Which German Christmas Market to go to? - Germany Forum - Tripadvisor

Which German Christmas Market to go to?

Bridgewater, Canada
Level Contributor
521 posts
161 reviews
71 helpful votes
Which German Christmas Market to go to?

I'm from Canada, just moved to the UK in April, and totally want to visit Germany on a weekend in December for my first Christmas Market experience! I've combed through forums, but haven't quite found the answer to the questions I have and was wondering if you could help...

I want to visit a Christmas Market in Germany in either Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Cologne or Berlin. (There are my options with flights from where I live, that order is cheapest to most expensive flights)

Basically I am looking for a Christmas market with homemade things that isn't too expensive, is not crazy touristy, one where there could be snow mid-December, and that has that cosy, get you in the Christmas spirit atmosphere, as it'll be a solo Christmas for me. I've also had places outside of Germany be suggested, like Krakow and Brussels. Thanks in advance!

Mainz, Germany
Destination Expert
for Munich, Germany, Bavaria, Frankfurt
Level Contributor
16,455 posts
74 reviews
74 helpful votes
1. Re: Which German Christmas Market to go to?

Well, first of all: Snow is hit or miss in December. You are looking at cities at low elevation that hardly had any snow at all the last couple winters. An onset of winter is not impossible, just don't expect a winter-wonderland. For that you should consider a trip into the Ore Mountains, the home of the traditional German Christmas decorations, with towns like Annaberg, Seiffen, Freiberg. http://www.sachsenbaude.de/en/ore-mountains/christmas-land.html The next larger city is Dresden, which has one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany.

Rivaling Dresden in tradition is Nuremberg, probably THE most popular market. One can't escape the tourist hordes there, but Nuremberg makes for a great base to explore other beautiful towns in the region such as Bamberg or Würzburg. I really enjoyed the market in Würzburg and prefer those in mid-size cities in general anyway.

People here in the forums often recommend Stuttgart and the medieval market in nearby Esslingen.

I would travel to Berlin for a hundred other reasons than for the Christmas markets. Sorry, to me it is just not a city that comes to my mind when I think of Christmas atmosphere. Same for Cologne. But the Christmas markets in Cologne are extremely popular with visitors from the Netherlands and Belgium, as it is so close to those countries. So if you don't want a crazy touristy market, you should definitely avoid Cologne on weekends.

Los Angeles
8 posts
1 review
14 helpful votes
2. Re: Which German Christmas Market to go to?

I am also planning to visit Germany in December solo - I am going to go on a River Cruise and want to add on a few days before departure from Nuremberg. Did you consider a River Cruise? Any thoughts as to which city might be single-traveler friendly?

Destination Expert
for Frankfurt
Level Contributor
6,702 posts
36 reviews
59 helpful votes
3. Re: Which German Christmas Market to go to?

I will go ahead and recommend Stuttgart. It is spread out nicely so you don't get a claustrophobic feel, like in some of the other big city markets. It is also very pretty. The ease of getting to Esslingen is another plus. You could even stay in Esslingen which has a quaint feel to it and day trip to Stuttgart. The medieval market there is unique and well worth seeing. Only hand crafts are sold here.

Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
20,117 posts
57 reviews
56 helpful votes
4. Re: Which German Christmas Market to go to?

@Anonymous I've met a group of American Tourists last year at the Frankfurt Christmas Market and they loved the cruise. The beauty of rivercruises in Germany is that most cities were build around the river, so you are always in a Downtown when you exit the ship.

It is Winter though and we can not predict the weather, so that would be a disadvantage for that time of the year as you can do nothing but drink or eat on the ship itself.

I personally would do it as it is a great, rather romantic way to explore different cities and markets. Of course you could do it faster by train, but cruises have the advantage that you never have to pack/unpack and carry your luggage.

Bridgewater, Canada
Level Contributor
521 posts
161 reviews
71 helpful votes
5. Re: Which German Christmas Market to go to?

@Anonymous - I only have 3 days/4 nights so a river cruise wouldn't be an option, along with my budget being lower.

@Bornheimgirl - Thanks! Stuttgart is definitely an affordable option (along with Hamburg), but the recommendations for Stuttgart and Esslingen sound great.

Definitely would just love a good Christmas-y feel since spending it solo. And of course my first time in Germany - eek!

Munich, Germany
Destination Expert
for Munich
Level Contributor
4,834 posts
47 reviews
25 helpful votes
6. Re: Which German Christmas Market to go to?

its also worth noting that in the larger cities its not one market, but variously themed ones across the city.

For example, Munich has 22 various markets across the city, and that doesnt include nearby towns like Bad Tolz (nestling at the alpine foothills) or easily reachable ones an easy day trip away like Nürnberg, Regensburg or Salzburg.

I've never been to the one in downtown Stuttgart but from the website it does look like a nice one, and nicely spread out so possibly not too crowded


Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg
Level Contributor
16,735 posts
53 reviews
101 helpful votes
7. Re: Which German Christmas Market to go to?

The Stuttgart Christmas Market is one of Germany's largest, oldest, most visited, and most beautiful ones with the roofs of the stalls being highly decorated. It takes up a considerable contiguous area of the city center on four squares, the connecting streets, and nearby ones. Although it gets over 4 million visitors (Nuremberg's 2 million), as it is so spread out it isn't overcrowded, besides their recently taking measures to prevent that overcrowded feeling at too many other markets. It takes about 2 days to see it all. There are other markets about town, some on only one weekend, but they are hardly worth mentioning compared to THE Christmas Market ( www.stuttgarter-weihnachtsmarkt.de ). There is also the world's largest Christmas Circus ( www.weltweihnachtscircus.de ) if that would interest you, and various musical events at this time.

There are also two smaller large themed Christmas Markets 15 minutes away by public transportation in the form of the S-bahn that each attract over a million visitors: the previously mentioned Esslingen ( www.esslingen.de ) Medieval & Christmas Market set in the medieval center of one of Germany's largest towns to survive WW-II almost intact, particularly nice in the evening when lit up by candles and torches; and the Ludwigsburg ( www.ludwigsburg.de ) Baroque Christmas Market set close to Germany's largest perfectly-preserved (all original buildings and fixtures) palace, also particularly nice in the evening when the large angels made of lights are lit up..

Unless shopping when mornings are best when the markets first open, spend the day seeing interesting things, and visit the markets in the evening when there is not much else to do and they are at their most atmospheric.

For things to see and do in and around Stuttgart, have a look at my posts in the thread https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187275-i116-k6068438-Stuttgart_as_a_base-Germany.html .

8. Re: Which German Christmas Market to go to?

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