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10 unmissable events around Germany in December 2023

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Sarah Karacs - [email protected]
10 unmissable events around Germany in December 2023
The annual Christmas tree stands in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP)

Here is a list of 10 great ways to ward off the winter blues, and celebrate Germany's festive season in style this December:

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The 'most wonderful' time of year is swinging round again, and with it the promise of endless cups of Glühwein, slices upon slices of Stollen, and all the other Christmasy treats that the Germans have in their impressive festive armory.

Cologne Christmas Circus: December 1st to 31st

Returning for its eighth year, the world class Cologne Christmas Circus puts on a dazzling and comical show of acrobatics and ballet that’s fun for the whole family. 

Dresden Stollen Festival: December 9th 

This one's for the lovers of the ubiquitous icing or marzipan-covered German Christmas fruit bread, the Stollen.

The stalwart German Yuletide treat that can be traced back to the Middle Ages and most often covered in marzipan or icing and seasoned with spices. Saxony's capital, and birthplace of the fruit bread, has dedicated a whole day to its celebration. While you're there, you can check out the city's Christmas Market, which boasts a long history much like the Stollen.

Nürnberg Christmas Market: December 1st to 24th 

Boasting almost 3,000 markets across the country, you'd be hard pressed to miss out on this pervasive German experience wherever you are.

But where best to go if you're new to it all, or have overseas friends to impress, and want to truly soak up the Christmas spirit? Bavaria's world famous Christmas Market in Nüremberg draws in crowds year after year thanks to its long history and traditional charms. Dating as far back as 1628, the fair prides itself in its authenticity and regional flavour.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market: December 1st to 24th 

But if it's a case of been there, grabbed that sparkly Yuletide ornament, then there's plenty of other winter wonderland-style markets in Bavaria and beyond. One especially enchanting offering allows you to travel back to Medieval Times.

That's the Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market, located in a fairytale-like town of cobbles stones and half-timber houses.

That said, you don't have to travel all the way to Bavaria to relish the authentic Christmas market experience. Local offerings for Berliners, for example, include the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market, the Gedächtniskirche Christmas Market, and the Spandauer Christmas Market.

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Krampuslauf in Munich: December 10th  

While Germans across the country celebrate the feast of St Nicholas on December 6th, the evil Krampus figure has a day of his own in many towns and cities in Germany. 

On Krampuslauf - or Krampus run - revellers dress up in elaborate, ghoulish costumes and parade through the streets, a captivating spectacle.

The most famous of these takes place in the Munich Christmas Market in Marienplatz. 

An evening of Baroque at Schloss Charlottenburg: December 10th and 17th

Advent concert options abound through December. But if you are partial to the harpsichord and would like to experience it in a regal setting, then this special Baroque evening could be up your street.

Led by Alexandra Rossmann, The Berlin Residenz Ensemble will perform an assortment of charming pieces, including Bach's Keyboard Concerto in A Major BWV 1055 and arias from Handel's Messiah HWV 56.

The Marriage of Figaro in Munich: December 27th to January 4th

Opera lovers in Munich will be delighted to learn that the famous Rococo theatre, The Cuvilliés-Theatre, will play host to a resplendent performance of Mozart's playful and iconic opera.

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Swan Lake in Dresden: December 28th

Ballet enthusiasts watch out: The enchanting Tchaikovsky tale of forbidden love will be performed at Dresden's Kulturpalast by the Prague Festival Ballet. Slightly haunting fun for the whole family.

New Year's Eve at the Brandenburg Gate

Ringing in the New Year in Berlin can be a boisterous occasion.

If you enjoy fireworks, crowds, food trucks, and thumping beats, then you shouldn't miss out on one of the most popular New Year's parties around, at Pariser Platz.

New Year's Eve with the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra

A more sedate way to celebrate new beginnings could be basking in sounds of Hamburg's Philharmonic State Orchestra. Enjoy the music of Mozart, Elgar, Puccini, and much more, in one of Europe's most highly regarded concert halls.

 

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