8 of the most beautiful German Christmas markets

As the Christmas markets will open all over Germany throughout the next week or so, we have put together a list of some of the prettiest markets and what they have to offer to get us in the festive spirit.

8 of the most beautiful German Christmas markets
The Christmas Market on the Fraueninsel on the Chiemsee in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

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.

Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

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.

Konstanz, Weihnachtsmarkt am See

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.

Goslar Weihnachtsmarkt

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.

Nikolaiviertel Berlin

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.

Moyland Weihnachtsmarkt

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 Striezelmarkt

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.

SEE ALSO: The secrets behind stollen, Germany's beloved holiday treat

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.

Chiemsee Christkindlmarkt auf der Fraueninsel

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).

Schloss Guteneck Weihnachtsmarkt

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.

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German Christmas market closures ‘can’t be ruled out’: health expert

As Germany battles a fierce Covid wave, concerns are growing over events, with one health expert saying closures of the country's beloved Christmas markets can't be ruled out.

Revellers enjoy mulled wine at the 'Santa Pauli' Christmas market in Hamburg on November 15th.
Revellers enjoy mulled wine at the 'Santa Pauli' Christmas market in Hamburg on November 15th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcus Brandt

Martina Wenker, president of the Lower Saxony Medical Association, said she believed Christmas markets may have to be cancelled if the Covid-19 situation gets worse in Germany. 

“Depending on the regional incidence situation, closures should not be ruled out in extreme cases,” Wenker told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

“We can’t stand by and celebrate while next door in the hospitals, planned operations have to be postponed frequently, corona patients are dying, and staff in practices and clinics are at their limits.”

Wenker said regional leaders allowed the opening of Christmas markets on the basis that the Covid situation was moderate.

“But if we reach higher levels of escalation, we will have to consider whether Christmas markets are still justifiable,” she said.

Germany on Tuesday reported 32,048 Covid infections within 24 hours and 265 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence increased to 312.4 Covid cases per 100,000 residents. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s Covid incidence tops 300 for first time

‘Maximum safety’

Bavarian state premier Markus Söder said on Monday that he wanted to ensure there was “maximum safety” around Christmas markets.

He said it will be among the topics discussed at the Covid crisis talks between the federal government and state leaders this Thursday. 

In general, Söder said mask requirements should remain at Christmas markets as well as distance rules and other protection measures. 

In an interview with broadcaster Bayern3, Söder explained that so far there is no legal framework for Bavaria to cancel Christmas markets. “At the moment, we cannot legally order it,” he said.

Some Christmas markets, which have recently opened to the public, are already enforcing strict rules such as excluding the unvaccinated from entry, or not serving alcohol to people unless they can show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid. 



Christmas market – (der) Weihnachtsmarkt

Celebrate – feiern

Planned operations/procedures – geplante Eingriffe 

Postponed – verschoben

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