By Codelia Mantsebo
To immerse yourself in a truly festive experience, you need to be admiring fine handmade crafts over a glass of gløgg or steaming hot mulled red wine laden with raisins.
Amongst the most popular of hotspots for fruity ciders, mulled wine and delicious delicacies is Germany. From medieval Nuremberg to captivating Cologne, Germany celebrates yuletide in high style, with its famed Christmas markets.
A festive trip to Germany’s Christmas markets is a must-visit during the holiday season. Discover the best German Christmas markets in some of the country’s beautiful destinations.
The Nuremberg Christmas Market is undoubtedly Germany’s most famous Christmas market. One of the world’s oldest German Christmas markets, Christkindlesmarkt dates back to the 16th century. Traditional wares such as handmade Christmas decorations and culinary treats have been offered by the nearly 200 wooden stalls, decorated with red and white canvas. Take a stroll through the festively lighted lanes between the stalls and discover the enchantment of the unique atmosphere.
30 November to 24 December (nuernberg.de)
Cologne Christmas markets
Cologne’s markets are famous for their gingerbread house-style huts, piled high with baumschmuck (tree decorations), nativity figures and nutcrackers.The aroma of baked apples, cinnamon biscuits and mulled wine float in the air, while visitors shop and watch glassblowers, blacksmiths and wreath-makers work their magic.
There are seven Christmas markets in Cologne; markets to visit include the Fairytale Christmas Market, the Market of Angels at Newmarket with chalet-style stalls, and the Cologne Harbour Market which sits alongside the city’s chocolate factory.
26 November to 23 December (cologne.de)
With the backdrop of the River Elbe, Dresden is turned into a Winter Wonderland each year.
Dresden is mostly famous for the rich dried fruit and marzipan enhanced Stollen (Streizel) cake — Germany’s distinctive Christmas cake. Dresden’s version is commonly regarded as Germany’s finest.
Highlights here include the world’s tallest Nutcracker and tallest Christmas pyramid.
28 November to 24 December (dresden.de)
Stuttgart Christmas Market
The Stuttgart Christmas Market is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in Europe. Elaborately decorated, the stallholders are awarded with a prize each year by a jury for the Christmas Market’s most beautiful stall.
Visitors can grab a warm Glühpunsch wine scented with cinnamon and vanilla and amble into the Old Castle’s Renaissance courtyard for the daily Christmas concert, while the Kinderland on Schlossplatz offers rides (carousel, Ferris wheel, mini steam railway) and some hands-on holiday experiences like making candles for kids.
23 November – 23 December (stuttgart-tourist.de/en)
The city’s main market is held beneath the spectacularly poignant Gedächtniskirche (Memorial Church), making Berlin a great destination for a unique Christmas market experience.
The Gendarmenmarkt boasts culinary enticements from a portion of the nation’s top gourmet chefs, and additionally a trim of excitement including performers, trapeze artists, fire craftsmen, choirs, move gatherings and music troupes.
Other noteworthy markets in the area include Potsdamer Platz Market, The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church Market and the Spandau Market which celebrates Advent with a Nativity scene featuring live animals.
23 November – 31 December
Perfect for the discerning elite traveler, Düsseldorf exudes class and wealth with cutting-edge style. There are several markets, many concentrated around the Königsallee (Kö), a designer-store-packed street that that sparkles flawlessly under its Christmas enlightenments.
Art Nouveau lovers will linger at the Engelchen market on Heinrich-Heine-Platz; children will enjoy the merry-go-round fun at Schadowplatz; for a more traditional and nostalgic atmosphere, head to the stalls set up in the Marktplatz in front of the historic town hall.
17 November – 23 December (duesseldorf-tourismus.de/en)