The Ultimate German Christmas Market Guide for 2017
If you’re looking to delight your friends and family with charming handcrafted gifts this year, then look no further than the traditional German markets – all of which are bursting with festive ambience, not to mention local treats such as Lebkuchen, marzipan figures and of course, that delicious mulled wine. Here we take a look at the many markets that Germany has to offer, so grab a pen and jot down some of these important dates:
Which market to visit?
With so many markets dotted throughout Germany, it can be difficult choosing just one to visit first. Luckily, most Christmas markets start in the last week of November and are open until around 9pm so it’s certainly not impossible to fit a couple into one day – ideally in a city if you’re looking to do some serious shopping, or something more village-based if you simply want to embrace the true romance of it all. Here we look at our top picks for 2017:
Hosted on the central square in Nuremberg’s Old Town, it’s easy to see why Christkindlesmarkt is one of the most famous Christmas markets in the world. Beginning on the Friday before the first Sunday in the Advent, and running right up until 2pm on Christmas Eve, this bustling market is divided into three main sections (one of which is even dedicated to children) and boasts over 180 stalls. It is also home to the must-have Nuremberg Rostbratwurst. A weckla (a German-style hotdog) will set you back around €3.
Also fondly referred to as Germany’s Twinkling Star Christmas Market, Wiesbaden will be officially opened by Mayor Sven Gerich on the 28th November 2017 and you can grab a bargain right up until 23rd December.
Set amidst the picturesque setting of the town’s impressive parliament buildings, it definitely has the wow factor with its bright light lilies (representing the Wiesbaden coat of arms), Ferris wheel, ice rink and curling rinks, not to mention an impressive array of stalls serving delicious hot chocolate, crepes and grilled delicacies. It’s definitely one not to miss.
Boasting the biggest Christmas tree in the world, the Dortmund Christmas Market is one of the biggest in Germany with over 300 stalls. It offers daily shows provided by the Alter Markt Theatre Company, who delight in entertaining every member of the family. You can make your own Christmas coins and send cards adorned with the market’s signature postmark. The festivities from the 23rd November to 30th December 2017.
Perfectly enhanced by Cologne’s magnificent gothic Cathedral, the Christmas market here is a truly breathtaking experience and attracts around two million people each year. Dotted with rows of red wooden stalls, a huge twinkling Christmas tree and over 160 stalls, the festive ambience is in a world of its own.
And if you fancy a touch of indulgence (perhaps as a treat for that loved one in your life?); why not try the floating market, located on the MS Wappen von Mainz which operates between 26 November and 22 December? It’s a truly magical experience and one that will definitely put the sparkle into this year’s celebrations.
Perhaps not as well known, the Old Market Christmas is a paradise for youngsters, with house gnomes and a nostalgic children’s roundabout; there’s also treats and toys galore.
What to eat?
One thing all of the Christmas markets mentioned have in common is delicious food; no doubt the aroma of hot chestnuts and mulled wine will hit you upon entry. You’ll find an appetising mix of Christmas treats and traditional German foods. Take your pick from bratwurst (German sausage), steckerlfisch (grilled fish), stollen, crepes and gingerbread. Oh, and don’t forget to wash it all down with a steaming glass of spiced Glühwein.