Germany’s annual Christmas markets are unrivalled. Nostalgic, entertaining and colourful in every sense of the word, they are excellent places to indulge in some last minute Christmas shopping, or to fill up on traditional German treats. Open from late November through to late December, Berlin has an excellent array of festive markets to explore. If you’re planning a trip this winter, follow this guide to the best Christmas markets in Berlin.
The annual Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt is a highlight of Berlin’s festive season. Each year, the beautiful square is transformed into a magical winter wonderland with a large festive market and a busy programme of musical and theatrical performances. As the German winter is notoriously cold, arts and crafts stalls are enclosed in a heated tent, while outside, shoppers can warm up at stalls serving mulled wine (glühwein) and German delicacies such as bratwurst (German sausage) and wiener apfelstrudel (an apple-based pastry dessert). There’s also a ticketed New Year’s Eve celebration with live music and fireworks.
21st November – 31st December 2016
An Austrian-style Christmas market in central Berlin, Winter World at Potsdamer Platz is a place for shopping, dining and socialising. Built to resemble an alpine ski resort, log cabins are set up around the square, which also features a large 500 square metre ice rink and a toboggan ride. The market also has a lively ‘après-ski’ atmosphere, especially at night when revellers arrive in their hundreds to enjoy the entertainment, shop for local crafts and sample German and Austrian Christmas foods such as roasted almonds, candied apples and mulled wine.
21st November – 26th December 2016
Eco Christmas Market
As its name suggests, the Eco Christmas Market brings together traders specialising in organic and fair-trade products and vegan foods. Taking place on one of the city’s oldest streets, Sophienstrasse, this is one of the most unusual Christmas markets in Berlin. Browse gifts, handicrafts and artworks created by local artists, designers and environmental organisations, or sample festive treats such as vegan pies and organic bratwurst. While it may be eco-focused, the market still maintains a festive ambience with entertainment, live music from brass bands and, of course, a visit from Father Christmas.
26th-27th November and 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th December 2016
Known for its majestic backdrop, the 250 stalls at Charlottenburg Palace Christmas Market are set up in front of the historic palace, displaying a wide range of nostalgic festive crafts and decorations, gifts and foods. A highlight of this market is the selection of traditional German sweets, from stolen and spritz biscuits to marzipan loaves and festive gingerbread. There’s also a fairground with family-friendly rides and attractions to keep children entertained while the adults shop and sip on hot mulled wine.
21st November – 26th December 2016 (except 24th December)
Taking place around the Neptune Fountain near City Hall, Berliner Weihnachtszeit is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Berlin, and also one of the most inviting. As well as stalls displaying festive trinkets and treats, visitors can enjoy an array of entertainments including fairground rides, live music, children’s activities and ice-skating on the popular outdoor ice rink.
21st November – 29th December 2016
Dutch Christmas Market (Sinterklaas)
For something a little different, head to the Dutch festive market in Potsdam, on the border of the city. Known as Sinterklaas (the Dutch name for Santa Claus), the market sells Dutch-style gifts and delicacies while musicians play Dutch Christmas music and Dutch fairy tales are performed on stages set up amongst the stalls.
10th – 11th December 2016
If you’re travelling to Berlin to explore the Christmas markets, make the most of Hotel de Rome’s seasonal escape offers, with special deals available on weekend breaks, suites and family packages throughout the winter.
Image credits: iStock/querbeet, iStock/pictureimpressions, iStock/YANG-WANG