Munich’s Christmas markets are known around the world for their festive splendor, showcasing some of the most beautiful traditional Christmas markets in true Bavarian fashion, as well as other more offbeat and unknown festive gems.
In this Munich Christmas markets guide, we’ll share everything you need to know about experiencing the magic of the Munich Christmas market scene for yourself.
NOTE: We last visited these Christmas markets 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 Munich Christmas Market?
According to Munich’s tourism website, this year’s main Christmas Market in Munich, located at Marienplatz, is from November 22nd to December 24, 2021.
You can keep an eye on the same website to stay up-to-date on the opening dates on the rest of the markets as well.
Where to Stay for Munich’s Christmas Markets
In need of a place to stay? Here are some quick recommendations for hotels near the Munich Christmas Market scene:
- Budget: Check prices and availability
- Mid-Range: Check prices and availability
- Luxury: Check prices and availability
Where to Find Munich’s Christmas Markets
The Munich Christmas market scene boasts an array of markets to visit, from the romantic and traditional to the innovative and quirky… there’s so much to explore!
So here are some of the best Christmas markets in Munich for you to visit:
Residenz Christmas Village (Weihnachtsdorf im Kaiserhof der Residenz)
A mini-Christmas village, settled in the courtyard of a royal palace, is exactly the kind of thing you come to Germany to see—and thousands of other people too. That’s why this Munich Christmas market is one of the most popular ones around.
This festive market, located right next to Odeonplatz, offers a nice selection of stalls selling everything your Christmas heart desires; traditional crafts, ornaments, and all types of delicious seasonal treats.
This Munich Christmas market location is well-loved by tourists and locals alike, so we recommend visiting earlier on a weekday to avoid overwhelming crowds.
Chinese Tower (Chinesischer Turm) Christmas Market
This lovely festive setup is located in the heart of one of the largest city parks in the world, Munich’s English Garten, at the famous Chinese Tower.
This year-round beer garden is transformed into a cozy Christmassy destination for the holidays, with your necessary variety of stalls; from handmade jewelry and ornaments, to the ever-present Glühwein stalls.
What sets this particular Munich Christmas market apart, is its unrivaled romantic ambiance—its quiet, dreamy and tucked away location make it the perfect spot for a little date night!
NOTE: For extra romantic coziness, head over to the Universitat U-Bahn station, where you will find a self-serve/takeaway kiosk selling festive treats and drinks, that you can take to your own little cable car pod to sit and enjoy!
Marienplatz Chritmas Market (Christkindlmarkt Marienplatz)
The most famous Munich Christmas market is the one at Marienplatz, located in the heart of the city, surrounded by some of Munich’s most iconic pieces of architecture.
Year after year, the crowds flock to this dreamy Munich Christmas market location, allured by the setting, and captivated by the traditional decor, the variety of handmade crafts, the tasty seasonal treats, and an atmosphere that can’t be beaten.
Make sure to also explore the courtyard of the Rathaus where more stalls and the Christkindl post office await, where you can buy an adorable Christkindl stamp to use for your festive postcards/letters.
NOTE: To get an unforgettable view of the Marienplatz Christmas market, don’t pass out on the opportunity to climb up St Peter’s Church after sunset.
Sternenplatzl at Rindermarkt
Even though this market is technically part of the Marienplatz Christmas market, we feel the need to emphasize it individually since it is relatively easy to miss, and you would not want to do that!
This adorable market located at Rindermarkt, sets up one of the most romantic atmospheres in the Munich Christmas market scene.
With its cozy size and tucked away location, beautiful star-shaped Christmas lights dangling from the trees, and some of the cutest Glühwein mugs we have seen, stopping by this Munich Christmas market location is a must!
NOTE: If you are feeling brave try the Feuerzangenbowle here, is one of the best we have had!
Winter Magic at Viktualienmarkt (Winterzauber auf dem Viktualienmarkt)
This year-round market gets a festive makeover during the holidays, with some new seasonal stalls added to its repertoire, and beautiful Christmas lights and garlands setting up a warm and cozy atmosphere.
This Munich Christmas market is also a great stop for foodies, since it boasts a wide variety of delicious local products that would make great gifts, as well as offering festive snacks and warm seasonal drinks for you to try.
Medieval Christmas Market
Travel back in time with one of our favorite Munich Christmas markets, the Medieval-theme market located at Wittelsbacher Platz, just a few steps away from the historic Odeonplatz.
At this fun venue, you can find everything from authentic drinking horns to firey rum drinks served on clay goblets, and shop for every intricate handmade crafts souvenir your heart desires.
If you are there at the right time you might also be able to catch some royal entertainment, with live performances from costumed jugglers and acrobats wowing the crowds.
This grungy and alternative Munich Christmas market takes place—ironically—on the grounds of the world-famous and uber-traditional Oktoberfest.
This free-spirited venue takes the typical Christmas-market tourist by surprise, with its unconventional decor and alternative vibe it resembles a cool open-air Berlin street market, rather than a festive market in the land of tradition and history, as is Bavaria.
Here you will be treated to a massive array of events, performances, art installations, international cuisine options, and a general party vibe that extends past 1 am.
So, if you would love to experience a cool twist on the traditional Christmas market, head over to this unique location and explore its unconventional stalls and eccentric festive ambiance!
Munich Airport Christmas Market
If you are arriving in Munich by plane, then you are in for a treat! You can start your festive experience as soon as you step out of the plane, at the Munich airport Christmas market.
That’s right! Right outside in the (covered) area between terminals, you will get your first glimpse at the magic that is Munich at Christmas time.
Here you can get some of the typical festive snacks expected from traditional Christmas markets, so it’s a great spot to just get a quick bite before making your way into the city.
We would not recommend this market for souvenir shopping, since most items seemed to be just mass-produced goods, so better save your euros and spend it at the other Christmas markets in the city that offer more artisanal and handmade items.
Smaller Munich Christmas Markets
Have a bit of extra time during your Munich Christmas Market adventure, or looking to go a bit more off the beaten path? Here are some smaller Christmas markets around the city that you should add to your list!
- Sendlinger Tor: Small market in the shadow of an ancient city gate, located in a cool area of the city, surrounded by trendy shops and bars, offering unique products from around the world.
- Neuhausen | Rotkreuzplatz: Beautiful cozy market offering all the Christmas market essentials, plus live entertainment.
- Haidhausen | Weissenburger Platz: Romantic small market with a local vibe, a wide variety of stalls, and an impressive selection of Glühwein flavors.
- Schwabing | Münchner Freiheit: Bohemian market with a local vibe offering a great variety of artisan vendors, art installations and performances.
- Märchenbazar | Leonrodplatz: Arsty and grungy Christmas market, with a circusy aesthetic and an assortment of international foods. Actually OPEN on Christmas day!
- Werksviertel Mitte: Uber-alternative market with a local vibe, showcasing cool shops built into shipping containers, striking murals and unique festive stalls. It also houses the biggest mobile ferris wheel in the world!
- Alte Utting: A one-of-a-kind Christmas market hosted on an old ship perched on a railway bridge, complete with a great variety of stalls to shop at and eat, cool murals and performances.
- Pink Christmas | Stephansplatz: Bubbly, friendly and inclusive market in Munich’s LGBTQ neighbourhood, Glockenbachviertel, with a good party scene and live performances.
What to Eat at Munich’s Christmas Markets
Wandering around the Munich Christmas market scene will surely open up your appetite, with the dreamy smells of roasted chestnuts, flavorful Glühwein, and garlicky potatoes in the air, you won’t know where to begin your festive eating tour.
So here is some of the top Munich Christmas market food that you should try:
1. Heiße Schokolade (Hot Chocolate)
To start things simple, and family-friendly… why not enjoy a hot chocolate?
The Munich Christmas market scene will offer a wide variety of unique festive drinks, however, nothing fills you up with child-like festive wonder like sipping on a rich hot chocolate surrounded by Christmas lights!
Besides, there really is something uniquely special about Christmas market hot chocolates…might be the extra shot of Baileys, rum, or amaretto they add at the request…might be the festive atmosphere, we’ll never be sure.
Now, stepping away from child-like wonders, and moving more into the adult equivalent; festive boozy drinks!
Inarguably, the most popular drink of the Munich Christmas market scene is the flavorful Glühwein.
Glühwein is an utterly delicious spiced hot wine, typically made with red, but can also be found in a rosé or white wine variation, and can be customized to your liking with an extra shot of your liquor of choice.
It is essentially a hug in a mug, a sweet festive drink that will warm you from the inside out.
NOTE: For an alcohol-free option ask for the Kinderpunsch. You skip the hang-over, but get all the flavor!
Beer (also referred to in Germany as liquid bread), is a major part of the German culture and should be an essential part of your trip to the Bavarian capital.
It is no exaggeration when people say that Germans love their beer, and what better place to take part in this beautiful tradition of drinking beer at any time of the day than in Munich, the place that literally hosts the world’s largest festival dedicated to this activity.
For a full German experience treat yourself to a Wurst (sausage) and a Maß, those one-liter mugs you have seen in every Bavarian picture.
Dampfnudel is a delicious fluffy Bavarian dessert that consists of cloud-like cinnamony bread that is soaked in a rich vanilla sauce…yes, is as good as it sounds!
It’s simple and decadent, and a Munich Christmas market food staple you should definitely try!
Käsespätzle is Germany’s version of the beloved Mac and Cheese, and it’s made of fluffy egg noodles, covered with Emmentaler cheese, and topped with crispy fried onions…just pure comfort food magic!
This heavenly cheesy dish is a Bavarian classic, therefore, something you should not miss while exploring the Munich Christmas market food scene.
6. Wurst (Sausage)
You simply cannot come to Germany and not have a sausage.
The sausage is the epitome of German cuisine, and that’s why you will encounter numerous Wurst stalls—normally always packed—as you wander through the different Munich Christmas markets.
The sheer amount of Wurst stalls, and Wurst options in each stall, might seem intimidating at first, but honestly, just go with your gut and pick whichever looks the tastiest to you, there is really no wrong answer… they are all simply delicious!
7. Reibekuchen (Potato Cakes)
If you are a fan of the delicious breakfast hashbrown, it may interest you to know that Germans have their own take on it—and it can be consumed at all times of day!— the crispy Reibekuchen.
Reibekuchen (also known as Kartoffelpuffer) is a small round potato cake that is fried to perfection and is typically served with a side of apple sauce—but if this combination doesn’t sound that appetizing to you, feel free to enjoy it plain.
8. Gebrannte Mandeln (Roasted Almonds)
A typical Munich Christmas market food, that you will not want to miss, is the deliciously fragrant roasted almonds.
Seriously, you will smell this mouth-watering treat before you see it!
Once your nose guides you to the right booth, you will be welcomed by a variety of candied nuts, and other sweet treats, however, don’t let your senses assault your wallet and pay attention to the quantities you order (prices are normally listed per 100g and they are not a cheap snack).
This originally Swiss dish has been adopted by Germany—and other European countries—as a winter staple, that is why you will find this cheesy treat being served throughout the Munich Christmas market food scene.
Proving that food doesn’t have to be complicated to be mind-blowingly delicious, this simple dish consists of heated cheese poured over a slice of bread, topped off with potatoes, onions, cold cuts, or pickles—or all of the above, because why not?
It will be the most comforting piece of bread you will have in your life!
10. Champginons (Mushrooms)
If you have eaten your body weight worth in cheese, sausage, and potato cakes, and feel the need for a lighter—but delicious—snack, a steamy bowl of roasted mushrooms (Champignons) is just what you need.
You will find this hearty plate of goodness in most Christmas markets in Munich, and to guarantee top deliciousness make sure to order your Champignons with a dollop of garlic (Knoblauch) sauce on the side.
What to Buy at Munich’s Christmas Markets
Munich’s Christmas markets boast an immense variety of vendors and stalls selling all sorts of goods, from the traditional wooden items to some more unconventional quirky souvenirs.
So here are some ideas to inspire your souvenir shopping while exploring the Munich Christmas market scene:
1. Traditional German Toys
Since Munich is full of tradition and history, let’s start with an old-school souvenir that you will find all throughout the Munich Christmas market scene; traditional German toys.
Germany lives in some sort of melancholic state for old times; payment by card is rarely accepted, any kind of paperwork is mostly done by snail mail, and you can still find adorable toys that have been carved out of wood and painted by hand.
Whether you purchase it as an actual toy for your favorite tiny human back home, or as a decoration, these lovable little wooden figurines should definitely make their way into your suitcase!
2. Candles And Candle Holders
Scattered around Munich Christmas markets, you will also encounter numerous stalls dedicated to candles and intricately decorated candle holders.
These delicate objects make the perfect gift for the holidays, or a cozy souvenir to display around your place and reminisce about your Christmassy holiday abroad.
3. Paper Stars
If you love the idea of a cozy gift to warm up a space, like the beautiful handpainted candle holders, but can’t see yourself being able to transport them back in one piece, then Moravian paper stars are the perfect gift idea for you!
You will find these beautiful paper stars hanging around the different markets in the city, warming up the scene and just adding an overall romantic vibe to any space, and—contrary to the candle holders—they are super easy to transport since they are foldable.
…it’s a win-win!
4. Christmas Market Mug
One of the most iconic, and affordable, souvenirs you can get to commemorate your Christmassy trip aborad is an adorable Christmas market mug.
These mugs are completely different from city to city, and even from market to market, and the best Christmas markets in Munich tend to go all out with their mug themes—at one point we saw a super cute one in the shape of a boot!
And since they are so unique to the location, these make the perfect souvenir or gift to take back home with you!
You might not see them on display for sale, instead, whenever you order a Glühwein you will be charged an extra amount on top of the cost of the beverage, this is due to the Pfand (rent for the mug) so when you return it, you get your extra euros back—or if you find your new favorite mug, then you just buy it from the Glühwein stall.
5. Authentic German Christmas Ornaments
As stated before, Germany loves tradition, and you can see that translated into the love and attention that goes into producing a lot of the handmade goods sold at the Christmas market, like the beautiful Christmas ornaments.
While wandering around the Munich Christmas market scene you will come across numerous stalls selling these intricate handmade Christmas ornaments that would make a great addition to your holiday decor back home, or a great gift for the Christmas lover in your life!
It’s the perfect souvenir and gift: traditional, relatively affordable, and sturdy enough to survive the long trip squished inside your suitcase.
6. Personalized gifts
A personalized item is also a very thoughtful gift to bring home for someone special or great souvenir for you to commemorate your Christmassy trip abroad.
There is an array of personalized items that you can purchase at the various Munich Christmas markets, such as handpainted drinkware, customized wooden boards, and other items that are branded on the spot, to add whatever message you desire.
7. Sheepskin Slipppers And Boots
When walking around the Munich Christmas market scene, during the cold German winter nights, your eyes will for sure stop at the sight of these cozy clouds of comfort.
These pairs of slippers and boots are made from the softest sheepskin and will make the coziest winter gift for a loved one, or the best purchase you ever made for your cold wandering feet.
8. Local Liquour
Besides beer, Germans are big consumers of liquor, whether that is by having a little sip of something before a meal as an Aperitif, or after a meal as an Absacker.
This is why you will find a wide variety of unique liquours throughout the Munich Christmas markets, which would make a great souvenir of your trip abroad, and a lovely present for a friend back home that you wish to share a part of your trip with.
PS: You can even find carry-on approved little bottles of local liquor, in case you get thirsty on the plane.
9. Painted Porcelain Christmas Village Houses
This option might not be the easiest purchase to travel with, however, if you manage to take it home in one piece, you will be so happy to have this delightful souvenir to remember your trip by.
You will spot these painfully adorable porcelain Christmas houses around Munich’s Christmas Markets, and while they are a delight to just look at, they are also a phenomenal souvenir to take back home and decorate under the Christmas tree.
Just picture having a tiny porcelain village under your Christmas tree…so cute!
10. Other Handmade Unconventional Souvenirs
As mentioned before, Munich has a good mix of uber-traditional and completely alternative Christmas markets, and it is in the latter where you can expect to find all kinds of quirky souvenirs that you would not see anywhere else.
So, if you bought your fair share of German wooden toys and Christmas mugs, and are on the hunt for something more original, make sure to browse the stalls at the more unconventional venues mentioned before to find some hidden gems such as unique paintings, handmade jewelry, leather bags, grungy streetwear, and more.
Extra Tips for Visiting Munich’s Christmas Markets
While visiting Munich at Christmas time you will spend the vast majority of your time outdoors exploring all the different markets, and there is nothing worse than not being able to enjoy the beauty of the festive season because you cannot stop thinking how cod you are.
So make sure to bring a proper winter jacket, scarf, hat, gloves, and very warm shoes, to keep you nice and toasty as you wander around the city’s festive venues.
As mentioned before, Germany is still a very traditional place in many ways, and the use of cash is one of them, that’s why we cannot stress this enough: bring cash!
The majority of stalls will not accept credit card payment, and finding an ATM can be a pain when all you want is to devour a Wurst.
So plan accordingly and take enough cash out for all your food, drink and souvenir purchases.
No bulky bags
Christmas Markets can get overwhelmingly crowded at times, that’s why we recommend to avoid carrying bulky bags or backpacks that might make moving through the crowds more of a hassle.
And as with any big city, it’s always good practice to have a smaller bag and keep it closer to you, or on the front of your body to avoid any travel hiccups.
Bring a reusable bag
While carrying a smaller bag throughout the way to go, it is also good practice to fit into that personal bag a reusable bigger bag where you can put your souvenirs at the end of the night and carry them comfortably back to the hotel.
Also, most of the shops won’t offer plastic bags or they might charge you for an extra bag, so you are better off bringing your own.
Where to Find More Info on Munich’s Christmas Markets
Official website: Muenchen.de
Help us improve this Munich Christmas Markets Guide!
Do you have a pro tip about Munich Christmas Markets? A particular souvenir you loved, or a delicious treat you tried? Let us know in the comments what your insider tips are for the Munich Christmas Market scene so we can help improve this guide for all future visitors.