What are the best Christmas markets in Berlin? Whether you’re looking for a traditional German Christmas market or something a bit more offbeat, I offer here my handy Berlin Christmas Market guide based on our experience living in Berlin and being avid Christmas market fans. It has all the information you need to know, including dates and schedules of Berlin Christmas markets and notes on how to visit my authentic and local favorites — ones that will make your visit to Berlin during the Christmas and holiday season even more special.
There’s something that just about everyone looks forward to in December in Berlin: Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmarkt or Adventsmarkt). They offer a retreat from the shortening days of the year, into the company of gathered friends and neighbors.
In the selection that follows, you’ll find the “markets” listed less about shopping and more about community — where friends and families make plans to meet at the market after work or on weekends. A place where the aroma of glühwein (spiced, mulled wine) and sweet roasted almonds wafts in an atmosphere of twinkling lights in a chilly winter vapor. As conversations happen over steaming mugs of glühwein and hearty German street food like bratwurst, market-goers catch up on life and give air to what awaits at the turn of the new year. Christmas markets serve as the perfect antidote — or accompaniment if you like — to the approaching Winter Solstice.
I confess that I am a bit of a Christmas market geek. I helped launch a Christmas market when I lived in Estonia many years ago. Dan and I have even taken Christmas market-themed road trips through Germany and Central Europe. Maybe this Christmas market affinity of mine has something to do with the fact that I’m American — I didn’t grow up with the Christmas market culture so I get a little giddy when the season rolls around and I’m within reach of one. Whatever the cause, this is one of the reasons we stick around Berlin in December.
At this point you might be thinking, “German Christmas markets are famous, but I’ve never heard anything about Christmas markets in Berlin.”
OK, then. Berlin’s Christmas markets haven’t traditionally carried the same reputation or history as those in other German cities like Munich, Nuremberg or Stuttgart. But that’s changing. Berlin makes its own way and blends the traditional into the tapestry of its forward-lurching, unusual self.
Just as Berlin doesn’t have one town center, it also doesn’t have one main Christmas market. Instead, Berlin features more than 60 markets spread throughout the city, each with its own distinct personality, atmosphere and specialties. Some run the length of the Advent season, while others are limited-time offers or tuned to the spirit of their local neighborhood for only a weekend or two.
Of course, a certain commercialization and schlock lurks conspicuously at some markets. With this in mind, we share our personal recommendations: a few trusted and traditional or local and authentic favorites to help you get started in your Berlin Christmas market exploration.
Note: This post was originally published on December 3, 2015 and updated on November 1, 2018.
Best Berlin Christmas Markets
Berlin Christmas Markets Open All Advent Season
The markets listed below are open for the entire Advent Christmas market season, typically every day from the end of November through Christmas (and sometimes through to the New Year). For the 2018 Berlin Christmas market season, many begin on 26 November 2018 and run until the end of December.
We find these Christmas markets especially atmospheric when it’s dark and everything is tastefully lit, which is easy since the sun sets in Berlin before 4PM throughout December. Glühwein seems to taste better in the evening, too.
Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market
Why: For a bit of the traditional in a beautiful setting, especially at night as the Konzerthaus (Concert Hall) and nearby churches and buildings are lit. Gift stands at the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market tend to be handicraft-oriented or luxury-focused. Food quality is generally pretty high here as well. Be sure to check out the big feuerzangenbowle (fire-tongs punch) tent and seek out the wooden barrel of rum to the right of the bar should you need to “enhance” your steaming mug full of punch. In general, if you encounter a choice of glühwein “mit schuss”, that simply means “with a shot” as in a shot of rum or possibly amaretto. Note: Gendarmenmarkt charges a nominal entrance fee of €1. For more information, check out the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market page.
Location and Directions: Gendarmenmarkt is close to Stadtmitte U-Bahn station (U2/U6). Neighborhood: Mitte.
2018 dates: 26 November – 31 December, 2018
Schloss Charlottenburg Christmas Market
Why: To drink mugs of steaming glühwein in the shadow of a 300+ year old Baroque palace. The Schloss Charlottenburg Christmas market is one with big time European fairytale charm. Some of its stands feature traditional — and huge — Christmas pyramids which entertain as figures go round and round all night long. Also fun, but kind of cheesy, is the light show at night. For more information, check out the Schloss Charlottenburg Christmas Market page.
Location and Directions: Just in front of the Schloss Charlottenburg Palace main entrance on Spandauer Damm. Closest U-Bahn stations include Sophie-Charlotte-Platz or Richard-Wagner Platz, as well as Westend station on the S-Bahn.
2018 Dates: 30 November – 26 December, 2018
Lucia Christmas Market at KulturBrauerei (Nordic-Scandanavian Christmas Market)
Why: Because you always wanted to taste the difference between Swedish, Norwegian and Danish glögg (Scandinavian mulled wine). Top off the entire experience with reindeer sausages and a host of other Nordic games and treats and you might just forget where you are. Compared to other open-space Christmas markets, the Lucia Christmas Market is set up in the winding courtyards of KulturBrauerei, a 19th century brick industrial complex. For more information, see the Lucia Christmas Market at KulturBrauerei page.
Location and Directions: The Lucia Christmas Market (and Kulturbrauerei) has multiple entrances at Knaackstr. 97, Sredzkistr. 1 and Schönhauser Allee 36-39. Closest U-Bahn station is Eberswalder Str. (U2) or Trams 12, M10, M1.
Neighborhood: Prenzlauer Berg
2018 dates: 26 November – 23 December, 2018
Spandau Christmas Market
Why: To feel as though you’ve been transported to a small German village even though you remain within the Berlin city limits. The streets of old town Spandau are taken over by its Christmas market. While the atmosphere along the main thoroughfare can feel a bit commercial, the little courtyards in and around the churches convey something a bit more traditional. For more information, see the Spandau Christmas Market page.
Location and Directions: Take the U7 to Rathaus Spandau (the end of the line). Follow the crowds to the Christmas market.
2018 dates: 26 November – 23 December, 2018
Potsdam Christmas Market
Why: To take a break from the big city. Visit the Potsdam UNESCO sites of Sanssouci Palace and gardens during the day and enjoy eierpunsch (spiced egg punch) at the Christmas market at night. The market takes over the streets of the old town for blocks on end and features some of the most elaborate and largest displays we’ve seen. There’s also an ice skating rink and other fun stuff for kids…or adults. For more information, see the Potsdam Christmas Market page.
Location and Directions: Take the S-Bahn to the city of Potsdam, which is about a 45-60 minute ride from central Berlin.
2018 dates: 26 November – 30 December, 2018
Berlin Neighborhood and Weekend Christmas Markets
In addition to Christmas markets which run the entire length of Advent, Berlin also features its share of short-run special and weekend markets. These markets are typically smaller affairs featuring local organizations and neighborhood-oriented venues. If you’re visiting Berlin for a couple of days during the Christmas season and authentic and local is what you seek, it’s absolutely worth doing some research to see which of these markets happens to be timed with your visit.
Alt-Rixdorfer Christmas Market
Why: The Rixdorf Christmas Market serves as a nice kickoff to the Christmas season. It also illustrates how a neighborhood Christmas market can be done well and at scale with local organizations selling homemade crafts to raise money for schools, charities, firemen’s groups, and more. Stands tend to be locally run and offer a perfect excuse to get to know the Neukölln district a little better. The square where the Alt-Rixdorf Christmas market is held, Richardplatz, features an enclosure with pony rides and a petting zoo. The whole thing is sweet, quaint and helps take you back in time a bit. For more information, see the Alt-Rixdorfer Christmas Market page.
Location and Directions: On Richardplatz near the Karl-Marx Strasse station (U7). Neighborhood: Neukölln.
2018 dates: 7-9 December 2018
Schloss Britz Christmas Market
Why: To experience an intimate Medieval Christmas market in the courtyard of an 18th century manor house. Though medieval costumes are involved here, the market somehow seems to pull this off without being a caricature of itself. As Schloss Britz Christmas market doesn’t typically see the hordes that other markets might, you’ll have the opportunity to speak to the various artisans and learn more about their handicrafts, preserves and other wares. The food served is usually inventive and a bit different than standard fare. There is a €3 entrance fee, but we feel that the atmosphere and quality of the stands warrants the price. For more information, see the Schloss Britz Christmas Market page.
Location and Directions: Schloss Britz, near Parchimer Allee station (U7) or bus 181 Britzer Damm/Mohriner Ave in Neukölln.
2018 Dates: 14-16 and 21-23 December 2018
Christmas Market at Jagdschloss Grunewald
Why: This Christmas market is a bit further away on the edge of Berlin’s western forest in Grunewald, but it is worth the effort to get here for the fairytale backdrop of Jagdschloss, Berlin’s oldest surviving palace (17th century). This small, traditional Christmas market is held in the palace courtyard and features artisans selling their crafts, live music, theatrical performances, and lots of hearty food and spiced wine to keep you full and warm. Really atmospheric. There is a €3 entrance fee to enter, but this also buys you entrance into the palace as well. For more information, see this Christmas Market at Jagdschloss Grunewald page.
Location and Directions: Hüttenweg 100, 14193 Berlin. Take Bus 115, X10 or X83 to the corner of Clayallee and Königin Luise Straße. From there it’s a 15 minute walk to the Jagdschloss (palace) on the edge of Grunewald forest.
2018 Dates: 8-9 December 2018; Opening hours are 11AM – 7PM
Christmas Market at Domäne Dahlem
Why: Located on the grounds of a manor house which also serves as a sort of farm and agricultural museum, the Christmas Market at Domäne Dahlem includes many small producers and artisans selling everything from sea salts and spices to traditional German handicrafts. There is also an emphasis on fresh and organic foods, so you can certainly eat well and heartily here. Domäne Dahlem is a bit outside Berlin center, but if you want a more neighborhood and countryside feel, check out this Christmas Market during one of the Advent weekends. Entrance is €3. For more information, see the Christmas Market at Domäne Dahlem page.
Location and Directions: Königin-Luise-Straße 49, 14195 Berlin. Take the U3 to Dahlem-Dorf station.
2018 Dates: 1-23 December 2018; weekends only
Klunkerkranich Rooftop Christmas Market
Why: For a Christmas Market with a Berlin hip-urban feel and bonus aerial views of the city. Located on the rooftop of a shopping center in Neukölln, Klunkerkranich is popular all year around with its eclectic mix of urban garden, music, cocktails, and events. Its Christmas market highlights local artists and designers with a good mix of music and jazz thrown in for the evenings. For more information, see this Klunkerkranich Rooftop Christmas Market page.
Location and Directions: Karl-Marx-Str. 66, Neukölln. It’s located on the rooftop of the shopping center, Neukölln Arcaden. To get there you need to go to the top floor of the parking garage and then walk your way around to the top. Just follow the groups of people.
2018 Dates:1-16 December 2018; Saturdays and Sundays only from 14:00-20:00
Berlin Christmas Market Maps and Resources
- Best Berlin Christmas Markets: The Green Edition: A great list of Christmas Markets around Berlin which feature a green or eco twist to them and support local artisans and designers. Claudi from Green Me Berlin also offers a series of “Conscious Gifts & Glühwein” tours by neighborhood which highlight local artisans and entrepreneurs active in Berlin’s green scene. Check out these (and her other) tours.
- A complete list of Berlin Christmas markets maintained by Visit Berlin.
- A handy Berlin Christmas market map overlaid on a Berlin public transportation map.
Plan Your Berlin Christmas Market Trip
- Book a hotel in Berlin – recommended neighborhoods to stay in include Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain, Neukölln, and Mitte
- How to get to Berlin: There are endless options to fly to Berlin thanks to all the traditional and low cost airlines flying into TXL (Tegel Airport) or SXF (Schönefeld Airport). We often use Skyscanner to compare flight prices and to book tickets because it displays all the various airline combinations, including options from low-fare airlines.
- Berlin restaurant recommendations: For budget eating, check our our guides for favorite cheap eats in Berlin under €5 and our favorite neighborhood meals under €10. StilinBerlin offers another reliable resource for local Berlin restaurants and “best of” guides.
The post Best Berlin Christmas Markets: The Ultimate Guide [Updated 2018] appeared first on Uncornered Market.