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A local's Berlin Christmas market guide

  /   Germany   /   Berlin  

For a city that feels like it spends half the year in Winter, the Christmas season feels comparatively short – you have approximately one month from the opening of the markets to fit in as much of the festivities as possible. That includes getting turnt on mulled wine, buying outrageously expensive christmas ornaments, shopping for handmade crafts, and eating sausages that swing from massive, rotating grills served by men in alpine hats…

Sound like your idea of a good time? Mine too 😉

Read on for my extensive guide to Christmas markets in Berlin: my favorite markets, less known locations, as well as a survival guide for your first time. Enjoy!

Christmas market FAQ

When are Christmas markets open in Berlin? The majority of Christmas markets in Berlin open on November 27th and run through December 28th. For obvious reasons, almost none of them actually last into the new year 😉 There are a few that only open on the 1st of December, but most of the time, if you’re coming to Berlin at the end of November you’ll have no problem popping by a Christmas market or two.

Do I need cash? If you live in Germany you already know – cash is still king, and the Christmas markets are no different. Occassionally gift stands that sell more expensive items will accept your credit cards, but if your main MO is food and drink, you’re going to need some euros on hand.

Christmas markets in Berlin

Is there an entrance fee? Most Christmas markets don’t have entrance fees. That said, one of the more popular Christmas markets, at Gendarmenmarkt, does charge a small 1 EUR entrance fee.

When’s the best time to go? If you can, visit the Christmas markets during the week. On the weekend, markets can be so packed that you spend ages in the queue for something to drink (or worse – you do it German-style and there is no queue at all, just people fighting for the attention of the barkeeper).

Christmas markets in Berlin

Which traditional German foods should I try? There are a number of popular foods you’ll only find around Christmas time, which I’d advise you to focus on if you want to try everything like me:

  • Marillenknödel (Apricot dumplings) / Germknödel (Poppyseed dumplings)
  • Bockwurst (Sausage)
  • Glühwein (Mulled wine)
  • Maroni (Chessnuts)
  • Brezel (Pretzels)

How is this wine so expensive?! If you’re new to drinking in Deutschland, you may not be familiar with the German concept of deposit. At many bars, as well as at Christmas markets, you’re expected to pay an additional fee as an incentive to return your glass to the bar (at which time to get the deposit back). Since Christmas market mugs are so special, I’ve seen deposits as high as 3 euros! If you find a mug you fancy, you’re free to keep it – otherwise, make sure you’ve got spare cash for those pricy deposits!

Christmas markets in Berlin
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    Berlin’s best Christmas markets

    All told, there are more than 60 Christmas markets in Berlin. Here is a map of Christmas markets in Berlin and where to find the best ones!


    Weihnachtszauber at Gendarmenmarkt – Undoubtedly one of the most popular Christmas markets in Berlin, and for a good reason: it’s beautiful and very central. Gendarmenmarkt itself is considered one of Germany’s most beautiful town squares. Unlike any other Christmas market on this list, there is an entry fee of 1 EUR. Unfortunately they don’t allow re-entry with the same ticket, so you’ll have to go in once and make it count!

    Opens: 27th November

    10117 Berlin

    Christmas markets in Berlin

    Charlottenburg Palace

    Weihnachtsmarkt vor dem Schloss Charlottenburg Berlin – If the Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most popular, then the market at Charlottenburg Palace is the most famous. Situated directly in front of the palace, there are view more scenic places to persue for Christmas gifts than this market.

    Opens: 27th November

    Spandauer Damm 20-24
    14059 Berlin

    Christmas markets in Berlin
    Christmas markets in Berlin


    It can be a little hard to get into the Christmas market mood when you’re surrounded by concrete buildings, but the market at Alexanderplatz is still a really convenient location to pop by for after-work Glühwein or trinket-browsing. Make sure it’s not the only one you visit this season but don’t avoid it just because it’s so central. They also have ice skating if you’re feeling adventurous 😉

    Opens: 27th November

    10178 Berlin

    Christmas markets in Berlin

    Old-Rixdorf at Richardplatz

    Open for just one weekend out of the year, the Christmas market at Richardplatz is a really special event. Walking around this square, you’ll see tons of Christmas lights lacing the boughs above your head. All proceeds from this Christmas market go to benefit charities so you can feel especially good about doing some of your Christmas shopping here. Mark your calendar!

    Opens: 8-10th December (One weekend only!)

    Christmas markets in Berlin

    12055 Berlin

    Lucia at Kulturbrauerei

    Also known as the Scandinavian Christmas Market, the Lucia Christmas Market is named after the Nordic goddess of light and offers tastes and gifts from various countries of the North. The Kulturbrauerei is a former brewery, and the grounds are sizable – you can spend a lot of time here trying all the different Nordic variants of Glühwen.

    Opens: 27th November

    Schönhauser Allee 36
    10435 Berlin

    Christmas markets in Berlin

    Which Christmas markets would you like to visit this year?

    Let me know in the comments which you think looks the best! And if you’re looking for more logistical details on the individual markets, be sure to check out the Official Berlin Website for more information!

    About the author

    Hi there! I'm Monica, an American expat living in Germany for nearly six years and using every opportunity to explore the world from my homebase in Berlin. My goal is to capture my memories in photos and posts that show how easy it is to start from scratch and travel the world by working abroad.

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