The Best Christmas Markets in Berlin
Berlin has some fantastic Christmas markets to get you in the festive mood | © pictureproject / Alamy Stock Photo
Germany does Christmas better than most, and this is reflected in the array of Christmas markets in its capital, Berlin. Pour a gluhwein and plan a festive trip that pairs visits to the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag and Berlin Wall with cinnamon-scented Christmas markets.
As the birthplace of the Christmas market, Germany comes into its own at Christmas time – as does Berlin, the capital city. Whether you’re looking to shop for sustainable gifts, keep the kids happy with fairground rides, munch on star-shaped biscuits or just sing the night away, there’s a Berlin market to fulfil your Christmas wish. We’ve picked our top markets below, but there are plenty of other options in this festive capital. Venture out to Adventsmarkt Schlachtensee, near a bathing lake in a setting that’s great for winter walks; visit the foodie-focused Merry Markthalle, held in a covered marketplace full of global food stalls; get edgy at design market Weihnachtsrodeo; and go old-school at Spandau Christmas Market, which is set in a gorgeous old town covered in traditional decorations.
Christmas Market at Charlottenburg Palace
Park, Shop, Historical Landmark
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Have a very sumptuous Christmas at a market held in front of a grandiose, 17th-century royal residence. As one of Berlin’s largest Christmas markets, the attractions here are also suitably extravagant, including an orchestra belting out Christmas tunes, carnival rides, heated food tents to beat the winter chill and some 250 stalls selling gifts and traditional treats from Germany and beyond, including favourites such as mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. To top it all off, the palace and grounds are illuminated for the occasion.
Lucia Christmas Market
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Step out of Berlin and into Scandinavia for this Nordic-themed market, held in the grounds of a historic brewery. Sift through Scandi-cool decorations, jewellery and clothing, and look out for food and drink that you won’t find at other markets – such as Swedish cinnamon buns and a dizzying variety of hygge-boosting, hot, boozy drinks, such as glögi (Finnish mulled wine). Kids don’t miss out on the fun either, as there are fairground rides, trampolines and regular visits from Santa. If it gets too cold, simply climb into one of the special “coat heaters” – snug jackets that have been pre-heated by a wood-fired oven.
Christmas Avenue’s LGBTIQ* Winterdays
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Returning for its second instalment after launching its Berlin edition in 2019, Winterdays combines elements of a traditional Christmas market – hot food and drink stalls, plus small gifts and colourful decorations for sale – with a programme of events, all while celebrating inclusivity and equality. As such, there’s a friendly and warm atmosphere throughout the market, making its events even more fun. Expect lots of live music, drag bingo and bars with sizeable cocktail menus, if you’re sick of mulled wine. It’s perfect for anyone wanting to liven up their Christmas shopping experience.
Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt
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Those looking to impress with their festive gift-giving should spend their euros at Gendarmenmarkt, where the items have a luxurious feel. In fact, the neat rows of well-decorated tents and glowing decor show passers-by that this is a classy affair, even before you step into the market. Once inside, you’ll be able to see artisans at work in the craft tent. The entertainment here is also special, with a packed programme featuring fire eaters, acrobats and dancers, plus live music covering jazz, classical and Christmas choirs.
Eco Christmas Market at Sophienstraße
© Ralf Bielefeldt / Courtesy of Sophienstraße Christmas Market
It’s been going for over 20 years and this market in the fashionable Mitte district is still as popular as ever. As the name suggests, there’s a big environmental focus, demonstrated by lots of organic food – including filled crêpes, fluffy waffles and a big selection of vegan options – and sustainable gifts, from wooden toys to beauty products. It’s a great market for finding one-of-a-kind presents, while stilt walkers, circus performers and musicians provide the entertainment.
Christmas market at Kollwitzplatz
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The 60-odd stalls at this socially conscious market focus on sustainable, responsibly produced products – including a big selection of organic and fair trade items. It’s a great option for those looking to buy low-impact gifts, and also goes out of its way to create a calm and welcoming atmosphere, providing a serene alternative to busier markets. Food and drink are also a big deal here, and visitors can sample locally sourced goodies such as spiced Christmas biscuits and mulled gin.
Advent market at Domäne Dahlem
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Set around a 16th-century manor house – now converted into an open-air agriculture and food museum – this cosy market specialises in all kinds of handicrafts. This is the place to go for high-quality, hand-made gifts – and you can even watch them being made, as there are glassblowers, gold and silversmiths, potters, toy-makers and other artists working on site. Budding artisans can hone their skills in various workshops and activities for children, such as candle-making and decorating tree ornaments. Live music from brass bands keeps the atmosphere thoroughly jolly.
Vegan Christmas Market, Fehrbelliner Platz
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Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the festive deliciousness when there are forward-thinking markets like this one, offering a world of plant-based Christmas treats. Take your pick from burgers, bratwurst and currywurst (a must-eat Berlin sausage with mild curry-ketchup), falafel, stollen, strudel, pastries and plenty of “cheese” – all made without animal products. The conscious approach extends to the gifting choices, which include vegan cosmetics and beauty products, plastic-free jewellery and Christmas tree decorations, and cruelty-free clothing and accessories.
Alexanderplatz Christmas Market
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Taking place in one of Berlin’s busiest tourist spots means that this market is big, bold and bustling, with a bit of a carnival feel to it. With the iconic TV Tower looming above you, browse through 100-plus stalls selling everything from handbags to handicrafts, plus all the Christmassy snacks you can dream of. Post-shopping, whisk yourself around the fairground rides – the carousel if you’ve got children with you, or the giant, gleaming Ferris wheel for something with more altitude – and glide across the huge ice rink. And make sure you visit the top of the TV Tower for panoramic views of the city at its wintry best.
Winter World on Potsdamer Platz
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If you want to brush up on your Winter Olympics skills, get active at Winter World, where you can perfect your toe-jump on the ice rink, hone your out-turn on the curling rink and even hurtle down a 70m toboggan run to get the adrenaline flowing. Those after a calmer market experience can browse the gifts housed in wooden chalets and relax with a rejuvenating hot chocolate, as they stroll under pretty arches of lights and ribbons.
This is a rewrite of an article originally by Jordane de Fay.
These recommendations were updated on August 23, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.