I’ve just returned from a short trip back to Europe and got to spend time in the Christmas Markets! We spent about 2.5 days in Berlin and 1 day in Cologne and got to visit a few markets. I’m sooo obsessed.
The Christmas Markets originated in Germany and have spread across many countries. In Berlin and Cologne, where I visited, there were markets set up all around the city. Be sure to enjoy a mug of glühwein (mulled wine): I think I’ll have to head back to Europe next year just to have more! It warms you up from the inside out (it’s warming me up now just thinking about it).
Each market is unique but filled with food (currywurst and potato pancakes are to die for), drinks (glühwein, coffee, tea, other alcoholic drinks), treats (waffle cones and classic german treats), locally crafted Christmas decorations and everything else you can think of! Be sure to bring cash since most vendors appreciate cash and may not take debit or credit.
If you decide to drink glühwein, each market has a specialized mug and it changes each year. You can buy a glass of glühwein (about €3.00) and pay a deposit for the mug (normally around €2.50) or, if you like the mug but not the glühwein you can just pay for the mug.
Berlin Christmas Markets
Here‘s a bit more information on the markets in Berlin.
Gendarmenmarkt is a square in Berlin with the concert hall, French Cathedral and German Cathedral. Each year, the square is transformed into a Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt), opening near the end of November. This year the Christmas market opened November 27, 2017 (the day we arrived, yay) and continues to the end of the year. This Christmas Market was free between 11-2pm but €1.00 otherwise.
Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church
The Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church is located in Berlin on the Kurfürstendamm in the centre of the Breitscheidplatz. The original church, which is open to visitors, was badly damaged in a bombing raid in 1943. Beside the original church is a new church with a stunning interior. The Christmas Market surrounds both the old and new church. Check it out!
Potsdamer Platz is a public square and traffic intersection in the centre of Berlin. This was the first Christmas Market where I tried glühwein and I couldn’t get enough of it! There was a tube slide and a cute merry-go-round. The Christmas Market was mostly closed by the time we got to it so we enjoyed our mug of glühwein and went off to the hostel after.
Cologne Christmas Markets
Cathedral Christmas Market
Our first stop in Cologne was the Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market. “In front of the impressive backdrop of Cologne’s landmark, the Cathedral Christmas Market awaits visitors with its 160 attractively designed wooden pavilions.” The view of the cathedral is spectacular no matter where you are in the market and it’s certainly the busiest Christmas market we went to in Cologne. Make sure you push through the crowd and wander through the entire market, it’s worth it!
Angel’s Christmas Market
Cologne’s oldest Christmas market is held in the Neumarkt, the city centre market in the shopping district. I only took one picture at this one even though it was one of my favourites. Most of the time I just get so caught up in the moment I forget to take out my camera.
We also stopped in Koblenz on our way from the Eltz Castle (Burg Eltz). It was another adorable Christmas Market!