Berlin Christmas Markets
Discover the Berlin Christmas Markets and Visit the Capital of Germany
German Christmas markets are famous for their magic and charm. Beginning often as early as mid-November and lasting through December you can experience this wonderful tradition in cities and towns across Germany, as well as in other European countries.
It can be difficult to decide which German Christmas market to visit. Do you go to the biggest? The oldest? The most varied?
One solution is to combine your Christmas market experience with a great city break. Even the most enthusiastic Christmas shopper (or browser) will eventually see one too many gingerbread houses! If your destination has plenty of other things to see and do the markets will only make it all the more special.
Why Berlin, Germany?
Why a German Christmas Market?
European Christmas markets offer so many tempting choices. There are good arguments for each of the national destinations you could pick. But in my opinion Germany and Christmas go together in a special way. A Christkindlmarkt is so full of German tradition, from the Hansel and Gretel style gingerbread to the Christmas tree -- a custom that originated in Germany (source: Wikipedia). So too did many Christmas carols including O Christmas Tree (O Tannenbaum). Even Silent Night (Stille Nacht), which originated in Austria, somehow sounds even lovelier in the original German.
Why Berlin, Capital of Germany?
There are many famous German Xmas markets, of course. Each has its own charms, but all have large helpings of festive charm. In the end, unless you have a very specific reason to choose one market over another, your option may well be guided more by the other attractions of your destination.
Berlin is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting cities to visit for a few days. You will find a wide range of accommodation in all budgets and all the eateries and other facilities any tourist could wish for. Once your comfort is taken care of you can turn your attentions to seeing the sights -- and Berlin is full of them!
As far as Christmas markets go, you will be spoilt for choice. There are around 50 of them dotted around the different districts of this beautiful city! A few of the best (in terms of location, size, and above all Christmas charm) are detailed here.
Gendarmenmarkt Xmas Market Berlin
Gendarmenmarkt -- Central Berlin (Mitte)
The Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market is one of the most popular in Berlin. It is located in a large square which lies between the German Cathedral (Deutscher Dom), the French Cathedral (Französischer Dom), and the Concert House (Konzerthaus).
This Christkindlmarkt has all the festive traditions that make an Xmas Market so special: delicious Christmas food (some quite expensive) ; handcrafted gifts; plus entertainment each day.
The cost of entrance is 1 euro per adult, kids under 12 free. A portion of this fee goes to charity. The market is one of the most loved and is considered well worth the entrance cost.
In 2010 the market will open on November 22 and has its grand finale on on New Year's Eve where it is the venue of an end of year party.
The nearest U-Bahn stop is U6.
Find the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market in Berlin
Pretty Star Lanterns at a Berlin Christmas Market
Other Berlin Christmas Markets
This is just a selection of the 50-60 Christmas Markets hosted each year in Berlin.
Another typical Christmas market that is loved by many, the Opernpalais Xmas market can be found next to the City Opera, Unter den Linden. Although this is a large market, tradition is important to this Chistkindlmarkt which has a nostalgic theme and has in the past featured vintage fairground attractions. Open in 2010 from November 22nd until December 26th.
The market next to the lovely Charlottenburg Palace is less crowded but still has a wide selection of Christmas good on offer. Open from November 22nd until December 26th 2010.
Organic Christmas Market
If you are looking for organic Christmas produce, the Christkindlmart in Sophienstrasse is the one for you. This themed market is open on weekends from November 27th through to December 19th (inclusive) 2010.
Chanukka-Markt Jewish Christmas Market
The Jewish Museum in Berlin hosts a Jewish themed Hanukkah market in December. You will find a unique selection of Jewish speciality foods and religious / gift items on offer, alongside live entertainment and tours.
A Selection of Berlin Christmas Markets
Find More Information on these Berlin Christmas Markets
- Christmas Market 2014 at Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin
- Sophienstrasse Organic-Environmental Christmas Market
- Richard Carter | Journey to Berlin
Take in some of Berlin's most famous sights, as well as exploring some of its more obscure corners, on a virtual journey to Berlin.
What to Eat at a Berlin Christmas Market
When it comes to street food, there are all kinds of seasonal delights on offer. Sweet treats are a speciality and include the wonderful spiced gingerbread (Lebkuchen), the traditional German Christmas fruit loaf (Stollen), and marzipan in various shapes.
Germans are big meat eaters and a choice of sausages from Bratwurst to Currywurst is guaranteed.
Wash it all down with the traditional spiced wine (Glühwein) sipped from a refundable mug that you can alternatively choose to keep as a souvenir.
What to Buy at a German Christmas Market
Leave some space in your luggage for gifts and souvenirs. Even a single Christmas Market will tempt you with a range of hand-crafted goods.
Traditional German Christmas Market wares include:
- wooden toys and marionettes
- hand-crafted tree decorations
- pretty glass candle and votive holders
- hand-crafted jewelry
- leatherwork (bags, belts, etc.)
For a gift for someone back home, look out for the gingerbread hearts with slogans such as 'Ich Hab Dich Lieb' (I love you) on them.
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