Bucket List Trip – A German Christmas Market

“Visit a German Christmas market”

What could be more festive than ticking off “visit a German Christmas market” from your bucket list? This year we decided to visit Berlin, which has around 70 Christmas markets.

A German Christmas Market - photo by Juliamaud
A German Christmas Market – photo by Juliamaud

Origin of German Christmas Markets

German Christmas markets date back to the 14th century.

The Christmas Market will usually be located in the main square of the town, around the central church. With so many markets now in Berlin, some were around churches but some were in front of palaces, the town hall and in other squares. As they are often near churches, Nativity scenes often feature in the festivities.

Originally these markets just old food and winter supplies, but now they include handmade crafts and Christmas decorations. Some have ice skating and fairground rides and attractions, and some also have bands playing Christmas tunes.

German Band at Christmas Market - photo by Juliamaud
German Band at Christmas Market – photo by Juliamaud

 

The Christmas Markets take place during the four weeks of advent, starting in the last week of November and closing at the end of the year. To be fair, we have already visited a Christmas market in Cologne, but we went at New Year. Although a lot of the stalls were still open, the atmosphere of being there during the run up to Christmas is completely different. So if you can visit before 25th December, I suggest you do.

Some markets are open during the daytime as well as the evening. Some are not, so check out opening times before you visit.

The markets can be bustling during the day, but they really come alive once it gets dark. They become full of people in the evening and are a meeting places for friends not just a tourist destination. The lights of the stalls and the street decorations lighting up the sky and the whole place takes on a magical quality.

German Christmas Market in Daylight - photo by Juliamaud
German Christmas Market in Daylight – photo by Juliamaud

Christmas Market Food and drink

Strolling past the festively illuminated cabins, it’s lovely to stop for a drink of Glühwein. Holding a mug of the hot and spiced mulled wine is a great way to warm your hands. Personally I found it alcoholic enough, but you could opt to have a shot of rum or other alcohol added to it.

We also loved the potato cakes, and bowls of mushrooms. We tried the German sausages, but passed on the Currywurst. This is a sausage seasoned with curry ketchup and topped with curry sauce. It was so loved in Berlin it had a museum dedicated to it. Unfortunately, we did not get to visit the museum during our trip to Berlin. And now we never will as the Currywurst Museum Berlin closed on December 21st 2018.

Cooking sausages at a German Christmas Market - photo by Juliamaud
Cooking sausages at a German Christmas Market – photo by Juliamaud

I also love hot chestnuts and traditional roast chestnuts (Maronen) were available at some of the markets we visited.

Gingerbread biscuits (or Lebkuchen) appeared on lots of stalls, as did Stollen,a traditional German Christmas bread with dried fruits, nuts, spices, and sugar icing.  Skewered fruit covered in chocolate (Fruchtspieße) was another treat on offer.

Buying sweets at a German Christmas Market - photo by Juliamaud
Buying sweets at a German Christmas Market – photo by Juliamaud

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