There’s no better way to soak up Germany’s festive holiday atmosphere than by visiting one of the country’s many Christmas markets. Here’s how to get into the spirit, from sipping hot Gluhwein (German mulled wine) to browsing handmade trinkets beneath a canopy of twinkling lights.
Where to Go
You’ll be spoiled for choice when it’s time to decide where to spend Christmas in Germany. Berlin
comes alive over the festive season, hosting well over a dozen markets that you can easily visit on a city walking tour.
Another great place to spend the holidays is Munich
, where a walking tour of the city’s 20-odd holiday markets leads to the central Medieval Christmas Market and the Christmas Village held in the royal palace courtyard.
Other popular German Christmas markets include Nuremberg
's famous Christkindlesmarkt
; the traditional markets of Hamburg
; and Cologne
's markets—one of which takes place in front of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage–listed cathedral.
You can combine the best of central Germany’s markets on a four-day tour that stops at the Leipzig
’s famous Striezelmarkt
(Germany’s oldest Christmas market), and some of the country’s traditional toy-making villages.
Things to Know
Christmastime in Germany is magical enough to charm even the most dedicated Grinch. Fairytale lights cover the pedestrian walkways, fresh evergreen gives everything an enchanting scent, and there’s something delicious to eat on every street corner.
Traditional Christmas markets run from the last week of November until Christmas Eve (or a couple of days before).
The markets are held outdoors, in all weather, so be sure to dress warmly for rain and for snow. Don’t worry, the spiced wine will keep you warm.