Some refer to Berlin as being the Christmas market capital of the world. Every year, the city hosts more than 50 festive markets and are renowned worldwide for being some of the best, with other cities even taking inspiration and setting up their own German markets at Christmas. Gluhwein flows, German sausages sizzle and the smell of decorated, heart-shaped gingerbread will put you right in the festive spirit. But with over 50 markets to choose from, you’ll need to be pointed in the right direction. These are the best Christmas markets in Berlin to get your festive fix…
Until 31st December
Weihnachtszauber market on Gendarmenmarkt, right in the middle of the city, is probably the most famous and most popular of all of Berlin’s Christmas markets. Stalls line the square and are topped with delicate lights that give the place a truly festive feel. If you’re looking to pick up some Christmas gifts, this market is the ideal opportunity with vendors coming from all over the country to show off their incredible crafts and unique handmade products. The foodie offerings range from cosy, gourmet restaurants to small, traditional Christmas bites like roasted nuts and fried apples.
Unlike most Christmas markets, there’s even a programme of entertainment that’s put on each day from jugglers and fire-eaters to jazz musicians to Christmas choirs. You do need to pay a small €1 entry fee before you go in, but it’s worth it to soak in the atmosphere, wrap your hands around some delicious hot Gluhwein and experience a real German market in Berlin!
BERLINER WEIHNACHTSZEIT AT ROTEN RATHAUS
Until 30th December
As you leave the station at Alexanderplatz you’ll be greeted with one of the most festive atmospheres in Berlin. Three different Christmas markets set up for the season around Alexanderplatz, each with quaint German stalls, food and of course Gluhwein, but our absolute favourite is the Berliner Weihnachtszeit towards Fernsehturm. It’s one of Berlin’s oldest Christmas markets with old school style, you won’t be able to miss it by its giant, flashing Ferris Wheel.
Try your hand on the ice at Berlin’s biggest Christmas ice rink, it’ll cost just €4 to hire skates, and the rest is free! Once you’re all skated out, set up camp in one of the heated Gluhwein cabins around the rink to watch other newbies flailing around, or the more experienced skaters show off.
WINTERWELT AM POTSDAMER PLATZ
Until 6th January
While it still has stalls selling classic gingerbread, gluhwein and bratwurst, Winterwelt veers away slightly from the traditional German market vibe that most Christmas markets in Berlin stick to, as this one is all about winter sports. Not only will you find a huge ice skating rink, but there’s even a 12 metre high, 70 metre long Rodelbahn (luge) that you can slide down from the top of a ‘snowy mountain’. Eisstockschießen is also a major attraction to this market - it’s a game that’s part bowling, part curling, you play it on the ice and it’s SO much fun.
Winterwelt has more of an Austrian winter vibe rather than German, so expect Jagertee to be flowing (a hot, Austrian, very alcoholic drink) while you munch on some hearty winter warmers. From 7pm each evening, DJs set up to create apres-ski vibes well into the evening.
ALEXANDERPLATZ CHRISTMAS MARKET
Until 26th December (ice rink until 31st December)
Set up right beneath the iconic TV Tower, Alexanderplatz Christmas market is a must-visit. Being one of the more traditional German markets of the city with over 100 stalls, you’ll easily find plenty of charming trinkets to pick up as gifts. Classic German gingerbread hearts hang from the stalls, the irresistible smell of gluhwein wafts through the market and people show off on the ice rink.
Shows and entertainment are put on daily along with a bright and fun fairground ride that illuminates the entire market. A traditionally German Christmas pyramid sits right in the middle of the market as the centerpiece and is the largest walk-in Christmas pyramid in Europe and decorated with over 5000 lights. To experience a real German market this season, the one at Alexanderplatz should definitely be on your bucket list.
Check out the London's Best Christmas Markets 2018
CHARLOTTENBURG PALACE CHRISTMAS MARKET
Until 26th December
This German Christmas market is something really special, set in front of the stunning Charlottenburg Palace, it’s the most beautiful backdrop for a market in the whole of Berlin. Over 250 vendors will be selling handmade decorations and crafts that you won’t be able to resist. Plus the festive food goodies taste just as good as they make the market smell.
Visit in the evening after dark to see the market in all its glory, as the Palace glows in festive illuminations and it all feels even cosier than it did already. It’s the ideal place to really put you in the Christmas spirit.