In December, thousands of tourists from around the world come to Germany, to plunge into the pre-holiday atmosphere and visit the traditional Christmas markets. German vintage streets decorated with hundreds of lighted garlands, festive lighting, the aroma of spicy mulled wine and hot waffles, as well as light music resounding in the town square. All these creates a unique Christmas atmosphere. Join us on our adventure to immerse into the Christmas tale in Germany. Read along and let the journey begin.
In almost every German city, starting from the end of November and lasting until Christmas, there is a place where people, locals and tourists, gather and delight in the aroma of freshly baked treats, glittering Christmas decorations, specially crafted gifts and basically, a perfect Christmas scene.
Christmas market atmosphere
Christmas markets in different cities differ distinctly from each other. For example, in the small villages, a little festive market will be placed on the main street where the locals enjoy some typical German street food and a mug of warm Gluhwein. In bigger cities however, Christmas markets are located in the main square next to the main sights and have an extensive entertainment program. It is note-worthy that the atmosphere will be different in each Christmas market.
Personally, I prefer the markets in small German towns: very intimate in a way, because it seems like everyone knows each other but at the same time, new faces are also delightfully welcomed as if you have always been part of their community. It’s a wonderful feeling and will make you think that “it really is Christmas”. I especially love the town of Memmingen, it felt like stepping inside one of my favourite fairy tales or like stepping inside a snow ball. To me, it’s a Christmas wonderland! 🙂
Christmas toys and decorations
In Munich, for example, the Christmas market is located in the central Marienplatz square in front of the City Hall. It is famous not only for its scale and tradition, but also for the main decoration of the city, the Christmas tree. Another feature to look forward to are the traditional Christmas music that the choir performs daily on the balcony of the town hall. Among the many shops, decorated in a rustic style, you can always find handicrafts, tasty treats, and traditional souvenirs.
Speaking about handicrafts and souvenirs, especially the German Christmas toys and Christmas decorations are to be highlighted. It is immediately noticeable that they are made with love, awe and attention to every detail. This is why they are so sought after throughout the world.
Very popular among the German Christmas decoration is the main character of ETA Hoffmann’s fairy tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”, which became famous thanks to the music of PI Tchaikovsky. If you are lucky enough to visit a Christmas market, be sure to buy a Christmas toy as a souvenir. A word of advice: if you see something special at the Christmas Fair, do not hesitate to buy; when you come back to the stall, it might have been sold already and you will be very sorry. Because as unique and special the toys are, they are also one of a kind.
Another popular souvenir, not only for tourists, is the traditional gingerbread in the form of hearts decorated with short sayings or congratulations.
Tasty Christmas market treats
Regardless of the size of the village, town, or city, all the German Christmas markets have a treat for every taste. A typical Christmas drink that you will definitely find on every Christmas Market is the Gluhwein (mulled wine) or the non-alcoholic hot punch option.
Both of them are usually served in a beautiful mug with Christmas symbols. Those mugs are often collectibles, and each Christmas market have their own unique and exclusive designs.
Food wise, of course, the traditional German “Bratwurst” (grilled sausages) should not be missed. But there are a lot more temptations – savoury as well as sweet: “Krautschupfnudeln” (fried finger-shaped noodles with cabbage), Kaesspaetzle (Swabian cheese noodles), soups, waffles, crepes and Stollen (German Christmas fruitcake), to name a few.
Experience the Christmas town
Visiting a German Christmas market is one of the best ways to get acquainted with the culture and traditions of Germany and to get a lot of impressions from the fairy-tale atmosphere that prevails in German cities from the end of November until Christmas Eve. The intoxicating aroma of mulled wine, the unforgettable taste of German sausages, authentic Christmas market stalls with original handmade crafts, festive lighting at the shops…you will always remember fondly the time spent in Christmas town.
Have you already visited a German Christmas market? Share your experience with us, we’d love to hear about it.