If you like coziness and Christmas time, then you need to put “go to a German Christmas market” on your bucket list. Here is your guide to navigating the delicious smells, tastes, and sights that make up German Christmas markets!
Living in the Netherlands means we’re just a skip away from Germany, which transforms into something amazing this time of year. Christmas time in Germany is one of the most cozy, magical things. If you had to picture the movie-perfect version of Christmas, it would probably look something like the German Christmas markets. These are open air markets that pop up in many German town squares from late November to just before Christmas. They consist of rows of stalls selling assortments of gifts and handmade products. As well as plenty of delicious warm food and drinks.
Treats to try at German Christmas markets
You’ll find your usual German foods at these markets (you know, pretzels, big heart-shaped gingerbreads), but you’ll also find a few treats only available at this time of year. Glühwein is an absolute must. This is a hot mulled wine with cinnamon, cloves, and sometimes a shot of brandy. Buy yourself a mug of it to keep you warm while you wander through the market. Each town usually has their own style of ceramic glühwein mug. You pay for the mug when you buy the glühwein. You can either return it when you finish your drink to get your money back or keep it (meaning we now how a large assortment of glühwein mugs!).
Some markets will also have eierpunsch. A warm egg-based drink similar to eggnog, as well as stollen, a sweet bread with candied fruit inside it. The cuisines you’ll find at the German Christmas markets will vary a lot depending on the region and city you’re in, so follow your nose and try something new!
If all this talk of mulled wine and sweets has you saying “yes, I HAVE GOT to go to one of these”, then here’s a quick list of some of the best!
The best German Christmas markets
- Cologne: Set against the gorgeous cathedral backdrop and centered around a giant Christmas tree, this market is surely picturesque. November 21 – December 23.
- Berlin: The country’s capital doesn’t skimp on Christmas. You have over 60 markets to choose from, all with different feels and themes. 23 November – 31 December.
- Stuttgart: One of the largest and oldest Christmas markets in Germany! November 23 to December 23.
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Though smaller than the rest, this market is set in an adorable medieval town that just begs to be explored. November 25 to December 23.
- Nuremberg: One of the most traditional Christmas markets, with Nürnberger bratwursts and gingerbread. November 25 to December 24.