Visiting a Christmas market is a great way to get yourself into the festive spirit. And, as anyone who is as obsessed with Christmas time as me will know, Germany has some of the best Christmas markets in the world. So check out our list of the top 10 best Christmas markets in Germany below to help you decide where to get your merry on.
Looking for things to do this Christmas? Check out our Christmas bucket list ideas to get you in the festive spirit.
The 10 best Christmas markets in Germany
Many Christmas markets can be found in the West of Germany, and one of my favourites is held in the 2000+ year old city of Cologne. Nestled on the river Rhine, with its dramatic gothic architecture and world-famous twin spired cathedral, Cologne is a hauntingly beautiful city to visit at this time of year. Twinkling lights and the scent of cinnamon biscuits flood the air as you wander through the many stalls to buy gifts or decorative ornaments for Christmas.
These markets open from the 22nd of November and the closest airport is Cologne.
With most of the action taking place in Hauptmarkt square, the festivities in Trier are situated within a fantastic medieval backdrop, next to their imposing cathedral. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first Christmas market held in the city and so celebrations are set to be better than ever. The scheduled events will be different each day so be sure to check out the program if there is something particular you would like to see, be it choirs singing carols or a performance by the puppet theatre!
Open from the 19th of November, there is no airport in Trier itself, so the closest would either be Luxembourg (30 minutes drive) or Frankfurt (2h drive).
Although Stuttgart might not be the first place you’d think of when planning a yuletide romp to Germany, it has some mega plus points. Stuttgart is a large city and a GREAT place to shop. So if you find time in between eating wurst (sausages), picking out Christmas tree ornaments and glugging down Glühwein (which literally translates to “glow wine”), it’s the perfect place to pick up a treat or two for your loved ones in big, well-known stores. There is also a competition among stallholders for the most beautiful stall, so you just know the market is going to be pretty as a picture!
Markets start on the 24th November 2021 and the closest airport is Stuttgart.
There’s no denying it, Berlin is a cool city that everyone should try to visit in their lifetime. It has something for everyone – history, architecture, art, music, food… and when you throw in the annual Christmas markets, you have a compelling case that Berlin offers one of the best Christmas markets in Germany. Be sure to check out the light show at the Botanical Gardens, with over 1.5 million lights, and wander currywurst scented streets in search of presents and festive decor.
Open from the 22nd November, with flights straight into Berlin.
The market at Leipzig is one of the oldest and best known Christmas markets in Germany, dating all the way back to 1458. The six distinct areas are themed to match each particular area of the city in which they are set, which makes for a fascinating, unique overall experience. The fairytale forest with its array of mythical beasts and creatures is a particularly enchanting addition, and in the Finnish village the more adventurous among you are invited to try a serving of reindeer meat (just don’t tell Rudolph!).
Open from the 23rd November 2021, the closest airport is Leipzig.
Düsseldorf turns into a sight to behold in mid-November, after the St Martin’s Parade (held on the 10th-12th November), when the festive celebrations begin. Over 200 stalls set out around the city in various areas sell everything you could want from delicious Schupfnudeln (similar to Italian gnocchi), to Christmas cookies, and even live glassblowers creating colorful, intricate decorations and wood turners creating gifts. It is truly a magical city in which to spend your Christmas vacation.
Markets start to open on the 18th of November 2021, and you can fly in to Düsseldorf directly or to Cologne (1h drive).
Aachen hosts a truly delightful Christmas market, with sights and sounds to delight even the biggest Grinch among us. You can see the lights and decorations lit up around Aachen cathedral, the historic seat of power for Charlemagne. For those with a sweet tooth, a trip to the Lindt chocolate factory is an absolute must! The stalls sell all traditional fare including German iced cookies and delicious bratwurst to keep you warm and fueled while you walk around and admire everything the city has to offer.
These markets open on the 19th of November 2021 and you can fly in to Maastricht (30 mins drive) or Cologne (1h drive).
Situated to the north of the Black Forest is Baden-Baden. Picture it: Countless lights illuminate the streets as choirs sing Christmas carols. The scent of cinnamon and ginger wafts through the air. You wander through the town’s central promenade, Lichtentaler Allee. You’re feeling lucky, so you head to the Spielbank (casino) and try your luck at the roulette wheel! Whatever your tastes, young and old are sure to be captivated by the yuletide atmosphere.
Starting on the 25th of November 2021, airports close by are Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden or Stuttgart (1h 15min drive).
The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is transformed this year to be spread across the city in an effort to be safer in light of the pandemic. It certainly tops this list as one of the safest (and best!) Christmas markets in Germany. Most of the stalls and attractions will be dispersed throughout the old town and so the entire area will be alive with festive cheer. If you are looking for gifts, the “Christmas Islands” shopping area is the place to go, and for those with children there is also a specific “Children’s Christmas market” at Hans-Sachs-Platz to entertain the little ones.
The markets first open on the 24th of December 2021 and the closest airports are Nuremberg or Munich (1h 45mins drive.)
Honestly, Rothenberg looks like a fairy tale town 365 days a year… But with its picture perfect painted houses with exposed wooden beams and cobbled streets lit up with Christmas lights, it is the perfect town to spend some time pre-Christmas. With yuletide traditions harking back to the 15th century, if it’s a taste of old world charm that you’re after, this could be the perfect place for you! As a town it is much smaller than many of the other places on our list, but if you are looking for some festive German charm in a peaceful, relaxed environment, I can definitely recommend this place to you!
The Christmas market opens on the 26th of November and you can fly to Nuremberg (1h 15min drive) or Stuttgart (1h 30min drive).
Tempted by a trip to one of the best Christmas markets in Germany…?
I’d certainly be surprised if not! But if Germany doesn’t quite do it for you, or you want something a bit different, check out the best of the best Christmas Markets in Europe too. Or get into the Christmas spirit right where you are with our complete guide to feeling festive…
A quick tip? Use a photo from your Christmas market trip to decorate your Christmas card greetings this year by personalizing a postcard or greeting card with MyPostcard!