If you love Christmas – and we most certainly do – then there is no better place to be in the world during the month of December than Germany, and although Berlin’s Christmas Markets might not be as famous as our cousins in Dresden, Nuremberg and other’s to the south and west, we certainly feel we can hold our own… the selection below are of some of our personal favourites, but there are many markets to choose from and explore…
Most of the Christmas markets are opening their doors on the 25th November, running through to at least Christmas Eve and in some cases through to New Year’s Eve in case you haven’t had enough of the festive spirit.
So Posh you have to pay… Gendarmenmarkt
Daily until the 31st December, 11am-10pm
Nothing keeps the riff-raff out like a cover charge*, but then again it is only €1 and they promise that all the money goes to the performers to take to the central stage to keep you entertained. This market combines lots of different arts and crafts stalls with a truly international food and drink selection that, it must be said, is particularly good… and altogether it is definitely worth a hundred cents of anyone’s money. One thing to look out for is that they will end their 2013 market season with a party on New Year’s Eve featuring live music and fireworks, and all for the sum of €10.
*entry is actually free on weekdays between 11am and 2pm, and of course… once you’re in, you’re in.
Right by Wowi’s front door… Rotes Rathaus
Daily until the 29th December, 12noon-10pm
In front of the city hall and surrounding the Neptune fountain you will find the nicer of the three markets on and around the Alexanderplatz. There is a big wheel with great views across the city, and ice rink and the daily visit of Father Christmas himself, who passes by on the sleigh overhead. On the Alexanderplatz itself you will find more stalls (less tasteful, in our humble opinion… but then again, it is a Christmas Market) and thrill-seekers need to head around the back of the Alexa where you will find all manner of rides to help you regurgitate your glühwein and grilled bratwurst… Lecker!
Those were the days my friend… Nostalgiamarkt at the Opernpalais
Daily until the 26th December, Mon-Thu 12noon-9.30pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10.30pm, Sun 11am-9.30pm
If your idea of a German Christmas Market is all pain-stakingly crafted wooden toys and smoking men, sizzling sausages and warming glühwein, roasting chestnuts and horse-drawn carriage rides, then the Nostalgia Market at the Opera House on Under den Linden is the place for you. Of course, whether or not they are harking back to an actual, Ye Olde Market Of Yore or simply a 21st Century idea of what an old-fashioned Christmas Market should actually look like is up for debate, but boy is it ever atmospheric.
Northern Soul… The Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt at the Kulturbrauerei
Daily until the 22nd December, Mon-Fri 5pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 3pm-10pm
Lucia is the Nordic goddess of light, and the Christmas market at the Kulturbrauerei is a festive celebration of all things Scandinavian. You will find it in the grounds of an old brewery that has been turned into a cultural centre, just up the hill from Rosenthaler Platz, and as well as all kinds of Nordic handicrafts and culinary delights, the market also features a daily cultural programme from 8pm as well as kid’s shows on the weekends.
Go West… Spandau Altstadt
Daily until the 23rd December, Mon-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri 11am-9pm, Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-8pm
In the west of the city you will find the proud district of Spandau and its lovely historic Old Town, and for the next month you will also find Berlin’s largest Christmas Market. At the weekend there are over 400 different stalls in operation (with over half that during the week), specials for kids and families, a historic crafts market and the intriguing-sounding “Christmas Rock Concert” every Friday evening. Well worth the cross-town journey.
For one weekend only… Alt-Rixdorf
From Friday 6th – Sunday 8th December, Fri 5pm-9pm, Sat 2pm-9pm, Sun 2pm-8pm
The old bohemian village of Rixdorf is right in the middle of bustling Neukölln and yet feels like a country retreat, which means the Christmas Market here is one of the most atmospheric in the city. As you might expect, given the surrounding, it is fairly traditional, filled with stalls selling handcrafted wooden toys, pottery and candles, as well as all the food and drink that makes an evening at the Christmas Market such a tasty proposition. So if you want to experience one of Berlin’s most special festive experiences, head down to Old Rixdorf and dive in to village life.
Photo credit: Christmas Market on Gendarmenmarkt © visitBerlin | Scholvien