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Holiday Season in Munich

Christmas Markets, Winter Festivals, and Christmas Carols in Munich

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If you are spending the holiday season and Christmas in Munich, you are in for a real treat. Atmospheric Christmas markets spring up all over Munich’s Old Town, churches and cathedrals are filled with holiday singing and organ recitals, and Munich’s shopping streets are decked out in sparkling Christmas decoration. And all that with the romantic backdrop of the snow-capped Alps – Munich is a wonderful city to enjoy the holiday season.

1. Munich's Christkindl Market

German Christkindl Market
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Munich’s famous Christmas market, the Christkindl Markt, which dates back to 1642, is celebrated on the city’s central square, Marienplatz, in the heart of the Old Town. A 100-feet high Christmas tree towers over traditionally decorated booths,  which offer everything from mulled wine, and gingerbread, to Bavarian woodcarvings, handmade toys, and glass crystals. Don’t miss the traditional Christmas concerts that are held every day at 5.30 p.m. on the balcony of Munich's Town Hall. (Free)

Guide to Munich's Christmas Market

2. Christmas Music in Munich's Church of Our Lady

What’s the holiday season without Christmas carols? One of the most atmospheric spots to listen to German Christmas music is the impressive Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), whose twin towers are a landmark of Munich's skyline. Throughout December, Bavarian choirs and musicians herald the season with classical concerts, organ recitals, and music-filled church services. (Church services free, but tickets are required for concerts).

3. Tollwood Winter Festival

The Tollwood Winter Festival features an international Christmas market, where you can hunt for treasures from around the world and sample organic ethnic food. Locals love this festival for its colorful cultural program, which is famous for its world music, art workshops, and theatre and circus performances. (Free, but some performances require tickets)

4. Munich's Open-Air Ice Rink

Stay warm on Munich’s largest open-air ice-skating rink; Muenchner Eizsauber (Munich Ice Magic) is set up every November and December in Munich’s famous shopping district at the Karlspatz Square. Bring the kids during the day or come here with a date to glide under the stars at night and treat yourself to some mulled wine from the booths surrounding the ice rink. (3.50-5 Euros)

5. Munich's Manger Market

Munich’s manger market (Kripperlmarket), in walking distance to the city’s famous Christkindlmarkt, dates back to 1757. It is devoted to mangers and nativity figures made in Germany. From baby Jesus, and the Christmas angel, to animals, lanterns for the barn, and the gifts of the three Magi, the manger market offers wonderful souvenirs and everything you’ll need to create your own nativity scene.

6. Pink Christmas – Gay Lesbian Christmas Market

If you had your share of traditional German Christmas markets, try something different this holiday season: Hit Pink Christmas, a gay/lesbian Christmas market. There are white pagoda tents, where you can buy handcrafted wares from local designers and organic food, and the market is decorated with pink plastic Christmas trees and colorful lights. Pink Christmas is famous for its live entertainment, and it’s a fun place for the whole family. (Free)

7. Christmas Village in the Royal Residence

In the center of Munich’s royal Residence, you’ll find a Christmas village, complete with a little chapel and a life-seized nativity scene. Watch traditional toymakers, goldsmiths, wood carvers, glassblowers, and knife grinders at work, while the kids take a ride on historic carousels or meet Nikolaus, the German Santa Claus. There is also a stage with daily live music and entertainment.(Free)

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