Germany, the birthplace of the Christmas market tradition dating back to the 15th century, continues to enchant locals and visitors with its magical holiday festivities. In 2023 the country boasts around 3,000 Christmas markets, each opening its festive stalls in late November. These markets offer the perfect opportunity for an atmospheric stroll through festively decorated alleys, where the air is filled with the aromas of traditional German treats.
Indulge in the rich flavours of German classics such as Bratwurst and “Reibekuchen” (potato fritters served with apple sauce) or savour the warmth of mulled wine and punch. The markets are adorned with tempting delights like gingerbread, candy apples, Christmas Stollen, and hot chestnuts, providing a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds.
Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit by exploring wooden carvings from the Ore Mountains, artistic glass baubles, and unique handmade items from the region. With markets offering a variety of traditional and alternative goods, it’s the perfect occasion to find special presents for your loved ones.
Dresden, home to the oldest Christmas market established in 1434, now hosts six different markets scattered around the city centre. Meanwhile, Stuttgart boasts one of the largest Christmas Markets, where stalls compete in a dazzling roof decoration competition. Berlin has more than 100 markets including non-traditional options such as the Christmas Avenue hosted by the LGBTQI+ community, adding a unique touch to the festive atmosphere.
Bremen’s Schlachte Magic market combines traditional Christmas charm with a medieval touch, offering mead, fruit wine, and craftsman demonstrations. Aachen’s Christmas market celebrates its 50th anniversary, renowned for its unique Lebkuchen called “Aachener Printen”, a treat similar to gingerbread.
Experience the delightful children’s punch, a non-alcoholic alternative to mulled wine, and savour Nuremberg Lebkuchen gingerbread, a centuries-old speciality. Dresden’s Christstollen, a bread-shaped cake rich in butter, milk, and spices, is a must-try during the holiday season.
In Germany, the Christmas tree takes centre stage in holiday celebrations. Families participate in the custom of “Christbaumloben”, praising neighbours’ trees and receiving small gifts in return. Christmas dinner, a time of love and connection, varies across regions, with hearty dishes like potato salad and sausages or roast goose with potato dumplings and red cabbage.
Explore the Unesco World Heritage City of Quedlinburg in the Harz Mountains, transformed into an Advent wonderland in December. The town square hosts a Christmas market against a backdrop of stunning timber-framed houses. Additionally, private courtyards open their doors for independent markets, creating a unique experience for visitors. Quedlinburg is home to the largest Advent calendar in Germany, with 24 real doors revealing stories and sweet treats.
Germany’s Christmas markets offer a magical journey through centuries-old traditions, culinary delights and unique regional celebrations, making it the perfect destination for a festive holiday experience.