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German Christmas Markets

December

In December the main focus is on Christmas, and the Germans have many Christmas traditions to celebrate.

Christmas markets are a very big part of these traditions. Meet up with friends at these beautifully decorated markets where you can buy delicious food, glühwein, handmade items and Christmas cards. Some markets are themed, such as the middle-age market in Esslingen or the baroque one in Ludwigsburg. There are also Christmas market tours that you can do. 
To avoid crowds, it is best to go during the day, although you will miss out on the cosy nighttime atmosphere enhanced by the countless Christmas lights and decorations.

Christmas Day is usually a quiet day spent with family. Shops are closed as well as most restaurants.

After the quiet celebrations of Christmas Day, comes New Year’s Eve. Here it is celebrated with a bang – literally! Fireworks can be seen everywhere. Just take note that fireworks are legally sold between 28-30 December and you are only able to light them from 31 Dec through 1 Jan.

It is also a bit of a tradition to watch Dinner for One on New Year’s Eve, eat Raclette and wash it down with a good Riesling or Sekt

Plan your month

everything you need to know

Weather

SeasonAutumn / Winter.
The astronomical start of winter is between 20 and 23 December. It is based on the changing position of Earth in relation to the sun and the resulting solar events of equinoxes and solstices.
Meteorological Winter is defined by climatic conditions and the annual temperature cycle. 
In most of the Northern Hemisphere, meteorological winter is generally defined as the three months of December, January and February, with the season starting on 1 December.
TimeCentral European Time (CET), Wintertime–  One hour behind  South Africa until the last Sunday of March, when Summertime starts.
WeatherDecember is one of the coldest months in Germany,. The temperature can drop well below freezing but can also warm up to above 10 °C.. The weather can be quite unpredictable, depending on your location, expect a lot or rain, ice rain, frost, fog and some snow. The mountainous regions will get more snow than the low-lying areas. Christmas is rarely a postcard image of white snow all over.

Festivals

Most Christmas markets open at the end of November and stay open until just before Christmas. We have a page dedicated to Christmas markets, with information about the types of food you can expect, and some insider tips from fellow South Africans.
In various cities, you can visit Christmas Gardens, which are a festival of Christmas lights

Christmas Markets

Visiting Christmas markets in Germany is a delightful way of celebrating the festive season. The heavy scent of sweets, fried sausage and warm wine welcome

Holidays

HolidayDateInformationStates
Public Holidays
1st Day of Christmas / 1. Weihnachtsfeiertag25.12.2023All
2nd Day of Christmas / 2. Weihnachtsfeiertag26.12.2023All
Observations
1. Advent03.12.2023All
Saint Nicholas Day / Nikolaus-tag06.12.2023St Nicholas DayAll
2. Advent10.12.2023All
3. Advent17.12.2023All
Winter Solstice21.12.2023The winter solstice, also known as midwinter, occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It is the longest night (darkness) in the year.All
4. Advent24.12.2023
Christmas Eve /Heiligabend24.12.2023All
New Year’s Eve / Silvester31.12.2023New Years in GermanyAll

Events listed on our website

12/08/2024 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm – From 22 July to 25 August, international award-winning Cape Town-based comedian, award-nominated radio sports broadcaster and podcaster Dalin Oliver will be performing his one-man show “90 Day Comedian” in Europe. Dalin Oliver is heading to The Wall Comedy Club, Grünberger Straße 84, 10245 Berlin, to make his BERLIN debut on 12 August 2024. Tickets on […]

SA in Germany – 2 pot retirement presentation

25/07/2024 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Chad Jouber will do a presentation about the new 2 pot retirement rules in South Africa You will then have time to ask him questions If you have any questions you would like to send so long, please send them to admin@southafricansingermany.de It will be a TEAMS meeting, you do not need Teams to participate […]

SAiF Summer Braai happening on Saturday, 20 July at 15:00

20/07/2024 @ 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm – ONS GAAN NOU BRAAI !!! Bring your own meat, sides, desserts, and everything you need for the braai (including serving spoons). To use Ganter’s cutlery and crockery, simply pay €2 per set on-site. Please refrain from bringing your own drinks; Ganter has the beverages covered. Anyone who wants to arrange boerewors beforehand can contact Sandra […]

SH*T HOT FEST AMSTERDAM 24 – 21.07

21/07/2024 @ 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm – We hope to create a lekker gathering of South Africans living abroad. Food, music, hot sauce, chilli eating competition, drinks, sunshine, good vibes only. Are you joining us? Tickets just went on sale. Early Bird Tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/…/sht-hot-fest-amsterdam… All EB tickets include a 10% voucher that can be used on Runder.nl plus an iconic welcome drink […]

Bok van Blerk & Riaan Benade 17.10

17/10/2024 @ 8:00 pm – 11:45 pm – Welcome, music lovers, to an evening dedicated to the unforgettable sounds of Riaan Benade and Bok van Blerk. From the vast plains of South Africa, these two extraordinary artists come together to enchant us with their unique voices and enchanting melodies. These artists enjoy world fame in their home country, so prepare yourself for an […]

Fokofpolisiekar / Die Heuwels Fantasties 12.07

12/07/2024 @ 7:00 pm – 11:45 pm – After a sold-out show in 2023, Fokofpolisiekar is back. This time they bring their friends from Cape Town, Die Heuwels Fantasties, as support. There is no better live combo showcasing the best of African rock and African alternative music than these two acts. It will be energetic, melodic and full of nostalgia as these two […]

Trevor Noah Tour – Berlin 01.08

01/08/2024 @ 8:00 pm – 11:45 pm – Trevor Noah Off the Record Tour. The actual time is not published yet, estimated it will be in the evening We are not the organisers of this event it is shared for information purposes only Tickets via the Trevor Noah website – this will take you to the Eventim Website  

Trevor Noah Tour – Stuttgart

03/08/2024 @ 8:00 pm – 11:45 pm – Trevor Noah Off the Record Tour. The actual time is not published yet, estimated it will be in the evening We are not the organisers of this event it is shared for information purposes only Tickets via the Trevor Noah website – this will take you to the Eventim Website  

Schalk Bezuidenhout keeping up – Berlin 25.09

25/09/2024 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm – Newly married, Schalk feels older, wiser and much more mature (possibly), but all he wants is to stay “hip with the youth”. Can he do it? Can he Keep Up? As seen on Netflix and Comedy Central and fresh from supporting Trevor Noah on his arena tour. This is an external event,  we are not […]

Kearsney College Choir

29/06/2024 – 06/07/2024 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm – The renowned Kearsney College Choir and Rainbow Agency, KwaZulu Natal, have the honour to inform you that former Federal President Professor Dr Horst Köhler is the patron of the choir’s concert tour to Germany from 28 June to 6 July 2024. Professor Dr Köhler will attend a concert of his choice. Kearsney College Choir has […]

SA Connections: Monthly Virtual Meetup for South Africans in Germany

11/07/2024 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm – We invite you to join us for our monthly get-together in the virtual space. Our objective is simple yet meaningful – to foster camaraderie and companionship among the vibrant and diverse community of South Africans. Connect with fellow South Africans, share your experiences, seek advice and offer support. With a bustling network of individuals, we […]

Market Monday – South Africans in Germany page

09/12/2024 @ All Day – To keep things fair and add benefits to our members, here are the current rules: By placing an advertisement on our Facebook page, you agree to the following Terms and Conditions: You will post only once a month on the Monday specified by the Admin team. Notice hereto will be given in advance. For the […]

Some foods and drinks to try

01.

Glühwein

Hot mulled wine to warm you up at the Christmas markets. The alcohol free version is called Kinderpunch

02.

Feuerzangenbowle

a traditional German alcoholic drink for which a rum-soaked sugarloaf is set on fire and drips into mulled wine

03.

Stollen

The best you can buy is Dresden Stollen, which is more expensive but excellent quality

04.

Cookies

Try Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Elisen (also gingerbread but with more nuts inside), Zimtsterne (star-shaped cookies), Pfeffernüsse (iced gingerbread), Vanillekipferln (vanilla cookies shaped like a moon) or Springerle (anise flavoured hard cookie)

05.

Raclette

The ultimate cheese fest! You can find more info on our Raclette page

Fruit and Veggies in Season

Holiday Greetings

December Seasonal
Ich wünsche euch allen einen wunderschönen geruhsamen 1.AdventI wish you all a wonderful peaceful 1st Advent
Frohe Weihnachten!Merry Christmas!
Gesegnete Weihnachten und ein glückliches neues Jahr!Merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Herzliche Weihnachtsgrüße!Merry Christmas!
Ein frohes Weihnachtsfest und alles Gute zum neuen Jahr!Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Alles Gute zum neuen Jahr!Happy new year!
Einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!Happy New Year!
Zum neuen Jahr Gesundheit, Glück und viel Erfolg!Happy New Year! health, happiness and much success!

Sources

Related content

German Christmas Recipes

Baking cookies for Christmas is what childhood memories are made of. We will list some websites here where you can find authentic Christmas recipes.  Typical

German Christmas Traditions

St. Nicholas Day St Nicholas Day, known as Nikolaustag in Germany, is celebrated on the 6th of December. Children leave a pair of cleaned boots

Christmas Markets

Visiting Christmas markets in Germany is a delightful way of celebrating the festive season. The heavy scent of sweets, fried sausage and warm wine welcome

Raclette

The summer months are gone, and for most of us, it is too cold to have a braai with our friends. A great alternative is

Visiting Christmas markets in Germany is a delightful way of celebrating the festive season. The heavy scent of sweets, fried sausage and warm wine welcome you to a variety of Christmas delicacies. 
If you’re feeling a little chilly, grab a warm mug of Glühwein and catch up with friends. Not only are the markets a great place to socialize, but you can also pick up unique gifts, mouth-watering Christmas cookies, and Stollen. Not to mention, you’ll be able to kit yourself out for the winter with cosy woollen gloves and beanie hats. 
We complied this list from our own experiences as well as the recommendations from members of our Facebook group. You are welcome to 
contact us if you want to add to the list

Baden-Württemberg

Bayern

  • Kuchlbauers Turmweihnacht in Abensberg,  it is one of the best I’ve ever been to. An outdoor and indoor market. The indoor one is underground and probably has a lot of SA Market-style goodies. Not often seen at Markets here. Not sure how the indoor one will work this year, but the vibe was magically around the Turm. Only an hour and a bit North of Munich. Here is an additional link
  • The Augsburg Christmas market is very special! On the evening of the opening in November, the Mayor addresses the public from the Rathaus, and ‘angels’ blow trumpets from the Rathaus’ balconies. The music at the opening is spectacular! Also, the food and the vibe are exceptional. Dampfknödel Mohn and with warm Vanillesauce for example. Lots of gorgeous warm spiced drinks. A feast for the eyes too!
  • Eging am See – Pullman city has a German American Christmas market –deutsch-amerikanischer-weihnachtsmarkt
  • Eisenach – Historischer Weihnachtsmarkt auf der Wartburg
  • KemptenFüssen and Bad Tölz also have a great Christmas market
  •  There’s a lovely medieval Christmas market at Landsberg am Lech.
  • Lindau – looking out on the Bodensee
  • Munich and in particular the Münchner Christkindlmarkt with the Kripperlmarkt in front of St Michael’s Church.
  • Nürnberg. The biggest and most famous Christmas market in Germany. A girl from Nuremberg is traditionally elected for two years to represent the Christkindlesmarkt. Watch a video here 
  • Neu-Ulm  – Mittelalterlicher Weihnachtsmarkt
  • Regensburg – Romantic Christmas Market at the Thurn und Taxis Castle
  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Rothenburg´s Reiterlesmarkt is among the oldest Christmas markets with the tradition dating back over 500 years

Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Brandenburg

Hessen

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Niedersachsen

Nordrhein-Westfalen

  • Aachen is also a treat and worth picking up an extra packet of the famous biscuits from the main bakery in the old town. The Christmas market in Aachen was absolutely fantastic. Mülheim an der Ruhr had an awesome medieval market at Schloß Broich and a small “Nikolaus Markt” in their Altstadt
  • Bochum has lovely decorations around and downtown there is a children’s area to listen to stories and then the highlight is when Santa flies across between the buildings on a cable – very cool.
  • Bonn is the best
  • Cologne
  • Dortmund has the tallest Christmas tree in Germany, a full 45 meters, and it is a fabulous experience to see when the lights are switched on.
  • Drachenfels castle has a really beautiful one in and around the castle grounds.
  • Düsseldorf – several markets around the city that are worth visiting. the huge Christmas tree in the Altstadt is apparently a gift from Norway each year. 
  • Gronau has a small market that is only for one weekend
  • Hohenlimburg in Hagen was a delightful real castle-like market. best to park at the bottom and travel up the hill on the shuttle bus available.
  • The Christmas market in Münster
  • Schloss Moyland – a beautiful moated castle – had a gorgeous handcrafted-hand made market with a children’s choir and was well lit for those moving around with wheelchairs or prams. worth the few euros to get in.
  •  There is a lovely medieval market in Siegburg

Rheinland-Pfalz

Sachsen

  • Dresden – the Striezelmarkt in particular, has the world’s tallest Christmas pyramid. Dresden is also famous for its Stollen. Watch a video here

Sachsen-Anhalt

  •  Quedlinburg is famous for its Weihnachten in den Höfe. Backyards are opened in the Old City which is also a World Heritage city… Great atmosphere

Saarland

  •  The one in Sankt Wendel in Saarland is fabulous with a mix of new and Mittelalter Markt. Fire breathing shows and activities for the kids, are definitely a must.

Schleswig-Holstein

  • Lübeck with a maritime Christmas Market

Thüringen

  • Eisenach – Historischer Weihnachtsmarkt auf der Wartburg – Thüringen

Other Countries

Food to indulge in

  • Gebrannte Mandeln (Candied Almonds). Also try the cashews and other nuts.
  • Dampfnudeln is a steamed dumpling served with vanilla sauce or stewed berries.
  • Schupfnudeln mit Sauerkraut. More popular in the south. It is a type of noodle that is fried and served with sauerkraut.
  • Feuerwurst is a thin and long spicy sausage served in a bun.
  • Rote im Semmel is a grilled sausage in a bun. Mostly found in the South.
  • Flammlachs
  • Pancakes with anything from Nutella to liqueur.
  • Stollen. It is really worth buying the more expensive brands. Look out for those from Dresden.
  • Lebkuchen is a soft gingerbread. The Nuremberg Lebkuchen is also known as Elisen and contains more nuts than other types of Lebkuchen. Some are glazed.  
  • Marzipan Bethmännchen (Frankfurt)
  • Flammlachs – grilled salmon
  • Zimtsterne, Vanilla Kipferl, Baumkuchen, Dominosteine, Magenbrot, a sweet glazed bread-like biscuit.

Drinks to try

  • Glühwein (Mulled wine) is a warm drink from red or white wine. Can contain orange, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel seed (or star anise), cloves, cardamom, and ginger.
  • Glogg – Nordic style Glühwein
  • Grog – Rum with hot water
  • Heiße Oma, a drink made with eggnog, milk and vanilla sugar
  • Hot cider (Frankfurt)
  • Feuerzangenbowle is Glühwein.  A rum-soaked sugar cube is placed above the liquid and set alight. It then drips into Glühwein.

Shopping

You can find an incredible array of festive and high-quality goods at the Christmas markets. Here are some suggestions. 

  • Hand-crafted gifts can make a great impact on the receiver, especially when they are one-of-a-kind pieces. However, it’s important to ensure their authenticity before making a purchase. 
  • When it comes to Christmas decorations, there are many options to choose from. One brand to consider is Kathe Wolfahrt, which offers a variety of beautiful and festive decorations that can add joy to any home. Whether it’s a wreath, ornament or figurine, these charming pieces are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.
  • Sending Christmas cards is a great way to show loved ones you care. From personalized photo cards to traditional designs, there are endless options to choose from. Don’t forget to add a warm message to make the card extra special.
  • Also, don’t forget to indulge in some traditional holiday treats like Stollen, Zimtsterne, Vanilla Kipferl and Lebkuchen. These delectable goodies are a great way to celebrate the holiday season and create cherished memories with loved ones.

Videos

Here are some videos I found on the web

Related content

German Christmas Recipes

Baking cookies for Christmas is what childhood memories are made of. We will list some websites here where you can find authentic Christmas recipes.  Typical

German Christmas Traditions

St. Nicholas Day St Nicholas Day, known as Nikolaustag in Germany, is celebrated on the 6th of December. Children leave a pair of cleaned boots