BerlinThe German capital is also very much the country’s Christmas market capital, with over 50 taking place – and there’ll be extra festivity this year as the city marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. The most popular market is the one in central west Berlin’s shopping district, next to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church though the connoisseur’s choice would be the WeihnachtsZauber, at the beautifully restored, historic Gendarmenmarkt.
23 Nov-31 Dec. For more information go to www.berlinchristmasmarket.co.uk.
The smart Bavarian city’s Christmas Market takes place outside the dramatic Rathaus town hall, and has origins dating back as far as the 14th century. Festivities at the market include live Alpine music from the balcony of the Rathaus, as well as free tours of the market offering cultural and historical perspectives. You can take a Christmas tram ride through the city centre (accompanied by cups of gluehwein and lots of gingerbread, naturally), and there’s also the Manger Market, with one of the country’s most elaborate traditional nativity mangers, to discover.
Nov 27-Dec 24. For more information go to www.muenchen.de.
Bavaria’s most famous Christmas Market in the historically uber-significant town of Nuremberg pulls in 2 million visitors a year. For good reason: a spectacular Christmas Angel launches the market with a display including the recitation of a “solemn church prologue”. Then you can wend your way around 180 wooden stalls, festooned with red and white cloth, selling the local spicy gingerbread, fruit loaves, roast sausages, mulled wine and crafts such as Christmas tree angels, cribs, Christmas tree ornaments and candles, and toys. Pick up the town’s specialty, Nuremberg Plum People – little figures made from prunes. Unique, or what?
27 Nov-24 December. For more information go to www.christkindlesmarkt.de.
In Cologne they like to think of the Christmas and New Year period as a season entirely dedicated to the art of having fun. There are seven separate Christmas markets, with four main ones taking place at Cologne Cathedral, on the Alter Markt, on the Neumarkt and on Rudolfplatz. The cathedral market is the most impressive, smiled upon by the largest Christmas tree in Rhineland and with 160 pavilions, including lots of local sweet treats. Alter Markt, in front of the gabled houses of the Old Town Hall, is great for kids, with a roundabout, puppet theatre, and Santa’s grotto. The Medieval Christmas Market outside the Chocolate Museum has a brilliant floating Christmas market on a riverboat.
23 Nov-23 Dec. For more info, go to www.germany-christmas-market.org.uk.