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From Nuremberg and Hamburg to Dresden and Cologne, the run-up to Christmas sees town squares all over Germany filled with festively decorated huts selling handcrafted goods and delicious food. Discover the 14 best German Christmas markets to visit this year.
Held on Munich’s famous Marienplatz, surrounded by historic buildings including the Neo-Gothic New and Old Town Halls, this market sees hundreds of wooden stalls turn the main square into a veritable winter wonderland. Decorated with lights, ornaments and garlands, these stands offer quintessential Christmas treats like stollen, chestnuts and berry mulled wine, while traditional Bavarian handicrafts include hand-painted glass ornaments. Who says Oktoberfest is the best time of year to visit Munich?
Christmas markets spring up across Hamburg in November and December, encompassing a wide range of themes. The main Christmas market, Weihnachtsmarkt, takes place around a colossal Christmas tree next to the City Hall. While Weihnachtsmarkt has a feel akin to the traditional Christmas markets found in town squares throughout Germany, Hamburg’s central Mönckebergbrunnen shopping district transforms into a magical Christmas forest to host the Winterwald (‘winter forest’) market. If you’re looking for a Christmas market experience with a difference, Hamburg also hosts a range of smaller themed markets, including the Saint Pauli festival – the world’s first erotic Christmas market.
The spa city of Aachen, set close to Germany’s border with Belgium and the Netherlands, turns into a winter wonderland in the run-up to Christmas. The quaint streets and squares surrounding the City Hall and cathedral are decked out with coloured lights and around 120 stalls, selling everything from mulled wine to handmade wooden toys. Kids will love the festive carousel, while friends back home will enjoy an authentic souvenir of Aachener Printen – a type of Lebkuchen local to Aachen, made with caramelised sugar and spices.