Get ready to indulge in the Christmas spirit!

Germany has along history of rich Christmas traditions that live on today through its festive holiday markets. Spend some time exploring the spectacular ancient, medieval, and Renaissance cities on our itineraries, noteworthy any time of year but particularly special adorned in their holiday finery.

As varied as its melting pot of cultures and storied past, Historic Highlights of Germany member cities are as well-known for their preserved customs and traditions, outstanding cuisine and unique heritage. Characterized by their own distinctive settings and regional traditions, our cities offer a wide range of regional Christmas markets as a more intimate alternative.

Feel the unique atmosphere! Meet up with friends and family and enjoy ‘Glühwein’ (mulled wine) together. The twinkling scenes of festively decorated squares with their enchanting market stalls and glittering Christmas trees set against the backdrop of beautiful historic buildings, let visitors relieve the magic of yesteryear. The aromas of roasted chestnuts, grilled sausages, gingerbread and delicious biscuits fill the air and help create that very special yuletide ambience – Germany’s time of festive magic.

Historic Highlights of Germany has compiled four regional Christmas journeys of the country that will allow you to experience the best of its Christmas markets, cheerful atmosphere, and unique yuletide traditions.

Peaceful Christmas Breaks

A special attraction of Osnabrück’s Christmas market is the largest Christmas music box in the world. Atmospheric bright lights illuminate the Old Town as a lovingly restored children´s merry-go-round from 1907 turns and festively decorated stalls offer craftworks, wooden toys, or sweets. St. Nikolaus visits each day to open a window on the huge Advent calendar in front of the “Rathaus” (City Hall) where Osnabrück’s treaty of the Peace of Westphalia was signed in 1648.

When the “Prinzipalmarkt” (Principal Market) is bathed in a golden light, shops and museums are subtly illuminated, and the entire city center is festively decorated, the city’s Christmas markets open their doors, marking the beginning of a magical time in Münster. There are five different Christmas markets, all just minutes away from one another by foot. Do not miss the “Rathaus” (City Hall) with the historic “Friedenssaal” (Hall of Peace) and the magnificent “St. Lambertikirche” (St. Lamberti Church).

The smell of “Printen” (a type of gingerbread) fills the air as you stroll through the Christmas market in Aachen. Printen are the signature Christmas treat of Aachen and they are only produced in or near the city. Everywhere around the imposing cathedral and the city hall merchants sell their goods in small stalls. The atmosphere between the cathedral and the town hall is unique. The Christmas market even has a mascot: the “Printenmann” (Gingerbread Man), who is 6 meters tall.

Advent is Wiesbaden’s star season as its Twinkling Star Christmas market takes place on the idyllic “Schlossplatz” (Palace Square) alongside the historic city palace. Seasonal concerts, ice skating, carol singing, nativity plays and fairytale tellers add to a peaceful atmosphere.

World Champion Beer Sommelier
World Champion Beer Sommelier
World Champion Beer Sommelier

Charming Christmas in the Black Forest and Bavaria

Set in the heart of the historic Old Town, Freiburg´s charming Christmas market offers the magnificent fragrance of mulled wine and bratwurst, gingerbread and hot chestnuts as well as plenty of gift ideas, such as jewelry, puppets, pottery, candles, Christmas tree decorations and much more.

An absolute highlight of the Advent season in Tübingen is the ChocolART festival. It takes place in the first week of Advent between the first and second Advent. Chocolate of every imaginable kind is on offer – a real chocolate festival. Following this, the actual Christmas market takes place on the second and third week of Advent. The market square, with the historic town hall, the heart of Tübingen, becomes a sea of lights, pleasant smells and anticipation of Christmas.

Augsburg´s Christkindlesmarkt radiates the charm of the holiday season with more than 500 years of tradition.

Every weekend evening, the impressive Renaissance “Rathaus” (Town Hall) turns into a huge Advent calendar as twenty-four angels make music while standing in the windows of the Renaissance structure.

Würzburg is the northern gateway to the Romantic Road. In the heart of Old Town, one of Germany´s most picturesque and enchanting Christmas markets carries on a tradition of holiday cheer dating from the early 19th century and provides a charming scene fit for a Christmas card with its Gothic Chapel.

This traditional Bavarian Christmas market of Regensburg was already mentioned back in 1791. Today there is a fragrance of roasted almonds and mulled wine in the air. Beside the camp fire and with a view of the cathedral, you can listen to the sounds of the live bands or savour exceptional culinary delicacies. Very cosy and unmistakable.

Traditional Christmas along German rivers

Starting in the 2,000-year-old town of Koblenz, known as the “Gateway to the Romantic Rhine”, you will find the traditional Christmas fair directly on the city´s pedestrian and shopping streets throughout the historic “Altstadt” (Old Town).

In Bonn, Christmas is celebrated together with Beethoven. The Beethoven Memorial on Münsterplatz overlooks the entire event. To be at eye level with Beethoven, you should take a ride on the historic Ferris wheel from 1904. Then head through the alleys to the right and left of Münsterplatz to discover the entire enchanting Christmas market.

As Germany´s oldest city, Trier´s glorious history can be witnessed at every step on a stroll through the bustling Old Quarter that´s made particularly inviting for the holidays.

The “Hauptmarkt” (Main Market) and the “Dom” (Cathedral) present themselves as a picturesque backdrop for the annual Christmas market.

Heidelberg is renowned for its romantic ambiance and never does the “fairytale of times past” come more alive than when the magic of Christmas illuminates the Old Town. Heidelberg?s essential winter experience, “Christmas on Ice”, offers the opportunity to skate in an open-air rink at the very foot of the world-famous castle.

Advent is Wiesbaden´s star season as its Twinkling Star Christmas market takes place on the idyllic “Schlossplatz” (Palace Square) alongside the historic city palace. Seasonal concerts, ice skating, carol singing, nativity plays, and fairytale tellers add to a peaceful atmosphere.

Festive moments from Germany´s heart to the Baltic Sea

Erfurt´s historic Old Town and the “Mariendom” (St.Mary´s Cathedral), where Martin Luther was ordained as a priest in 1511, provide a magical atmosphere at Christmas time and the “Domplatz” (Cathedral Square) is an ideal place for the Christmas market with a tradition of more than 150 years. Craftsmen sell a wide range of Thuringian handicrafts from Christmas tree decorations to blue print textiles and a rich choice of ceramics and pottery.

Traditional Christmas markets are situated in Potsdam´s historical Old Town near “Schloss Sanssouci” (Sanssouci Palace) as well as in the midst of the UNESCO world cultural heritage site “Krongut Bornstedt” (Bornstedt Crown Estate, where a nostalgic atmosphere with its children´s railway and steam-powered merry-go-round, dating to 1893. In the famous Dutch Quarter, the “Sintaklaas” Christmas market takes place in Dutch tradition with culinary delights from Holland.

The largest Christmas market in the north of Germany conjures up a festive blaze of lights in the Old Town of Rostock. Venerable merchant houses, brick gables and churches – stony witnesses of a brilliant history of Rostock as a Hanseatic City – look down to a bustling and colorful Christmas fair. The festivities traditionally begin with the eagerly anticipated arrival of Santa Claus and the type of vehicle he will arrive in is a well-protected secret every year.

As Thomas Mann (winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, from Lübeck) once said: “I will never lose my love for the magic of Christmas”. Evidence of a Christmas market in Lübeck dates back to 1648. The Christmas City of Germany’s North invites you to stroll through the many winding streets of the Old Town and to enjoy the Christmas markets on the various squares. Or immerse yourself in the world of craftsmen who offer their products in the church of St Petri.


Next Christmas Markets In Our Member Cities

Freiburg Christmas Market

November 18 - December 23

Heidelberg Christmas Market

November 18 - December 22

Koblenz Christmas Market

18. November 2021 - 9. January 2022


© Image Rights: Header – Joachim Viertel, Aachener Printen – ATS, Christmas in Freiburg – FWTM/Schoenen, Christmas Market Augsburg – Regio Augsburg/Wolfgang B.Kleiner, CocolArt Tübingen – H