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Magical Christmas markets

Germany’s cities are filled with the glitter and aromas of Christmas. Six popular German Christmas markets – and what makes them so special.

The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg
The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg: a Christmas tradition in Germany since 1628. © picture alliance/dpa

Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt

The classic among the German Christmas markets: Germany’s largest and most famous Christmas market attracts more than two million visitors and tourists from around the world each year. Nestled between the historical buildings of Nuremberg’s old town, a little city within a city emerges for four weeks of the year: 180 wooden stalls with red-and-white striped roofs are arranged in rows, traders offer delicacies and hand-crafted wares. If they are lucky, visitors can even meet the Christkind. A girl from Nuremberg is traditionally elected for two years to represent the Christkindlesmarkt.

  • Must try: Nuremberg gingerbread, Nuremberg bratwurst
  • Souvenirs: prune people dollies, tinsel angels
Dresdner Striezelmarkt
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Striezelmarkt Dresden

The Striezelmarkt in the baroque city of Dresden dates back to 1434 and is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany. Striezel is another name for Stollen, the classic Christmas cake from Dresden. At the Stollen Festival on 9 December bakers from Dresden bake a huge stollen weighing almost four tonnes.

  • Worth seeing: 14 metres high, the world’s tallest Christmas pyramid from the Ore Mountains
  • Must try: Dresdener Christstollen, Baumkuchen
  • Souvenirs: carved handicrafts from the Ore Mountains, such as Christmas pyramids, nutcrackers and incense burners
Münchner Christkindlmarkt
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Münchner Christkindlmarkt

Munich’s central square is Marienplatz in front of the town hall. In the festive season it is transformed into an enchanting Christmas landscape. A 24-metre Christmas tree shines out amidst 160 market stalls.

  • Must try: Kletznbrot, a fruit bread made with dried fruits
  • Worth seeing: Kripperlmarkt in front of St Michael’s Church, Germany’s largest market for skilfully carved Christmas crib figures
Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt
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Frankfurt Christmas Market

This is where the major banking city demonstrates its romantic aspect. A stroll round the Christmas market during the Great Pealing of the Bells on the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent is unforgettable: at dusk 50 bells from ten different churches ring out in succession and then together.

Lübecker Weihnachtsmarkt
© picture alliance/dpa

Lübeck Christmas Market

The old town of the Hanseatic city on the Baltic coast is a UNESCO world heritage site. The impressive Brick Gothic town hall forms a stunning backdrop for the Christmas market.

  • Must try: Lübeck marzipan, hot rum
  • Worth seeing: Maritime Christmas Market in Koberg, the historical mariners’ district
Erfurter Weihnachtsmarkt
© picture alliance/dpa

Erfurt Christmas Market

The Christmas market in the state capital of Thuringia is considered one of the most beautiful ones in Germany. It stretches from Erfurt’s impressive cathedral to the unique half-timbered buildings surrounding the Krämerbrücke bridge.

  • Must try: Thuringian bratwurst, Erfurter Schittchen (stollen)
  • Worth seeing: nativity scene with 14 life-size wooden figures
  • Souvenirs: Thuringian handicrafts, such as hand-blown glass baubles for Christmas