The ultimate guide to the 12 best Christmas markets in Berlin

by Nov 27, 2022Berlin Region

Therese Iknoian buying a mulled wine at the Spandau Weihnachtsmarkt, one of the best Christmas Markets in Berlin.

When it comes to enjoying Christmas in Berlin, there are dozens of Christmas markets to head to – so many that it can be difficult to choose. Here are our top picks of the best Berlin Christmas markets to experience — guaranteed something for every taste.


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Therese has fond memories of the Christmas season in Germany when she was an exchange student in a smaller town. There was just something magical about great Christmas markets with their smells of hot mulled drinks, gingerbread, and roasted chestnuts combined with the sounds of clinking of glasses, holiday music, and giggling children.

Since those days, she and Michael have spent time exploring so many of the best Christmas markets in Berlin. There are dozens of them – so many it can be difficult for us to choose the best market in the Berlin area.

Together, we’ve discovered that many of the markets in Germany’s capital have their own character, flair, or special theme. If somebody tells us that “Market A” is the best Christmas market in Berlin, maybe we’ll agree, but maybe we’ll like “Market B” better. Why choose? Just head out to explore when you are traveling in Berlin to figure out which Christmas market you like best. They are all frankly pretty enchanting experiences.

No matter how long or when you happen to be in Berlin between about mid-November and late December, you will be able to find at least a few dozen markets to choose from. Some are open every day the entire season until at least Dec. 25 or 26 (often opening prior to “first Advent” which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas). Some only take place on weekends or even just on a certain weekend or two, or evening or two.

Some Christmas markets in Berlin are indoors, while many are outdoors. Some are oriented more toward dining, while some have a community and family or amusement park emphasis. Many have higher security measures these days, too, so avoid taking large packs and be prepared to submit to a search of your bags. A few have small admission fees, usually to offset entertainment.

Here, then, are some of our favorite Christmas markets in Berlin that run the entire season. If you have a particular interest – e.g. medieval times, nostalgia, or amusement rides – you can also peruse the Visit Berlin listing of the best Christmas markets in Berlin. Oh, and one last tip – always check before you go as COVID, construction projects and renovations, or other unseen events can cause a Christmas market to canceled, moved temporarily, or shuttered.

Red City Hall Berlin Christmas Market ferris wheel and reflections

Red City Hall market (Rotes Rathaus) in Berlin viewed from the base of the Berlin TV Tower.

Remember, although charming at night when lights are aglow, most Christmas markets in Berlin are also open by noon or in the afternoon, so you can always stop in earlier. (Of course, sunset in Berlin in December is about 4 p.m. so “afternoon” is a bit relative!)

HITT Tip: If you plan to hop around the city one evening, you should just buy a day pass for the metro system. Controllers will be lurking to check for tickets. There is another ticket for “small groups” (“Kleingruppen”) up to five persons who are traveling together, which is normally a great deal. You can buy them at machines in the stations or online. Remember these day passes are not 24-hour tickets but one-day tickets, so they are valid from the time you buy and stamp them until until 3 a.m. the following day. If you have a Berlin Welcome Card, you can use the accompanying transit pass, too.

Weihnachtsmarket am Bahnnhof Friedrichstrasse

Friedrichstrasse Christmas market — small but quite cozy and friendly with more locals than tourists.

Weihnachtsmarket am Bahnnhof Friedrichstrasse (Christmas market at Friedrichstrasse station) – Let’s start small. This is a cozy affair on a small square near the Friedrichstrasse station that didn’t start until 2018. Although in the center of town, it has a more neighborhood feel. No big shows, no Santa appearances, no amusement rides. People seem to come to hang out with friends, have a nibble and a sip to enjoy the season’s cheer. There are a few covered niches to sit in that are heated, too, so definitely a place to contemplate life a bit. Don’t miss the curling sheet for a friendly match or a little entertainment while you are enjoying your mulled wine.

Red City Hall Christmas Market with Santa Claus flying overhead.

Santa Claus flies overhead three times each evening at the Red City Hall market.

Berliner Weihnachtszeit at Rotes Rathaus (Berlin Christmas time at Red City Hall) – Not to be biased or anything, but we really love this market. It is large enough to offer a nice selection of food and less-kitschy artisan goods, as well as some several nightly appearances by Santa in an overhead sled spouting fireworks!). Still, it still feels cozy, neighborhood-y and nostalgic, with a hint of a medieval theme. The circular ice-skating rink is open to all between any performances and is great entertainment with mulled wine in hand. Admittedly, the huge Ferris wheel with a fantastic view over the city, St. Mary’s Church, and the TV Tower overhead offer a certain flair. It doesn’t hurt that the market is quite central and very easy to access from the Alexanderplatz S-Bahn and U-Bahn, among others.

HITT Tip: Every market (and sometimes different stands in a market) will take a deposit on the mugs and cups in which you get your mulled drinks, wine, or beer. These glasses are often quite colorful and can make fun souvenirs, making the small 1-3 Euro deposit a small price to pay to keep it as a memento of visiting the best Christmas markets in Berlin. But pace yourself: Do you really want a mug from every market you attend?

Christmas Market At Breitscheidplatz, Kaiser Wilhelm Church

Market at the base of Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Breitscheidplatz offers history and charm.

Weihnachtsmarkt am Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis Kirche (Christmas market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) – This top Christmas market in Berlin remains one of the most traditional and most popular, usually even staying open into the first week of January if you need more of a festive fix. Artisans and booths are traditional and rustic, and since they surround the breathtaking Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which you can visit in the evening, it is all the more special. Despite its festive air, this market is where the terrorist attack occurred in 2016, killing 11 and injuring dozens. Nevertheless, do come to “Breitscheidplatz,” and also take a minute at the permanent memorial on the church steps that is sure to gather more flowers this time of year.

Kaiser Wilhelm Church Christmas memorial

Memorial to the 2016 terrorist attack on Breitscheidplatz Christmas market.

HITT Tip: Head across the street to the Bikini Mall and upstairs to the outdoor terrace area for a great (free) viewpoint and photos of one of the best Christmas markets in Berlin. You’ll likely have the terrace to yourself if you are there in the evening since it’ll too cold for most folks to loiter.

Angels on stilts at the Gendarmenmarkt Berlin Christmas Market

The elegant and ever popular market at Gendarmenplatz has moved to “Bebelplatz” next to the State Opera through at least 2024 due to construction.

Weihnachtszauber am Gendarmenmarket / Bebelplatz (Christmas magic at Gendarmenmarkt) – This market in general is a bit — how shall we say it? – finer with high-end entertainment, enclosed dining areas with seating (reservations recommended), gourmet cuisine, and fine wine. For that, you will also pay a tiny admission fee (1-2 Euro) and security is high with bag checks and no large bags allowed. Nevertheless, we had a great time watching the street artists interact with kids with the famed and architecturally exquisite churches and concert hall on the square in the background. You won’t find as many cute trinkets here as you will premium arts and crafts, and you will pay a bit more for your mandatory mulled wine. This market is open through Dec. 31 with fireworks to ring in the New Year. Note: This market has moved through at least 2024 to Bebelplatz next to the State Opera.

Spandau Christmas Market in Berlin

Christmas market in Spandau old town is festive.

Spandau Altstadt Weihnachtsmarket (Spandau Old Town Christmas Market) – Despite being one of Berlin’s largest markets, it feels adorable since its entertainment, booths and food are spread throughout Old Town area as well as outside the old town. The outer areas are more modern, but once you make your way into the cobbled city pedestrian area, you’re in for a treat – the wooden huts centered around the historic St. Nikolai Church are beautiful, the old town is partly illuminated, and a nativity scene has live animals. You’ll find an entertainment stage and rides for small children – very family oriented, and a bit less expensive than the glam markets in certain areas. We had one of our best homemade meals there from a man who took personal pride in what he cooked for us. If you come earlier in the day, you can also combine this with a visit to Spandau’s old town or even the renaissance-era Spandau Citadel fortress.

Alexanderplatz Christmas market in Berlin

The Christmas market on Alexander Square is just minutes from that on Red City Hall — with an entirely different feel.

Weihnachtsmarket auf dem Alexanderplatz (Christmas market on Alexander Platz) – Alexander Square remains a gathering point for people since its days as the heart of East Berlin. Particularly appealing is the World Time Clock that has appeared in many hundreds of Instagram posts. This market combines the modern with the rustic flair, with traditional games and food booths in both trailers and huts, plus modern amusement rides. The setting is on a large square surrounded by chain stores and a mall so you can always pop through the market before and after some shopping. There is a large wooden Pyramid where you can sit on the bottom floor to enjoy your beverages. Lots to do with more of a modern feel.

Kulturbrauerei Berlin Lucia Christmas Market

At Kulturbrauerei (Culture Brewery), the courtyard of the historic brewery buildings fills with booths, small amusement rides, cozy seating areas, and fire pits for the Christmas market.

Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt at Kulturbrauerei (Lucia Christmas Market at Culture Brewery) — Cozy and quietly festive would be the perfect way to describe this Scandinavian-themed Christmas Market tucked into the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg. The Kulturbrauerei was once a 19th-century brewery and now houses cultural offerings in the historic buildings. And while you can get a beer, the focus for the market in the courtyard is more on Swedish Glogg, mulled wine, and other libations of a holiday nature. Open fire pits provide lovely gathering places to warm the outside while you sip on liquids to warm your insides. Very family- and neighborhood-oriented with small-scale amusement rides attractive to kids.

Historicher Weihnachmarkt entrance reflecting in a rain puddle in Berlin.

Historische Weihnacht in Friedrichshain has a medieval flair and feels quite secure.

Historische Weihnacht at RAW Gelände (Historic Christmas at RAW Cultural Park) — In Berlin Friedrichshain there sits a Christmas market that’s a bit of a throwback to medieval times and decidedly family-focused. You won’t find flashy illuminations or plastic Santa Claus imitations here. What you will find are potters, blacksmiths, woodcarvers, and children’s rides – a wooden carousel and Ferris wheel — that are hand-powered. Yes, there’s also a pony ride. And while it’s not normally a great idea to hand children sharp objects to play with, there are axe throwing, archery and crossbow shooting ranges for youngsters, under tight supervision thankfully. Naturally, there are also plenty of opportunities for adults to enjoy hot mead, mulled, wine and more while sitting around fire pits and warming lanterns. This market also has a small admission fee, which will be less if you buy in advance online.

The toboggan run at Potsdamer Platz Christmas Market in Berlin.

The snowless toboggan run at Potsdamer Platz’s market is a huge hit with all.

Potsdamer Platz Winterwelt (Winter World at Potsdamer Platz) –Potsdamer Platz is arguably one of Berlin’s most famous squares and a favorite destination any time of the year for tourists. At Christmas, the plaza transforms into a winter wonderland with a decidedly Austrian theme. Take for example the “Schmankerl Hut” constructed of ancient wood, decorated inside with skis and farm tools, with an historic tiled stove – it looks and smells like being in an Austrian mountain hut as you snack on delicacies. If more action is your desire, then head to what is billed as “Europe’s largest mobile toboggan run,” i.e. a no-snow-needed slide. And of course, there is loads of shopping with stalls filled with goodies, Christmas decorations, toys and plenty of gift ideas. Leans more toward adult meetups, but a centrally located Berlin Christmas market for all.

Christmas Market At Jagdschloss-Grunewald

The historic Christmas market at the hunting lodge in Grunewald is a great treat on Berlin’s outskirts.

Märchenhafter Weihnachtsmarkt at Grunewald Jagdschloss (Fairy Tale Christmas Market at Grunewald Hunting Lodge) — We love this Christmas market on the outskirts of Berlin! A short, peaceful walk through the woods leads you to the historic Jagdschloss Grunewald (Grunewald Hunting Lodge) — the oldest surviving castle in Berlin. In this castle you leave behind all thoughts of being in a big city and lose yourself in a land of fairy tales and Christmas fun. There are exhibitors offering regional handicrafts, and the air is filled with the smells of gingerbread, hot candied almonds, and mulled wine. Very child-friendly, this market features outstanding performances of Hansel and Gretel, Mother Holle (a popular German fairy tale), Cinderella and more. Great fun for the family and a fun outdoorsy Berlin Christmas market.

Nikolaiviertel Christmas Market in Berlin

An intimate Christmas market retreat in historic Nikolaiviertel with a special winter drink called Feuerzangebowle and a movie.

Winterzauber im Nikolaiviertel (Winter Magic in Nikolaiviertel) — This could be Berlin’s smallest Christmas market, but there’s a reason it’s on our favorites list. It’s just so dang cute, cozy and very laid-back. And not just because of the Feuerzangenbowle traditionally served there. That by the way is a high-proof hot beverage created by hanging flaming sugar cubes soaked in hot rum that drip melted sugar into a concoction of red wine and spices sitting in a large copper bowl. Delicious, dangerous, and sweet doesn’t even begin to describe it. With a cup of Feuerzangenbowle drink in hand, cozy up to watch Germany’s classic Christmas movie from 1944, “Die Feuerzangenbowle,” that streams on the big screen television there.

Christmas Market At Charlottenburg Palace

Weihnachtsmarkt vor dem Schloss Charlottenburg (Christmas Market at Charlottenburg Castle) — Every year since 2007 in the shadow of the former residence of Queen Sophie Charlotte, the Charlottenburg Christmas Market is very much a royal Christmas world. There are reportedly more than 250 international exhibitors hawking traditional handicrafts, jewelry, Christmas decorations, candied apples, wood-oven baked bread and more (sorry, we didn’t count). This Christmas market is a sensory overload of light, smell, and sound. An overlook provides a fantastic view to look down on what is a most impressive marketplace. Note: Due to construction on the plaza, this market will quite sadly either downsize, move, or disappear after 2023.

Michael Hodgson And Therese Iknoian of HI Travel Tales enjoying the Christmas Markets In Berlin

HITT Tip: At most mulled wine booths you will see a sign or be asked if you want a “schuss” or “shot.” That means they add a shot of some kind of schnapps to the hot wine for an extra kick. Careful, the sweetness of mulled wine goes down easily as it is, so the added schnapps could result in the onset of a state you didn’t intend.

And that’s a wrap — for now. No doubt we’ll be adding more or removing some as we keep visiting Christmas markets in Berlin. Hey, we take our work seriously, and if we’re being really truthful, we just LOVE mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. While they are not Christmas markets in the traditional sense, two other Christmas lights and winter fun destinations you should put on your Berlin visit calendar are the Christmas Garden Berlin and the Christmas at the Tierpark

Take a look here at our story about the largest Christmas Markets in Europe. If you’re still a little rusty on your German, you’ll want to take a peek at our short language guide to the food and drinks you will find at most of the German Christmas markets. Roasted chestnuts (“Maronen”), yum, and hot mulled wine (“Glühwein”), double yum!

Do you want to recommend Christmas markets you think we overlooked? Let us know in the comments section below.


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13 Comments

  1. Wow, thanks for this wonderful article on the Christmas Markets!

    Reply
  2. You certainly struck a chord for me with this post. OMG, this is one of my bucket lists! I so want to do the German Christmas markets. Your memories are so awesome. I was especially fond of the Alexander Platz area as I really love east Berlin. How cool to have checked this off the bucket list. 😉

    Reply
  3. Berliner Weihnachtszeit at the Rotes Rathaus would be my #1 choice as well! I love all the lights and the ferris wheel and peeking at the tower through the ferris wheel (fantastic shot by the way-envious)! This one reminds me of my favorite one in Vienna also at Rathausplatz! Something about those city halls I guess! So now I want to go to Berlin for Christmas markets. Are you guys going to meet me in Berlin in October and then back again in December? LOL!

    Reply
    • Berlin light festival, Christmas markets … so much to do! 😉 Those city halls in Germany and Austria and delightful to be sure. Glad you liked the ferris wheel shot … Therese worked really hard, dogging raindrops that night, to capture it. 😉

      Reply
  4. You had me at mulled wine. I never thought of adding Schnapps, but now I can’t get it out of my mind. Sounds like a great way to ring in the Holiday cheer.

    Reply
  5. Mulled wine and gingerbread gets me so excited! I have wanted to go to a German Christmas market for many years so maybe Berlin is the place to start. I think my first stop would be in the Old Town – just my kind of market and then wander over to the one in Alexander Platz. Good idea? Getting excited over here…

    Reply
  6. I never had any idea that each market was unique. This was always something I had wanted to do and I would probably buy a cup at each market. LOL.

    Reply
    • It is very tempting to buy a cup at each market … but how many Glühwein mugs does one need?

      Reply
  7. Wow, so many Christmas markets available in Berlin! It’d be tempting to hop from one to the other on a different night of the week. Even just to wander with a mug of mead and take in the activity and goings on would be sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.

    Reply
    • That is exactly the best way to enjoy the markets … one or two different ones each night. And sitting with a mug of Glühwein watching the festivities puts a smile on your face, guaranteed.

      Reply
  8. Oh, how I absolutely love this post. Definitely on my bucket list is to enjoy the Weihnachtsmärkte in Germany! Usually most people flock to the small, traditional German towns and don’t necessarily think of enjoying this in a big city like Berlin. But your guide is a wonderful option, offering a wide variety of choices all within the same city. I love the tips you provide too. I am saving this one for future.

    Reply
  9. Ich wohne ja in Spandau und habe den Weihnachtsmarkt fast direkt vor der Tür. Mir gefällt es leider nicht so. Er war einmal viel größer und es gab mal viel mehr Kunsthandwerk. Das hat leider sehe nachgelassen. Jetzt ist essen und Glühwein angesagt.
    Meine Favouriten der Berliner Weihnachtsmärkte sind eher die kleinen Märkte. Zum Beispiel der Dänische oder der Schwedische Weihnachtsmarkt. Oder auch der etwas größere Weihnachtsmarkt in der Kulturbrauerei.

    I live in Spandau and have the Christmas market almost right outside the door. Unfortunately, I do not like it that way. Once upon a time, it was much bigger and there were a lot more crafts. Unfortunately, this has diminished. Now food and mulled wine is announced.

    My favorites of the Berlin Christmas markets are rather the small markets. For example, the Danish or the Swedish Christmas market. Or the slightly larger Christmas market in the Kulturbrauerei.

    Reply
    • Hi Susanne, gut die Meinung einer Einheimische zu hören! wir waren in 2018 zum ersten mal in Spandau — evtl hast du die Veraenderungen miterlebt, daher gefaellt es dir “nicht so sehr.” Wir fanden es wichtig, die “grösseren” zu bewerten, denn so viele Leute direkt zu den Märkten gehen. als naechste kommt die kleineren aber wir muessen noch eine grossen Runde machen…. wir denken daran, welche du vorgeschlagen hast und hoeren gerne “offline” noch weitere Vorschlaege und evtl treffen wir uns???…. Kulturbrauerei waren wir zu dem Weihnachtsmarkt nicht, aber bei dem Food Truck event ist es zwar gemuetlich aber doch etwas teuerer.

      It’s great to hear the opinion of a local. we were in Spandau for the first time in 2018 — perhaps you have lived through the changes and that’s why you don’t like it as much now. we found it important to take a look at the larger markets because so many people go directly to them. Next up are the smaller ones, but we will need to do a big loop — or several! We’ll take a hard look at what you are suggesting and would love to hear any other thoughts from you “offline.” Hey, maybe we will see you there??…When it comes to the Kulturbrauerei: we have not been to the Christmas market there but at the Food Truck event and although it was pretty cozy, it still was a bit more expensive too. will check it out!

      thanks for commenting. Danke fuer deine Meinung!

      Reply

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