Germany’s world-renowned Christmas markets are opening earlier and earlier every year. In the coming week, markets throughout the country will beckon guests with Glühwein (mulled wine) and lit-up stalls selling many sorts of sweets and artisinal goods.
In some cities there have been markets open for almost a month already, such as the Postdamer Platz Winterworld in Berlin.
With so many Christmas markets now, it can be hard to know which to choose for an authentic festive experience. We have picked out some of the most beautiful markets to get you in the mood for the Christmas season.
The Christkind opens the 2017 market. Photo: DPA
One of the most famous Christmas markets in Germany, the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg is opened every year on the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent by the Christkind, a girl elected by the citizens of the city.
The market begun in the 16th Century and is home to many traditional foods. Ask for a ‘drei im Weggla’ for three of the famous Nuremberg sausages in a roll and make sure to try the Lebkuchen, the city’s famous gingerbread.
The market runs from November 30th until December 24th and every day at 3pm there is the opportunity to meet the Christkind.
Across the Bodensee to Lindau. The Bodensee in winter is the perfect picturesque setting for beautiful Christmas markets. Photo: DPA
The beautiful city of Konstanz and the lake (Bodensee) which it sits next to are the perfect backdrop for a festive Christmas market. The market stretches from the city down to the shores of the lake where there is even a Christmas boat moored in the harbour.
Konstanz is in Germany but close to Switzerland and Austria, so the market enables you to try traditional foods from all three countries, but Schupfnudeln (finger-shaped potato dumplings) and Käsespätzle, (a type of cheesy pasta) are the traditional German foods which you should make sure to try.
The market begins on November 29th and ends December 22nd and is open from 11am to 9:30pm everyday.
The Lindauer Hafenweihnacht is another beautiful Christmas market which is also on the Bodensee.
The festively lit entrance to the Goslar Christmas market. Photo: DPA
This beautiful Christmas market takes place on the historic market square of the Goslar old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's surrounded by festively-decorated medieval facades, and there is even a Christmas forest right in the Christmas centre.
The market is hugely family friendly, with both a train traveling through the festive forest and a special family day with a programme of activities for children. You can also climb to the top of the Marktkirche tower to see the lights of the market from above.
The market will open on November 28th, with a lantern procession through the streets of the city, and ends on December 30th.
The Nikolaikirche in Berlin with a red sky backdrop. The market surrounds the church, which is the oldest church in Berlin. Photo: DPA
One of the quieter and lesser known Christmas markets in Berlin, the Nikolaiviertel market is set in the historic heart of city on the charming cobbled streets which surround the Nikolaikirche, the oldest church in Berlin which dates back to 1243.
The market not only sells the usual Christmas market fare, with craft stalls and food stalls serving things such as crepes, pretzels and Jagertee (rum with wine, orange juice, tea and spices), but also has choir performances and an open air cinema.
The market is already open and runs until the very end of December.
A view of Moyland Castle at Christmastime from above. Photo: DPA
The Moyland Christmas market is made unique not only by its craft-based stalls, but by its beautiful castle backdrop. In the middle of the historic gardens of Moyland Castle, artisans present homemade goods in festively illuminated stalls.
The traditional moated castle plays host to over 100 stands, including craftspeople from all over Europe selling high-quality handicrafts.
It costs €5 to visit the market, although children under 16 are free; for €2 more you can also visit the inside of the castle.
The market will only run for 5 days, from December 12th to 16th.
Dresden Stollen festival in 2017. The festival is a part of the Striezelmarkt. Photo: DPA
Germany’s oldest Christmas market takes place in Dresden’s beautiful old market square and is visited by 2.5 million people every year. The word Striezelmarkt comes from the name of a type of cake sold at the market, now famous as Stollen or Christstollen. The Dresden Stollenfest will take place at the market on December 8th.
It is not only stollen that the Striezelmarkt has to offer though – it crowns a gingerbread princess on December 2nd and there are plenty of traditional Christmas market wares such as craft stalls and Glühwein.
The festival opens on November 28th and will close on December 24th.
A festive boat docked a the Fraueninsel on the Chiemsee for the Christmas market.
This Christmas market has a stunning setting on an island on the Chiemsee surrounded by the Bavarian alps. The whole island is lit-up with elaborate Christmas decorations and lights, creating a traditional festive atmosphere. There are over 90 stalls selling culinary delicacies, wonderful arts & crafts and of course Glühwein.
You can expect carol singers and a special children’s programme. Luckily it is easy to reach the island as there are regular boat-trips from Prien am Chiemsee.
The market takes place on the first and second weekends of Advent (November 30th – December 2nd, and December 7th-9th).
This beautiful Christmas market takes place in the Guteneck Castle near Nabburg in Bavaria. There are more than 120 stalls both inside and outside the castle, which is surrounded with a festively lit wood. There is a focus on the middle ages with ancient crafts such as torch making and pewter casting on show.
There is also a life-size nativity crib scene in the forest which is truly a sight to behold, and cafes and taverns inside the castle where you can warm up. The market has twice been voted the most beautiful Christmas market in Germany, and with all the stunning backdrop and all the festivities on offer it is easy to see why.
The market is open Friday to Sunday every weekend in December up until Christmas and costs €5 on Fridays and €6 on Saturdays and Sundays.