Ah, it is this time of the year! And even though I am 26 (what already??), I love the Christmas season! I love mulled wine, Christmas music, Christmas stories, lights, some Christmas movies, Christmas Cookies, etc. … You get the idea. But what I really love are Christmas markets. The smell of cinnamon, mulled wine, greasy food, and other Christmas treats combined with the lights, and the music is just magical for me. And maybe that is because I was born and raised in Nuremberg, the mother of all the Christmas markets out there. So, as I wanted to share some holiday cheer, after hanging out under palm trees and in the busy streets in Havana for the last couple of weeks, I think it is about time. So here are some insights to Christmas Markets in Germany and my personal favorites. If you would rather know more about the jolly season in Cuba, head over to this post.
Why you should visit a Christmas Market in Germany
The markets go way back. In fact, the first ones were held back in the middle ages, and they originate in Germany and in the German-speaking parts of Europe. They usually start Friday before the first Advent, meaning 4 weeks before Christmas Eve and they consist of many different stalls selling food, drinks, and arts and crafts. They usually also have a nativity scene in their center and a stage where local talents and kids from local schools perform Christmas Carols. The stalls are carefully designed, and every year the markets take great care of looking similar and that everything fits together. Every German city has at least a small market, but some have a long tradition and more famous than others. But also the small markets have their special something so why not include them when you are around for Christmas anyway. The markets close around December 24th so make sure to stop by before. Start with my favorites, you will love them.
The Christkindlsmarkt in Nuremberg
This city one of the best European Christmas destinations. With its medieval city center and one of the oldest Christmas markets with a long tradition. Although it is not 100% clear when it exactly started it turned into one of the biggest and most important Christmas markets in Germany.
There are many highlights you can combine with a visit like the Gingerbread café and manufacturer, right by the market. There are even Christmas tree decorating courses and other fun activities for visitors. You can, for example, take a carriage ride or ride the antique carousel at the children’s market.
Make sure to have some of the
trademarked mulled wine, and try the local sausages at the Bratwursthäusle. It is one of the most traditional places to have the regional treat “Drei im Weckla.” and the sausages in the bun are rather cheap at this place. You can find it just by the main square and very close to the Christmas market.
Nuremberg turns into a Christmas wonderland every year around the holidays. If you look for some extra Christmas feeling, be there for the opening ceremony and enjoy the kick off by the real-life Christkind (a local golden angel). The market combines three markets: the main one, the children’s market and the sister city market, where you can find treats from all over the world.
The Strietzelmarkt in Dresden
The Christmas Market in Dresden has a really long tradition as well and is one of the prettiest in my opinion. It dates back into the 15th century, and the name comes from the famous Christstollen. A typical cake filled with raisins and powdered with sugar. You can still try a piece of this traditional cake while wandering around the market stalls. As the market is held in the old town of Dresden, you will be surrounded by architecture gems covered in lights. The market is also home to the biggest wooden Christmas Pyramid.
The Christmas Market in Erfurt
Also located in the eastern part of the country is Erfurt, a cute town, with one of my favorite Christmas Markets in Germany. It lies just under the cathedral and is surrounded by beautiful buildings. The stalls are little huts painted in the same color, and there is a lot for kids to discover. Every year they lift up a 25m high Christmas tree and decorate it with lights. While you are there, you should try one of the typical sausages and take a ride on the Ferris wheel. Those you just find on Christmas markets in the eastern part of Germany, by the way. The whole city is an excellent destination for Christmas holidays.
A Christmas Wonderland in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
But if you are really serious about spending some Christmas days on a Christmas market in Germany, you should definitely visit the Bavarian town Rothenburg. Not only is Rothenburg home to the famous brand Käthe Wohlfahrt, but that is also famous for their Christmas decorations, and the Christmas museum. It is also home to many small and pretty Christmas markets. And even though it hurts me a little as a fellow Nuremberg native, I would give the town the title: “Christmas city.” The entire town turns into a Christmas village and makes you feel the spirit in the charming streets and their decorations. Make sure to try the typical Schneeball. It is a cookie ball covered in chocolate or sugar.
Of course, there are other markets worth a visit. Some people like the one in Munich or Stuttgart a lot. The best way is to explore and find your personal favorite. Whichever it will be I wish you a very happy last week until Christmas and a happy new year! Where will you spend it?