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.

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).

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.

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).

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.

© Image Rights: Header – Joachim Viertel, Aachener Printen – ATS, Christmas in Freiburg – FWTM/Schoenen, Christmas Market Augsburg – Regio Augsburg/Wolfgang B.Kleiner, CocolArt Tübingen – Handel- und Gewerbeverein Tübingen/Alexander Gonschior, Christmas Market Trier – TTM – Shooting Star Christmas Market Wiesbaden – WICM, Christmas Market Erfurt – ETMG