Germany’s famed Christmas markets are a beloved tradition now adopted all over the world. A sign that the Advent season has begun, these markets bring Christmas spirit usually serving up traditional German delicacies, mulled wine and handcrafted gifts. In true liberal Berlin style, the city offers a diverse range of festive markets alongside traditional offerings. Here are the Top 11 Alternative Christmas Markets in Berlin.
The Renaissance palace in the middle of the Grunewald forest, Jagdschloss, is considered the oldest surviving castle in Berlin. Every year the castle grounds host a traditional Christmas market for one weekend. On December 9 and 10 regional craftsmen, artists and vendors come to sell their original gifts in the romantic courtyard on the shores of Grunewaldsee. Fairytale characters, such as Hansel and Gretel, Frau Holle, and Cinderella and her stepmother, all mix among the visitors, helping to create a mystical, fairy tail atmosphere.
Every Saturday and Sunday during Advent season, the crowd behind Street Food Thursdays at Markthalle Neun put on the Merry Market Hall. The weekly farmer’s market gets a festive makeover, offering handmade crafts from independent creatives and manufacturers, as well a huge selection of delicious food to help visitors prepare for their Christmas dinner. The cosy market also has musical delights from neighbourhood choirs, a DIY wrapping station and plenty of Christmas bites to indulge in while wandering the market.
The Naughty Xmas market is the adults-only market offering an entirely new Christmas shopping experience. Hosted in the edgy and multifaceted art gallery and bar, Urban Spree, this market mixes all the traditional aspects of a Christmas market with erotic, hands-on activities and a hedonistic afterparty. The main event will present over 20 sex positive vendors, food stands and drink stations, some with naughty themes. Visitors can also take part in the many pro-sex and educational activities and screenings. The two-day event runs from December 16 to 17, costs 3€ ($3.54) to enter and will host a sensual afterparty on Saturday.
Trade in German glühwein for Scandinavian glögg at The Scandinavian Christmas Market held at Urban Spree. The two-day affair runs from December 8 to 9 and promises to treat guests to all the Nordic Christmas trimmings. Traditional festive bites including Köttbullar, Smørrebrød, Pepparkakor and much more will be served with warming glögg. Scandinavian designers have a number of stalls, offering small gifts, unique handicrafts, fashion and jewellery throughout the market. Highlights also include a meatball eating competition, Finnish sauna and live bands and DJs.
During the festive season, one of Berlin’s best rooftop bars, Klunkerkranich, is transformed every weekend into the city’s highest Christmas market. With a range of festive and creative stalls offering a selection of Christmas gifts, jewellery, art and handcrafted trinkets, the market has all the traditional trimmings of a Christmas market, but with stunning city views. DJs and bands serenade visitors in a diverse music program and culinary treats can be enjoyed in the cosy atmosphere from the Kranich kitchen. Every weekend in December, brunch is served at the market from 12 pm, with the market getting into full swing by 2 pm.
The Christmas market for dogs held at Grunewald is a dream market for canines and owners alike. The large space has plenty of room for pups to play and run around, while their owners look through the numerous stands offering information and gifts tailored to dogs. From tasty treats and organic food to toys, accessories and fashion, there is a gift for every dog at this market. But owners aren’t ignored and the market also offers glühwein and traditional Christmas bites to enjoy while their four-legged pals play.
Located on one of Berlin’s oldest streets, Sophienstraße, near Hackesche Höfe, is the city’s Eco Christmas Market. Focusing on ecological, organic and fair-trade products and foods, this market is for the environmentalists among us. The market’s stalls are adorned with trendy eco-designer gifts and handmade items that are locally sourced and made in Berlin, as well as a range of natural, organic and fair trade treasures. Running every weekend throughout December, it’s the perfect place to pick up some environmentally friendly and original Christmas gifts.
Holy Shit Shopping Christmas market is a cool pop-up art and design market, filled with carefully selected jewellery, art and fashion vendors. For one weekend 340 artists, designers and creatives gather at a huge industrial space at Arena Nightclub in Treptower. On December 16 and 17, visitors will be welcomed by DJs playing soft electronic music, the smell of glühwein in the air and rows of creative vendors and wintery food stalls. Costing 5€ ($5.91) entry, it’s the unique and edgy Christmas market that gives visitors the opportunity to get the best alternative Christmas gifts for their loved ones.
Don’t let the name fool you, this ‘rodeo’ is closer to Rodeo Drive in LA than cowboys riding horses. This stylish event has a range of high-class stalls and is held inside Kühlhaus Berlin, giving it a über sleek and fashionable atmosphere. It is known for hosting stalls from Berlin’s hottest designers, luxury boutique brands and artists. As one of the few indoor markets in the city, visitors can also shop to their heart’s content without being bundled in layers. Located in Mitte, the market runs every weekend until December 21.
Held on the grounds of St George’s Anglican Church is the Very British Christmas market. On December 9, visitors can enjoy all things festive and British on the spacious church grounds, where German and English stalls serve up traditional delicacies. The sound of bagpipes and English carols will fill the air and guests can try traditional mince pies while listening to British Christmas tales. The market also sells English books at low prices, along with the usual handcrafted gifts. A uniquely British atmosphere fills the grounds, letting some local Brits feel at home and giving others a chance to taste the country’s Christmas specialities.
The Green Market is Berlin’s first all-vegan Christmas market. The two-day affair is held on December 16 and 17 at the industrial, spree-side Funkhaus Berlin. Visitors can expect a mixture of street food, sustainable shopping and live music, as well as DIY workshops, cooking shows and platforms to discuss and learn about vegan lifestyles. Supporting local manufacturers and sustainable concepts, the atmosphere is unique, open and positive.