The ultimate guide on experiencing the best Christmas Markets in Berlin for 2019/2020. Everything from dates, opening hours and what makes each Christmas market unique, to useful tips to know beforehand so you know how to budget, whether card payments are accepted and how to easily get there with our free map.
As expats living in Berlin, one of the things we look forward to the most are the Christmas markets here. It’s truly a magical time of the year and with Berlin being the nation’s capital and the largest city in Germany, there are over 70 Christmas markets in Berlin alone to discover and experience. With so much choice, we thought we would help you narrow down the best Christmas Markets in Berlin so you can make the most out of your time and money during this busy time of the year.
But first, if you’ve never been to a Christmas market in Germany before, read these useful tips before you go. If you have been before, skip straight to our top 9 list.
Things to know before you visit Christmas Markets in Germany:
When are the Christmas Markets in Berlin Open
The majority of the Christmas markets start a month before Christmas, from around the 25 November and end just after Christmas. There are, however, a few markets like the ones at Kurfürstendamm, Gendarmenmarkt and Weihnachszeit at Rotes Rathaus that remain open after Christmas.
Can you pay by card at Berlin Christmas Markets
Germany is many things, but card-friendly is not one of them. Yes, you read that right. You going to need cash if you want to fill those bellies or do some Christmas shopping. Coincidentally, “bar” translates to “cash” in German, which is rather appropriate if you love glühwein or beer. Make sure to get your fix of glühwein as it’s usually only sold during the Christmas season.
Where to find ATMs with no withdrawal fees in Germany
Now that we’ve determined that you need cash, the next big question to ask is where to draw your “bar” without incurring transaction fees. This depends on the bank card you use. If you’re using Revolut or N26 cards like us, you can draw at any major banks for no transaction fees if it is within your free monthly withdrawal limits. In that case, head over to a Deutsche Bank, Post Bank, Berliner Volksbank or Sparkasse ATM and withdraw your cash for free.
Is your bank or travel card charging you withdrawal fees and commission fees when buying forex? Find out how you can get free cash withdrawals and get the best price buying forex in our best travel card for 2020 guide.
Whatever you do, DO NOT draw at an EC ATM unless you have a German bank card that allows you to withdraw cash with them for free. These EC ATMs are super easy to find, since they literally everywhere but they will charge you a whopping €5 per transaction. Trust us, we experienced that firsthand and we’re not ever doing that again.
Pfand or deposits at Christmas Markets
One thing we love about Germany is that it is a very environmentally conscious country and takes reducing waste and recycling very seriously. In fact, they take it so seriously that you won’t usually find plastic or even paper cups at Christmas markets. Instead your delicious drinks are all served in glass.
To encourage guests to bring their glasses back to the vendors, they charge an extra €2-€3 per glass (in German this is referred to as “pfand) as a deposit. When you’re done with your drinks, either return them and get your deposit back or keep it as a souvenir. You’ll probably want to keep at least one of the many festive Christmas mugs you’ll find.
As sustainable travellers who try our best to reduce the footprint we have on the earth, we absolutely love this initiative! Yes, you will need to carry a bit more cash on you, but you’ll get the money back and it’s a small inconvenience that will help preserve our beautiful planet.
How much to budget for Berlin Christmas Market
For food and drinks, we’d budget around €15 – €25 per person (including deposit). The prices are quite standardised across the many Christmas markets with beer, glühwein and bratwursts costing between €3 – €3.50. If you’re planning to visit the Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt, budget between €20 – €40 if you want to spoil yourself and eat at one of the tented restaurants.
Unique Christmas mugs and Christmas glasses
Did you know that every Christmas market has its own signature Christmas mug and that they have different editions for each year? Yes, each Christmas market has their own mug usually designed with pictures or words that distinguishes that area or market from the others. We didn’t know that ourselves until we visited a few Christmas markets and realised that each one sold their own unique and charming Christmas mug!
So charming in fact that we did a giveaway last year and gifted one of our Instagram subscribers their favourite Berlin Christmas market mug and it was shaped as a Christmas stocking. Not only mugs, but draft beer glasses too. Our favourite were these beer glasses from the Potsdamerplatz Christmas market.
Security at German Christmas Markets
It is best not to carry large backpacks or luggage when visiting popular Christmas markets like Gendarmenmarkt. For safety reasons, the security at the entrance may refuse you entry if your bag is too big, so it is best to leave it behind at your hotel. Handbags or smaller bags are fine but they may be checked before you enter. If you want to be a more eco-friendly traveler, bring your own grocery bag for your shopping or to store your Christmas mug souvenirs.
Best 9 Christmas Markets in Berlin 2019
Here are our top 9 Christmas Markets in Berlin that you can easily get to using the public transport ticket for A and B zones. We’ve listed them from the most popular and busy markets to the least touristy ones.
Use the map to see how far you are from the different markets:
Alexanderplatz Christmas Market
Where: On Alexanderplatz square just outside Alexanderplatz U-bahn station Dates: 25 November 2019 – 26 December 2019 (ice rink and Santa Claus party house are open until 5 January 2020)
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 10:00 – 22:00; 24 December 2019 10:00 – 14:00
Highlights: Sip your glühwein while admiring Berlin’s iconic Fernsehturm in the backdrop or try ice skating, a ride on the carousel and visit Santa Claus in his party house.
Admission fee: Free
Anyone who has visited Berlin will most likely have visited Alexanderplatz. Not only is it one of Berlin’s main public squares and a major transport hub, but it also features one of the city’s iconic landmark buildings, the Berliner Fernsehturm or TV Tower.
Over the Christmas period, the square is completely transformed into a huge festive market located just outside the Alexanderplatz U-bahn station. This market is probably the busiest one we’ve been to. Like other markets, there are lots of yummy goodies to buy, eat and drink. The drinks here are bigger (same size as Potsdamerplatz) – yes, that is an important factor if you love glühwein. From this market you can enjoy the view of the TV Tower in the backdrop or harness your inner child and take a ride on the merry-go-round.
It’s also a great choice if you need to do some last minute Christmas shopping. Looking for a one-stop shop, then check out Galeria Kaufhof Berlin which is just a hop and a skip away.
Berliner Weihnachtszeit Christmas Market at Rotes Rathaus
Where: The public square between the Berlin City Hall (Rotes Rathaus) and St. Marienkirche
Dates: 25 November 2019 – 29 December 2019
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 12:00 – 22:00; Saturday and Sunday 11:00 – 22:00; Closed on Christmas Eve; Christmas and Boxing Day 11:00 – 21:00
Highlights: One of the most diverse Christmas markets in Berlin that will thrill nostalgia seekers, funfair lovers and ice skating enthusiasts. Bring your own skates and ice skate for free!
Admission fee: Free
Berliner Weihnachszeit Christmas Market is one of the biggest and oldest Christmas markets in Berlin. As expected you can find a much larger variety of food, drink, gifts and activities to do here. It’s not too far away from the Alexanderplatz Christmas market, located just past the Berliner Fernsehturn (TV Tower).
Expect to be dazzled by bright fairy lights scattered across the entire market and entertained by a giant ferris wheel (it’s 50m high!) and it’s one-of-a-kind circular ice skating rink. And if you’ve overindulged in bratwursts and pretzels, you can always try their traditionally baked apple pie. It is one of the most famous markets in Berlin and therefore always busy, but certainly worth the visit. When visiting this Christmas market, make sure to also check out the Medieval Market around St Mary’s Church (St. Marienkirche) before you head home.
Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market
Where: Gendarmenmarkt Square
Dates: 25 November 2019 – 31 December 2019
Opening hours: Everyday 11:00 – 22:00; 24th December 11:00 – 18:00; New Year’s Eve 11:00 – 01:00
Highlights: Most famous and luxurious Christmas market in Berlin. Try more gourmet dishes here if you’ve had too much pretzels and bratwurst. Soak in the festive atmosphere amidst some of the most historically significant architecture in the heart of the city.
Admission fee: €1 after 14:00 Monday-Friday for live music and performances
The Weihnachtszauber market Gendarmenmarkt is the most famous Christmas market in Berlin and also one of the most beautiful. It’s one of our favourite Christmas markets in Berlin because of its majestic historic setting. The market is wedged between the Französischer Dom and the Deutsche Dom, right in the heart of the city.
This is the Christmas market to visit if you prefer the finer things in life, as you’ll be able to sip champagne and other fine wines while indulging in gourmet cuisine at one of the enclosed restaurants.
Although there is a €1 entrance to the market (other markets are generally free) it is completely worth it as there is usually some sort of entertainment in the market. When we were there, there was a beautiful snow Queen walking around on high stilts throwing confetti snow and handing sweets out to children. There were also musicians and live bands performing on stage.
Being there allowed us to imagine what a busy square it must have been more than 300 years ago. A must-visit when in Berlin for its beautiful architectural wonders and historically significant surrounds. Just make sure to get there early to avoid the long queues.
Kurfürstendamm Christmas Market
Where: Breitscheidplatz Square (between the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and Europa Shopping Centre)
Dates: 25 November 2019 – 05 January 2020
Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday 11:00 – 21:00; Friday – Saturday 11:00 – 22:00. Christmas Eve 11:00 – 14:00, Christmas and Boxing Day 13:00 – 21:00. New Year’s Eve 11:00 – 01:00. New Year’s Day 13:00 – 21:00
Highlights: Enjoy the festive spirit alongside one of Berlin’s most striking landmarks and see the longest Christmas lights in the world. It’s also one of the few Christmas markets that remain open after Christmas.
Admission fee: Free
The Christmas Market at Gedächtniskirche is located around Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the landmark of West Berlin. This striking landmark is composed of the ruins of the church that was destroyed in the war, as well as a modern church building. It is a memorial for peace and reconciliation, commemorating Berliners’ determination to rebuild after the war.
And not too far away from the Christmas market, you’ll find Kurfürstendamm which is not only one of the most popular shopping avenues in Berlin, but also famous for having the longest Christmas lights in the world. As you can imagine, Weihnachtsmarkt at Gedächtniskirche is quite the tourist hotspot. But given its rich history and important surroundings, it is one of our favourite Christmas markets in Berlin.
If you’re looking for a bargain, you may want to visit stalls off the main pathways. They sell glühwein for €1 cheaper. Before you go, make sure to head down Tauentzienstraße to admire the other festive light decorations.
Winterwelt Potsdamerplatz Christmas Market
Where: Public Square outside Potsdamerplatz U-Bahn station
Dates: 25 November 2019 – 26 December 2019
Opening hours: Daily 10:00 – 22:00; Christmas Eve 10:00 – 14:00; closed on 24 November 2019 and 17 December 2019
Highlights: The only Christmas market in Berlin with a 12m high toboggan run as well as an ice rink. If you love Austrian delicacies, this is the market for you.
Admission fee: Free
Fancy ice skating or going for a toboggan run in the bustling hub of Berlin? Then you need to visit Winterwelt or Winter World at Potsdamerplatz.
This Christmas market has an Austrian-style winter scenery, complete with log cabins and a variety of craft markets. At first this Christmas market may appear smaller than the other markets in Berlin, but it actually extends all the way from the square, along Alte Potsdamer Straße up until the Stage Theater am Potsdamerplatz, where you’ll be greeted by a giant, magnificent Christmas tree and an ice skating rink.
You can ice skate here for free if you have your own shoes and there are free ice skating lessons for children on Saturday and Sunday. When you’re ready to sit down and relax, try the Austrian version of glühwein instead. Be prepared to receive a very generous amount as the mugs at this Christmas Market are one of the biggest we’ve seen in Berlin. And the best part is that the glühwein costs the same as the other markets (€3.50), only much bigger!
Winter World is the perfect market to visit if you want to combine shopping (at Mall of Berlin and Potsdamer Platz Arkaden) and a movie night (Cinestar Sony Center).
Historical Christmas Market in RAW Friedrichshain
Where: RAW-Gelände in Revaler Straße 99
Dates: 21 November 2019 – 22 December 2019; closed 24 November 2019
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 15:00 – 22:00; Saturday – Sunday 12:00 – 22:00
Highlights: Travel back to the medieval times at this Christmas market and enjoy a glühwein (or two) around a bonfire. Archery, knife throwing, ponies, fire performers, the most unique Christmas market in Berlin!
Admission fee: €2 from Thursday to Sunday; Free on Monday to Wednesday. (€1 for children between 6 – 16 years and those dressed up in historical costumes and free for children under 6 years)
Now this is a Christmas market with a unique theme. We loved the medieval setting of the Historic Christmas Market Friedrichshain. It is probably the most unique market in Berlin as the stalls here do not sell the usual Christmas decorations, but rather artisan crafts that have been handmade by wood carvers and blacksmiths. You can even buy freshly baked bread from a bread artisan who kneads and bakes the bread in a wood-fired clay oven, right before your eyes!
When you’re done shopping and trying some Medieval dishes, you can go try your hand at some archery, knife and axe throwing or stroke some ponies. If you have children, they can enjoy a ride on a hand-operated wooden ferris wheel and wooden carousel. If that’s not enough, you can enjoy watching acrobats, jugglers and fire dancers performing in the evening. One thing is for sure, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
Charlottenburg Christmas Market
Where: Charlottenburg Palace grounds
Dates: 25 November 2019 – 26 December 2019 (closed on Christmas Eve)
Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 14:00 – 22:00; Friday – Sunday 12:00 – 22:00; Christmas and Boxing Day 12:00 – 20:00
Highlights: Admire the largest palace in Berlin and enjoy a leisurely walk in the palace gardens.
Admission fee: Free
Where else in the world can you enjoy a cup of hot cocoa at a Christmas market, next to an extravagant palace? In Berlin of course!
Schloss Charlottenburg or Charlottenburg Palace was build at the end of the 17th century (more than 400 years ago) and is the largest palace in Berlin. The dreamy palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens and over the Christmas period, there is a wonderful Christmas market that is held on the palace grounds itself.
We love how this market extends from the pedestrian pavement, right through to the footsteps of the palace. It is very spacious and feels less crowded than some of the other markets we’ve been to. Besides the yummy food and drinks, what was most memorable for us was the Christmas mug! The mug is shaped in a cute Christmas stocking and printed with portraits of the Prussian monarchy from the 17th century. One of the most unique mugs we’ve come across exploring the different Christmas markets in Berlin.
Christmas Market KulturBrauerei
Dates: 25 November 2019 – 22 December 2019
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 15:00 – 22:00; Saturday – Sunday 13:00 – 22:00
Highlights: Escape the tourists and experience Christmas with a Scandinavian and Nordic twist. There’s even a mobile sauna.
Admission fee: Free
The Lucia Christmas Market is one of the smaller, less touristy Christmas markets in Berlin. So if you’re looking to mingle amongst Berliners, this is the market to visit.
This Christmas market is nestled between the historic brick buildings of Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg and has a Scandinavian theme. Not only can you enjoy the classic Christmas market snacks here, but you can also sample some typical Scandinavian and Nordic delicacies such as moose goulash, reindeer salami, elk meatballs, salmon potato soup or Finnish waffles.
Complete your Nordic experience with some Swedish Glögg, Finnish Glögi or Icelandic Jolaglögg instead of your usual mug of glühwein. If you’re not warm by the end of that, you can always warm up in the mobile sauna or dance the night away at a club in the area.
Spandau Christmas Market
Where: Kammerstraße 6, 13597
Dates: 25 November 2019 – 22 December 2019
Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday 11:00 – 20:00; Friday and Saturday 11:00 – 22:00
Highlights: Enjoy a day trip outside the city centre and immerse yourself in the largest Christmas market in Berlin. Enjoy this market as part of a full day adventure. Explore Spandau’s charismatic cobbled streets, St. Nikolai Church and the Citadel before joining the Christmas festivities.
Admission fee: Free
Take a day trip outside the city centre of Berlin and experience the capital’s largest Christmas market in the old town of Spandau. Take a stroll through the quaint cobbled streets of this historic town and enjoy browsing over 400 festive market stalls.
Here you can taste some of Spandau’s food specialities and marvel at how smoked fish is traditionally made, right before your very eyes. Be entertained by live performances, Santa visits every Wednesdays or try swing dancing on Friday evenings. This market is not only off the beaten track, it’s also slightly cheaper. While you’re here, head over to the Gothic Church of St. Nikolai and see if you can find the cannonball embedded in the outer wall of this church. Make sure to also visit the Spandau Citadel to complete the old town experience.
Best Christmas Markets in Europe
Have you experienced the Christmas markets in Berlin? If so, which were your favourite? If not, where are your favourite Christmas destinations around the world?
Curious to know what the other 70 Christmas markets are in Berlin, check the full list of Christmas Markets here.
Travelling elsewhere in Germany during Christmas? Then check out where all the Christmas Markets are in Germany are before your trip. If you’re planning to road trip around Europe or Germany, make sure to read our how to hire a car for €1 guide!