Best Christmas Markets in Germany for a Fairy-tale Christmas

Dreaming of a fairy-tale Christmas with a mug of mulled wine and gingerbread cookies? Then you should visit a Christmas market in Germany! Germany is famous for its traditional Christmas atmosphere without being over the top or too commercial. If you want a Disney-like Christmas, than Germany is not for you, but if you long for the scent of Christmas spices, twinkling Christmas lights and some traditional entertainment, then Germany is right place.

I’ve asked some other travel bloggers which is their favorite Christmas market in Germany and this is how I came with this list of the best Christmas markets in Germany – all tried and tested for you with lots of practical tips.

Get into the Christmas spirit with a visit to a Christmas market in Germany! Find out here which are Germany's best Christmas markets!Click To Tweet

Wherever you will be in Germany this winter season or in the surrounding countries, there will be a Christmas market near you. Find the best Christmas Markets in Germany here.

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Christmas markets in Germany - Monschau Christmas market - market square with Christmas stalls and people walking around

Monschau Christmas Market

recommended by Daniela, the author of this blog

Practical info:
Dates: 2021 dates not yet announced; 23 November – 23 December 2020
Opening times: Not yet confirmed for 2021. (2019 – Fri-Sat: 11 am – 9 pm, Sun: 11 am – 8 pm, closed: Mon-Thu, 26 November)
Stay: Check out for hotels in Monschau

If you are looking for both a romantic getaway and a fairy-tale Christmas market, then you should head to Monschau. Monschau is a small town spread along a few bends of the Rur River in the picturesque Eifel Region.

The Christmas market in Monschau is a traditional one – with festively decorated Christmas stalls selling handcrafted Christmas decorations, local traditional Christmas treats and of course the almighty mulled wine. Because what’s a Christmas without the scent of this spiced hot beverage? Besides the mulled wine, which is sold all over Germany, what you have to try in Monschau are the printen – a typical Christmas treat from the Aachen region that is a kind of hard gingerbread cookies.

As Monschau is really tiny, you can combine visiting the market with some sightseeing. Just walk around to get this romantic vibe created by the lovely half-timbered houses, the meandering river and the many small bridges. Get to Der Haller, a 13th-century watchtower, for some of the most amazing views over the town.

Monschau is an easy day trip even if you are staying in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg or Northern France. I’ve visited the place twice from the Netherlands. It tends to be a bit busy in the weekends, as the Christmas market attracts lots of locals and tourists. If you are going by car, which you probably will, the best is to arrive earlier in the day or to park in the nearby Höfen. Parking is quite limited in Monschau. However both times we went there, we parked in the town itself, but the first time was a bit of a nightmare.

an aerial view of a city square with a very tall clock tower all lit up and some Christmas stalls with lights at the Christmas Market in Munic, Germany

Munich Christmas Market

recommended by Valerie from Valerie’s Adventure Time

Practical info:
Marienplatz Christmast Market
Dates: 22 November – 24 December 2021
Opening times: Mon-Sat 10 am – 9 pm, Sun 10 am – 8 pm, 24 December 10 am – 2 pm
Tollwood Winter Festival
Dates: 24 November – 23 December 2021 (Market till 23 December)
Stay: Check out for hotels in Munich

Munich is absolutely magical in the time before Christmas. The whole city is transforming and everything shines and sparkles. You simply can’t help but get into the Christmas spirit. There are several different Christmas Markets to explore all over the city. The biggest and most famous one is at Marienplatz (St. Mary’s Square) right in the city centre. With the huge Christmas tree in front of Munich’s town hall, this Christmas Market is hard to miss. After enjoying some roasted almonds and admiring all the beautiful lights, you should take a stroll down Neuhauser Strasse to Karlsplatz. Every winter the big fountain that is decorating Karlsplatz in summer, is replaced by an ice-skating rink with food stalls and a balcony from which you have great views. Definitely stop by here while you are in Munich, even if you are not into ice-skating. Have a Glühwein (mulled wine) and enjoy watching the fun below.

If you are looking for a more unique Christmas Market experience, you should head to the Tollwood Winter Festival. It is located at Theresienwiese close to Munich’s central station where in September the biggest beer festival in the world takes place: Oktoberfest. Tollwood Winter Festival is an alternative Christmas Market that is all about raising awareness for the environment and social equality. It consists of over 200 stalls where you can buy handcrafted Christmas presents and souvenirs and enjoy a variety of organic food from all over the world. Apart from being a Christmas Market, Tollwood Winter Festival is also known for its many shows. They range from music, theatre to environmental activities and most of them are free.

About the author: Valerie left her hometown Munich in June 2015. Since then she’s been travelling the world. She writes about budget travel and life as a digital nomad. With her blog, she hopes to inspire others to go after their dreams and start their own adventure. You can follow Valerie on Facebook.

a street with colorful houses decorated festively for Christmas during the Christmas Market in Freiburg, Germany

Freiburg Christmas Market

recommended by Chrysoula from Historic European Castles

Practical info:
Dates: 18 November – 23 December 2021
Opening times: Mon-Sat: 10 am – 8:30 pm, Sun: 11 am – 7:30 pm, closed on 22/11; 23/12: 10 am – 7:30 pm
Stay: Check out for hotels in Freiburg

Germany is home to some of the world’s best Christmas markets and Freiburg’s month-long festive market will not disappoint! Running from the end of November to the 23rd December, Freiburg’s Christmas market is a hive of activity throughout the month with shoppers, sellers and sausage eaters alike coming to the market to enjoy culture, cuisine and crafts.

Freiburg’s Christmas Market is located in and around the narrow streets of Freiburg’s historic Old Town with a large Christmas tree at the centre, giving it a magical atmosphere for visitors to enjoy. Wander around the squares of Rathausplatz and Unterlindenplatz and along Kartoffelmarkt and Franziskanerstrasse to explore the stalls and sights of the Freiburg Christmas Market.

As with any Christmas market, Freiburg’s festivities include lights, music, market stalls selling handicrafts and gifts, and refreshment stands serving up warming mulled wine and snacks. The market has a traditional, German vibe with rustic wooden stalls and hopefully a dappling of snow during these dark winter months.

Visitors can try their hand at glass blowing or candle making at the Christmas market, a lovely idea for a handmade gift for friends and family.

Freiburg’s Christmas market has loads of different goods to try and buy, including handicrafts like ceramics, wooden toys, jewellery, candles and Christmas decorations. The food stalls feature grilled German sausages served with sumptuous fried onions, tasty gingerbread biscuits, hot roasted chestnuts and, of course glühwein (mulled wine), a delicious concoction of red wine, orange and spices!

About the author: Chrysoula is the author of the travel blog that’s all about castles – Historic European Castles. She loves travelling and reading crime novels and adores England. You can follow Chrysoula on Facebook.

a colorful city with a square and a some Christmas stalls and people walking around or standing at the stalls at the Christmas market in Rothenburg, Germany

Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market

recommended by Carolyn from Holidays to Europe

Practical info:
Dates: 26 November – 23 December 2021
Opening times: Mon-Thu: 11 am – 7 pm, Fri-Sun: 11 am – 8 pm
Stay: Check out for hotels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Set amidst a fairy-tale scene of brightly painted Medieval houses, fortified walls and watchtowers, it’s not surprising that Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s Christmas Market is one of the most famous Christmas markets in Germany.

Known as the Reiterlesmarkt, the Christmas market has been held for more than 500 years and still retains the traditions of by-gone years today.

Every year from late November to just before Christmas, wooden huts appear around the Town Hall, selling everything from food and drink to handmade goods and Christmas ornaments.  A huge Christmas tree is installed, fairy lights are strung up, brass bands play and Santa Claus makes a daily appearance to check that all children are behaving.

Another regular visitor is the Rothenburger Reiterle (horseman), whose name the market takes. Once believed to be a spirit who carried the soul of the dead across the skies, his arrival each day on horseback is now eagerly awaited. The Reiterle even has the honour of officially open the Christmas Market each year.

No visit to the Rothenburg Christmas market is complete without enjoying a bag of roasted chestnuts or a mug of mulled wine (gluhwein). You can even buy a souvenir Reiterlesmarkt mug to take home as a memento of your visit.

About the author: Carolyn Schonafinger is the founder and editor of Holidays to Europe.  Carolyn travels to Europe annually and particularly loves visiting Switzerland, Germany and  Austria. With over a dozen European vacations to her name, Carolyn loves sharing her travel tips and destination ideas with her readers. You can follow Carolyn on Facebook.

a few Christmas stall with lots of white teddy bears and other Christmas gifts and toys at he Christmas Market in Stuttgart, Germany

Stuttgart Christmas Market

recommended by Casey from ViraFlare

Practical info:
Dates: 24 November – 30 December 2021
Opening times: Mon-Thu: 10 am – 9 pm, Fri-Sat: 10 am – 10 pm, Sun: 11 am – 9 pm
Stay: Check out for hotels in Stuttgart

Stuttgart is usually not at the top of the list when people are planning a trip to Germany. I can’t imagine why, since the city itself has so much to offer. On the list of what Stuttgart has to offer, one of my favorites is the annual Christmas Market.

Set in the city center and stretching through multiple streets, the month-long Christmas Market is full of glistening lights and delicious glühwein, which is a must try! This isn’t a new market either, the Stuttgart Christmas Market was officially mentioned in writing in 1692 but has a history that may go back further. So not only you do get the pleasure of experiencing an immaculate Christmas Market, but also being a part of a three-century old tradition of celebration and merry-making!

On top of all this tradition and gorgeously decorated Christmas stalls, the Stuttgart market sets up a small Finnish village selling native goods and foods. It’s definitely a treat you won’t find at other places and if you’re looking for a Christmas Market with a wow factor, then I highly recommend Stuttgart!

About the author: Casey LaClair is a 27-year-old travel enthusiast. Having a career in Satellite Communications and pursuing a degree in Computer Science, most of his time is spent hunkered over a keyboard. This love of technology and travel led him to create ViraFlare to spread his joy of travel and help others find their way on the road.

purple and gold Christmas decorations

Konstanz Christmas Market

recommended by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan

Practical info:
Dates: 25 November – 22 December 2021
Opening times: Sun-Thu: 11 am – 10 pm, Fri-Sat: 11 am – 9:30 pm
Stay: Check out for hotels in Konstanz

The Christmas market in Konstanz, Germany, is officially named the “Weihnachtsmarkt am See”. In German, this means “Christmas market on the lake”. And indeed, the 170 or so market stalls are set up all around Lake Constance, and even on the lake itself!

This is made possible by the “Christmas Ship” docked in the harbor. You’ll find more stalls on the ship, selling artisanal crafts and local specialty foods along with more international flavors. There’s even an ice bar on board with a 360° panoramic view!

Käsespätzle is a popular local dish sold at many of the stalls. This southern German specialty is a type of fresh pasta eaten with cheese. Vegan options should also be pretty easy to find at the market, especially at the Moroccan and Indian stalls. And be sure to warm up with a steaming mug of gluhwein (mulled wine).

Weihnachtsmarkt am See is open every day of the week, from late November until just before Christmas. If you’re heading to Konstanz from nearby Switzerland, check the SBB Swiss railway company website for special deals. They often sell train tickets discounted up to 50 percent for people visiting Christmas markets in the area, and the deal may even come with a free bottle of gluhwein!

About the author: Wendy Werneth is an intrepid traveler, vegan foodie and animal lover. She’s the creator of the award-winning website The Nomadic Vegan and the author of the book Veggie Planet. Having traveled to all 7 continents and 113 countries, Wendy uncovers hidden vegan treasures in the most unlikely places! You can follow Wendy on Instagram.

lots of Christmas stall and Christmas trees in front of a church and beautiful Christmas decorations and lots of lights at the Christmas market in Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg Christmas Market

recommended by Marta and Milosz from BackpackersWro

Practical info:
Dates: 26 November – 24 December 2021
Opening times: Mon-Sun: 10 am – 9 pm, 24 Dec: 10 am – 2 pm
Stay: Check out for hotels in Nuremberg

The Christmas market in Nuremberg (Nürnberg ) is called the Child Jesus Market (Christkindlesmarkt). Every year on Friday, before the first Sunday of Advent, Christmas Market is solemnly opened by the Nuremberg Christkind. If you are lucky enough you can meet the Christkind who visits the Christkindlesmarkt from Tuesday to Friday at 3 PM. The medieval atmosphere of this place enchants all tourists and locals. Walk between the stalls full of unique handicrafts, Christmas ornaments, and souvenirs with warmed mulled wine in hand. You can also join a stagecoach tour or watch the procession with lights, heading towards the Nuremberg Castle.

The special treat you must try once there are the original Nuremberg gingerbreads called Lebkuchen which are recognized in Europe as a protected geographical indication. They are baked in Nuremberg for more than 600 years and packed with a lot of spices, almonds, nuts, and almost no flour.  Buy them as a souvenir for your loved ones – they are sold in beautiful tins. Another must-try is the Nuremberg grilled sausages called “Drei im Weggla“, a popular street-food in Nuremberg prepared the traditional way on an open beech-wood fire. Don’t miss the Christmas Carol concerts held in the nearby churches. They will surely leave you with a warm festive glow.

About the author: Marta and Milosz, together with their little son, are discovering the world in an affordable and minimalistic manner. They have visited over 70 countries, and are hungry for more. You can follow them on Facebook.

a Santa in a sledge drawn by reindeer all with lights and a sign Hamburg Christmas Market

Hamburg Christmas Market

recommended by Mal from Raw Mal Roams

Practical info:
Dates: 2021 dates aren’t yet announced
Opening times: Mon-Wed: 4 pm – 11 pm, Thu: 4 pm – 0 am, Fri-Sat: 1 pm – 1 am, Sun: 1 pm – 11 pm
Stay: Check out for hotels in Hamburg

Hamburg is the perfect Christmas destination! It not only has a great, main Christmas market that is held in front of the beautiful City Hall in the heart of Hamburg, but it also has other smaller themed Christmas markets spread all around the city!

The variety of different German delicacies is excellent with good quality sausages served with fried onions and different varieties of donuts. All food is cooked fresh in front of you. My favourite were the fried, potato pancakes with sugar! And of course the mulled wine called Glühwine in German, that warms you up even in the harshest of winter evenings. They serve it in a cute, festive mug that you pay a deposit for and if you want, you can also keep it as a souvenir.

There are also a few smaller markets around the city worth exploring: Winterwald resembling a forest, Jungfersteig which is located on the promenade by the artificial lake and Santa Pauli Christmas market for adults in Hamburg’s red light district.

The best time to visit is the evening when all the lights are turned on. The activity that I really enjoyed was going on a huge wheel from where a beautiful city skyline can be enjoyed with all its grand church spires.

About the author: Mal is a vegan traveller. She’s been to 36 countries so far and has visited 4 out of 7 Wanders of the World. You can follow Mal on Instagram.

a city square with lots of Christmas stalls decorated with lights and people walking around at the Christmas market in Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg Christmas Market

recommended by Jonathan from Journeymaxx

Practical info:
Dates: 18 November – 22 December 2021
Opening times: Sun-Fri: 11 am – 9 pm, Sat: 11 am – 10 pm
Stay: Check out for hotels in Heidelberg

The historic university city of Heidelberg with the castle overlooking the old bridge below has been charming visitors all times of the year.

Come the middle of November, the first stalls offering gingerbread hearts and a selection of handcrafted ornaments start to appear. Soon after, the ice rink is in place opposite the town hall and carousels get going with rides for all ages. The compulsory festive soundtrack gets rolling. “Last Christmas” by Wham!, Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody”, Shaky’s “Merry Christmas Everyone”, the “Troika” from Prokofiev’s Lt. Kije Suite, all ready to get you feeling the winter wonderland.

Heidelberg itself is one of the most ideal Christmas market destinations if looking for a market in a medium sized city. As the location of one of Europe’s longest pedestrianized streets this makes a lot of the stands blend in seamlessly with the rest of the town. Starting with helpings of mulled wine and treats at Bismarckplatz, the layout of Heidelberg’s Hauptstrasse makes it very convenient for a pitstop whilst going about your day. Bratwursts, schnitzel burgers, beer, mulled wine, special gifts further on. All not too far away from each other or the main attractions. In fact, the action is not solely limited to the main street. More festive tents with treats are set up by the castle as well with the added bonus of those stunning Neckar views below.

An interesting place of note, in the spirit of that other classic Christmas song about wishing it could be Christmas everyday, is the presence of the Käthe Wohlfahrt store in the very centre of the main street. This part of a small chain of stores that sells Christmas gifts all year round. Just expect very long queues there at this time of year!

About the author: Jonathan is a UK based blogger with an advocacy for slow-paced travel and a specific focus on Europe and North America. You can follow Jonathan on Instagram.

a white cathedral with some Christmas stalls in front and Christmas decorations at the Christmas market in Passau, Germany

Passau Christmas Market

recommended by Mikkel from Sometimes Home

Practical info:
Dates: 24 November – 23 December 2021
Opening times: Mon-Thu: 10 am – 8 pm, Fri-Sat: 10 am – 9 pm, Sun: 11:30 am – 8 pm
Stay: Check out for hotels in Passau

Passau is a small town in Germany on the Austrian border. It’s often a port on Danube River Cruises (which is how I came to find myself there on a “Danube Waltz” river cruise) and it converges on three rivers total, including the Inn River and the Ilz River. While Munich is a huge city with hundreds of kiosks and stands for their Christmas Market(s), and Stuttgart is a big city too with perhaps over a hundred kiosks or so, Passau has much less (perhaps around 50). Yet its small scale gives it a certain charm you don’t get in big urban areas in Germany.

The main area for Christmas Markets in Passau is their town square in front of the St. Stephan’s Cathedral. There are vendors selling the well-known, large heart-shaped Christmas cookies, various keepsakes and ornaments, and of course, our favorite, bratwurst! If you arrive to Passau on a boat the best news is that the markets are just about a ten-minute walk from where the river cruises dock. Don’t forget to go inside the cathedral and town hall while you’re there! The Cathedral is breathtaking inside! Another great idea? Warm up with Glühwein – warm mulled wine.

About the author: Sometimes Home is a travel site by Mikkel and Dan, for couples who travel internationally and in the domestic United States a few times a year, on a mid-size to luxury budget. When they’re not on the east coast of the United States in Raleigh, North Carolina or New York City, they’re on the road exploring everything from huge cities to quaint villages. You can follow them on Instagram.

typical German Christmas cookies with red ribbons and other Christmas decorations at the Christmas market in Aachen, Germany

Aachen Christmas Market

recommended by Eric from Penguin and Pia

Practical info:
Dates: 19 November – 23 December 2021
Opening times: Mon-Thu: 11 am – 9 pm, 23 December: 11 am – 8 pm
Stay: Check out for hotels in Aachen

If you’re looking for a unique German Christmas market to check out, Aachen should definitely come to mind! Aachen is actually Germany’s most western city. While there are lots of things to check out in Aachen in the summer months, exploring Aachen in December means you get to enjoy sweet treats at the Christmas market.

Aachen – like many German cities – has a beautiful historic old town that transforms into a winter wonderland with something for everyone. Lights are strung up between buildings with colourful shops and stalls lining the cobblestone streets and alleyways.

Aachen’s Christmas market benefits from being situated in the shadow of the famous Aachen Cathedral and the Town Hall. Not every German market surrounds a Cathedral that was built around the year 800 AD!

The Aachen Christmas market has all the usual Christmas market staples such as Glühwein and sausages. You’ll find handmade wooden trinkets, as well as meats and cheeses to buy or sample. However, Aachen has a signature treat that is unique to the area: Printen!

Printen is a Christmas cookie – like gingerbread – similar to the regional cookies you’d find in other cities in Germany. With a soft centre and a variety of toppings – such as almond or chocolate – you can’t go a few steps without seeing Aachener Printen being sold. Printen makes a great Christmas gift – or you can choose to eat a whole package yourself with a mug of Glühwein!

About the author: Eric is a Canadian content creator based in the Netherlands. He’s lived abroad in cities like Edinburgh and is the Co-Creator of Penguin and Pia. You can follow Eric on YouTube.

Read more: Everything you need to know about the Christmas market in Aachen.

lots of Christmas stalls decorated with lights on a square and a Ferris Wheel with lights at the Christmas Market in Dresden. Germany

Dresden Christmas Market

recommended by Kaylie from Happiness Travels Here

Practical info:
Dates: 22 November – 24 December 2021
Opening times: Mon-Thu: 10 am – 9 pm, 24 December: 10 am – 2 pm
Stay: Check out for hotels in Dresden

Dresden in Germany is home to the longest running German Christmas Market. The Striezelmarkt has been running on the Old Town square for over 500 years.

The large market resembles a small village with wooden buildings constructed each year and adorned with rich seasonal decorations. Many of the rooftops have animated moving characters playing out Christmas scenes.

Glühwein, a hot spiced wine, is the drink of choice. For a Christmas treat the specialty of the region is stollen and sweet buttery fruit loaf glazed with a layer of butter and icing sugar. The Christmas market is opened in November with a parade. Marching bands and horse and carts pass through the streets carting a giant stollen to the official opening ceremony.

The mountain villages around Dresden are known for producing some of the best wooden decorations. The smoking man decoration is a popular decoration from the region. The carved figurine available in a variety of occupations (including Santa) has a hollow belly where an incense cone burns send smoke out the figure’s mouth to look like it is puffing a pipe.

The market has a cinema where kids can watch a Christmas movie and a bakery where you can bake and decorate your own Christmas cookies. There are plenty of rides for the young and young-at-heart as well as a large ferris wheel that gives a fantastic view over the market and surrounding old town.

About the author: Kaylie is a family travel blogger from New Zealand, she spent 4 years living in Germany with her husband and 2 children before moving to the USA where they continue to blog about their travels. Kaylie also works as a health and wellness coach understanding the unique needs of those living and working abroad. You can follow Kaylie on Instagram.

Get ready for a fairy-tale Christmas! Pin this for later

a glass ball as Christmas decoration with a painted village on and an overlay text; the Bets Christmas markets in Germany

About Daniela

Daniela is the creator and writer of this travel blog. A writer by nature and occupation and traveller by heart, Daniela will take you to all forgotten corners of Europe and even beyond. She travels with her partner, but his only role is to be the greatest fan of this blog. To learn more, check out the About section.

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