From Nostalgic to Organic: Christmas Markets in Berlin
Are you ready for Christmas market season? Glühwein (mulled wine – yes drinking in public is legal in Germany!), Bratwurst and roasted almonds – that’s the typical smell of a German Christmas market. The more Northern in Germany you are, the earlier dusk comes and a German Christmas Market is most beautiful in the evening. As Germany is the country of Christmas markets, Berlin is the capital of them. VisitBerlin, the tourism marketing company, lists 60 markets, from the small one in the neighborhood to prominent fairs in the city center or in one of the many beautiful palaces. There’s one for everyone. Most Christmas markets will open on November 26, 2018. In general, Berlin Christmas markets are open until 8pm, and many close after December 23. As Christmas Eve, December 24, is the main holiday of the season in Germany, many markets will be closed or will close early that day, some open again after the Christmas holidays for a few more days. Some markets open early, like the RAW-Gelände in Friedrichshain opens on November 23 and 24 as well. For winter sport fans and kids who can't wait, the Winterwelt am Potsdamer Platz will set up on November 2 with an icescating ring, a hill for sleigh riding, and bavarian curling on ice to shorten the wait for the Christmas markets with all its magic, art and food stalls.
Here is some helpful overview of Berlin Christmas markets. You might also like to visit the more alternative Christmas markets.
The most central one: “Weihnachtsmarkt am Alex”
At Alexanderplatz you find the regular, traditional Christmas market with many stands where you can buy Christmas gifts, Glühwein, snacks like Bratwurst or potato dumplings and sweets. Admire the XXL Ore Mountain carvings like a huge pyramid (a nativity scene in many tapered floors that turns like a carousel). And party with Nikolaus (Santa) in his Party Hut.
For the Nostalgic: “Christmas market at Rotes Rathaus” (Rathausstr. 15, 10178 Berlin)
This market with traditional arts & crafts stands, and ice rink and a huge Ferris wheel is situated between the TV tower and the Medieval Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church). For the nostalgic they offer historic fun rides, some about 100 years old. And listen to the iconic Berlin organ grinder. This market is one that re-opens after Christmas, too, on December 25-30.
The Big Fairground: “Wintertraum am Alexa” (Alexanderstraße, 10178 Berlin)
Between Alexanderplatz and the S-Bahn station Jannowitzbrücke is the huge market for kids of all ages. Enjoy the fun rides, but do it before you indulge in roasted almonds, German Bratwurst, mulled wine (“Glühwein”) and sweets. This is your chance to enjoy roller coasters and other rides in a wintry atmosphere with your gloves and hat on.
Upscale: Weihnachtszauber Gendarmenmarkt (Gendarmenmarkt 1, 10117 Berlin)
On Berlin’s most beautiful square, historic Gendarmenmarkt, you find “Christmas Magic”, an exclusive selection of arts and crafts, drinks and food from the fine restaurants nearby. The stands are in white tents decorated with Moravian stars and there is classical music for entertainment. The market charges EUR 1.00 admission. The New Year’s Eve event is EUR 6.00. This markets stays open until December 31.
Let it snow: Winterwonderland at Potsdamer Platz(Alte Potsdamer Straße 1, 10785 Berlin)
At Potsdamer Platz, the motto isn’t Christmas but winter: a snow-tubing mountain and an ice rink where coaches help little kids to skate and look for posssible olympic athletes are in the center of the market. What else? Glühwein, Bratwurst, roasted almonds.
In the City West: “Berliner Weihnachtsmarkt an der Gedächtniskirche” (Breitscheidplatz 1, 10789 Berlin)
Go to the center of the old West Berlin, near S-Bahn Bahnhof Zoo and you find a large traditional Christmas market. The organizers claim they have the biggest lighting in Berlin and they don’t take any chances: The lighting and decorations are done by a professional artist. Children can enjoy the merry-go-rounds , grown-ups have the choice among 10 varieties of Glühwein. The market lasts until January 1, 2019 and there will be New Year’s Eve fireworks at 6pm, 8pm, 10pm and midnight. Because of those early fireworks, this market is popular with families with kids. The market is wheelchair or stroller accessible.
International and Baroque: “Weihnachtsmarkt vor dem Schloss Charlottenburg” (Spandauer Damm 10, 14059 Berlin)
Not exactly in Berlin’s center, but with the most beautiful scenery possible: the Christmas market at Charlottenburg Palace. A highlight are the light illuminations of the castle and park. The vendors come from all over Germany and some European countries. Enjoy the international food and music, with specials in Austrian cuisine this year. This markets opens on December 25 and 26, too.
In the Center of Hip Berlin: Lucia Christmas market at Kulturbrauerei (Schönhauser Allee 36, 10435 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg)
Nestled into the cultural art center of the Kulturbrauerei complex in Prenzlauer Berg, this market is very popular among families and couples alike. This market has merry-go-rounds for the small children and trampolines for the bigger kids as well. Not to mention all the traditional German winter food and different type of mulled wines.
Some Weekend-only markets worth visting:
For the environmental sensitive: “Umwelt- und Weihnachtsmark in der Sophienstraße” (Sophienstraße, 10178 Berlin)
Behind the famous Hackesche Höfe is the Sophienstraße. Here you find a Christmas market about ecologic products and environmental activism. Get informed and enjoy ethical products but also music, circus and Santa Claus.
Great for families: Nordische Märchenweihnacht Schloss Britz (Alt-Britz 73, 12359 Berlin)
This market features well-known wintry fairytales, a fire-spitting dragon, puppet shows, and magicians. Children can go for a ride with ponies, sled dogs or practice crossbow, and of course enjoy the many food stalls with delicious sweets and snack. This market is open December 14-16 and December 21-23 only.
+++Check out our self-guided tours of Berlin, so you can walk off the many sweets and treats. +++