The tradition of the German Christmas market (Christkindlmarkt or Weihnachtsmarkt) dates back to the 15th century. Today, thousands of Christmas markets all over Germany invite visitors to get into the festive mood with lights, decorations, music, and vendors selling gifts, local crafts, plenty of great food and that favorite Christmas market beverage, Glühwein. Christmas markets are a treat for all the senses — a feast for your eyes, ears, taste buds and soul.
Nov. 22 to Dec. 22: The medieval Christmas market in Esslingen features over 180 booths and huts in the city center. Costumed vendors offer arts and crafts, food and drink, plus there’s plenty of entertainment, such as jugglers, fire eaters and jousting. The market will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
For more information, visit http://tourist.esslingen.de.
Nov. 23-27: The lake in Böblingen sets the stage for this traditional Christmas market with entertainment, shopping and food.
Nov. 23 to Dec. 22: The Stuttgart Christmas market is located in the city center around the Marktplatz, Schillerplatz and the Schlossplatz. With more than festively decorated 200 huts, booths and attractions, it is considered one of Europe’s biggest Christmas markets.
Children of all ages will enjoy an ice rink, small Ferris wheel and a mini railway. A Finnish Christmas village can be found on the Karlsplatz. The market will be open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Nov. 24 to Dec. 22: This baroque Christmas market is located in the center of town. The decorations and handicrafts on display at the more than 160 festively illuminated stands make this an unforgettable market.
As an added treat, the market square is transformed into a winter paradise in the weeks before Christmas. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Nov. 26: The Möhringen Weihnachtsmarkt located on Maierstrasse, next to the Martin church, will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Nov. 26-27: Booths, festive lights and live music make this market on the Marktplatz a treasure to visit. Open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Nov. 25 to Dec. 18: St. Nikolaus will make an appearance on Dec. 6. Numerous stands will offer crafts, food and gifts to Christmas shoppers. The market will open daily from noon to 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 1-31: The Christmas market on Marktstrasse will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Dec. 24 and 31 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Dec. 3, a Nikolausmarkt will be open for one day only, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Marktstrasse.
Dec. 1-21: During the market, the stores stay open late on Saturdays. Musical entertainment, vendors and an ice skating rink are featured. The market will open weekdays at noon, 11 a.m. on weekends.
Dec. 2-4: More than 50 decorated booths will offer a colorful array of gifts, crafts, food and more. The market will be open Friday from 2-8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dec. 2-4: This market located in the city center will feature a antique merry-go-round, a live nativity scene, arts, crafts and food. Opens Friday from 6-10 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dec. 9-11: The market is located at the Marktplatz and features hundreds of decorated huts and booths erected in front of the city’s beautiful half-timbered houses.
If you are looking for an extraordinary holiday gift, Tübingen is the ideal place. Most of the goods offered are handmade: jam and honey, shawls and gloves, cups and plates, toys and paintings, candles and Christmas tree decorations.
The market will open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Nov. 21 through Dec. 24: Augsburg’s Christmas market has nearly 150 stands, all located around a huge Christmas pyramid in the center of town. Open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Dec. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Nov. 22 through Dec. 26: A trip to this traditional Christmas market is like strolling through a scene from a winter fairy tale. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Nov. 22 from 5-9 p.m. and Dec. 24 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Nov. 25 through Dec. 24: One of Germany’s most well-known and famous Christmas markets is located around the Frauenkirche in the center of Nürnberg. Open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Dec. 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Nov. 25 through Dec. 23: While visitors to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, also known as “the Christmas Village,” can enjoy Christmas all year long, a visit to this medieval village during the holiday season is especially festive. Open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Markets at castles
Nov. 25-27: The Schloss Hohenzollern Royal Christmas market claims to be one of the most romantic German Christmas markets in a castle setting.
Visitors can enjoy the castle’s atmosphere and history while shopping for family and friends in the courtyard of the castle and its ramparts.
There is an entry fee of €10 for visitors 16 and over and includes parking and shuttle bus service. The market will be open Friday from 2-10 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information, visit www.burg-hohenzollern.com.
Nov. 25-27: Bruchsal’s baroque castle serves as the back drop for a romantic Fairytale Christmas market. Visitors can enjoy Glühwein, shop for gifts, try fresh Weihnachtsstollen (sweet Christmas bread) or simply enjoy the live music while keeping warm at the numerous gleaming tree stumps set throughout the market. The market will open daily at noon.
For more information, visit www.bruchsal.de.
Nov. 26 to Dec. 22: This medieval Christmas market in Durlach, by Karlsruhe, features a mix of medieval traditions such as brewing mead, jousting, and storytellers, as well as modern glass blowing, gift huts and more.
The market, located at the Schlossplatz in front of the castle, will open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Dec. 1-6: Colorful lights, the aroma of lebkuchen and the majestic atmosphere of the castle make this Christmas market simply magical. The market features an artisanal crafts market, tasty treats, classical music and costumed tour guides.
The market is open Thursday from 5-9 p.m.; Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Monday and Tueday from 2-9 p.m.
The main Christmas market in the center of Heidelberg will be open Nov. 23 to Dec. 22 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information, visit www.schloss-heidelberg.de or www.heidelberg.de.
Dec. 17-18: Castle Stettenfels in Untergruppenbach, by Heilbronn, will hold a medieval Christmas market where visitors can stroll through the castle’s dungeons, outer buildings and courtyard to shop and enjoy the season’s offerings. Glühwein, gingerbread, stollen and more can be purchased at the many booths throughout the castle. Entrance to the castle is €3.50 for adults; children up to 12 years are free. The market will be open on Saturday from 1-7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.untergruppenbach.de.