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Where are Christmas markets around Germany already opening?

From Berlin to Duisberg, many of the Bundesrepublik's best Weihnachtsmärkte are already off to an early start. Here are some of the places to get in the holiday spirit barely post-autumn.

Christmas market in Essen
A Christmas market in Essen which just opened on November 3rd. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Roland Weihrauch

Some people are rubbing their eyes in disbelief: a full 44 days before Christmas Eve, Duisburg in North-Rhine Westphalia will open its large Christmas market in its scenic city centre along the Rhine River on Thursday November 10th. 

This marks an earlier opening date than ever before – one day before St. Martin’s Day or the start of the Carnival season on November 11th, 17 days before the first Advent on November 27th and one month and two weeks before Christmas Eve itself.

READ ALSO: How to celebrate St. Martin’s Day in Germany

Smaller markets such as the “City-X-Mas” at Frankfurt‘s Opernplatz, the Winter World at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin or the Bayreuth Winter Village even opened their doors in October.

In the Steele district of Essen, a market has already been serving steaming Glühwein and other holiday goodies since November 3rd.

In Hamburg the Wandsbeker Winterzauber has been in full swing since November 4th, as has the ‘Weihnachts-Rummel’ along Berlin’s Frankfurter Allee.

READ ALSO: What’s the history behind Germany’s beloved Christmas markets?

In the Ruhr region, people like to get off to a particularly early start. Duisburg is followed on November 11th by Oberhausen with its “Bergweihnachtsmarkt,” “Santa’s Village” and “Wichtelmarkt,” and on November 12th by Essen’s 50th International Christmas Market. 

Other cities in North Rhine-Westphalia, such as Bochum, Dortmund and Düsseldorf, will start their Christmas markets on November 17th, with Bonn trailing close behind for an opening on November 18th.

Hamburg’s Santa Pauli Christmas market on the Reeperbahn will also light up its many holiday huts from November 14th.

READ ALSO: 10 unmissable events in Germany this November

Visitors to Hamburg’s newly opened Christmas market toast with Glühwein. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jonas Walzberg

Breaking with tradition 

Traditionally, Christmas markets in German-speaking countries usually open after Totensonntag (the last Sunday before Advent commemorating the dead), which falls on November 20th in 2022.

The popular markets in Frankfurt, Berlin, Heidelberg, Lübeck, Bremen, Mannheim, Münster and Munich‘s Christkindlmarkt, for example, all open on November 21st.

The Christmas market at the Cologne Cathedral also does not officially open until the 21st.

Both the Erfurt Christmas Market and the Historic Market in front of Hamburg City Hall kick off on November 22nd. 

Stuttgart‘s Christmas Market and Dresden‘s Striezelmarkt start on November 23rd, Mainz‘s on the 24th and Rothenburg ob der Tauber‘s and Nuremberg‘s world-famous Christkindlesmarkt on November 25th.

Overall, there is a trend to no longer close markets before Christmas Eve, but to keep them open past New Year’s Eve or even well into January.

In the Christian community, the expansion of the Advent season and the Christmas market hustle and bustle into the so-called month of mourning in November has been met with criticism. 

But that barely bothers many people in Germany, who are increasingly breaking with the church, anymore.

“In fact, we’ve never started as early as this year,” Alexander Klomparend, head of communications at Duisburg Kontor GmbH, told DPA.

fire artist at a Berlin Christmas market

A fire artist at the opening of a Berlin Christmas market this past weekend. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

Cutting costs amid the energy crisis

Following the corona crisis, Christmas markets are facing an energy crisis this year. Many have announced more efficient or less lighting, as well as sometimes shorter daytime opening hours.

In view of the energy crisis following the Russian war in Ukraine, the organisers of the Duisburg Christmas market were glad to have started using LED lights a while ago, Klomparend explained. In addition, he said, some further energy-saving measures have been taken.

“We’ll do without the ice rink as an energy guzzler and we’ll adjust the switching times of the lighting to the twilight accordingly – in other words, we don’t just turn on lights at 2pm,” Klomparend told DPA. “At 10pm, they are then consistently switched off as well.”

“Lights are enormously important and the Christmas markets create a fundamental sense of community,” he continued. “We want to let the city shine against all odds. We want people to feel as good as they used to.”

Member comments

  1. I went to Frankfurt’s City Xmas Christmas Market yesterday and we ended up leaving without buying anything and going to the pub. It didn’t seem the same during the daylight and seemed a little too expensive this year for our liking. 🙁 We’ll wait until the main Frankfurt Christmas market opens!

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For members


8 of the quirkiest Christmas markets in Germany

Want to try something different from the classic German Christmas market? Here are eight unique alternatives.

8 of the quirkiest Christmas markets in Germany

1. Erotic Christmas market – St. Pauli, Hamburg

If you want to spice up your advent this year, then head to “Hamburg’s hottest Christmas market” in the city’s Sankt Pauli district.

Alongside the typical festive offerings of Glühwein and traditional stands, this market also hosts regular strip shows and features numerous stands selling erotic gifts and sweets.

Visitors walk through the Santa Pauli Christmas Market on Spielbudenplatz. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Bockwoldt

The Spielbudenplatz stage in the market also plays host to live music almost every evening throughout the season.

On Mondays, a special Glühwein “pharmacy” offers unicorn mulled wine – a glittery pink beverage with a choice of special flavours. 

Open from November 14th to December 23rd

2. Underground Christmas Market – Traben-Trarbach, Rhineland-Palatinate

The town of Traben-Trarbach in Rhineland-Palatinate is home to a particularly special type of Christmas market.

The Mosel Wein Nachts Markt, as it’s officially called, takes place underground in a series of former wine cellars which date back to the 18th century.

A festively decorated wine cellar in Traben-Trarbach – at the Moselle Wine Night Market. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Weinkeller Traben-Trarbach | Jan-Gerrit Baumann

As the name suggests, this Christmas market has a lot to offer in terms of wine, as it is set in the heart of the Mosel region which is famous for its Riesling.

READ ALSO: 5 things you need to know about German Glühwein

There’s an emphasis on art, antiquity and culture in this market too. International and national artisans and exhibitors sell decorative items, antiques, clocks and creative fashion and jewellery.

Open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from November 18th to December 18th, 2022

3. Forest Christmas market – Velen, North Rhein-Westphalia

For a fairytale festive experience, visit the forest Christmas market in Velen, North Rhein-Westphalia.

The market has been running here on the land of the Krumme family in North-Western NRW since 1999 and is well-known throughout the region for its special brand of Christmassy magic.

Huts scattered throughout the forest serve up culinary delights and homemade goods and those wanting to warm up can visit the historic farmhouse café or nestle inside one of the winter huts.

Children can ride on the nostalgic train, bake stick bread at the crackling fire or meet Santa Claus.

Open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from November 25th to December 18th, 2022

4. 19th Century Christmas market – Werben, Saxony-Anhalt

The Biedermeier Christmas Market in Werben is one of the most beautiful and unusual markets in northern Germany.

The theme is the Biedermeier period from 1815 to 1848 and, accordingly, stall owners, local theatre groups, merchants and friends of the town, participate in creating this early 19th century themed market.  

The Biedermeier Christmas market in Werben an der Elbe takes visitors back in time. Photo: picture alliance / dpa-tmn | Jürgen Sturtzel

The market is always bustling with men in tailcoats and top hats, and ladies in long dresses and bonnets and is full of stalls selling contemporary knickknacks. There are theatrical and musical performances and, in the evening, candle lanterns and kerosene lamps bathe the hustle and bustle in atmospheric light.

Open on December 10th and 11th, 2022

5. Ecological Christmas Market – Berlin

For those feeling bad about the excesses of Christmas already, the Ökomarkt at Kollwitzplatz in Berlin is a good place for guilt-free shopping and celebrations.

The assortment of sustainable stalls ranges from Christmas decorations to textiles, toys and jewellery from all over the world that meet social and ecological standards.

READ ALSO: Seven unmissable Christmas markets that open this week in Germany

There is also a wide range of organic and fair trade food on offer, from sweet treats such as crêpes, vegan waffles and pastries to hearty dishes such as bratwurst and pizza.

Open on November 27th, December 4th, 11th, and 18th

6. Japanese Christmas Market – Berlin

Since 2014, the Japanese community in Berlin has been laying on a colourful celebration of Japanese culture with a Japanese Christmas market.

Stalls selling paintings, photography, ceramics, illustrations and fashion cover traditional and modern designs – from kimonos to kawaii, from kokeshi to kendama. A taste of Japanese cuisine is also on offer along with hot sake.

There are workshops for those wanting to deepen their knowledge of Japanese culture and the entertainment program includes Japanese music, karaoke, dance and sumo.

Opening in December – dates not yet released (check here for updates)

7. Pink Christmas Market – Munich

The pink star amongst Munich’s Christmas markets will be back again this year on Stephansplatz in the heart of the Glockenbach district in Munich. 

The Pink Christmas on the Stephansplatz in Munich. Photo: picture alliance / dpa-tmn | Pink Christmas

With its elegant white pagoda tents and atmospheric light design – and abundance of pink – this Christmas market is a special spot to enjoy the festive season. Organisers call it “the place to be” for the LGBTIQ* community, neighbours, friends and Christmas market fans from all over the world.

READ ALSO: How do Germans celebrate Christmas?

Stalls offer delicious food, drinks and gifts, while unique, nightly shows keep the bustling crowds entertained. 

Pink Christmas is open from November 21st – December 23rd. 

8. Christmas Market by boat – Spreewald, Brandenburg

Spreewald is a magical place to visit at any time of the year but at Christmas, it’s something truly special.

The Spreewald Weihnacht – zwei Märkte, eine Kahnfahrt (two markets, one boat ride) offers a very unique Christmas market experience.

Visitors wait at the port of Lübbenau (Brandenburg) to take a Spreewald barge to the Christmas market in the open-air museum of the Spreewald village Lehde. Photo: picture alliance / Patrick Pleul/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa | Patrick Pleul

The first port of call is the Great Spreewald Harbor, where – amongst the usual Christmas market offerings – stalls and booths sell smoked fish, Christmas plinse and hot grog. Then, market-goers are taken on a wintry boat trip to the open-air museum in Lehde through the tranquillity of the Spreewald nature in hibernation.

In the Open Air Museum Lehde visitors can taste regional delicacies at the market stalls, stroll along the craftsmen’s market and meet some ancient mythical figures who offer good wishes for the coming year.

Open on November 26th, 27th and December 3rd and 4th