A – Z listing can be seen here.