If you ever come to the advantage of visiting Germany in late November or December, here are some things you have to do at a german Christmas market. You haven’t been to a german Christmas market before, or haven’t taken full advantage of it? As a german citizen, I’ve visited dozens of Christmas Markets, all over they are a bit varied, but more or less it’s always the same. When planning a visit you should plan two different types. To avoid crowds you should visit the markets in the afternoon, right after they open. The paths will be easy to walk and you can have a good view on the products the merchants are selling. For an even nicer atmosphere, you should visit the Christmas markets during and after sunset. When all the lights start to flicker, but also when the crowds are getting tighter.
All you have to do at a german Christmas market during your next visit
Drink mulled wine
It’s an absolute classic for christmas markets in Germany, the mulled wine. But be aware, there are quite some striking differences between the mulled wine offered. Especially in recent years, there has been a rise in upscaled mulled wines. High quality mulled wines, often sold by the winemakers themselves. Buying such a more expensive mulled wine will guarantee a better taste, and most probably support you by not getting a too bad headache the next day as the quality is just better. Compared to cheap, sugary mulled wines… Just know that there is a difference. Also, you can get white mulled wines at those booths as well, not just the classic red mulled wine. Definitely a must-to at a german christmas market!
If you do not want or can drink an alcoholic beverage but dont want to miss out on this cozy feeling of drinking a hot mulled drink, get a Kinderpunsch instead. It’s a mulled fruit tea/juice. Hot and sweet, and usually a bit cheaper than the wine version.
Eat a Crepe or Bratwurst
Who can leave a german christmas market hungry, when there are dozens of food stalls? You can find a slight variation of food offerings at every market you visit. In the north the focus is more on fish (fried or smoked) Fish, at others its all about Bratwurst, or Schupfnudeln and Maultaschen, while others are heavier on the sweets, such as Gingerbread (Nürnberg is especially famous for their Lebkuchen!) or Crepes and Waffles. In general, the food at christmas markets is usually read-to-eat and can be, most of the times, easily devoured while standing or walking.
Buy handmade things, such as stockings, decoration,…
Christmas Markets aren’t just open-air Food Festivals, it’s also a lot about handmade products and finding inspiration for Christmas gifts. Check out the local offerings and hopefully you find a thoughtful gift for a loved one! (and are also supporting small businesses!)
Be aware of pickpockets and avoid the big masses
Well, this is not a Tip or ‘thing you have to do’ at a german Christmas Market in particular. But, you should be aware of pickpockets and, if possible, avoid big masses of people. When people are just pushing each other into other directions, it is firstly not very fun and second it makes it super easy to steal something as you don’t necessarily feel when someone is grabbing something out of your pocket. I’m just hoping for your common sense and that you are not robbed during a visit to a Christmas Market.
What I always do when visiting a christmas market, or big event in general, is having just 20 € in the pocket of my pant or jacket. This way my purse stays safe in an inside pouch and I only have a certain amount ready at hand.
Make it your dancefloor *contains mulled wine
Just keeping it short here… with all the Christmas music playing at the markets, it’s a definitely “what you have to do at a german christmas market”: take advantage of the rhythms and fell the music… just dance and enjoy your time!
This also helps to stay warm if the temperatures are too low.
take selfies with the living animals or or nativity figures
They are a specialty of each market, either having or nativity figures on display, or even living animals. Usually you can find sheep in a christmas crib nativity scene on display. Don’t worry, the animals are usually cared extra good for, and they are used to stand around in the cold, just as they would on their usual field. Those figurines and animals are a great sight for children, and a fun background for selfies.
Enjoy your time visiting a christmas market in Germany!