10 Beautiful German Christmas Markets

| November 25, 2015

It’s that time!!!

People often ask, what are the best Christmas Markets to visit?  There’s no good answer for that because they’re all awesome!   Still, here are 10 beautiful German Christmas Markets to entice you…


The atmosphere: Nothing will give you the Christmas spirit like walking down Fachwerk-lined streets, amidst hot drinks and laughter and ornaments and lights and cookies and nutcrackers and carolers...it is just plain special

We’ve visited this market every year that we’ve lived in Germany because Michelstadt is the quintessential German town.  Nestled in the Odenwald and filled with Fachwerk houses lining the cobblestoned streets, it bubbles over with Christmas cheer during the Advent season. Throughout the alleys of town, you’ll find Glühwein to sip on, gifts to buy, and a lovely Pyramid centerpiece as well as other giant wooden statues of nutcrackers, Santa’s reindeer, and holiday images. Carolers gather under the town hall while people roam the streets, full of Christmas spirit. You just can’t beat the atmosphere!

When in Michelstadt, I always run up the road to Erbach to shop in the Odenwald’s oldest store selling handcrafted wood at much more reasonable prices than in the cities and markets.



medieval weihnachtsmarkt castle schonseerland treats

Not far from the Czech border, Schloss Guteneck‘s medieval Christmas Market is picturesque, filled with wonderfully hand-crafted gifts, and fun for the whole family. Located on the grounds of an old castle, it features camel rides, indoor and outdoor markets and performers, and a lot of yummy food.

If in the area, one weekend a season there is a candlelit market nearby, Advent im Wald.



rudesheim christmas market

Located along the Rhine River, the Rüdesheim Christmas Market is memorable for two things: its beautiful setting, and plenty for the little ones to do and see.  All year round, Rüdesheim is a lovely little town of quaint old houses and narrow alleyways, surrounded by vineyards most famous for Riesling.  At Christmas, when the town is decorated and fully-lit, it’s simply beautiful. The market is divided into international sections, where goods from other countries are sold.  The town itself is very touristy and a bit crowded, but worth a visit, especially for the foreigners.  For the little ones, there are small rides, ponies, a bunny village, and more.  For the grownups, a little tip: try the Rüdesheimer coffee!



christmas market esslingen

Esslingen, a well-preserved old medieval market city, hosts a medieval Christmas market filled with music, performers, food, gifts, drinks, and fun and games.  Our favorite children’s activity was the gingerbread house workshop!



maerchenstrasse kassel christmas market

Kassel hosts a fairy-tale themed Christmas Market with little stalls and kiosks set up around town, depicting various Grimms’ characters.  The market sprawls through the city streets, with a giant ferris wheel lighting up the sky.  The most memorable part of this market for me, was the Steiff window display that went on forever.  It was like being in an old movie.



Vendors – If you’re just looking for “something to take home”, you’ll have no problem.  Gifts for friends in America?  Many choices.  If you’re looking for something specific, you might need to shop around at different markets, but that's not a bad thing!  Fortunately, larger markets offer brochures and maps on the street, at vendors, and online.

Wiesbaden’s market is commercial, but beautiful.  The light displays are among my favorite, and the views from the giant ferris wheel go on forever. Almost anything you want, you’ll find it in one of the many stalls lining the streets–not to mention, wine wine wine!



sankt Wendel christmas market live nativity reenactment

Sankt Wendel is a little town in the middle of nowhere, but boy can they put on a Christmas market.  They truck in ice from the Alps for tubing, put on a live Christmas play, and have no shortage of decorations, gifts, food, lights, and fun!



Rothenburg ob der tauber christmas market


Rothenburg o.d. Tauber is a must-visit for Christmas lovers any time of year. The town itself is the headquarters of Käthe Wohlfahrt, which manufactures Christmas ornaments and décor; my favorite are the pewter ornaments, but their wooden ornaments come in close second. Across the street from their large shop, sits a Christmas museum. The market itself is large, with small rides for younger children, a giant Advent calendar in the windows of a building in the main courtyard, and plenty of food and cheer to go around–not to mention a horse-drawn carriage that will guide you through the streets if you choose.



You're never at a loss for Christmas shopping or food!

Seligenstadt, like Michelstadt, is an authentic little German town that exudes Christmas cheer in December.  Indoor and outdoor markets (including in an old abbey), food galore, horse and carriage rides, decorations, and so much more, turn this picturesque town into a quaint little Christmas village!



nurnberg christmas market

Nürnberg is home to one of Germany’s most famous markets, the Christkindlmarkt. Although the city can be crowded, Christmas is around every corner.  Storefronts are decorated, an adorable horse and carriage carries visitors through town, carolers gather on a stage, and folks are eating, drinking, and being merry. Children have their very own Kinderweihnachtsmarkt, where they can visit Christkind, write to Santa, ride rides, and enjoy market fun.


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Category: Christmas Markets, Europe, FAMILY, Family Travel, Germany, In Germany A Broad blog, Top Tens, Travel

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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