Berlin Christmas Markets: Exploring One of Germany’s Best Christmas Cities

With over 100 Christmas markets, Berlin STOLLENS the show in terms of Christmas markets. Or should we say it takes the FRUIT cake?  Oh, the puns! I’ll stop.

Caleb and I spent a few days exploring the markets in Berlin, and we loved so many of them! There were a few that we think you can skip due to being over-commercialized and not unique at all, but we found some ultra-magical and festive hidden gems that we can’t wait to share with you!

In this guide to Berlin’s Christmas markets, we’ll share 12 of the markets that we visited, along with our personal opinions on them and tips to have the best experience ever!

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Here’s a video we made of some of the markets so you can start getting the vibe!

YouTube video

✔️ Quick Info:

📅 Opening Dates: The popular markets start November 25, 2024

⏰ Best time to go: late afternoon to just after sunset on weekdays.

🍴 Must eat: steak sandwich

🏨 Where to stay: We stayed at Maritim ProArte Hotel Berlin Mitte and loved it, and it’s proximity to markets

💴 Paying: card is accepted most places. Bring Euros just in case.

Markets We Cover In This Guide: Bebelplatz, Winter market at Schlossplatz Berlin Mitte, Rotes Rathaus, Alexanderplatz, Dorothea Schlegel Platz, Medieval Market, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Potsdamer Platz, Charlottenburg Palace, The Curling Market, Spandauer, Lucia Nordic Market

The Christmas Markets That We Visited

We couldn’t get to all 100 because we, unfortunately, are human, but these are the markets we visited and our opinions on them. I’ve listed them in the order that we visited them so you can follow along!

Bebelplatz  (Weihnachtszauber At Gendarmenmarket): The biggest and most famous

Patrons inside a warmly lit, tented pavilion at a Berlin Christmas market with festive decorations and a historic building in the background

This is supposed to be the biggest and best Christmas market in Berlin, and it had an entrance fee of $2 each (lame.)  We were there on a Friday, and it was really busy, but it’s large and spread out, so that makes it a bit less insane to navigate. If you’re looking for things to buy, we really liked the arts and crafts tent as it had cool local artists…

…and it was warm. You’ll thank me for that later.

If you need a break from standing at tables eating sausages with randoms, there are also lots of little covered restaurants and bars around the perimeter. We had a bratwurst and tried the kase spetzel (German mac and cheese) with bacon, which was basically one big drool emoji. 

They also had a stage where there were some people singing Christmas carols, which we don’t usually see at markets, and made it unique!

Our opinion: one to visit for sure!

Winter market at schlossplatz Berlin mitte: The best market for romance

This is one of the most beautiful and romantic Christmas markets! It almost seemed like an international market because we saw food like Nepalese, Indian, and Gyoza, along with the usual German fare. The square was dotted with wooden houses decked out with lights and projected stars on the surrounding building walls while the smell of cinnamony quark balls and mulled wine was in the air. Everyone was just having a great time, and it didn’t feel so commercialized.

We had the quark balls and fried apple donuts (krappelchen) and can confirm they pair NICE with 2 glasses of mulled wine. 😏

Our opinion: do not miss it! This one feels cute and traditional.

Berliner Weihnachtszeit At Rotes Rathaus: A Christmas Carnival

This felt like one of THE most commercialized markets to us, like we had just gone to some state fair that Christmas threw up on. It was massive (and not in a good way), and there were so many fair rides and screaming children running around that we had a glass of gluhgin (a delicious Christmas market drink!) and hightailed it out of there.

Our opinion: skip, skip, skip! One of the worst Christmas markets for sure.

Christmas market at Alexanderplatz: Nothing special here

We felt like this one felt like literally every Christmas market on the planet and even had almost all the same food and wares. The only unique thing here was these fried tortilla bowl things filled with sausages or chicken and veggies.

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Our opinion: the only reason to check this out is to order some veggies so you can feel better about those 4 mugs of gluhgin you drank. #logic.

Nostalgia weihnachtmarkt at Dorothea Schlegel Platz: cozy, quiet vibes

Ahhhh, what a stupid cute, and romantic market! We loved that this market felt like a tiny little German town with half-timbered stalls, and it was SO quiet.  It’s really small, but there are some good mulled wine stands where you can order a drink and then hang out in one of the little half-timbered huts and just bask in the festive atmosphere. We went here both nights in Berlin because we loved the cozy vibe.

Our opinion: a must-go, even just for a drink.

RAW Gelande Medieval Market: for something unique

This is one of the most unique markets in Berlin, but it’s outside of town, so we took the metro. It felt very local – nothing on the sign was written in English! All the vendors were wearing medieval costumes, and we saw a person doing a cool fire dance!

The stalls were these old-timey tents, and there were some really unique hand-carved goods here. I saw a lot less of the typical knick-knacks than in all other markets and way more unique items. The one felt like a total community vibe, and everyone was just drinking mulled beer and having a good time. The only downside is there is an entrance fee, but it is just  3 euros each. 

Our opinion: go if you want something unique! If you only want “christmas vibes,” then skip it.

Our day 2 markets:

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church: great location, not to great market

Obviously, it’s our favorite since we share the last name. Kidding. Honestly, this market was nothing special at all.  Everything seemed mass-produced, and the food was just meh.  It is pretty because it’s right in front of the church, and there’s a gorgeous, HUGE Christmas tree in front.

Our opinion: check it out if you want to visit the church, but don’t go out of your way for the market.

Potsdamer Platz: best for families

The only reason to visit this one is the man-made toboggan hill that costs $2.50 a person to ride. We did it once, and I LOVED it so much that I wanted to do it again. Just note that you have to walk up a lot of slippery, stilted stairs, so be careful.

Other than that, the food wasn’t that unique, although we did have this steak in a bun with fried onions that we still talk about to this day. It was one of our favorite foods at all the Christmas markets! The wares were mass-produced, and the whole market seemed to cater to kiddos and families.

Our opinion: Go toboggan, eat a steak bun, then leave.

A bustling Christmas market in the courtyard of an ornate palace with a green dome. Stalls with red and white striped canopies are surrounded by holiday decorations and visitors in winter attire

Charlottenburg Palace: for Palace views

This is one of the bigger markets, and it’s really pretty right in front of the palace. It’s a bit outside the town, but we took the M45 bus from the city center, which was an easy ride. Because it’s outside the city, it feels a little less crowded, which is unusual for a market as big as it is!

We found the food at Berlin Christmas markets to be the standard fare, and this market is almost the same, except we first tried handbrot here and then became obsessed. Think fluffy bread filled with ham and cheese. HOW CAN IT GO WRONG? The answer is: it cannot.

You can also try Wild Liquor, which has tons of cool flavors. They actually got their start at Christmas markets!

Our opinion: It’s definitely worth visiting, especially in the afternoons!

The Curling Market Behind Cafe Am Neuen See: for off-the-beaten-path adventure

This is technically not a traditional christmas market, but we stumbled upon it when we were walking, and it was one of our favorite stops in Berlin; it’s so cute! It’s a place to do “eisstock” (curling), and there are adorable wood fires everywhere, with little French-style bistro seats around while curling in one of the open lanes.

It had a small area to get hot apple juice with gin, mulled wine, soup, and baked goods. We had this cream cheese apple cake thing that was gooey and one of our favorite foods that we ate the whole trip – it was definitely hand-baked and NOT mass-produced!

Our opinion: go for a coffee and a kuchen and enjoy some ambiance! Just know there aren’t any souvenirs to buy or anything.

Spandauer (Altstadt/Old town): for magical, festive vibes

This is my second favorite market (the first is Schossplatz!). It’s very far outside the city, and we took the 30-minute M45 bus to get to. Like most markets that are worth visiting, it’s crowded on the weekend, but it’s totally worth it!

There are lots of pretty colorful buildings with the usual food but also lots of international foods like  Turkish or Uzbekistan. The stall you have to go to is the Thuringer bratwurst stall, one of our favorite Christmas market sausages. You won’t miss it because the lines are LONG.

There was a quiet area that was a bit secluded, with just the wooden huts where adults were drinking mulled wine. We looooved this market because it made more of a traditional, small-city Germany vibe for being in a big city.

Our opinion: a must-visit!

A vibrant evening scene at a holiday market, with bustling crowds of people in winter clothing. The scene is illuminated by festive lights strung above and the warm glow of market stalls against a historic red brick building

Lucia Nordic Market: overcrowded and crazy

This market is in an old-brewery-turned-event space called Kulturbrai, and we were so excited about this, but it sucked. Sorry to be so frank.

Inside has walls, so you’re filing through this tight space with thousands of other people, and it is like shuffling down the hallway to your assembly in elementary school, making it super tight and uncomfortable. They had some unique Nordic foods like elk bratwurst, and it would have been a cool atmosphere with the brick buildings and fires and tents everywhere!

Our opinion: we say skip it. But, if you want to check it out since it is unique,  go during the day and during the week.

These are not all the markets! There are also so many markets that open on specific weekends throughout December. 

Tips for Visiting:

A street food vendor handing over a steak sandwich loaded with grilled steak, caramelized onions, and pickles in a crusty baguette, wrapped in a napkin

Do a Christmas Market Tour

Berlin has a lot of markets and it can be really overwhelming planning how to hit the best ones and make sure you eat the good food – especially if you only have a very short time! Why not save yourself the stress and time planning by doing an organized Christmas market food tour? We LOVE food tours!

>> Click here to check prices, reviews and availability <<

Download the BVG App

A nice local man told us this after asking if we needed help when we looked lost going the wrong direction on the train (thank you random stranger!) This app will help you navigate Berlin by public transport.

Download it here

Prices

Christmas markets aren’t cheap. Expect to spend around $3 for the cup deposits, around $8 for mulled wine (depending on if you add a shot), and anywhere from $10-$20 on food, depending on what you get.

A spacious hotel room featuring a large bed with white linens, a green armchair, and a green carpet. The room has a modern yet warm ambiance, with a wide window draped with sheer curtains.

Book in Advance

We fly by the seat of our pants and never book trips in advance. This bit us in the booty this time when we booked a hotel last minute, walked 1 hour (no joke) in a blizzard with our massive backpacks only to get there, and they told us there was some error with booking.com, and they were full. 

Don’t be us. It gets busy, so book in advance.

We stayed in Maritim ProArte Hotel Berlin Mitte and LOVED it. The rooms were big, clean and nice with comfy beds and the location was central to all the biggest markets. We would 100/10 recommend it!

>> Click here to check prices, review, photos and availability <<

Evening at a Christmas market showcasing a food stall with 'Bratwurst', 'Steak', and 'Frikadelle' on offer, nestled under a building with a starry light projection.

Make a plan

Berlin is, as Donald Trump would say, HYOOGE. So, you want to do some research on the markets you want to visit and then map them out before visiting. You don’t want to waste precious time sitting on a train, backtracking back and forth.

Moment of silence for all the mulled wines you could have used that time to drink.

You may also want to skip the markets outside of town that we mentioned if you’re short on time

A close-up of a Christmas market stall window displaying a menu with drinks like cocoa and Glögg, and festive decorations in Berlin.

You might pay deposits for dishes, not just mugs.

This was one of the only Christmas markets where I had to pay a deposit (pfand) for the bowl my oh-so-worth-the-calories German mac and cheese came in. I thought I was getting ripped off, but it’s just them ensuring you bring back their pretty glassware.

Why they are serving cheesy noodles in fancy dishes is a conundrum to us.

And why are they serving it to people who are a few mulled wines in? It’s even more of a mystery. But here we are.

Trust your “market gut.”

Since there are SO MANY markets, really trust your gut when you get to one and don’t feel like you “should” stay. There were some markets we left within 10 minutes and we were so glad because it gave us more time at ones we really loved, or more time to just relax in a cute hot over a glass of mulled wine.

The Next Step After Planning Your Market Itinerary:

Now that you have an idea of what markets to visit with a few tips, you need to make sure you know what to eat!  We’ve put together an ultimate guide to the best German Christmas market food to help you!

Or, if you need help planning your trip, check out our helpful, step-by-step guide on planning a trip to Europe’s Christmas markets!

So, which markets will you visit?

Other helpful Christmas market Posts

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A couple embraces while watching the sunset behind the Crystal Palace in Madrid's Retiro Park, a moment of romance and tranquility by the reflective waters.

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