Travel Bureau - Blog: Top 5 Christmas Market Destinations in Germany

Christmas Markets - five of Germany's best!

Wednesday 19 September 2018

The original festive street markets of Germany have formed the blueprint for every Christmas market that’s popped up in recent years from London to Paris and beyond. It stands to reason, then, that the home of the Christmas market is the best place to go for a seasonal shopping getaway. Almost every city, town and village in Germany has its own Christmas market but with so many options, how do you choose which to go for? We’ve put together a handy guide to five of the best German Christmas market destinations to help you decide.

BERLIN - When: November 21 to December 31

Berlin Gendarmenmarkt at Christmas

Berlin alone plays host to some 60 Christmas markets every year meaning the German capital has something for everything. The Gendarmenmarkt, surrounded by the architectural splendour of Berlin’s famous Concert House, the French church and German church, welcomes close on 60,000 visitors every year. It’s not just the market’s fantastic setting that draws in the crowds; visitors come to see entertainment from jugglers, acrobats and fire artists as well as more traditional choirs and dance troupes. Gendarmenmarkt isn’t the only one in Berlin with a beautiful backdrop; take a stroll through Charlottenburg Park to find the market located beneath the beautiful palace or head to the city’s main market by the spectacular Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. For something a bit different, check out the Lucia Market: located in a brewery in the trendy eastern district of Berlin, this contemporary market with a Scandi vibe is named after the Nordic goddess of light. If it’s classic Christmas tradition you’re after, venture to the outlying district of Spandau for Berlin’s largest and most traditional market. Finally, if there’s romance on the cards, take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the city's old centre from the Staatsoper & Opernpalais Market.  

COLOGNE - When: November 21 to December 23

Cologne's Am Dom Christmas Market

When it comes to spectacular settings, they don’t come much more magnificent than the famous Gothic façade of Cologne Cathedral. The Am Dom Market in the square in front of the dramatic cathedral is famous for its enormous Christmas tree, reputedly the largest anywhere in the Rhine. What’s more, over 100 stage performances take place here during the course of the Christmas Festival, so you can browse the 160 assorted stalls and sip your glüwhein to the accompaniment of traditional live music. Cologne is also a great choice if you’re travelling with children. At the Alter Market you’ll find stands overflowing with toys, a puppet theatre and you can even visit Santa’s grotto. The fairy tale-themed Rudolfplatz will transport you to the world of the Brothers Grimm with imaginative illuminations. Make sure to look out for ‘Heinzelmännchen’, the legendary gnomes of Cologne!

DRESDEN - When: November 24 to December 24

Dresden at Christmas

Kids will also love the fairy tale house and puppet theatre at Dresden’s Striezelmarkt, not to mention the giant Christmas Pyramid and the world’s largest Nutcracker who overlooks proceedings! Originally founded as a one-day market in 1434, this is the oldest Christmas market in Germany. Dresden Striezelmarkt is also known for its incredible Stollen Festival. Stollen, a cake enriched with dried fruit and marzipan, is a staple of any German Christmas and on the second Sunday of Advent a giant version of this festive bake is paraded around the streets of Dresden. Even if you miss the procession you can still buy stollen from the market to enjoy as you watch local artisans practice their crafts, with everything from wood carving to glass blowing on display. Don’t forget to try the ‘Pflaumentoffel’, a traditional Dresden sweet made from dried prunes in the shape of a chimney-sweep. There are a number of other, smaller markets that are worth checking out around the city, especially the stalls located in the stable yards of Dresden’s beautiful castle, the Residenzschloss.

STUTTGART - When: November 23 to December 23

Esslingen Christmas Market near Stuttgart, Germany

The Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt in, you guessed it, Stuttgart is another of Germany’s oldest and most traditional markets. Held in and around the stunning Old Palace, with stalls gathered before the building’s colonnaded façade and continuing into the Renaissance inner courtyard, this is one of Europe’s most beautiful markets. With nearly 300 stalls setting up across no less than five cobbled courtyards in downtown Stuttgart, this vast market holds any number of festive delights and an aroma of sweet Christmas spices fills the air. For families there’s a miniature steam railway and Grimm’s fairy tale figures as well as an outdoor skating rink. Don’t leave without trying some ‘Maultaschen’, a regional ravioli-esque specialty made from pasta dough with a savoury filling. Extend your stay to explore the nearby markets of Ludwigsburg and Esslingen. The medieval market of Esslingen plays host to acrobats, stilt-walkers, fire-eaters and more, while Ludwigsburg’s Baroque market, with its romantic palace backdrop, provides a charming, historic atmosphere.  

NUREMBERG - When: November 25 to December 24

Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany

Another of Germany’s oldest markets, dating back to 1628, Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt is set in the central square (Hauptmarkt) of this picturesque medieval city. With the mouintains of the Allps framing the city to the south and the imposing Imperial Castle perched atop Old Town Hill, Nuremberg is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year but at Christmas it really is magical. As well as being one of the oldest, the Christkindlesmarkt is also the most traditional market in Germany. Modern and mass-produced goods are strictly verboten, meaning that the market’s 180 candy-striped stalls are packed with authentic, hand-crafted gifts only. Foodies will love Nuremberg’s market, where you can try local delicacies including incredibly festive Nuremberg gingerbread and traditional spicy grilled sausages.

TOP TIP: River cruising is a great way to see more of Germany and the rest of Europe’s beautiful Christmas markets in one relaxing trip. Take a look at this fantastic festive cruise with a special guest appearance from Mary Berry.

Read about some of the other wonderful markets of Europe on our blog or check out our latest Christmas Market offers. Talk to one of our personal travel experts to start planning your perfect festive getaway today – give us a call on 0191 285 9321, send an email to holiday@travelb.co.uk or visit our store on Gosforth High Street.

Sign up to our instore events and holiday inspiration mailing list!

Foreign currency now from Travel Bureau

Planning a holiday, honeymoon or trip abroad? Speak to our team about currency today.

Find out more

Latest Event

More exciting events coming in 2018

Latest News

First Class’ new 2019/20 brochures for Australia and New Zealand have just hit the shelves at Travel Bureau and they’re full of amazing itineraries to help you explore these two diverse and beautiful island nations. As well...
At Travel Bureau we're all about personal service, we love getting to know what your passions are so that we can create a holiday experience that's perfect for you. Of course, it doesn't stop there, we love hearing all about...
Former Etihad Airways’ Lounge in London Heathrow will be rebranded as ‘The House’, as part of a new contemporary airport lounge brand launched by the airline in partnership with No1 Lounges. The project will debut at London...
Earlier this week Silversea Cruises announced agreements to build three news ships.  Two new ultra-luxury vessels will join the fleet in 2022 in a new "Evolution Class" and a new expedition ship, Silver Origin, due for...
LAST CHANCE - Fred Olsen & Emerald Waterways early booking offers end Wednesday 31 October Sail with Fred Olsen straight out of Newcastle's Port of Tyne and enjoy a FREE all-inclusive drinks upgrade on selected 2019...

Travel Tweets

In our @Silversea Hand-Picked Collection we have a trio of incredible offers with amazing savings and added benefit… https://t.co/PdL2hL3SVC 9 hours 4 min ago
Brand-new #Australia and #NewZealand brochures from our fantastic travel partner @firstclass_hols are in store now… https://t.co/1dYxmK6Uhg 1 day 10 hours ago
Travel Bureau expert Garry recently visited #Switzerland for a relaxing railroad adventure, exploring the spectacul… https://t.co/Q8WbR2MXnm 2 days 11 hours ago
RT @lonelyplanet: Explore Paris' under-the-radar alternatives to its most famous sites: https://t.co/HACikziKrk https://t.co/aSrsA5pDje 3 days 17 hours ago
Save up to a HUGE £1,780 per couple on this amazing twin centre #Bali holiday. 10 nights in stunning luxury hotel… https://t.co/0UcGSY42Nw 4 days 13 hours ago
RT @CNTraveler: These are the top 10 best places to spend New Year's Eve https://t.co/p2RJW5iX22 https://t.co/YPHMNzvsd3 4 days 19 hours ago
RT @lonelyplanetUK: How to choose a Caribbean island (The ultimate conundrum? Probably not - but a nice one to have!) https://t.co/9YBPL0Rm 4 days 19 hours ago
RT @NatGeoTravel: Despite its small size, Switzerland boasts more than its fair share of dramatic scenery https://t.co/nauM7gHn0R 4 days 19 hours ago
RT @VisitSA_UK: For close encounters of the elephant kind, book a stay at Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa immediately - Located within Welgev… 5 days 19 hours ago
RT @WTGF_Games: Not long now until registration opens for the NewcastleGateshead Games. #PoweredbytheGiftofLife https://t.co/m8hOnFpYCf 5 days 19 hours ago