Berlin's Best Christmas Markets
The evenings grow ever darker and the weather grows ever colder, but fear not: Christmas cometh! And with the festive period in Berlin comes the Christmas markets – lots of them. Dozens and dozens in fact. Too many to visit (unless you’re a frosty little Christmas sadist). So don’t settle for the tat and the trash at Alexanderplatz or Potsdamer Platz, find the best of the bunch with our list of Berlin’s five best Christmas markets:
Easily the best of the traditional Christmas markets in Mitte, hence the entry fee. Right in the heart of Gendarmenmarkt – Berlin’s most beautiful square and one of the most beautiful squares north of the Alps – you can’t beat it for location and grandeur. Nestled between the Französische and Deutsche Doms and centered around a Christmas tree of impressive stature, you’ll find a rabbit warren of makeshift streets (complete with street signs) lined with stalls selling food, warming beverages, and crafts. The quality of goods – wood-carvings, ostrich leather handbags, artisanal cheese and charcuterie, for example – is high. Craftsmen and women from Berlin and Brandenburg generally come back year-on-year to their spots and the Pfefferbräu, one of Berlin’s premier contemporary craft beer spots, has an indoor space serving hearty yuletide fare and microbrewed beer. You can’t go wrong with this one.
25th November - 31st December
U-bahn: Stadtmitte, U2, U6 or Französische Straße, U6
It only opens for one weekend – the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the second week of advent – but it’s well worth the schlep down to Rixdorfer Kiez in Neukölln. Centred around Richardplatz, this one feels much more like a community affair than some of the tourist heavy markets in the centre of town, though its popularity has grown exponentially over the last few years, so expect it to be busy. Hundreds of glowing paraffin lanterns hung in the trees overhead (and lanterns for hire) give a palpable 19th century feel that’s blended well with more contemporary touches – a Korean BBQ stall, for example. Amongst the vendors you’ll find handmade toys, dipped candles, honey, homemade jams, candy floss, mulled wine, and mead. Great for kids, there’s pony riding, a visit from the three wise men (complete with camels), and a historic police force on patrol. An absolute charmer.
6th, 7th and 8th December
U-bahn: Karl-Marx-Straße, U7 or Neukölln, U7 | S-bahn: Sonnenallee, S41, S42 or Neukölln, S41, S42
Lucia Christmas Market at the Kulturbrauerei
Taking its name from the Nordic goddess of light, this annual treat in the north of the city celebrates yuletide Scandinavian style within the cobbled courtyards of the former Schultheiss brewery in Prenzlauer Berg. The stalls are carefully curated by the organisers and the market maintains an independent craft-culture kind of feel. There’s local microbrewers, food trucks, steaming berry wines and open wood heaters for the adults to crowd around, and live entertainment, trampolines and a historic Christmas carousel for younger patrons – all enveloped in the red brick splendour of the old brewery. Be warned: Prenzlauer Berg is young, yuppie family central, so in all likelihood there’ll be kids ricocheting off your knees left, right and centre. Be careful not to ‘accidentally’ spill your steaming hot Glühwein on them.
Schönhauser Allee 36
24th November - 24th December
U-bahn: Eberswalder Straße, U2
And thus we enter into legitimate fairytale territory. The Grunewald (literally ‘green forest’) is Berlin’s largest forest, and at its heart lies a historic, lakeside hunting lodge, the Jagdschloss, which plays host to a Christmas market that pays tribute to Germany’s greatest folk storytellers: the Brothers Grimm. Stalls sprawl over the Lodge’s cobbled courtyard, illuminated by the soft, yellow glow of lights woven through the branches of the surrounding trees as darkness falls. Expect traditional Weihnachtsmarkt vibes and purchasables – handicrafts, Glühwein, roasted chestnuts – and visits from Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Old Mother Frost and other Grimm fairytale favourites. One for those in search of a bit of magic.
7th and 8th December
Entry: €3/€2 reduced
S-bahn: Grunewald, S7
Christmas shopping is a drag. Lucky for you the folks behind Nowkoelln Flowmarkt (also worth a visit) know this, and every year they pull together over 70 handpicked, up-and-coming designers and local vendors in Kreuzberg’s shabbily bucolic Prinzessinnengarten to present a Weihnachtsmarkt aimed at inspiring creative gift ideas. Bits and bobs on offer include clothes, tote bags, sculpture, drawings and prints – in short, fancy goods at fair and affordable prices. There’s entertainment throughout each day in the form of live bands and DJs, and a kid’s corner to keep the little ones happy. Refreshment comes in the form of Glühwein (what else?), waffles, and other consumable international Christmas specialties. An artsy alternative.
Date yet to be announced
Entry: €3 (kids go free)
U-bahn: Moritzplatz U8