If you’re a ‘Christmas person’, you’ll know how the festive season can add a little extra magic to your day-to-day life. Yes, it’s cold and you may have umpteen presents to buy with very little money to spend, but finances aside, it’s the actually the little things that make Christmas special.
Like clasping your hands around a hot drink at a Christmas market, for example. Picture the scene. You’re with friends or family at one of Germany’s best markets. There’s an atmosphere in the air and a spring in your step. It’s deadly cold, but that’s okay – you have your nice hot drink to keep you warm.
So, as the holiday season inches ever closer, you can put your workload on the backburner and spend some quality time with those around you. That’s exactly what the Christmas period is for.
If you’re feeling festive just reading this, hang tight. It’s about to get a whole lot more Christmassy up in here. We’ve compiled a list of Germany’s best Christmas markets – visit them all in a week and you’ll turn into an elf, apparently.
Here they are.
This is a grand, glittering, truly magical affair. You’ll be lured in by the great-smelling food. You’ll marvel at the amusements, and will without a doubt come away feeling like Christmas has finally arrived.
The experience is a bit like living out your favourite Christmas film – multiplied by 100. All the festivities are there, and the old feelings of Yuletide anticipation you felt in younger years will come flooding back. It begs the question: have you been a good student or a bad student this year?
Berlin’s WeihnachtsZauber is set at the heart of the city and draws nearly 60,000 visitors every year. It’s nearby the Französischer Dom, the Konzerthaus and the Deutscher Dom, so there’s plenty of sights to see once you’ve been to the market.
Cologne: Cathedral Christmas Market
The impressive backdrop of Cologne’s Christmas market is impossible to beat. The Cathedral looks over the festival, a huge Gothic edifice that’s awe-inspiring in every sense of the word.
The market is also identified by its 150 rich, red wooden huts that light up the scene. They are all connected by lines of fairy lights that sprout from the middle of the impressive Christmas tree and drape gracefully over each and every one of the huts.
And, with more than 100 stage performances throughout the duration of the festival, the Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market does festive entertainment like no other.
The market prides itself on its choice of artisanal food vendors. You can see them all in action. There are expert candy makers for those with a sweet tooth, and various concoctions of mulled wine to get you in the Christmas spirit.
If you’re looking for a magnificent visual spectacle – with a great choice of organic food and drink – then Cologne’s market is the one for you.
Black Forest: Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market
Set in the depths of the Black Forest, the Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market is a Christmas market like you’ve never seen before. The location is what makes it so darkly spectacular.
It’s bathed in a glow of lights, found at the base of Germany’s steepest railway bridge deep in the canyons of the Black Forest Valley. If this doesn’t capture your imagination, the market is just a short walk from the Hofgut Sternen Hotel, whose past guests include one Marie Antoinette and Germany’s literary jewel Goethe.
There are 40 small, attractive wooden huts that form a cluster at the bottom of the ravine, each one lighting up the market with a dark ambience.
The Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market has a real fairytale vibe, with an illuminated fairytale trail and food and drink inspired by traditional folklore.
The market is an otherworldly experience, and descending the slopes that lead to the market feels a bit like entering the recesses of a magical grotto.
Stuttgart: Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt
The festive scents of cinnamon and mulled wine waft temptingly over Stuttgart’s Christmas market, the Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt. Around 300 lovingly-crafted stalls are dotted in and around the market, all complete with traditional decorations.
Music from professionally-trained choirs can be heard far and wide, with an ensemble playing nightly beneath the lofty Christmas tree. There are also plenty of amusements to take in, from a luxury skating rink to a miniature steam railway.
The market is surrounded by palatial architecture; pillars decorated with fairy lights line your view as a nearby Gothic church looks over it all.
You’d do well to keep your eyes front and centre at Stuttgart’s market because there’s just so much to look at. From the nearby Porsche and Mercedes-Benz Museum to the Baroque market in nearby Ludwigsburg, there’s plenty of attractions you won’t want to miss out on.
Munich Christmas Market
Munich’s Christmas market is one of the more traditional markets you’ll find in Germany. Held in front of the imposing Munich Town Hall, its roots are rumoured to go back to 14th-century festivities.
More than 3,000 lights decorate the towering fir tree, so as you can imagine it’s a true spectacle to behold. There’s a very real sense of magic in the air, made all the more fascinating by its collection of traditional German gifts and nativity scenes.
If you’re interested in German traditions and the Bavarian history of a great city like Munich, look no further than the Munich Christmas Market. It’s held on the Marienplatz central square, right in the city centre.
There are five of the best Christmas markets you can experience in Germany. And, what an experience they are! Wherever you’re based across our range of German residences, you have to check out these markets. Don’t miss out – if you’d like any more information, get in touch.