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Looking for the best Berlin Christmas Markets in 2019? You have come to the right place. Here is a local guide with the top Christmas Markets in Berlin, Germany!
A great city and unique travel destination in Europe is Berlin, Germany, which is especially enchanting during the winter. Consider spending the holiday season visiting Berlin, and other cities in Germany, for a unique experience.
While I was living in Berlin, one of the things that I enjoyed the most during this time of the year was visiting their Christmas Markets. Everyone loves a Christmas market, and there is nowhere better to enjoy them than in Berlin. The German capital does not just have one market; Berlin hosts over 70 of them, scattered throughout the city, each district with its own. It doesn’t matter if it is your first time visiting Berlin or your hundredth time, you will totally enjoy the beauty of the Christmas lights and the magical atmosphere of the markets. Christmas is simply magical everywhere in Germany with thousands of markets all over the country. As a local, I very much enjoyed visiting the Berlin Christmas Markets with friends, and deciding on the best ones to recommend.
There is a huge variety of German markets, from traditional historical markets to those specifically for children, so there’s something for everyone. They can be indoor, covered or outdoor, contemporary or nostalgic, and each one offers visitors something completely different. It is sort of an annual tradition to go and spend some time there indulging on delicious food and, of course, sipping gluhwein (mulled wine.) Are you visiting Berlin this time of the year? Surely Christmas in Berlin would be a special holiday!
With so many Berlin Christmas Markets to choose from, it can be hard deciding which ones to prioritize on your trip to Berlin; on the other hand, it is practically guaranteed that you will find a market that is perfect for you since there are so many options. To help you decide, here is a guide to the best Christmas markets Berlin has to offer.
Read on to find out not only where to go and top things to do while visiting the Best Christmas Markets in Berlin, but also what to pack and where to stay.
Table of Contents (skip directly to the info you're looking for)
- 1 What to pack for your winter holiday in Berlin, Germany?
- 2 Where to Stay in Berlin Germany during the winter holidays?
- 3 Best Berlin Christmas Markets 2019 – A German Christmas Markets Break!
What to pack for your winter holiday in Berlin, Germany?
Berlin weather during the holidays can go from mild cold to quite freezing so it’s important to pack accordingly. I would suggest including a good jacket, light tops and sweaters that can be easily layered, along with a scarf or two, a hat and, if your hands tend to get cold, probably a pair of gloves. Also consider bringing a pair or two of either thermals or fleece leggings which can be used under any bottoms for additional warmth, and don’t forget comfortable walking sneakers or boots. Overall, it’s better to be prepared than sorry, especially since most of the Christmas Markets are outdoors (even though many have heated tents). While the mulled wine might keep you warm for a bit, it is better to have stuff to wear in all kinds of cooler weather, including the possibility of freezing rain or a light snow.
Where to Stay in Berlin Germany during the winter holidays?
Berlin has great neighborhoods for your stay. I would suggest areas such as Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg or Friedrichshain. There are all kinds of accommodations available in Berlin from luxury to mid-range to budget but, regardless of your preference, make sure to book in advance, since most of the best places get sold out, or become more expensive closer to the holiday season. Plenty of people come to Berlin just for the Christmas Markets and to celebrate New Years, so there’s competition for accommodations! But planning in advance is your best defense and definitely worth the effort.
Best Berlin Christmas Markets 2019 – A German Christmas Markets Break!
1. Weinachtszauber Gendarmenmarkt
One of my favorite Christmas Markets in Berlin has to be Gendarmenmarkt, which is actually a popular opinion. Gendarmenmarkt is known for being the most classic and most popular of all the Berlin Christmas markets. It is not only a landmark (very centrally located) but it is one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin and the site of an architectural ensemble that cannot be found anywhere else.
As you look around, you’ll see three impressive buildings: The famous Konzerthaus, the Deutscher Dom (German Church) and Französischer Dom (French Church). And, in the center of the square, stands a monumental statue of Germany’s renowned poet, Friedrich Schiller. I personally love how small and cozy this Christmas Market is (bigger is not always better).
The Gendarmenmarkt market is popular for two reasons – its fantastic selection of handmade products and the live plays and concerts which are performed daily. The market here regularly attracts international artists to its stage, so you never know who may be performing.
In addition to the surroundings, and the warm ambiance, food is also a big draw here and you can find specialties from various cuisines, such as traditional Berlin, Bavarian, Austrian and Bohemian plus Christmas sweet treats, and gluhwein (mulled wine). All of which goes really well with live music and, of course, shopping selection of unique items from local artisans and designers. As a fashion lover, I totally loved buying from the local fashion designers. I found pretty cool accessories and craft items too. Whatever the reason for your visiting the Gendarmenmarkt, you will be pleased to know that all of the tents are heated, which can give some respite from the chilly Berlin winter weather. Definitely, I recommend for you to experience this beautiful market.
TIP: Located on the Gendarmenmarkt Square, you will find one of my favorite chocolate shops in Berlin (one of the largest chocolate shops in the world), RauschSchokoladenhaus. What is most unique here are the different sites, like the Brandenburg Gate or the TV Tower of Berlin, made entirely out of chocolate. During the Christmas Season, they also have festive décor and holiday symbols made completely out of chocolate. A must-visit, especially for chocoholics!
The Gendarmenmarkt takes place between the 25th of November through to the 31st of December 2019 daily from 11am to 10pm. On Christmas Eve, the opening hours are 11am to 6pm, and New Year’s Eve 11am to 1am. Note: It is one of the few main markets which charges an admission fee. For the most part, entrance is €1 but this price is valid only up until 6pm on New Year’s Eve, when the charge is then upped to €6. However, if you visit Monday through Friday, from 11am to 2pm, the entrance is free except on holiday days.
As it is a closed event area, you will be subject to bag checks before entering. If you are planning on visiting on the day you are arriving or leaving Berlin, be aware that you will not be able to take in big suitcases and backpacks; you should either store your bags in the luggage room at your accommodation or at a luggage facility at a nearby station, such as Potsdamer Platz or Friedrichstrasse. The S-Bahn is the best way of reaching this market, disembarking at either Friedrichstrasse or Potsdamer Platz.
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2. Charlottenburg Palace
This is another of my personal favorites of all the Berlin Christmas markets. Charlottenburg Palace is absolutely stunning at any time of the year and should be high on anyone’s list of things to do in Berlin. During the run-up to Christmas, it provides a wonderful backdrop to the market that pops up here. It provides the perfect romantic atmosphere, especially if you head there during the evening when both the market and castle are lit up.
Here you will find over 250 stalls, with vendors from around the world, selling all kinds of handicrafts and culinary treats. Historical carousels add to the charm and you may even get the chance to pat a reindeer. Charlottenburg Palace market is also the location of what is considered to be the most beautiful winter open-air restaurant in Berlin, Der Vierte Mann, which has a delightful coffee house atmosphere that serves tasty Austrian food. Another cool thing about this market is that the entire place is decorated using natural materials with a massive emphasis on sustainable waste recycling.
Charlottenburg Palace market takes place from the 25th of November until the 26th December 2019, Monday to Thursday from 2pm to 10pm, and Friday to Sunday from 12pm to 10pm. The market is closed on Christmas Eve, but opening hours on Christmas Day and Boxing Day are 12pm to 8pm. The nearest U-Bahn station to Charlottenburg Palace is U-Richard-Wagner-Platz.
Anyone that has been to Berlin will know that Alexanderplatz is one of the main squares in the city and a major transportation hub. Being such a big space, it should come as no surprise that Alexanderplatz is transformed into a winter wonderland during the festive season. At its heart, there is a large Christmas pyramid which has become nearly as famous as the iconic TV tower which looms over the market. It is the largest Ore Mountain pyramid in Europe, with pink and blue twinkling lights and a group of tower trumpeters who create a Christmassy atmosphere with their tunes. It is also a great meeting place if you happen to need a place to meet up. Elsewhere in the market, there is a huge ice rink, a children’s carousel, the chance to try curling and – of course – lots of wooden-chalet stalls where you can buy gluhwein and bratwurst along with traditional handcrafts.
Alexanderplatz Christmas market takes place from the 25th of November to the 26th of December 2019, although the ice rink is open until the 5th of January 2020, Monday to Sunday 10am to 10pm, apart from on Christmas Eve, when the hours are from 10am to 2pm. As a major transportation hub, there are plenty of ways to get here by public transport: The Square has both S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations, as well as being served by a number of buses and trams.
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4. Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
Like Charlottenburg Palace, part of the magic of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church market is the backdrop the church provides. The original 18th-century church was badly damaged during World War II and now only the ruined spire remains. It has been left standing as a reminder of what happens during war and conflict, and creates one of the more poignant Christmas market backdrops around.
Despite the stark reminder, there is plenty here to get you in the festive spirit, such as the 24-foot-high Christmas tree and over 170 wooden stalls selling beautifully decorated handmade tree ornaments and toys. It is also the best Christmas market to head to on New Year’s Eve, when the market and church are lit up by fireworks displays taking place at 6pm, 8pm, 10pm, and midnight.
The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church market takes place from the 25th of November 2019 to the 5th of January 2020, Sunday to Thursday 11am to 9pm, Friday and Saturday 11am to 10pm. On holiday days, times vary, so if you are visiting on those days, check the opening times on the Visit Berlin website. The church is conveniently located near the Zoologischer Garten, so if you take the U-Bahn or S-Bahn to the zoo, it is an easy walk from there.
5. Rotes Rathaus
If you want to visit a market that will allow you to step back in time, the Rotes Rathaus Market is the one for you. Located between the Rotes Rathaus and St. Marienkirche, you can find traditional traders and artisans touting their wares down Old Berlin market lane, with their lane facades covered in original illustrations of Berlin houses at the turn of the 20th century. Heading down to the market, surrounding St. Marienkirche, you will travel further back in time to the Medieval Ages, where you can smell freshly baked bread prepared in a medieval bakery and drink hot mead from a clay jug in a medieval tavern.
But the market’s biggest selling point is its 50-meter-high Ferris wheel. If this Ferris wheel seems familiar to you, you might recognize it from Munich’s Oktoberfest. The beer festival’s famous wheel also comes to the market at the Rotes Rathaus during the festive season. A ride on the wheel provides an amazing panoramic view of Unter den Linden, Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburg Gate.
Rotes Rathaus Market takes place between the 25th of November to the 29th of December 2019, Monday to Friday 12pm to 10pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 10pm, Christmas Day and Boxing Day 11am to 9pm, and the market is closed on Christmas Eve. The Rotes Rathaus is located close to Alexanderplatz, so if you take public transport there it is just a quick walk.
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As the largest Berlin Christmas market, a trip out to Spandau is definitely worth it. The most westerly of the twelve boroughs of Berlin, Spandau attracts plenty of visitors throughout the year with its charming old town and numerous parks and waterways, but it is the Christmas market that really brings the old town to life, especially the magnificent fir tree which takes center stage in the market square.
During the week, you can browse 250 market stalls where vendors from four continents sell their produce and handcrafts; at the weekends, this number jumps up to 400. As you are strolling around the market, a wind quartet and other musicians provide musical accompaniment, and there is even a Christmas rock concert every Friday. Another highlight of Spandau market is the Christmas nativity scene, which even features live animals.
Spandau Christmas market runs from the 25th of November to the 22nd of December 2019, Sunday to Thursday 11am to 8pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11am to 10pm. The neighborhood of Spandau is at the end of the U7 underground line with a number of stops. The stop most convenient for the market is Altstadt Spandau, but you can also get there from the S-Bahn to Berlin-Spandau.
7. Potsdamer Platz
Another one of Berlin’s famous squares, Potsdamer Platz, is transformed into a Winter Wonderland for the festive season. Its biggest highlight is the 12-meter-high toboggan run which is incredibly fun to whiz down, with great views of the Brandenburg Gate. There is also a huge ice rink and a curling sheet to enjoy.
When it comes to the market stalls, Potsdamer Platz Market is a great place to pick up jewelry and handmade art before you get tempted into the Schmankerl and Salzburger Stiegl wooden huts to taste some Austrian delicacies. Potsdamer Platz is also a great place to visit once it’s nightfall because that’s when the après-ski party begins with live DJs.
Potsdamer Platz Winterwelt (Winter World) runs from the 1st of November 2019 to the 5th of January 2020, and the market runs from the 25th of November to 26th December 2019, daily from 10am to 10pm except on Christmas Eve when the market closes at 2pm. The market is closed on 17th and 24th November. Potsdamer Platz has its own bus stops and S-Bahn station.
8. Lucia Christmas Market
A few Scandinavian Christmas markets take place in Berlin every year, but the most popular one is Lucia, named for the Nordic goddess of light, and is perfect for those looking for something a little bit different from their Christmas market. Located by the Kulturbrauerei, in the hip district of Prenzlauer Berg, you can wander among the cute red and white wooden cottages, browse traditional Scandinavian handcrafts, and try festive specialties such as reindeer salami, elk meatballs and moose goulash. There is also a wide selection of mulled wines to try – over 20, in fact – from all of the Scandinavian nations.
Although this market is wonderful to visit at any time during the Christmas period, a particularly lovely day to go is on the 13th of December, when St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated. One of Sweden’s pre-Christmas customs, a traditional parade, is led by a girl chosen to represent the bringer of light, followed by an entourage of candle holders, star carriers, gingerbread men and gnomes. You will also be able to listen to the Lucia choir singing both Swedish and German Christmas carols. Another cool thing to do at the Lucia Christmas market is warm up in their mobile sauna.
Lucia Christmas market is open from the 25th of November to the 22nd of December 2019, Monday to Friday 3pm to 10pm, Saturdays and Sundays 1pm to 10pm. To get there, you can take the U-Bahn to either Eberswalder Strasse or Senefelderplatz, the S-Bahn to Schonhauser Allee, or the tram to Eberswalder Strasse.
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9. Holy Shit Shopping
If you are getting a bit Christmassed-out, and fancy heading to a market which is completely different, then Holy Shit Shopping is a great choice. Incredibly popular with locals and tourists alike, this market is more like a pop-up, creative department store. Rather than the traditional handcrafts, you can find at all the other markets, here you will be able to buy trendy fashion, jewelry, art, photography, books and furniture made by over 300 independent artists and designers.
The site of the market, ARENA Berlin, adds to the creative atmosphere with its contemporary industrial design. If you are wondering how this could be considered to be Christmassy, there is still the opportunity to drink mulled wine and enjoy winter-themed street food and, dotted around it, you will see Christmas trees and other festive decorations. But this market is primarily aimed at those looking for something that’s a little bit more unconventional.
Holy Shit Shopping only takes place on the 7th and 8th of December 2019 at ARENA Berlin. Opening times on the 7th are 12pm to 9pm, and on the 8th from 12pm to 8pm. Admission to the market is €5, with tickets available online and at the box office. ARENA Berlin is located between Kreuzberg and Treptow and is served by bus, S-Bahn and U-Bahn. If you are traveling by S-Bahn, you should head to the S-Bahn station Treptower Park, by U-Bahn Schlesisches Tor, and by bus Eichenstrasse/Puschkinallee.
Another cool place, that hosts a Christmas market in Berlin, is the fun rooftop bar, Klunkerkranich, which is a popular chill-out spot on the parking deck of the Neukölln Arkaden. This one is quite special since it is the Highest Christmas Market in Berlin with picturesque views over festive and merry Berlin. The location is super popular over the summer, so it is definitely a must regardless of the time of the year that you visit Berlin, but Christmastime is quite special.
It offers something a little different to tradition usually on show, from unusual activities for youth and adults alike, to creative and unique items for sale. The variety of food on offer is immense, along with plenty of fun, like dancing, concerts and many more surprises. In stands, you will find handmade products and great gift ideas, such as jewelry, clothing, accessories and crafts. Make sure to stay for the cultural and musical program which begins at 4 pm.
Insider Tip: Come before sunset so that you can experience the sunset transition from day to night, while admiring the amazing views of the city of Berlin.
Klunkerkranich goes from the four Advent weekends starting the 29 of November – 1 of December, 6 of December – 8 of December, 13 – 15 of December and 20 – 22 of December. Opening hours: Friday 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Admission price: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: €1, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm: €3, 6:00 pm – close: €5
Klunkerkranich Rooftop bar & garden is located on the 6th-floor parking deck, on top of the Neukölln Arcardes – Karl-Marx-Straße 66, 12043 Berlin-Neukölln.
As you can see, there is so much variety in the Berlin Christmas markets that you could easily spend a couple of weeks – or even longer – in the city, just taking in the magical, festive atmosphere. There really is something for everyone and they are the perfect places to pick up some amazing, unique Christmas gifts for your friends and family. Whichever markets you decide to visit, you can be sure you will enjoy some fantastic food and drink, take part in fun activities and soak up the magic of the season.