You haven’t done Christmas in Europe until you’ve been to a Christmas market, and Germany has some of the best.
Every Christmas, Germany’s market squares are transformed into traditional winter wonderlands. Wooden stalls dressed in lights are set up by locals selling homemade arts and crafts. There’s no shortage of traditional foods like sausages and mulled cider. Some even feature roaming carol singers and nativity plays.
There’s a certain magic about them that can’t be denied, and if you’re thinking of immersing yourself in a traditional and authentic European Christmas market experience, Germany won’t disappoint.
While each German market has its own unique qualities and charming characteristics, in our humble opinions these are the standouts.
Top Christmas markets in Germany
Munich Christmas markets
With a market history that dates back to the 14th century, Munich has one of the oldest and most traditional Christmas markets.
Nearly every suburb in Munich has a market. The most famous and longstanding, however, is in the city’s main square, Marienplatz. With more than 100 stalls, it features a 30-metre high Christmas tree lit by 2,500 candles.
- Best market: Marienplatz
- Dates: 25 November–24 December 2016
- Opening hours: Monday–Saturday 10am–9pm, Sunday 10am–8pm
Berlin Christmas markets
In Berlin, you’ll be spoiled for choice with more than 60 traditional and cosmopolitan Christmas markets.
Being such an international city, you’ll find everything from traditional Christmas markets to Nordic markets and markets for dogs during yuletide in Berlin. The most resplendent is at Charlottenburg Palace. It features an elaborate light installation and marquees decorated with natural materials.
- Best market: Charlottenburg Palace
- Dates: 21 November–26 December 2016 (closed Christmas Day)
- Opening hours: Monday–Thursday 2pm–10pm, Friday–Sunday and Boxing Day 12pm–10pm
Cologne Christmas markets
With the scent of mulled wine and baked apples in the air and the sights and sounds of jugglers and glassblowers on the streets, Cologne’s Christmas market is a feast for the senses.
It’s little wonder then that millions of visitors come to experience Christmas here. Being a smaller city, it’s possible to visit all seven of its markets during your stay. With magical names such as Fairytale Christmas Market and Angels Christmas Market, how could you resist?
- Best market: Cologne Old Town
- Dates: 21 November–23 December 2016
- Opening hours: Daily 11am–10pm
Frankfurt Christmas markets
Surrounded by traditional German houses in historic St Paul’s Square, Frankfurt’s main Christmas market is the picture of perfection.
Similar to Munich, Frankfurt’s Christmas market history dates back to the 14th century and is renowned for being one of the largest in the country. In St Paul’s Square, elaborately decorated stands accompany a beautifully lit Christmas tree that’s bound to take your breath away.
- Best market: St Paul’s Square
- Dates: 23 November–22 December 2016
- Opening hours: Monday–Saturday 10am–9pm, Sunday 11am–9pm
More Christmas markets Germany dates and hours
Here's a quick breakdown of when these Christmas markets in Germany are open in 2016.
|Munich||25 November until 24 December 2016||Monday to Saturday: 10am–9pm; Sunday: 10am–8pm|
|Berlin||21 November until 26 December 2016 (closed Christmas Day)||Monday to Thursday: 2pm–10pm; Friday to Sunday and Boxing Day: 12pm–10pm|
|Cologne||21 November until 23 December 2016||Daily: 11am–10pm|
|Frankfurt||23 November until 22 December 2016||Monday to Saturday: 10am–9pm; Sunday 11am–9pm|
|Nuremberg||25 November until 24 December 2016||Daily: 10am-9pm; Christmas Eve: 10am-2pm|
|Stuttgart||23 November until 23 December 2016||Monday to Thursday: 10am-9pm; Friday to Sunday: 10am-10pm; Sunday: 11am-9pm; 23 November: 5pm-9pm; 17 December: 10am-10:30pm|
|Dresden||24 November until 24 December 2016||Daily: 10am-9pm; Christmas Eve: 10am-2pm|
|Dusseldorf||17 December until 23 December 2016||Sunday to Thursday: 11am-8pm; Friday to Saturday: 11am-9pm|
|Hamburg (Rathausmarkt)||21 November until 23 December 2016||Sunday to Thursday: 11am-9pm; Friday to Saturday: 11am-10pm|
|Rothenburg ob der Tauber||25 November until 23 December 2016||Monday to Thursday: 11am-7pm; Friday to Sunday: 11am-8pm|
|Hannover||23 November until 22 December 2016||Daily: 11am-9pm|