Christmas in Germany: Navigating Bavaria’s Markets
Christmas in Germany is one of the country’s most special seasons. In December, cities and towns are dotted with Christmas markets — all selling gifts and holiday decorations. Food, drink and live music are also a major component of these markets, and you’ll find some of the best cold-weather fare here to feast upon.
Tips for Spending Christmas in Germany
- If you can swing enough time off, try to visit a few Bavarian markets to get a feel for the various cities and small towns
- Visit markets both during the day and at night when they transform into magical winter wonderlands
- Don’t try to ‘save money’ by eating elsewhere; these markets feature some of the best cheap eats in Germany
- Dress in layers to ensure you’ll have plenty of warmth and stamina to last for hours
- Save your souvenir budget for these markets as they often feature local vendors
German Christmas Markets in Bavaria
Some of our favorite towns to visit when spending Christmas in Germany include:
Munich’s market is one of the largest in Bavaria (as it’s a major city and hub). If you’re flying into Bavaria, there’s a good chance you’ll end up spending at least a day in Munich. The Christmas market here is a great way to ease your way into Christmas in Germany.
Just a heads-up: this market gets extremely crowded, but don’t let that get to you. We recommend spending only an hour or so here if you abhor crowds. Most of the other markets on this list feature less chaos.
Should you need a few more ideas of things to do in your hub city, we can help with that too.
This is possibly one of the most popular Christmas markets in Germany. For one month, Nuremberg’s Olde Town is transformed into a winter wonderland.
Though the market is held in the main square, it’s decorated with small, rustic booths that give it an intimate feel.
You can’t leave without buying a Zwetschgenmännle, small dolls made of prunes (hey, they’re healthier than gingerbread men!).
Regensburg’s Four Christmas Markets
Regensburg has not one — but three (three!) — Christmas markets. Which is ironic, considering this is one of the smaller cities in Bavaria.
Since there are four markets here, you’ll find plenty of other travelers wandering the streets and browsing the stalls. Yet, we don’t recommend discounting this city’s markets based on that fact alone. The markets are actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site, meaning they need to be on your bucket list like yesterday.
This Christmas market dates back 500 years! You’ll find your favorite holiday beverages, such as mulled wine, cider, hot cocoa and eggnog here. You can even ‘upgrade’ your drink to make it an adult beverage. There are also plenty of inexpensive souvenirs to take home.
This market can get a little crazy during December — especially when the river cruise ships pull into port.
This arts and crafts market is beloved by both adults and children alike. In addition to the colorful souvenirs you’ll find here, visitors can also enjoy live music and performances.
Also known as the Romantic Market, this Christmas market is set amongst the backdrop of Thurn and Taxis Palace, a reconstruction of a German castle that was destroyed in World War II.
For a more unique experience, head to Vilshofen for the floating holiday market. You’ll need to plan a little for this one though, as it only runs for three weekends in December. A large boat, docked along the Danube is transformed and houses tiny holiday wonderland stands, selling spiced nuts, mulled wines and crafts.
The medieval town of Rothenburg is reason enough to spend Christmas in Germany. It looks like something ripped out of a fairytale book (or more practically, a Disney cartoon). At Christmastime, it’s completely transformed — especially the market square that’s filled with ornaments and other handmade crafts.
Wander Like Me in Berlin
We are partnering with Selina Berlin next summer to help you find those locals secret places. Get off the beaten path and build your next trip itinerary with our Wander plans. Chat with our locals for on ground support.