The Many Different Christmas Markets of Berlin

Posted on 11. Nov, 2013 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, Germany

06-IMG_4360

Touring the Christmas Markets of Berlin is something worthy of any bucket list, not unlike touring the wineries of France or eating tapas in Spain. And while markets can be found all over the country, even in the smallest of villages, Berlin truly is the Christmas market capital of the world and simply cannot be surpassed in terms of variety and influences, a true reflection of the city’s soul. Whether you prefer to hang out with Scandinavian hipsters, wealthy west Berliners or edgy Easterners, take your pick — Berlin’s markets certainly have something to please every type of tourist.

The Christmas Markets of Berlin: Fairy-tale like at Charlottenburg

Christmas Markets of Berlin

Christmas Markets of Berlin

The Christmas market at Charlottenburg Palace is definitely the most magical one, and perhaps the most photogenic as demonstrated here. Although quite recent — the market officially opened in 2007 — it really doesn’t feel like a novelty thanks to the 300 year old royal palace, all lit up for the occasion.

There are approximately 150 vendors — making it one of Berlin’s largest markets — selling traditional items, like  arts & crafts, ancient handicrafts, jewelry, clothing as well as several gourmet foods. Because of its extremely traditional approach, baroque soundtrack and exceptional backdrop, this particular market is the perfect introduction to German Christmas markets, and a great starting point to any market tour. The Palace also offers special guided visits of its state rooms in December.

Christmas Markets of Berlin

Christmas Markets of Berlin

 

The Christmas Markets of Berlin: The iconic Gendarmenmarkt

Welcome to the most photographed Christmas market in the world! Located in the highly touristy Mitte area of Berlin, this market is easily accessible by public transportation and located within minutes of other famous landmarks like the Berliner Dom, the festive Unter den Linden avenue and Museumsinsel. The square, framed by the illuminated French and German Cathedrals as well as the Concert House, despite being quite spectacular at its bare state, is all decked out for the occasion, with a gigantic Christmas tree, dozens of wooden cabins, and even a stage that welcomes choirs, dancers and acrobats.

Come watch toy makers, goldsmiths, and wood carvers at work and pick your favorite!

Christmas Markets of Berlin Christmas Markets of Berlin

The market is also well-known for its long-lasting culinary tradition, welcoming top chefs from all over the world and their twist on German classic dishes like hot dogs, gluhwein , sauerkraut and more. This really where the food party is at!

Christmas Markets of Berlin

Christmas Markets of Berlin

The Christmas Markets of Berlin: The Swedish One

For those in search of an alternative Christmas market experience or unassumed tourists, the Swedish Christmas market at the Kulturbrauerei in hipster-approved Prenzlauer Berg is the perfect place to go. This ensemble of 20 historic buildings, 6 charming courtyards and 50 cabins is kind of a living postcard of Scandinavia, with Swedish flags everywhere, abundant glogg stands and even a Kettenkarussell. Dedicated to Saint Lucia -the Nordic goddess of light, and one of the few celebrated saints in Sweden — this market offers plenty of candle-lit corners, yummy Lussekatt buns and cosy stalls, in true Nordic fashion.

Christmas Markets of Berlin

Christmas Markets of Berlin

 

The Christmas Markets of Berlin: The eco-friendly one

Berliner Weihnachtszeit, one of the oldest in the city, is the market where history truly meets present times; whereas some traditions are still observed, this market opts for a more natural, green approach. Natural products and organic food abound, as well as arts and crafts made from recycled materials and created by local artisans. There are other similar markets around the city but this particular one is the most accessible and fun one, located at the foot of the Rathaus and the iconic Fernsehturm, the TV tower.

Christmas Markets of Berlin

Christmas Markets of Berlin

Christmas Markets of Berlin

This is also a favorite one among youngsters — both kids and those young at heart! — , thanks to a (free!) ice-skating rink and thrilling 50 meters high Ferris wheel, a life-seized nativity scene with real animals and a mini-farm, as well as scheduled Santa Claus visits. Visitors will appreciate the eco-friendly stalls, decorated in an early 19th century German style, which is a nice change from the traditional wooden cabins normally found in markets.

The Christmas Markets of Berlin: Alexanderplatz, or the busy one

Christmas Markets of Berlin Christmas Markets of Berlin

In this instance, busy is quite the understatement. More than 300 000 people visit Alexanderplatz every day, and another 500 000 travel through its U-Bahn station, making it the busiest square in the city by far. And the market is a reflection of this, with a bustling atmosphere and tons people either shopping or walking through the market, only stopping for a quick bite.

The market is also located just steps away from the famous and self-dubbed “winter dream” Wintertraum am Alexa, where visitors will find yet another large ferris wheel, a freefall , a roller coaster and bumper cars.

Christmas Markets of Berlin

Christmas Markets of Berlin:  Honorable mentions

Since I was only in Berlin for a few days, visiting all the markets simply wasn’t a possibility, especially when factoring in a raging snow storm. But for those with more time on their hands, these markets were strongly recommended by locals and the tourist office alike, and are certainly well worth a visit:

  • Potsdam Palace
  • Potsdamer Platz
  • Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
  • Spandau Old Town
  • Staatsoper and Opernpalais

Have you toured the Christmas markets of Berlin? Which was your favorite one, and why? What do you enjoy about Christmas markets?

Disclaimer: I traveled within Germany on assignment for Eurail.com. As always, my opinions are my own.

email

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 Responses to “The Many Different Christmas Markets of Berlin”

  1. Monica

    11. Nov, 2013

    I want to go to them all! If you were only in Berlin for 2 days, which would you go to?

    I’m thinking about a quick weekend break to Berlin so trying to decide my itinerary.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      11. Nov, 2013

      Glad you asked, Monica! I would suggest the Charlottenburg Palace, the Gendarmenmarkt and the Swedish one. Two traditional ones to start, and a über-cool one to finish off. If you like rides though, you might want to check out Wintertraum am Alexa.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Amanda

    11. Nov, 2013

    Great list! I really need to plan to be in Europe for Christmas markets one of these years…

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      11. Nov, 2013

      Indeed, Amanda. Such an iconic thing to do, despite the cold weather!

      Reply to this comment
  3. Abby

    11. Nov, 2013

    My first time to visit Berlin this Holiday season that’s why I’m searching for places where I can visit if ever I’m in Berlin. Glad that I have found this post. By the way, love all the pictures you have posted here.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      12. Nov, 2013

      Thank you Abby! These markets are definitely crowd pleasers and I’m sure you will enjoy your time in Berlin.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Laura

    12. Nov, 2013

    We’re going to be in Berlin over Christmas and it will be my first holiday season away from my family. Your list of markets has certainly given me much to look forward to!

    I suspect that gluhwein and ferris wheels will dispel some of the sadness I’m bound to feel being away from family :)

    Thank you for the fantastic list!

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      12. Nov, 2013

      Happy to help, Laura! I’m sure you will enjoy yourself so much you won’t even think about being away from family. Berlin at Christmastime is amazing!

      Reply to this comment
  5. Adelina

    15. Nov, 2013

    I haven’t been in Berlin during the holidays, but it’s clear, I definitely need to go! I loved the markets in Budapest in Vienna and I loved Berlin, so together, it should be great.

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      17. Nov, 2013

      Defiinitely! I think the Berlin markets are also much more varied than those in Vienna, many different influences. So much fun! :)

      Reply to this comment
  6. Scott

    18. Nov, 2013

    We are arriving in Berlin on Sunday just in time for all these markets to open, this post makes me even more excited. Good stuff!

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie-Eve Vallieres

      18. Nov, 2013

      Happy to get the excitement levels up, Scott! Berlin is so wonderful in Christmastime.

      Reply to this comment

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Instagram Postcards from German Christmas Markets - Christmas, christmas market berlin, christmas market cologne, christmas market dresden, christmas market germany, christmas market koln, christmas market munich, christmas market photos, christmas market - April 15, 2014

    […] are many Christmas markets in Berlin, so much that it is in fact impossible to visit them all. But I wanted to get a good feel so I […]

Leave a Reply