The Best Christmas Markets in Germany

Turner Germany, Travel Job Tips

I have a very strange infatuation with German Christmas markets. It is strange, I know – since I am not in fact 8 nor am I particularly merry.  However, maybe the problem isn’t with me. Maybe it is with you.  I think it could be that most people just don’t fully get the German Christmas market. Sure, they know of course of the gluhwein (hot wine with citrus, cinnamon etc), which I have not been shy about showing my unadulterated love for, and possibly their mind also conjures up some images of the deep fried, highly caloric delicacies dripping with grease and love that can be found there. But there is more to the these winter Christmas markets than merely  seasonal alcoholic delight and artery clogging goodness – there is an essence in the air that somehow makes you want to repeatedly throw yourself into the freezing cold, huddled up under a hut mingling with some fat guy who smells of whisky, bratwurst and cheap cigarettes (be good, he may moonlight as Santa on occasion). No there is more to these markets than meets the eye.

And since I can’t really explain this essence in words as such, I thought I would use the power of the internet to bring it as close to your door as possible, unless you want to use a German Rail Pass like I am and let the train deliver you directly to the market (gluhwein in hand in t-minus 5 minutes). You can also download DBahn’s Christmas iPhone app which breaks each market and tells you the highlights much better than this hungover ramble.

 Berlin Christmas Market

Being the capital of Germany, Berlin has a series of pretty epic markets. From ice skating rinks to ferris wheels to an artificial ski slope you can toboggan down, the Germans pulled out all the stops here. So before a night of raving or doing something else Berlin and hipstery, you can feel the spirit of Christmas.

Ferris wheel in Berlin

Berlin Xmas at night


My first Gluhwein of the season was bought here


christmas music

An Xmas Musician

Snow Slope for the Toboggan


berlin ice skating

Free Iceskating along with a penguin


german nutcrackers

German Nutcrackers


christmas market gifts

Russian stacking dolls – Maryoshkas


pony ride in xmas market

Want to ride a pony? You can at Berlin’s Xmas markets


Berlin rides

Berlin Xmas Rides


And a couple videos showing some music there and games you can play while drinking gluhwein.


Leipzig Market

Leipzig is one of the more famous markets, as it is  the oldest, has a medieval market, and has the biggest Advent calendar in the world on the side of a building. I also felt like there was more “hip” bar gluhwein stands here for some reason.

leipzig christmas market

Leipzig market entrance

leipzig townhall at xmas

the townhall of Leipzig


The Great Pyramid of Leipzig (where they serve the special Feuerzanggenbowle, extra sugar and rum lit up in your gluhwein)


merrygoround in germany

Not just for the kiddies (note you can drink gluhwein while riding)


German Advent calendar

Biggest Avent Calendar in the world – can you imagine how big the present must be inside?


medieval xmas market

Medieval xmas market within a market…um


Leipzig rail station at Christmas

Even the rail station is done up in Leipzig



Dresden has one of the largest markets, deemed the Christmas mile, since the squares are massive and you can walk forever with no end in sight. If you haven’t been to Dresden, I recommend it, since the old town was rebuilt to look like it was before the World War II, yet the main squares are massive (I suspect from the Soviet planning influence since Dresden lies on the Eastern side of Germany).

dresden rail station

Dresden arrival at the rail station, where’s the winter wonderland?


Beautiful soviet-esc arrival terminal at the train station, but once you hit the market, the worries go away as you re-united with old Germany and Christmas market bliss. Ten minute walk and you will feel transport through time.

gluwein in dresden

First order of business, of course, gluhwein


dresden pyramid

Dresden Pyramid


dresden xmas market

Snowing with Gluhwein in Dresden… not too bad


dresden ferris wheel in xmas market

the mini-ferris wheel in Dresden


dresden xmas market

a child glued to a xmas puppet show in Dresden


Dresden’s famous “stollen”, sugar, bread goodness


Dresden has an attractive Gluhwein server, a must see


dresden food

the biggest animal I have ever seen roasted



Ah good old Hannover. With markets that stretch every windy street filled with food stalls that tempt you to stretch your belly with these deep fried, guilt-free treats. Hannover has got you covered. From fresh smoked salmon in the Finnish Market to other medieval food that is made edible by today’s standards, I love my little heart in this market (but not my cholesterol levels).


food at xmas markets

Fresh potato chips (fresh; latin, from non-cancerous deliciousness)

smoked salmon

smoking salmon in Finnish market

Santa giving a child a present

German Santa hangs out oranges instead of high doses of sugar (that comes in adulthood with Gluhwein)


drinking like a viking

Want to drink Met (honey wine) from a horn like a Viking? Yeah you can do that…but you can’t out it down so bring your drinking hat.


funny christmas costumes

Ever had a bear serve you cotton candy? Yeah, thought so.

souvenirs at xmas markets

Need a unique holiday gift?

flaming cocktail

Oh yeah, and we still gots that flaming gluhwein ish too.


Still not satsfied? Still craving more Christmas food, gluhwein and calories. Me too.  On the way…






Stay tuned hungry.