Berlin's Christmas markets open from early November to spread festive cheer throughout the city. There is a wide variety of markets, with a range of themes, goods and entertainment. The following 15 should cater well to all tastes:
The Elegant: Gendarmenmarkt
Situated on one of the city’s most beautiful squares, featuring the Konzerthaus Berlin and two cathedrals, the Gendarmenmarkt is a picturesque backdrop for your visit. The unique entertainment includes performances from jugglers, fire-eaters and musical ensembles. There's also a crafts tent, displaying the work of talented wood carvers, dressmakers and other artisans.
Charlottenburg Palace, festively illuminated for the Christmas season, sits grandly overlooking this market. Vendors sell a variety of craft items, while the smell of mulled wine and freshly-baked German treats such as stollen and marzipan adds to the charming atmosphere. There are even classic children's fairground rides, such as a big wheel and merry-go-round.
During the Christmas season, Spandau’s old town transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with a towering tree. This historic market is set up around the St. Nikolai church and with up to 400 stalls, it's a feast for the senses. The entertainment programme, including sing-alongs with Santa, makes this a great market for families.
If you love Berlin’s cool art scene, then this one-weekend-only market is for you. Located in the industrial Arena Berlin, DJs play slick electronic beats as creatives of the city offer their products for sale. With an eclectic mix of clothing, jewellery and art, this is an ideal market for picking up unique, eye-catching gifts.
Be transported back in time at the beautiful Rixdorf market in Neukölln. Taking place on the second weekend of Advent on charming Richardplatz, it's lit by paraffin lamps, while there's also a traditional smithy and a display of historic carriages. A variety of traditional Christmas decorations and food is available, including handmade toys and home-made jams. Entertainment for children includes a visit from the Three Wise Men on their camels.
Centrally located in Mitte, the Christmas market at Opernpalais on Unter den Linden is a great place to pick up chic gifts or souvenirs. Watch talented craftsmen, such as lantern makers and wood carvers, demonstrate their work before buying their artisan products. Culinary treats tick all the boxes with roasted chestnuts, candied almonds and mulled wine available. For children, there are historic fairground rides.
St George's offers a uniquely British experience in the heart of Berlin. Bagpipes and carols set the right mood, while entertainment includes a tombola raffle. Appetites are satisfied by the traditional British cakes and mince pies for sale. Children, meanwhile, will be enchanted by the festive storytelling sessions.
Situated in front of the Rotes Rathaus is one of Berlin’s oldest and most famous Christmas markets. With historic appeal, it has plenty of food and crafts stalls, a Ferris wheel and a sizeable ice-skating rink. There's even a small enclosure where children can feed animals, while Santa Claus visits three times daily.
Dedicated to the Nordic goddess of light, Lucia, this Christmas market focuses on all things Scandinavian. Located at a former 19th-century brewery, it boasts traditional Scandinavian food, handicrafts and entertainment. Log fires keep visitors warm, while little ones can enjoy a trampoline, carousel and knight's castle.
If you have an insatiable sweet-tooth, then the Berlin Sweets Market (Naschmarkt) will be your slice of heaven. Located at Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg, this market offers delights including cakes, brownies, macaroons, marshmallows, chocolates and much more. Even better, vendors use only locally-sourced ingredients, avoiding all synthetic ingredients and preservatives, so you can enjoy a guilt-free sugar fix.
Located on the rooftop of a Neukölln shopping arcade, Klunkerkranich Christmas Market has an exciting musical and cultural programme, with handmade crafts for sale, and a breathtaking panoramic view of the city.
Taking place in front of the oldest surviving palace in Berlin, this market is a magical festive experience. In a romantic courtyard, local craftspeople offer handmade products, while traditional fairytale characters, such as Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella's stepmother, keep visitors entertained.
On the second weekend of December, Karlshorst comes alive with mulled wine, gingerbread and handicrafts. As suggested by its motto, „Die Welt zu Hause in Karlshorst” (“The World at Home in Karlshorst”), this market provides visitors with a fascinating insight into the Christmas traditions of other cultures.
Everything for sale at the Adventsökomarkt (Advent Eco Market) at Kollwitzplatz is eco-friendly and produced under fair social conditions. Items include Christmas trees, textiles and toys, while the organic food is provided by local farmers, making this an ideal market for the socially-conscious.