10 beautiful Christmas markets in Germany
Whether in the old town, at a castle or in the woods, Germany's myriad Christmas markets have many facets and much to offer. Here are 10 particularly beautiful ones.
Dresden: Christmas at the Striezelmarkt
Traditional and tasty are the words that best describe Dresden during Advent. The Striezelmarkt, opened in 1434, is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany. Fairytale houses, bakeries, craftsmanship, mulled wine — everyone gets into the Christmas mood here. The Dresden Christmas Stollen, a bread with dried fruit, nuts and spices, is particularly popular. Be sure to give it a try!
Nürnberg: Christkindlesmarkt year after year
With its iconic red and white striped booths, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is one of Germany's best-known Christmas markets. The Christkind — the traditional gift-bringer in many German-speaking countries — opens the market. A new person is elected every two years to play the "Christ Child." This year, racist remarks overshadowed the choice of Benigna Munsi, whose father is of Indian descent.
Cologne: Festive lights against an impressive backdrop
Every year, four million people flock to the Cologne Christmas market with its 150 booths and the 25-meter-high (82-foot-high) Christmas tree. The scenery is particularly impressive, as the market is flanked by the city's striking landmark — the Cologne Cathedral. In addition, more than 100 events ensure a varied program.
Hamburg: Treasures from the circus world
Behind its wrought-iron entrance gate, Hamburg's historic Christmas market holds a number of treasures, including elaborately decorated market stalls, Christmas trees with golden apples and relics from the famous Roncalli Circus Museum, such as vending carts from the Imperial Era and a carousel from the 1920s. The market in front of the Hamburg City Hall is open until December 12.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Back to medieval times
The Rothenburger Reiterlesmarkt is opened by Reiterle, a Germanic mythical figure who is supposed to bring luck. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small town in Bavaria that is famous for its well-preserved medieval city center and town wall. A highlight is Käthe Wohlfahrts Weihnachtsdorf: Here you can find traditional wooden figures, nutcrackers and Christmas tree decorations all year round.
Ludwigsburg: In Baroque splendor
More than 180 booths are arranged in a special way on the market square at the Ludwigsburg Baroque Christmas market . The symmetry of the city's streets and the structure of the gardens at the famous Baroque Ludwigsburg Palace are evident here. Particularly characteristic are the golden angels of light that illuminate the night above the booths.
Gengenbach: Open the doors!
At the Gengenbach Advent Market in the Black Forest, 24 decorated doors accompany the Christmas season. From November 30 to December 24, the town hall on the market square is transformed into an Advent calendar house. Every day a window is opened, presenting a world-famous motif. Pictures of "The Little Prince," "Jim Button" and many other children's book heroes are represented.
Rostock: Christmas at the water's edge
During the season of Advent, the Rostock city center is transformed into the largest Christmas market in Northern Germany. 250 stalls and rides are lined up along a three-kilometer (1.86-mile) stroll from the Neuer Markt to the Fischerbastion. Here you will find all kinds of specialties and handicrafts from various countries. And a breeze of sea air, because the Baltic Sea is not too far away.
Schweinhütt: Celebrate in a fairytale forest
In the middle of the Bavarian forest between Schweinhütt and Bettmannsäge, visitors can experience an enchanted Christmas village with rustic huts, gnomes and forest spirits. Here you can drink "witches' liquor," tell stories around the campfire and buy all kinds of handicrafts. The market is open on the second and third weekends of Advent.
Schloss Drachenburg: Christmas with Charles Dickens
At Schloss Drachenburg, visitors embark on a journey back in time to the 19th century. Under the theme "Charles Dickens — A Christmas Carol," productions bring to life the figures and spirits of from Charles Dickens famous Christmas story. The castle is open on the four Advent weekends. Around 50 exhibitors offer regional products — for the palate and the eye.