German Christmas markets are a wonderful part of the holiday tradition and a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. Almost every German city celebrates the season with a least one Christmas market (Berlin is home to 60 different Christmas markets!). German Christmas fairs start on the the last weekend of November and usually last until Christmas Day.
When: last weekend of November - December 24, 2012
On December 1st, Munich commemorates World Aids Day with a candle-light-walk through its city center. Join thousands of locals at Odeonsplatz, in front of the Field Marshall's Hall, and walk Munich's streets to St. Lukas Church, where a service with meditation and music will be held to remember the victims of AIDS.
When: December 1st, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Odeonsplatz, Munich
If you have a sweet tooth, don't miss the largest chocolate festival in Germany, which is celebrated in Tübingen, a traditional university town in the southwest of Germany. Visit the open-air market in the Old Town, which offers chocolate delicacies from around the world, and indulge in mouthwatering activities like chocolate-making classes, chocolate massages, tasting sessions, and chocolate art exhibitions.
When: December 4-9, 2012
Dresden celebrates Germany's famous Christmas fruitcake with a special "Stollen Festival"; expect no less than the world's biggest Christmas cake, weighing 4 tons and measuring 13 feet in length. Before sampling a piece of the super-stollen, which is filled with nuts, candied orange peel and spices, watch the traditional procession of hundreds of pastry chefs, who will carry the giant treat through Dresden's Old Town.
When: beginning of December 2012
Where: Dresden's Christmas Market
Since the 14th century, Hamburg celebrates the DOM, one of the largest open-air fun fairs in the North of Germany. Bring the whole family for ferries wheels, roller coasters, concerts, and fireworks.
When: November 9 - December 9, 2012
Where: Heiligengeistfeld, Hamburg
6. Christmas in Germany
The highlight of the German holiday season is Holy Eve on December 24th; shops and offices close early that day (around noon or 2 pm), the Christmas tree at home is illuminated, presents are opened, and many people visit a Christmas mass.
December 25th and 26th are both federal holidays; German shops are closed, and families concentrate on the important things in life; visiting friends, relaxing, watching a Christmas movie, and eating hearty German food.
When: December 24 - 26, 2012
On New Year's Eve, Berlin throws one of the biggest open-air parties in the world. Shake off the old year and celebrate Silvester German style at the Brandenburg Gate, the national symbol of Germany. You can celebrate all night long with music, dancing, and spectacular fireworks - the Berlin New Year's Eve Party lasts until the wee hours of the next morning.
When: December 31, 2012
Where: Brandenburg Gate, Berlin