Berlin Christmas Markets 2021 Guide ft. Dates, Practical Tips, Etc.

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Berlin is known as an exciting bustling metropolis with something to offer every type of traveler, and the same applies to its Christmas market scene.

Being the biggest city in the country that invented them, it’s no wonder that the variety of Christmas markets in Berlin is immense, and the options overwhelming. In fact, there are over 60 individual markets you can visit in Berlin throughout the festive season.

In this Berlin Christmas Market guide, we’ll share everything you need to know to plan your festive route through the extensive Berlin Christmas Market scene.

NOTE: We last visited this Christmas market in December 2019, so take note that some things may be different this year. We’ve tried to keep this guide as up-to-date as possible, but let us know if you spot anything we should change!

When is the Berlin Christmas Market?

Christmas markets in Berlin tend to take place from the end of November to end of December.

However, as mentioned above, the Berlin Christmas market scene has more than 60 individual markets, so dates for each of them will differ.

Visit this list of Christmas markets in Berlin opening dates for more info.

Where to Stay for Berlin Christmas Market

In need of a place to stay? Here are some quick recommendations for hotels while exploring the Berlin Christmas Market scene:

Where to Find Berlin’s Christmas Markets

The Berlin Christmas market expands far and wide, following the shape of the city, and with its more than 60 individual venues sprinkled around, the possibilities for places to celebrate the festive season can seem daunting.

So, here are some of the most famous Christmas markets in Berlin to help you choose:

1. Christmas Magic at Gendarmenmarkt (WeihnachtsZauber at Gendarmenmarkt)

The Gendarmenmarkt Berlin Christmas market is one of the most famous in the city, and before you rule it out thinking it will be overwhelmingly crowded, hear us out…

Soon after paying its 1 euro entrance fee, you will realize why the crowds flock to visit this Christmas market in Berlin year after year.

This Berlin Christmas market has a great variety of food options, an array of unique vendors, and a spectacular location lined with some of the most beautiful buildings in Berlin—combine it all and you have the perfect formula for a fantastic Christmas market experience.

Make sure to schedule plenty of time for this specific market, the options are endless and you don’t want to rush through it.

2. The Alexanderplatz Christmas Market

Another one on our favorite’s list is inarguably the Alexanderplatz Christmas market, one of the most photographed Christmas markets in Berlin due to its attractive location right by the iconic Berlin TV Tower.

Even though this market is surrounded by relatively modern and uninspiring buildings, the Christmas spirit is amped up by the presence of a skating rink, appetizing food options, and warm festive beverages.

We wouldn’t recommend coming here for the shopping, since most stalls are just smaller versions of the cheap souvenir shops throughout the city, but by all means come here to try some festive snacks, snap an iconic Berlin Christmas market photo, and maybe dust off your ice skating skills?

To fuel the festive spirit make sure to visit the Partyhaus vom Nikolaus for a beer served with a little sidecar of jäger that should have you singing Merry Christmas to strangers in no time.

3. Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt an der Gedächtniskirche)

The market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is one of the busiest Christmas markets in Berlin, with its outstanding variety of food and craft stalls available—over 170 to be specific—there are surely enough options to amuse its thousands of yearly visitors.

One thing that we noticed from this particular market is its consistency with providing some of the most adorable mugs we have ever seen at a Christmas market, from chubby snowmen mugs to frosted wine glasses and glassy mugs filled with mulled rosé.

If you have an appreciation for festive drinkware, this is the place to go.

Whether you decide to visit for the adorable mugs, or to wander around its diverse food stalls, make sure not to miss this Berlin Christmas market if you find yourself in West Berlin.

4. Rotes Rathaus Christmas Market

If you are looking for more festive activities to take part in, besides eating and drinking, make sure to visit the Rotes Rathaus Christmas market in Berlin.

Besides having a stunning location with the Rotes Rathaus as a backdrop, and a view of the TV Tower, this festive location also provides unique activities to experience the festive season such as a giant Ferris wheel and an ice skating rink surrounding the Neptune Fountain.

If you want to avoid crowds, make sure to get here earlier in the day to leisurely stroll around and be able to admire the beautiful wooden chalets without your fellow visitors rushing you.

5. Friedrichstrasse Christmas Market

This Berlin Christmas market is quite small, compared to the ones mentioned above, but it’s the market’s cozy size and easy-to-miss location that makes it so special.

Found right outside one of the city’s busiest train stations, it’s a surprise how peaceful this Berlin Christmas market feels, with its beautiful light installations and very unique seating area—hello, underground cozy chalets!—you will get instantly in the Christmassy spirit!

This particular Christmas market in Berlin truly defines “hidden in plain sight”, but now that you know its location, make sure to pay it a visit.

6. Christmas Market at Klunkerkranich (Weinachtsmarkt im Klunkerkranich)

To get a taste of Berlin’s famous cool and alternative vibe, head over to the Christmas market at Klunkerkranich, a very Berlinesque take on the traditional Christmas market that we know and love.

This Berlin Christmas market is located on the rooftop of a shopping center, and the only way to access it is via an elevator to the 5th floor of the parking garage, where you then have to walk up a vague ramp to find the prized Christmas market.

It’s like a little Christmas quest!

At the end of the quest, you are rewarded with a very unique Christmas market standing at the forefront of a beautiful panoramic view of Berlin’s skyline.

This rare Berlin Christmas market provides its visitors with the expected food and drink stalls, as well as its very unique takes on festive crafts, selling items as bizarre as tattooed oranges(!)

In very Berlin fashion, you can also expect some art installations sprinkled throughout the festive market.

Sadly, there is a small admission fee to pay (between 1 to 5 euros depending on when you visit), but we believe that this is such an exclusive Berlin experience that is worth the fee!

7. Charlottenburg Palace Christmas Market

This Berlin Christmas market is considered by many to be one of the city’s prettiest festive markets, with its elegant setting inside the palace courtyard, and its much larger outer market filled with beautiful wooden chalets selling festive treats, it’s easy to spend a few hours at this romantic location.

However, as dreamy as the location sounds, the way to get to it is far from dreamy. With only one bus that gets you here, it is better to avoid visiting it on the weekends.

PS: For a beautiful view over this Berlin Christmas market make sure to take the stairs up to the free viewpoint on top of the Hungarian hut.

BONUS TIP: If you want to escape the crowds, make your way to the Bröhan Museum, which offers its own small market (open on certain dates), with a few stalls selling very affordable bites and far fewer crowds.

8. Lucia Christmas Market (Lucia Weinachtsmarkt)

This adorable Berlin Christmas market is located in the courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei; an old brewery turned culture space that today houses clubs, theatres, and Berlin’s largest indoor New Year’s Eve party.

Its dreamy Nordic theme pushes it to the top of our list for having one of the coziest atmospheres out of the Christmas markets in Berlin, with charming wooden cabins and an eclectic mix of stalls.

This particular festive market offers a wide variety of international goodies, ranging from a tiny cart selling absinth to stalls selling Finnish specialties, French salami, Icelandic sweets, and Sami jewelry.

You will surely find something that catches your eye!

What to Eat at Berlin’s Christmas Markets

The sheer amount of Christmas markets in Berlin is overwhelming, and arriving at one of them and trying to decide what to eat, out of the dozens of adorable stalls, can seem like an impossible task, but we are here to help.

Here are some of the iconic food and drinks you must try while visiting the Christmas markets in Berlin:

1. Currywurst

We are starting this list strong with the most iconic thing you can probably eat at the Berlin Christmas market—the famous Currywurst.

This extremely popular German dish is the country’s favorite snack on the go and after-party late-night meal, and we have Berlin to thank for its creation.

This original Berlin dish consists of a sausage sliced up into small sections, seasoned with a sweet curry ketchup sauce, and usually dusted with curry powder. It tends to be served with a little bread roll (Brötchen) or with fries (Pommes) on the side.

Whatever you decide to eat while on your visit to the Berlin Christmas make sure to leave space for a Currywurst.

2. Pommes (French Fries)

As mentioned above, Pommes normally accompany Currywurst, but you can also buy them separately at different stalls throughout Berlin’s Christmas markets.

Even though french fries might not seem quintessentially German, you might be surprised to know that they are widely consumed in the country.

After all, Germany is known for including potatoes in their meals wherever possible, in every shape and form available… and Pommes are just the most practical presentation of them!

To eat them like a true German, make sure to ask for mayonnaise instead of ketchup.

3. Reibekuchen (Potato Cakes)

And speaking of Germans and their love for potatoes in every shape and form, we present to you: the Reibekuchen, a deliciously crunchy potato cake—basically, the distant cousin of the breakfast hashbrowns, except for the fact that is socially acceptable to eat Reibekuchen at all times of the day.

Different from the American hashbrowns, this traditional Christmas market food is normally served with apple sauce instead of ketchup, but feel free to also enjoy it plain.

4. Champginons (Mushrooms)

If you are looking for a slightly healthier alternative, or just a light snack between all those delicious potato treats, a good option for this would be a tasty bowl of roasted mushrooms (Champignons).

You will find these in most of the Christmas markets in Berlin, and you will easily identify these stalls by the massive pan displaying the mushrooms as they roast… and the recognizable delicious smell in the air.

To assure top deliciousness make sure to order them with a dollop of garlic (Knoblauch) sauce on the side.

5. Raclette

Even though this dish is originally Swiss, it has also become a general staple of winter in Europe, and that is why you will be able to find it all around Berlin’s Christmas market scene.

Proving that simple things are often the best, nothing can beat the exquisiteness of Swiss melted cheese on a cold winter day.

This dish is served by scraping heated cheese off of a wheel and pouring it dramatically over a slice of bread, topped off with whatever you choose: potatoes, onions, cold cuts, pickles.

… It’s comfort food heaven!

6. Wurst (Sausage)

Yes, sausage again, but hear us out, even if you try the Currywurst we believe you should still branch out and try other types of sausages as well.

Germany boasts of over a thousand types of sausages, all with unique preparations and spices, so make sure to stand in line at the popular Wurst stands and try at least a few.

If you are overwhelmed with the options, take a look around and see what people tend to order the most, or if you get a friendly seller, feel free to ask for their recommendation.

7. International goodies

As mentioned above, the city is a buzzing multicultural capital, and you can see this reflected on its Christmas market scene.

The Berlin Christmas market scene offers an abundance of international goodies, that you normally would not see in other—more traditional—German Christmas markets, from Finnish delicacies to French salami and Hungarian flatbreads.

If you visit the Lucia Christmas market in Berlin you will notice a wide variety of international treats, but you will definitely also spot them throughout the other festive markets in the city because there is nothing more true to Berlin than mingling with other cultures.

8. Heiße Schokolade (Hot Chocolate)

It doesn’t matter the amount of crazy unique options you will encounter at the Berlin Christmas market, you simply cannot go wrong with a silky hot chocolate surrounded by Christmas lights!

I admit it may seem a little boring, but there truly is something special about Christmas Market hot chocolates that just taste so much better… might be the extra shot of Baileys, rum, or amaretto they add at the request… doubtful.

Nonetheless, it is still a very delightful drink to have while admiring the Christmas decorations!

9. Glühwein

If you would find yourself at the Berlin Christmas market and—hypothetically speaking— there is only one thing you can grab, without a doubt, it would have to be a Glühwein.

Glühwein is a spiced hot wine that is only served throughout the winter months, so much so that its smell announces the arrival of the beautiful European Christmas markets.

This iconic drink carries the weight of the German Christmas market on its shoulders, its perfect combination of alcohol and spices make it the epitome of Europe in the winter.

You will find an assortment of stalls selling this delicious festive beverage across the different Christmas markets in Berlin, which can vary from the typical red Glühwein to rosé and white, with added kicks of liquor if desired.

Whatever you do, do not miss out on Glühwein! … or, for an alcohol-free option ask for a Kinderpunsch.

10. Feuerzangenbowle

If hot chocolate and Glühwein are just not doing it for you, you might want to step it up and try the Feuerzangenbowle.

Feuerzangenbowle’s name looks as intimidating as the drink itself, which basically consists of a Glühwein accompanied by a sugar cube that has been soaked in rum, and is then set on fire!

So you get a deliciously sweet and boozy drink, plus a little fire show at the same time, and all for the price of one!

You can find this violent-looking drink in most stalls in the Berlin Christmas market that are already serving Glühwein.

What to Buy at Berlin Christmas Market

Walking through dozens of Christmas markets in Berlin will have you turning your head constantly from left to right admiring all the beautiful crafts and souvenirs, and trying to choose which ones are special enough to bring back home.

So, to help you decide, here are some of the best things you can buy at the Berlin Christmas market:

1. Bear-themed Christmas Decorations

As you walk around Berlin you will probably notice some quirky bear-shaped statues sprinkled throughout the city, this is due to the bear being part of the city’s coat of arms since the 1200s, and then evolving into the adorable “Berlin buddy bears” that you see throughout the city, since 2001.

This is why, while wandering around the Berlin Christmas market you will inevitably find all kinds of Christmassy souvenirs that include the iconic city mascot in some shape or form.

So, if you really want to commemorate your trip to this exciting capital make sure to get a bear-themed souvenir since you will not find these in any other Christmas market in Germany.

2. Christmas Market Mug

Another very iconic souvenir you can get while visiting the Christmas Market in Berlin is a charming Christmas market mug.

These tend to be completely different from city to city, and even from market to market, so getting at least one of them should definitely be on your shopping list, and luckily, they are very affordable too.

Normally, whenever you order a Glühwein you will notice that the cashier will charge you a little extra than whatever is stated as the price of the drink, this is due to the Pfand (which is basically renting the mug) so when you return it, you get your extra euros back.

However, if while enjoying a delicious cup of Glühwein you realize you don’t want to part ways with that adorable mug, you don’t need to, you can just buy it from the booth and take it home with you.

3. Lebkuchen (Gingerbread Cookies)

These famous German gingerbread cookies are technically impossible to miss when wandering around the Berlin Christmas market.

These attention-grabbing treats are as essential to a German Christmas market as the lights are to the Christmas tree, and at the Berlin Christmas market you will also find these in a bear-shaped form, or with bear icing decoration on them, making them unique to the city!

NOTE: These baked goods tend to be purchased as a quirky decoration and fun memento, rather than as an edible gift since the taste of it is not for everyone.

4. Authentic German Christmas Ornaments

Intricate handmade Christmas ornaments are a recurring item you will come across Berlin’s Christmas Markets and something that is very traditional to these festive fairs. That’s why they make the perfect souvenir to take home and bring out every Christmas to remember your trip abroad.

Strolling through the market stalls, you will find a wide variety of hand-carved wooden figures and hand-painted tree decorations that will forever remind you of your Christmassy time in Germany.

It’s the perfect souvenir and gift: traditional, won’t empty your wallet, and relatively sturdy enough to survive a long trip squished inside your suitcase.

5. Unique Berlin Christmas Market Finds

If you want to take something home that truly screams “I was in Berlin”, then you should really go for the very bizarre type of thing you would only ever find at a Berlin Christmas market, such as the tattooed oranges we mentioned in the Christmas Market at Klunkerkranich section.

The Christmas markets in Berlin are filled with this kind of odd items, that with a bit of sense of humor would make a very unique souvenir or even gift.

How many people do you know that already own a tattooed orange?

6. Paper Stars

On a more traditional note, a gift that is easier to appreciate by the general population is the romantic paper stars, which you will find hanging from the roofs of some stalls at Berlin’s Christmas markets.

These charming structures made out of paper make for a beautiful gift that will add a touch of warmth and coziness to any space. Plus, they are super easy and light to pack since you can fold them up and comfortably fit them into your luggage.

8. Painted Porcelain Christmas Village Houses

This one might not be the most sensible gift to travel with, but if you actually manage to take it home in one piece, it will make the inconvenience so worth it.

These intricately decorated porcelain Christmas houses can be found throughout Berlin’s Christmas Markets, and while they are adorable to just look at when passing, they are also a great festive souvenir to take home.

These will make a very thoughtful gift for anyone who loves to get in the holiday spirit, and a lovely souvenir of your Christmassy time abroad.

9. Local Liquour

A lovely thing about the Christmas markets in Berlin is that you will find a plethora of small shops selling unique artisanal goods, from crafts to edible goods and liquors.

So, by purchasing a bottle of some local liquor you are bringing home a taste of Germany, while also supporting a small business.

This is also a nice way of bringing something home from your trip that you can actively share with your favorite people.

PS: You can even buy carry-on approved little bottles of local liquor.

10. Personalized Items

A personalized item is also a fantastic way to immortalize your Christmassy trip abroad, or a very thoughtful gift to bring home for someone special.

There’s a wide variety of personalized items that you can purchase at the Berlin Christmas market, from customized wooden boards to handpainted mugs, that can be personalized with a name or message right there on the spot, making a true one-of-a-kind souvenir!

Extra Tips for Visiting Berlin Christmas Market

Plan your route

As mentioned before, the Berlin Christmas market is massive!

That’s why it’s very important for you to map out sections of the city for you to conquer, study which Christmas markets are in that area, and make sure that they are open the days that you are planning to visit.

Basically plan, plan, plan! Because there’s nothing worse than spending 30 min on the metro to arrive somewhere and realize that the market is closed.

Entrance fee

Don’t be surprised if some Christmas markets in Berlin charge a small fee to enter—it could be anything from 1 to 5 euros— this is not a common practice throughout the country really, so you should still be able to find some without a fee.

This brings us to our next tip…

Bring cash!

Cash is king in Germany, and if you walk into a Christmas market without cash you are basically there to window shop since most establishments will not accept card payments.

Especially with the fact that some Christmas markets in Berlin will charge a small fee, is important to have small change or at least small bills.

Whatever you do, do not forget to take out cash! It will make your Christmas market experience very stressful.

Layer up

As we mentioned countless times before, the city is huge, you will walk a lot and you will spend a lot of time outdoors, so make sure to dress accordingly.

Since you will be walking a lot we recommend to layer up. Wearing a proper winter jacket is very important, but you might overheat while on the move, so make sure to wear smart layers, a hat, scarf, and gloves.

No bulky bags or backpacks

The Berlin Christmas market is a very popular tourist destination and can get incredibly crowded at times, so it’s better to avoid carrying anything too bulky that will make moving through the crowds a challenge.

And as with any big metropolis, it’s always safer to carry a smaller bag and keep it closer to you, or on the front of your body.

Bring a reusable bag

However, if you are planning to buy bigger items and souvenirs to take home with you, it would be a good idea to bring a small reusable bag that you can store easily on your personal crossbody bag.

That way you don’t have to carry a bulky bag around all day, but you are still ready to take those souvenirs at the end of the night.

NOTE: The majority of stalls won’t offer plastic bags or they might charge for an extra bag.

Where to Find More Info on Berlin Christmas Market

Official website: VisitBerlin.de

Help us improve this Berlin Christmas Market Guide!

Do you have a pro tip about Berlin Christmas Market? A particular souvenir you loved, or a delicious treat you tried? Let us know in the comments what your insider tips are for Berlin Christmas Market so we can help improve this guide for all future visitors.

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