Munich Christmas Markets
If you love that fuzzy feeling of wrapping up on a cold winters day, sparkling fairy lights and steaming hot drinks then it’s definitely not too early to say this word before November? CHRISTMAS!
Christmas is one of my favourite seasons to travel, summer can sometimes be overrated with school holidays and blistering hot days in most countries. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to sun myself on a beach and be able go coat-less everywhere I go when I holiday in the summer. In the Winter there is nothing better than wrapping up and discovering a new city, culture and atmosphere?
If you love both travel and everything Christmas related then you won’t want to miss out on the German Christmas Markets (or Christkindlemarkte in German). They are something of fairy tales, a Winter Wonderland with beautiful sparkling lights, flickering candles and amazing food and drink. So that brings me to talking about my winter break last year to the Christmas Markets in Munich.
Munich is a beautiful city with historic buildings surrounded by great shopping. In November-December you’ll also find around 24 Christmas Markets scattered around the city, unbelievable… and that is why it is one of the best cities to spend some of the festive period in.
Why are German Christmas Markets so well known?
- Christmas Markets can be rooted back to the 14th Century in the Bavarian capital of Munich
- Marienplatz is the heart of the city and these festive markets.
- History tells us that markets ran throughout the year in Marienplatz, the Christmas Markets are the only ones that have lasted the test of time.
- These festive markets had a warm welcome brightening up the dark nights of Winter as they ran through the whole festive period (much like they do now).
Festive Traditions in Munich
The markets open from 27th November to 24th December and during this time you’re sure to find yourself some amazing food and drink as well as exposure to some interesting and fascinating Advent traditions in Munich. One of my favourite traditions has got to be the Christkindl Post Office, a place not just for kids but also adults to post letters with an official Christkindl stamp to their family and friends. It is also great for kids because they can come here to send their letters to Christkindl daily, with a reply included!
Another interesting tradition which features during the Markets is the tradition of the German Christmas Cribs – or as we may know them, the Nativity Scene. We visited the Kripperlmarkt (25th November -24th December) after a recommendation from locals on the Christmas Market Tour. It is a market with a range of crib figures and woodcarvings. Some people collect these for their own nativity scene at home but others just love to see all the different handiwork that goes into creating the many figures. We also went, and thoroughly enjoyed, the Nativity Trail through the city-centre church to see their crib displays.
Munich Christmas Markets Food and Drink
The festive traditions are very important in the overall Advent or Bavarian Christmas experience… but so are the gingerbread, bratwurst and mulled wine!
Something for the foodies… before I left for Germany I did extensive food-related research because I wanted to try everything I could that was as authentic as possible. So here are some of my personal favourite German Christmas Market food choices:
- Wurst… or massive sausages to you and I. It is German sausage in various shapes and sizes… some even have fillings!? They are a must-have when going to any German market, at any time of year.
- Lebkucken: I have tried these at home before but NOTHING will compare to these gingerbread cookies – although is is said you’ll find the best in Nuremburg, I had some pretty amazing ones in Munich.
- Gebrannte Mandeln: Coated, roasted chestnuts. You’ll smell them as soon as you enter the markets, coated with spices or something sweet. I couldn’t say no, so you probably won’t be able to either.
- Dampfnudeln: A light steamed dumpling coated in vanilla custard – yum! Something sweet to break up all the savoury sausages.
After you’re done eating your weight in German delicacies, you’ll probably need a drink. Gluhwein or hot cider are the perfect drinks to warm you up, and if you aren’t feeling something warm then you can opt for a refreshing German beer to wash down your treats with. My favourite drink was definitely the Gluhwein or the amazing hot chocolates – they literally were just like melted down chocolate!
Feuerzangenbowle is a traditional drink part of the Christmas tradition when a rum-soaked sugarlump is set on fire and drips into mulled wine…it is very tasty!
The Munich Christmas Markets
Without actually heading to the Christmas Markets on your visit you won’t be able to experience all these amazing traditions! We made the most of our trip and tried to see as many as possible over the course of the week…they kept getting more and more beautiful.
The main market in Munich is the Marienplatz Christmas Market, right in the centre of the city. This is the oldest and most famous market in Munich, be prepared for it to be busy but definitely worth it. The backdrop of Marienplatz ensures for some beautiful travel pictures and feeling very taken-back by the surroundings. We loved the live music and atmosphere around this area, and with our hotel so close then there was no excuse to not visit this market multiple times during our visit. Our Christmas Market package holiday to Munich. Usually we book through different operators online for the flights and hotel but when we see a good package offer then we won’t pass it up!
We also ventured to the Medieval Christmas Market (Mittelaltermarkt Munchen) in Wittelsbacher Platz which was far more intimate and very interesting. The vendors of the stalls were dressed in medieval clothing as well as creating and selling medieval items and Christmas decorations. The stalls were all handmade and traditional music was playing – I feel like I stepped back in time! What is nice about this market is that it isn’t too cliched or cheesy, the strong historical relationship between Munich and the Christmas Markets ensures this was authentic and traditional. (With some of the best food from all the markets we went to!)
If you are looking for somewhere with a chilled atmosphere then you’ll love Schwabing Christmas Markets. It is in a lively student area with great pubs and nightlife but also some really talented artists feature in the markets, it is a bohemian type market which is nice to chill out at or just stroll through on your way through the city.
As I mentioned before there is the Kripperlmarkt Manger Market which is beautiful to walk around and maybe even buy yourself a few souvenirs for Christmas at home – nothing more unique than a hand carved German Christmas Ornament… as long as it isn’t breakable in your luggage!
Something I would definitely recommend is a Christmas Market Tour with a tour guide that can show you some of the best food to suit you and some of the best spots. This day tour helped us plan out where we wanted to see again and go over the rest of the week.
After having the most incredible trip to Munich with plenty of great food and drink as well as plenty of exploring the city and the many Christmas Markets on offer, I have some tips:
- Go to the Christmas markets at night: Although the markets are beautiful during the day you do not want to miss out on seeing them at night with the twinkling beautiful lights, candles and the festive atmosphere.
- Tour around the Christmas markets: Just one is not enough, you need to experience and feel the many different types of market on offer. There is an underground system but also the Munich Hop On Hop Off Tour bus – we love these buses because we’ve experienced them all around Europe.
- Eat and drink (and be merry): Especially if you’re doing a weekend break, the markets have so much to eat and drink, why would you go somewhere else?
I look forward to my next adventure in the next few months, I wonder where I’ll jet off to? Maybe I’ll embrace the summer sunshine instead of the woolly hats and scarves! But for now I’ve curbed my craving for a German Christmas Market holiday – until next season Munich.
I am an avid traveller with an extreme case of wanderlust. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t have a trip booked to look forward to! I’m ready to take on travelling the world and life as a newlywed. Engaged and planning a wedding and our dream honeymoon, all while trying to fit in weekend trips away in between!