There is a number of events and festivals that Germany is famous for: Munich’s Octoberfest is the first one to come to mind, but also Christmas markets have become destination for thousands of international tourists. While October fest is very much linked to Munich, you are spoilt for choices when it comes to Christmas markets – all major cities in Germany have one. Most markets open around the last weekend of November and close on 22nd or 23rd of December, that’s ample time to get ready.
Pictures credit (c) Peter Molz Mainz ; (c) Frankfurt Tourismus & Congress GmbH
If you are travelling specially for a Christmas market experience, you might be looking for the ‘best’ Christmas market of Germany. It’s just unlikely you can be helped with that, since there are plenty of great Christmas markets – think of Dresden, Nürnberg, Munich, Cologne… and depending whom you ask you’ll get named a different favourite.
We’ll stick to what we know and recommend our favourites around Frankfurt. The advantage here… they are all in very short distance from each other (about 30 mins by train), inviting you to take a Christmas market hop and rank them for yourself.
Weihnachtsmarkt in Frankfurt is one of the biggest in Germany by size and visitor traffic, also one of the oldest. And most progressive, too, with an LGBT friendly area. From its original location at the Römer it has expanded to Hauptwache and „Pink Christmas“ at Friedrich-Stoltze-Platz. Try Frankfurt’s special twist on mulled wine: its traditional hot and spiced apple cider “Heisse Ebbelwei”
Opens on Nov 27 and closes Dec 22nd daily 10.00 am to 9.00 pm.
This one is famous for its gorgeous lighting and a spectacular opening ceremony. Weingut Ohlig and Weingut Kessler from nearby Rheingau region are offering not only mulled wines but some of their fine wines as well.
Opens Nov 28 and closes Dec 23, daily 10.30 to 9.00 pm, 9.30 pm on weekends
Weihnachtsmarkt in Mainz
The Christmas Market in Mainz is particularly beautiful with the 1000 years old cathedral providing a spectacular backdrop. Typical to Mainz and its bias towards anything related to wine there is a remarkable amount of mulled wine stands – and almost all of them offering ‘Winzer-Glühwein’ with base wines from winemakers of Rheinhessen. Combine your visit with a tour into the festively decorated old town.
Opens 30. November and closes 23. December
Daily 11.00 am to -8:30 pm, Sat and Sun till 9.00 pm
Some more tips:
– Evenings are the best time to catch the beautiful atmosphere of a Christmas market. Still try to avoid weekend evenings, they tend to be very crowded.
– Looking for some more interesting versions of sausages? Go ‘Wild’ and try some made with game (‘Wild-Bratwurst’)
– Be cautious with mulled wine – more about that in our mulled wine guide
– Christmas markets are great with kids since there is plenty to taste and look at, just make sure they got your mobile phone numbers on them at any time.
– Parking is always an issue – use public transport or ensure your accommodation is in walking distance.
Finally, consider going stray and tour Christmas Events at wineries in Rheinhessen and Rheingau. Some estates offer lovely events – smaller in scale than Christmas markets, but more intimate and very authentic. We recommend a Christmas event-tour with stops at multiple wineries.