Visiting Germany during the Christmas holidays really is a wonderful experience. All across the country, Christmas markets fill the streets, creating an aura of wonder and enchantment. The markets run from the last Sunday before Advent right through to the New Year. Berlin has over 60 different Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmarkts) to choose from so there is plenty on offer. At night when the sky is cold and dark, beautiful displays of coloured lights illuminate the historic architecture of the city giving it a warm and wonderful feeling. With so many markets to choose from, here are just a few of my favourites.
Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market
The Gendarmenmarkt is probably the biggest and boldest of them all. Located on the historic square, the market is bordered by three magnificent buildings – the French cathedral, the Berlin Cathedral and the Konzerthaus. Against such a magnificent backdrop, the market has an air of excitement and importance about it. Inside you’ll experience a variety of entertainment and shopping. You’ll find all sorts of arts and crafts, street and stage performers and deliciously tempting Christmas delicacies. Gendarmenmarkt is located in the Mitte district in the centre of Berlin.
Charlottenburg Castle Christmas Market
Set outside the front gates of Charlottenburg Castle, this market has a uniquely romantic vibe. The market hosts over 150 vendors from all across Europe. Admission is free and it does offer a wide variety of crafts, gastronomy and even some small rides for kids. The castle is located to the west of the city with regular bus routes available to the front gate. Make sure to take the audio tour of the castle, one of the highlights of any trip to Berlin. At only 10 euro complete with audio guide, the castle is remarkably restored, showcasing the lavishness and wealth of its former hosts.
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church Christmas Market
You will smell this market before you see it. Hot cocoa, roasted almonds and Glühwein (mulled wine) fill the air surrounding the market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. With over 170 stalls this market has a gift for everyone. From hand-crafted decorations and ornaments to toys and delicate accessories. There is a real aura of warmth and cosiness to the place. Fairy lights surround the market place and a staggering 25 meters tall Christmas tree illuminates at its centre. You will find the market at Breitscheidplatz, a large square to the east of the Charlottenburg District.
Christmas Markets at Alexanderplatz & Winter Dreams at Alexa
The Christmas market at Alexanderplatz is one of the easiest to get to, located just beside Alexanderplatz station in the Mitte district. With over 100 stalls the market offers a good variety of craftsmanship and cuisine. With the shopping centre by its side, the market is an ideal getaway for a quick drink of hot cocoa or mulled wine to amidst your shopping spree. On the other side of the shopping centre is Winter Dreams at Alexa. This ‘market’ is actually more of a funfair theme park with many exciting rides to choose from. A great spot for any thrill seekers.
Spandau Christmas Market
By far the largest of the Christmas markets, Spandau Christmas market hosts over 250 stalls mid-week and as many as 400 on weekends. Located in the Spandau Old town to the far west of Berlin, the market is one of the best for entertainment. There is a Christmas rock concert on Fridays, medieval plague processions on Wednesdays and a live crib with petting zoo also. A great variety available for children and families. The market is accessible by underground line U7 (station Altstadt Spandau) or by bus X33 (stop Altstadt Spandau) or bus 130 (stop Breite Strasse/ Markt).
A word of advice…
- A lot of the markets offer a lot of the same things, from crafts and decorations to mulled wine and grilled sausages. Make sure to shop around before finalising any purchases, particularly regarding crafts and decorations.
- If you’re ordering Glühwein, you will have to give a small deposit for the mug. When you order your first drink, you will be given a small token along with your drink. The rule is simple: give back the token to get back your deposit.
- Berlin gets VERY cold in the winter so remember to wrap up warm. The market stalls create a tunnel effect as well, making it feel even colder.
Remember to wrap up warm, Berlin gets VERY cold
If you’d like to find out more about Berlin, check out my blog post here!
Thanks for reading,
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