As we enter the month of December, thoughts inevitably turn to Christmas. Clearly, this month is the chance for you to experience some of the traditional Christmas markets, located throughout Germany. So wrap up warm, experience the great atmosphere, and have a try of some of the food, drink, toys and decorations which make up the stalls.
The following cities are well-worth exploring at this time of year.
Germany's capital provides a great choice of Christmas markets. Food and drink are a theme you will find through the markets, whatever city you are in, and Berlin offers a good selection.
The Berliner Weihnachtszeit is found behind Alexanderplatz and allows for an excellent experience of the Christmas market. The location is ideal, as it is set against old Berlin market streets and pavilions, which reflect times past, allowing you to experience the markets as would have been over the years.
Most cities large enough will offer a choice of Christmas markets, so when in Berlin perhaps also try Weihnachtszauber Christmas market, set amongst the Konzerthaus Berlin and cathedrals.
Berlin, of course, is a fantastic city to experience all-year round, and we cover some of the cities highlights in our Berlin City Guide.
Cologne itself holds a number of Christmas markets, one of which is the largest in Germany. Offering around 160 stalls, with traditional gifts, food, and drink, soak up the atmosphere and allow yourself a great opportunity to stock up on a host of authentic Christmas gifts. Beneath the Cologne Cathedral and set around a huge Christmas tree, soak in the performances on the stage, with a multitude of live music performed.
Germany's oldest Christmas market, dating back as far as 1434, Dresden's Christmas market is located on the Altmarkt Square, within the city centre. A wide selection of authentic gifts can be purchased, with most originating from the Erzgebirge, close to the Czech border. Check out the Christmas pyramid and generally enjoy the traditional experience Dresden has to offer.
Tracing back to the 14th century, Munich hosts a Christmas market on the Marienplatz, right in the heart of the city centre. Here, the Bavarian experience offers traditional and unique Christmas gifts, such as wood carvings from Oberammergau and glassware from the Bavarian Forest.
Stuttgart annually transforms into a Christmas city, with many well-decorated stalls offered. Enjoy the lights, concerts in the Renaissance courtyard, and the Palace Square. With the backdrop of the Old Palace, the more than 280 stalls, you can feel lost in the moment, experiencing a whole host of authentic and traditional gifts.
The German airline Lufthansa has some great prices for flying to each of the German cities above; flights to Munich from £99, Cologne from £159, Dresden from £179, and Stuttgart from £189 - all flying from London Heathrow. More details can be found at lufthansa.com*
Finally, if you are staying closer to home...
What is the largest Christmas market in the UK, Birmingham's has links to Frankfurt in Germany and offers a whole host of stalls which sell everything you would expect, from wooden toys to Christmas decorations. Food and drink aplenty make this Christmas market as close a thing to the German experience, as you can find within the UK.
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