Nowhere else in the world throws a Christmas market like the Germans, and we know you’re going to love the tradition, the history, the festivity, and the food that awaits you across Germany during the holiday season!
The best German Christmas markets are centuries old, with the oldest tracing their origins back as far as the 1400s. Needless to say, the Germans take their responsibilities seriously when it comes to their age-old Christmas market traditions.
You’ll find public squares decked out with Christmas trees, festive lights, and decorations, wooden stalls selling Christmas gifts, sizzling bratwursts, sweet gingerbread, and mulled wine, while the sounds of carols, choirs, hymns, and brass bands fill the chilly air with Christmas cheer!
With so many great Christmas markets to explore in Germany, you might not know where to begin. That’s why we’ve compiled our list of the best Christmas markets in Germany for you. From Nuremberg and Dresden to Munich and Berlin, visit these fantastic German Christmas markets, and there’s no doubt you’ll experience a super festive holiday season!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).
15 Fun and Festive Christmas Markets in Germany
1. Dresden Striezelmarkt
Christmas markets are an age-old tradition in Germany, and while many of the best trace their origins back centuries, none can claim to be as old as the Dresden Striezelmarkt. This is Germany’s oldest recorded Christmas market, and the history buffs out there will love how it was first founded back in 1434!
That’s a long time to be hosting a Christmas market, so you can expect big things from the Dresden Striezelmarkt. Way back in the 15th century, it started as a humble, single-day market that provided the citizens of Dresden with a place to buy meat and cakes at the end of Advent, a time when Germans would traditionally fast.
The name “Striezelmarkt” comes from the name of a tasty German cake known as Striezel (but now commonly called stollen) that’s been sold here for centuries. It’s Dresden’s signature cake, and you’ll find this festive fruitcake for sale across the market today.
In the many years since it was first founded, Dresden Striezelmarkt has grown into a vast, multi-day event that takes up most of Dresden’s historic city center. You can browse through traditional wooden stalls spread out across the historic Altmarkt, admiring the festively-adorned architecture of Dresden while you listen to Christmas carols and sip on Gluhwein (mulled wine).
Dresden Striezelmarkt opens at the start of Advent (usually in late November) and closes on Christmas Eve. The market sees some 3 million visitors every Christmas, so this is guaranteed to be one of the best and most popular Christmas markets in Germany!
2. Munich Christkindlmarkt at Marienplatz
Munich plays host to one of the most traditional and authentic German Christmas markets each and every Advent season. Running up until Christmas Eve, the Munich Christkindlmarkt is held in the historic surroundings of Marienplatz in Munich’s old town.
Marienplatz is Munich’s central and most important public square. This is where markets and public events have been held for centuries, and you’ll love how the wooden stalls, the Christmas tree, and the festive decorations are all framed by the beautiful architecture of the old and new town halls, as well as the surrounding spires of Munich’s churches and cathedrals.
Munich Christkindlmarkt has all the trappings of a classic German Christmas market. Expect barrels of Munich’s best beer to be flowing, as well as gallon upon gallon of fresh, warm Gluhwein. There will be gingerbread and bratwursts, carol singing, and hymns, and once you’ve had enough of the festivities, you can slink off to a Bavarian beer hall to continue your traditional Munich experience.
The Munich Christkindlmarkt has over 150 stalls, but as delicious as the food and drink are, the market is really best known for its handicrafts. Munich Christkindlmarkt is home to a “Kripperlmarkt,” or a Manger Market, where you can purchase all the handmade components needed to build your own nativity scene in time for Christmas.
3. Berlin’s Christmas Markets
What Berlin lacks in romance and medieval charm, it more than makes up for with Christmas cheer because the German capital is home to the highest concentration of Christmas markets in the country.
Berlin’s Christmas markets merge tradition with the contemporary, and as well as local fare, you can be sure that there’s going to be a lot of international flair across the city, too. If you’re here for the tradition, then head to the charming Spandau Christmas Market, which is held in the courtyard of Spandau Citadel. If you love a medieval-style market, then you need to visit Karlshorst, where you’ll find tradition and gingerbread in abundance!
Karl-August-Platz hosts arts and crafts stalls throughout Advent, while Charlottenburg Castle is a beautiful setting for a festive market. Gendarmenmarkt is always a popular, central market to visit in Berlin, while in other suburbs and squares across the city, you’ll find Scandinavian-themed markets, Japanese-inspired markets, and much, much more!
4. Frankfurt Christmas Market
Frankfurt is one of Germany’s largest cities, but as the country’s financial and business center, it’s a city that’s better known for its futuristic skyline than it is for its history. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover that Frankfurt hosts one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets!
The Frankfurt Christmas market is located in the Old Town, where the last medieval churches and buildings are overshadowed by high-rise apartments and skyscrapers. Traditional wooden stalls stretch from Hauptwache, through Paulsplatz and Romerberg, right down to the banks of the River Main.
You’ll love the brightly decorated streets and buildings of the Old Town, and you can warm up with a cup of hot mulled wine and freshly cooked potato pancakes while you shop for Christmas souvenirs and gifts!
5. Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt
Aachen is a small city with a big history in the far west of Germany. In fact, this is Germany’s westernmost city, and in centuries past, Aachen was the home of the infamous European conqueror, Charlemagne, and was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire until the 16th century.
Aachen’s annual Christmas market (known as the Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt) takes place in a suitably historic location that we know you’re going to love. The traditional wooden stalls, the Christmas lights and decor, and the all-important Christmas tree are all set out in Aachen’s main square, where the backdrop is the festively-attired Aachen Cathedral, which was constructed on the orders of Charlemagne in the 8th century AD.
You couldn’t ask for a more impressive location for a Christmas market, and the sense of tradition only adds to the timelessness of Aachen’s old town. But wait until you start on the food because Aachen is renowned as much for its gingerbread as it is for its history.
A highlight of any trip to Aachen (whether it’s the Christmas holidays or the summer holidays) is the local Printen. This delicious gingerbread treat is prepared using copious amounts of sugar syrup and spices like cinnamon and cloves on top of the ginger. It’s the perfect festive delight and best enjoyed with a warm cup of Gluhwein!
6. Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market
If you’re looking for Germany’s most unique Christmas market, then you’ll find it hidden away at the bottom of Ravenna Gorge in the middle of the Black Forest.
This is a seriously unusual Christmas market because the festivities all take place around the stone pillars and archways of Ravenna Bridge, a daunting and dramatic railway line that spans the gorge below. The archways and the railway line above will be lit up spectacularly with Christmas lights, making for a truly surreal setting for a traditional Christmas market.
Add in the surrounding beauty of the Black Forest location, with its tall trees, imposing gorges, and rocky ravines, and you’ll be glad you chose this remote Christmas market over the traditional city center events held elsewhere in Germany.
You’ll find all the delights of a German Christmas market at Ravenna Gorge, too, despite its wild setting. You can shop for Christmas gifts, handicrafts, and decorations, enjoy gingerbread and Gluhwein, and listen to carol singing and hymns. Because of its unique location, the Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market is a ticketed event, and it only runs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the Advent period.
7. Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market
Cologne’s mighty gothic cathedral has towered over the city since construction began in the 13th century. Rising to a staggering height of 177 meters, it’s the tallest twin-spired church in the world, so there’s no better location for a traditional German Christmas market than Cologne Cathedral.
Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Germany. There’s a tall Christmas tree (although it’s nowhere near the height of the cathedral!) standing in the center of the square, while bright, festive lights illuminate the gothic spires of the cathedral above the traditional market stalls.
Treat yourself to a Gluhwein, enjoy the sounds of German Christmas carols, and marvel at the magnificent light displays that Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market is famed for.
It’s not just the cathedral square that comes alive with Christmas festivities, but the entire city. There’s an equally spectacular Christmas market at the harbor, the famous Markt der Angel is found in Neumarkt Square, and there’s an entire winter wonderland named “The House Elves Winter Fairytale Christmas Market.”
Almost every public square in the city hosts a lively Christmas market during Advent, making Cologne a seriously festive city to visit during the holiday season!
8. Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s Reiterlesmarkt
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the most romantic towns in Germany, and we know you’re going to quickly fall for the romantic German Christmas market that’s held here during Advent.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the postcard-perfect cliché of a medieval German town. It’s one of the few German towns to have retained a fully intact set of medieval walls, while the cobbled streets, wooden townhouses, and colorful towers and churches add to an age-old sense of chivalry and romance.
This is one of the most popular stops on the “Romantic Road” through southern Germany, and for good reason. And when Christmas market festivities fill the medieval streets with Christmas cheer and joy, you won’t want to be anywhere else in the world.
If you’re lucky, the rooftops will be lined with a fresh layer of snow when you stroll through the brightly lit streets of the old town on your way to the Reiterlesmarkt, where all the action takes place. You’ll be greeted by choirs of singers and brass bands entertaining the crowds, while a selection of 50 market stalls in the main square provides Christmas gifts and refreshments.
A highlight of the Reiterlesmarkt in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the distinctive Franconian cuisine, which is out in full force at Christmastime. As well as the spicy white Gluhwein that the town is famous for, you’ll love the lebkuchen (a local take on gingerbread) and the crispy local spin on bratwurst.
9. Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt
One of the best Christmas markets in Germany is the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, where you’ll find one of the country’s most fascinating Christmas traditions.
Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is known for its unique “Christkind” tradition. Every two years, a Nuremberg local is elected to be the “Christkind,” a Christmas ambassador who plays the role of the Christmas angel during Advent. They open the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt as part of an elaborate ceremony, and locals have it that it’s the Christkind that delivers presents to children, not Saint Nicholas.
The Christkind tradition isn’t found at other Christmas markets in Germany. You might see the Christkind in person, either at the opening ceremony or throughout the festive period as they spread Christmas cheer at the market (they’ll be dressed as the Christmas angel).
The market itself takes place in Nuremberg’s historic Market Square, where you’ll find hundreds of traditional wooden market stalls selling Franconian Christmas specialties. A big local favorite is lebkuchen, a sweet gingerbread that you’ll quickly develop a taste for.
You can wash it down with white mulled wine or follow it up with a plate of Nurnberger Rostbratwurst, finger-sized bratwurst sausages that are grilled to perfection.
Alongside the main Christkindlesmarkt in Market Square, Nuremberg also has a dedicated Children’s Christmas Market, which you’ll find in Hans-Sachs-Platz. There’s a “Sister Cities” Christmas market, too, where you’ll find Christmas stalls offering a taste of festive traditions from Nuremberg’s Sister Cities around the world.
10. Leipzig Christmas Market
With an exalted history dating back to 1458, Leipzig’s Christmas market is one of the oldest in Germany. It’s also one of the best, and we know you’re going to love embracing the festive spirit in Saxony’s largest city.
Leipzig’s Christmas market is focused within the city’s main public square, where trombonists play to the crowds daily from the old Town Hall’s balcony. There’s a tall Christmas tree in the center of the market, as well as an iconic 100-year-old carousel that’s still in action.
There are upwards of 250 stalls at the market, sprawling out into the surrounding streets from the square. Those 250 stalls are divided into at least six distinct areas, each of which has a different theme.
The main market is in front of the town hall, where you’ll find all the traditional Christmas goodies. Behind this, you’ll find the Old Town Market, or the “The Naschmarkt.” This is where you’ll find the local handicrafts, including beautiful woodwork and Christmas decorations, as well as traditional foods and drinks like the Leipziger Lerche (a type of cake) and the all-important mulled wine.
The other sections often vary and change but regularly have an international appeal. For example, the Finnish Market, complete with Finnish-style hotdogs, is always a favorite, while in recent years, the dedicated Vegan Christmas Market has risen in popularity!
11. Stuttgart Christmas Market
Stuggart’s excellent Christmas market welcomes millions of visitors throughout November and December as the city goes all out to celebrate the holiday season!
With over 300 different stalls spread out across the city center, this is one of Germany’s biggest, best, and busiest Christmas markets. Stuttgart’s medieval “Old Castle,” alongside its Baroque “New Castle,” makes for a formidable backdrop to the occasion. Plus, the surrounding city is brightly illuminated by one of the most impressive Christmas light displays in Germany.
You’ll love the lights, the decor, the history, and the tradition, as Stuggart continues a legacy of Christmas cheer that dates back over three centuries. Enjoy the mulled wine, a few bratwursts and potato pancakes, and watch out for the daily opening of the “Advent Calendar” at the Town Hall (we should add that the Town Hall is the Advent Calendar!).
12. Trier Christmas Market
Located on the banks of the beautiful River Moselle, next to Germany’s border with Luxembourg, Trier is a small, charming city surrounded by wine lands and steeped in history.
Trier was founded by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, and the city is home to some wonderfully well-preserved Roman bath houses and buildings. The city’s Roman character is a splendid backdrop to the Trier Christmas Market, which is without a doubt one of the best Christmas markets in Germany.
Despite the city’s ancient history, the Trier Christmas Market is relatively new, having only been founded around 40 years ago. The locals have drawn on centuries of Christmas tradition, though, and you’ll love how the 90 or so wooden stalls are all surrounded by colorful medieval townhouses in the Hauptmarkt and Domfreihof squares in the center of Trier.
The market is charming but small – just like Trier – although you’ll certainly find your share of Christmas gifts and cuisine here. The real highlight, though? The Gluhwein, of course. Don’t forget that Trier is in the heart of the Moselle wine region, so you can expect the mulled wine here to be spectacularly delicious!
13. Erfurt Christmas Market
Little known Erfurt has several claims to fame. To start, the capital of Thuringia is located in almost the exact center of Germany. Second, the city is where Martin Luther, the man who led the Protestant Reformation in Europe, lived and studied. Third, it’s home to a beautifully preserved medieval old town that wouldn’t have been out of place in Luther’s day!
But best of all, Erfurt hosts one of Germany’s most romantic Christmas markets. Erfurt Christmas Market sits in Domplatz, where the city’s Gothic cathedral towers over the old town. The square is beautifully decorated with festive lights, a brightly lit Christmas tree, and a life-size nativity scene that steals the show.
There are over 200 market stalls spread across Domplatz and the surrounding squares, and you’ll love how this is a chance to indulge in local specialties. You’ll be tempted by the Thuringian bratwurst and the Gluhwein, but it’s the Erfurt Schnittchen – a type of stollen or fruit bread that’s prepared at Christmastime – that will tantalize your taste buds!
14. Wurzburg Christmas Market
Overlooking the River Main in the beautiful Franconian countryside, Wurzburg is renowned for its elegant Baroque architecture and rococo-style buildings. And there’s no better place, in our opinion, for a traditional German Christmas market than here!
Wurzburg’s Marienberg Fortress sits on a prominent rise above the city, and you’ll love exploring the Baroque palace in winter and crossing the medieval bridge while it snows. Wurzburg is in the middle of Franconia’s famous wine country, and you’ll quickly develop a taste for the delectable mulled wine that’s prepared in the city at Christmastime.
Wurzburg’s Christmas Market takes place in the city’s historic town square. On one side is the gothic chapel of St Mary, while Wurzburg’s famous Baroque architecture adorns the remainder of the square. In the middle of all this architectural history, you’ll find over 100 stalls selling Franconian food and drink and traditional, handmade arts and crafts from the surrounding region.
15. Hamburg’s Christmas Markets
Germany’s northern metropolis is better known for its canals and post-industrial architecture than it is for festive traditions, but trust us when we say that Hamburg is home to some of the best Christmas markets in the country.
Like any large German city, Hamburg hosts multiple markets through the festive season, and you’ll love how they seamlessly blend tradition and modernity. Hamburg’s most historic market is located in front of the City Hall, where you’ll find a scene reminiscent of the medieval markets in Nuremberg, Munich, or Dresden.
Head to Santa Pauli, though, and you’ll find things are quite different. This is Hamburg’s entertainment district, where bars and clubs are packed until the early hours of the morning and where cabaret shows are the number one tourist attraction. Here you’ll find live music (and not of the church choir variety), an adults-only Christmas gift tent, open-air art galleries, and plenty of Gluhwein.
You’ll find more market stalls lining the Binnenalster, Hamburg’s artificial lake, as well as in the modern city center, and then along the canals and wharves of Speicherstadt and Hafen City.
There you have it! The 15 best Christmas markets in Germany. What’s your favorite German Christmas market?
Planning a trip to Germany? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!