German Christmas Markets

Discover magic places in Germany

Get into Christmas mood - discover the magic of the best German Christmas markets. Whether you visit the big ones, or tiny markets, which are held in nearly every town, you will enjoy them all.
Christmas markets in Germany are unique. Historical town squares form a romantic backdrop to many markets. Streets, pedestrian malls, public buildings and shops are decorated with lights and Christmas trees and add to the beauty of the scenery.

Photo of a Christmas pyramid, a merry-go-round and food stalls at a Christmas market in Hanau GermanyWeihnachtsmarkt in Hanau, Hessen

Christmas markets are known as Weihnachtsmarkt, Christkindlesmarkt, Christkindchesmarkt and Christkindlmarkt. They usually open on the Friday before the first Advent and close one or two days before Christmas Eve.

The oldest markets date back to the 14th and 15th century. The original purpose of these early markets was to stock up for the long winters, and to add a bit of light to the dark months. The first markets were certainly not as enchanting as they are these days. During the centuries Christkindlmarkets became a source to buy Christmas presents for children, and an opportunity for local craftsmen and artists to sell their work.

What can you expect from German Christmas Markets?

Romantic scenery, an easy-going atmosphere, German Christmas traditions and the smell of mouth-watering treats are the main attractions of a Weihnachtsmarkt in Germany.

Photo of an arts and crafts stall at a Christmas market with pots, gold stars, candles, nut cracker and other gifts and decorationsA typical arts and crafts stall with a wide variety of gifts

If you don't like the pace of modern, commercialised Weihnachten, a visit to German Christmas markets is just right for you. There is no hectic, everything happens in a lower gear.

Come along and enjoy, join a tour, or discover the magic of Christmas in Germany on your own. You will find ...

  • ... Soothing traditional Christmas carols, often performed by local orchestras and musicians
  • ... Colourful decorations, nutcrackers, crib figurines and cribs, marionettes, candle arches from the Erzgebirge and toys
  • ... Mulled wine (Glühwein), hot cider (Äpplewoi) and other hot drinks to keep you warm
  • ... Home-made chocolates, candy floss, candied almonds, roasted chestnuts, Stollen, delicious cookies, gingerbread and of course all variations of Bratwurst and hearty food
  • ... Unique stalls with crafts from local artists

Although it seems that all Christkindlesmarkets offer the same range of goods to buy, there are many local variations. Additional cultural programs, local arts & crafts markets, the scenery and surrounding architecture make each German Christmas market unique.
Look around and find some unique gifts for your loved ones.

One thing is for sure, you'll never leave a Weihnachtsmarkt hungry. I don't envy you the hard decision which market to visit! :)

Famous German Christmas Markets

There are hundreds of markets and fairs in Germany, larger cities even have more than one! They are sure the sign that the festive has begun.
Now where to start? Do you already have a plan, and do you know which markets you want to see?

Below I am going to list a few of the most famous Christkindlmarkets, some in truly scenic towns.
However, when you decide to visit Germany for her Christmas markets, you should also pay attention to markets in tiny villages. They are also worth a visit. Just ask at your destination for unique markets in their surroundings.
Weihnachtsmärkte in small villages are often held only on one weekend during the Advent season.

Augsburg (Bavaria)

The Augsburg Christkindlesmarkt is held in front of the Renaissance town hall on the Rathausplatz (town hall square). It is one of the oldest markets dating back to the 15th century. Well-known and most unique is the "Angel's Play" performed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 6:00 pm. The 24 angels turn the town hall into a giant Advents calendar.

Bamberg (Bavaria)

The World Heritage City has the most romantic backdrop for the festive season. The Bamberg Christmas market is held on Maxplatz in the heart of the Old Town. At the end of the square is a large nativity scene showing different scenes during Advent.
Additionally to the main market, smaller fairs are held only on one weekend throughout the historical city.

Bamberg is famous for its nativity trail. Discover more than 400 nativity scenes which are spread across 40 stations in Bamberg's old city, churches, museums, public buildings and the cathedral. The nativity scenes tell various biblical stories surrounding Advent. Click here to get general tips for visiting Bamberg.

Photo of a nativity scene taken on the Christmas market in the old town of FrankfurtThe nativity scene at the market in Frankfurt

I will always remember how much I enjoyed the crib as a child. A nativity scene truly belongs to festive season!

Cologne (North-Rhine Westphalia)

Seven Christmas different markets in Cologne attract millions of visitors to the city on the Rhine every year.

The market at the Cologne Cathedral is the biggest, and with the majestic cathedral as a background, it is one of the most impressive Christmas markets in Germany. Click here to read more.

Dresden (Saxony)

The Strietzelmarkt in Dresden dates back to 1434. The name Strietzel comes from the Dresdner Christstollen, that rich Christmas cake the city is also famous for. Although the Strietzelmarkt attracts many visitors, it is a very traditional market with a romantic and festive charm. Carved wooden items from the Erzgebirge and delicious local food is sold at the stalls. The world's largest Christmas pyramid (14 m high) stands at the heart of the market.

Frankfurt (Hessen)

The Weihnachtsmarkt in Frankfurt is one with many superlatives. Dating back to 1393 it is one of the oldest in Germany, with 200 stalls on the Römerberg and surrounding lanes it is one of the biggest, and it attracts more than 3 million visitors every year.
With a pretty scenery, a huge Christmas tree and yummy baked goods, it is one of the most beautiful German Christmas markets. Why else are "Frankfurter Weihnachtsmärkte" held in Great Britain as well?

Read more about this market in the old town of Frankfurt.

Hanau (Hessen)

Compared with the big ones, the Weihnachtsmarkt in Hanau has a relaxed and personal atmosphere.
Held on the market square, the wooden stalls offer arts and crafts, candles, toys, Christmas decorations, mulled wine and other hot drinks and delicious food.
The town hall is transformed into an huge advent calendar, every night a new window is lit and the Brothers Grimm watch the christmassy activities.

Oh, and every now and then we really have snow during Advent!

Jena (Thuringia)

The Weihnachtsmarkt in Jena offers an unique atmosphere in the heart of the historic old town. On the opening day a 4m long Stollen is cut.

Leipzig (Saxony)

The Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt features the world's largest free-standing advent calendar, a fairytale forest and a medieval market.

Nuremberg (Bavaria)

The famous Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is held on Hauptmarkt square in the old town. 180 wooden stalls, decorated with red and white cloths gave the market its name "Little town from Wood and Cloth." The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is opened by a real "angel".

Nürnberg is also home of the famous Nürnberger Lebkuchen. You'll find a Lebkuchen Schmidt shop to buy this delicious treat right on the Hauptmarkt.
If you don't have the chance to go to Nuremberg, you'll find a wide range of original Lebkuchen at The decorative chests they create each year are just beautiful.

Lebkuchen Schmidt shop front, this is the home of traditional German LebkuchenLebkuchen Schmidt - the producer of authentic German ginger bread

Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Bavaria)

The romantic medieval town is home to one of the prettiest Christmas markets in Germany. Rothenburg's Reiterlesmarkt is held between the town hall and St. Jacob's Church with a lovely backdrop of old houses. With snow, it is a winter wonderland.

How to get around in Germany to visit the Christmas Markets?

Once you arrived in Germany, it is easy to visit the markets, they are held in nearly every town and city.

When you are travelling on your own, using public transport is a good way to get around in Germany during winter.

You'll never know what the weather is like. For the romantic feeling you wish there will be snow, but snow could spoil the fun when you have to drive.

You can book a commercial tour who visit the markets from major cities like Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich and other European capitals.

Click here to check out tours.

Don't want to plan and organise the tour on your own? No problem! What about hiring a personal driver & guide (Click for more info)? This would be the most relaxed way to enjoy your Weihnachtsmarkt experience in Germany.

Photo of beautiful half-timber houses, Christmas lights and small food stalls at a Christmas market in GermanyWeihnachtsmarkt in Hochstadt, Hessen

The romantic market in Hochstadt is held every year on the 2nd Advent weekend

Enjoy the Christmas markets in Germany.

Now you sure are in festive mood?
Discover more about how we celebrate Weihnachten!