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Christmas Markets in Germany - Guide to Traditional German Christmas Markets

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German Christmas Market, Jena

German Christmas Market in Jena

Rene Schwietzke

Celebrate the Holiday Season in Germany:

What would the holidays be without a visit to a traditional German Christmas market?

Strolling through festively decorated and illuminated streets, taking rides on old-fashioned carousels, buying handmade Christmas decoration, listening to German Christmas carols, and drinking hot spiced wine; Christmas markets are a traditional and fun part of every Christmas season in Germany .

Old town squares and medieval castles are an enchanting setting for most Christmas markets and add to the festive atmosphere of the holiday season.

The Tradition of German Christmas Markets:

German Christmas markets date back to the 14th century. Originally, the fairs provided only food and practical supplies for the cold winter season, but soon the markets became a beloved holiday tradition and a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.

German Christmas markets usually open in the last week of November and close down right after Christmas Eve on December 24th. You can visit them from 10 or 11 a.m. until 9 or 10 p.m. at night.

What to Buy at a German Christmas Market:

Christmas markets are the perfect place to find a unique Christmas gift or souvenir, such as handmade toys, Christmas ornaments and decorations, pottery, and crystal ware.

And no visit to a German Christmas market is complete without sampling some Christmas treats; here is a list of German specialties that you should not miss:

  • Stollen – traditional German Christmas bread with dried fruits, nuts, spices, and sugar icing
  • Glühweinmulled wine, a hot spiced wine
  • Nürnberger Rostbratwürste - small charcoal-grilled Nuremberg sausages
  • Lebkuchen - gingerbread biscuits
  • Bratäpfel - baked apples
  • Gebrannte Mandeln – roasted almonds
  • Maronen – roasted chestnuts
  • Marzipanbrot – „Marzipan Bread“, a big piece of Marzipan, shaped like a loaf of bread

Almost every city celebrates with at least one Christmas market (the city of Berlin counts 60 Christmas markets), so where to start? Have a look at Germany's most popular Christmas markets.

What's your favorite Christmas market in Germany? Take our poll!

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