Where did the year go? These days I’ve found myself realizing that Christmas is already knocking on the door. On the streets I can already smell the cold wind, and with it, mulled wine. November is, to me, the greyest month of the year here in Munich, but luckily, on the last weekend of the month, the Christmas Markets season in Germany is on.
Even though I’ve always loved Christmas, in Brazil, the holiday has a quite different feeling than in Europe. There is no chance of snow, no cold weather, no mulled wine or Christmas Markets for that matter, which means, no real Christmassy mood. So since I moved to Europe, Christmas has become more exciting and with an extra pinch of magic.
This year, I came up with my list of tips to enjoy the Christmas Markets season in Germany, some of them might apply to other markets across Europe. I hope they can make this season even more exciting to those planning on coming to enjoy the Christmas Markets here in Germany. So here we go…
My 7 tips to enjoy the Christmas Markets season in Germany
Dates & Opening times
The Christmas Markets open on the last weekend of November, some already on Friday, and go until around the 23rd and 24th of December, depending on the market. Others are open even longer, here in Munich for example, there is a Christmas Market at the airport, which is open until December 30th.
Opening times also differ. Some open from 10am until 10pm, others open only from 5pm until 11pm, but most are open throughout the day. If you have a Christmas Market you really want to visit, you can always find the opening times online, and if you are in Munich, you can check my post about the Christmas Markets in Munich.
Dress up warm
The markets are open air, which means you will be exposed to the cold weather for a little long, so dress up warm to make the most of your time. Consider wearing a beanie and gloves, and apart from comfortable, warm shoes, and of course, you can always warm up with a cup of mulled wine.
Try the yummy foods and drinks
Each stall across the markets sell a different product, from food and drinks to souvenirs, and in every food stall there are different yummy treats to try. There are sausages and bread, pizza, sweets like Baumstritzel (my favorite), potato dishes, and much more. Normally the food is to take away, but in the markets you can also find some standing tables where you can eat a bit more relaxed.
As for drinks, you can’t just not try the mulled wine, which can be with red or white wine, and also without alcohol (kinderpunsch). However, drinks go beyond the traditional mulled wine, some places also offer eggnog, hot caipirinha, hot rum, among others.
Some yummy treats to try:
Gebrannte Mandel: caramelized almonds
Bratwurstsemmel: sausage and bread
Kartoffelbrot: bread with potato (because… Germany)
Flammkuchen: tarte flambée
Lebkuchen: ginger bread
Baumstrietzel: “chimney cake”
Currywurst mit Pommes: sausage with curry sauce and fries
Glühwein: mulled wine
Kinderpunsch: mulled wine without alcohol
When you get your drink…
If you don’t live in Germany you might not be familiar with the pfand system. It works like this: when you buy a drink in the Christmas Markets you pay a little extra for the cup (I love them). In case you return the cup when you’re done, you get the pfand you paid when you bought your drink, if not, you don’t get the money back but you get to take the cup as a souvenir with you.
The price of the pfand vary from market to market, some charge you 2 Euros, others even 5 Euros.
Always have cash
I still haven’t been to a Christmas Market here in Germany that accepts debit or credit cards, so always have cash with you. It will save you a trip to an ATM machine.
You can always combine different markets
Normally a market is near another one, so why not combine a few of them in one day? Some cities, like Munich, make a map of the Christmas Markets in town and their respective underground stations, this way you can plan your visit even better.
Take your time
Try not to go in a hurry. The best thing to do is to take your time to take a look at the stalls, have one or more cups of mulled wine, enjoy the Christmassy atmosphere with your loved ones, and of course, take a few pictures. Not to mention that depending on the market you might have to stand in line to get something to eat or drink.
For your information, the biggest Christmas Markets in Germany are…
Nürnberg: Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt (old town)
Hamburg: Weihnachtsmarkt Jungfernstieg
Cologne: Weihnachtsmarkt in der Altstadt (old town)
Berlin: WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt
Cottbus: Weihnachtsmarkt der Tausend Sterne
Heidelberg: Heidelberger Weihnachtsmarkt
Frankfurt: Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt (Römerberg und Paulsplatz)
Regensburg: Romantischer Weihnachstmarkt Schloss Thurn und Taxis
Check out my other posts about Christmas in Germany:
Enjoy the Christmas Markets season in Germany and Merry Christmas!