There are amazing Christmas markets currently being held all over Europe but the ones in Germany seem to be the most popular and are certainly our favourites. Over the years we have visited markets in Hamburg, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Berlin and Hannover but the best by far were found at this years destination – Munich.
What are the Munich Christmas Markets?
Munich doesn’t just have one Christmas market in the main square though, it has several dotted all over the city. There are seven main markets to visit if you get the time. Open from November 27th through to December 23rd between 10am and 8pm with no admission fees.
We were lucky enough to have a few days so planned to get to as many of these seven markets as we could. the city has a fabulous underground system but we were happy to wrap up and just walk as far as it took. Work off some of those bratwurst and gluhwein calories!
1. Sendlinger Tor
A fairly small market held in the shadow of one of the cities main gates featuring a couple of fabulous food stalls, some supplying gluhwein, and several selling traditional wooden Christmas decorations. We wandered through but didn’t stop for a drink or food as it was pretty early in the day.
This is the market that sits on the famous Oktoberfest grounds at Theresienweisse located 20 minutes south of the main central station. Interested to see what this would be like as we had both been to Oktoberfest many times. Unfortunately as we turned up at lunchtime we saw the opening hours sign informing us that Tollwood didn’t open until 2:30. Damn.
The grounds didn’t look like the traditional Christmas markets though, it’s definitely an evening place to visit and although there isn’t an entry fee for the festival grounds there are individual fees for the shows and performances taking place.
This is Munichs main Christmas market and is located in Marienplatz right in front of the Rathaus and the famous Glockenspiel. It’s the biggest one in the city and has by far the highest number of stalls with more food and drink available than you can believe.
The market stalls run all the way from Marienplatz to Karlsplatz where there’s a huge ice skating rink and more food and drink stalls.
4. Chinese Tower.
Right in the middle of the beautiful Englischer Garten is the Chinese Tower with another large Christmas market. With a couple of curling alleys (is that the right word) surrounded by stalls and decorations it’s arguably the prettiest setting of the seven markets and must look absolutely stunning in the snow.
5. Middle Ages or Medieval Market.
Without doubt our favourite of all of the Christmas markets we visited in Munich, the Medieval market was full of old-world character and charm. Every stall fitted the medieval theme with stall holders dressed appropriately and every little detail contributing to the overall atmosphere.
We got there early in the afternoon when it was reasonably empty and managed to peruse all the stalls and enjoy a leisurely goblet of feuerzangenbowle in the sunshine. Bitterly cold the traditional Bavarian drink of rum-soaked sugarloaf dripped into mulled wine was fabulously delicious.
A trip back the following day in the early evening wasn’t quite so successful as the place was packed solid with queues to get in from the street and hardly any space to get around. We managed a circuit of the stalls pushing and shoving through the crowds but couldn’t face a thirty-strong queue for our favourite feuerzangenbowle with no space to stand and drink. So we reluctantly headed off. Good job we went early.
6. Pink Christmas.
A very alternative small market in the glockenbackviertal area just south of Sendlinger Tor. Originating and organised by the gay community it welcomes visitors and families to it’s colourful evenings, opening at 7pm most nights. We didn’t get to Pink Christmas during the evening but did walk through in the daytime. The big stage was obviously the centrepoint of the market and posters listing daily acts hinted at a real party atmosphere every night.
7. Schwabing Christmas market.
The only one that we unfortunately didn’t get to as it was a little further out and we were determined not to get the U-bahn around at all. With so much unhealthy food and drink, albeit delicious, we had decided to walk everywhere. According to locals it’s a fairly large square though and it’s main attraction seems to be that it is full of locals with fewer tourists than the others.
Although we didn’t make it to Schwabing and got the times for Pink and Tollwood a bit wrong we did enjoy a few gluhweins at all of the other markets along with various bratwurst, frikadelle, potato fritters, and so much more (‘Weihnactsmarkte in Munchen’ or ‘Christmas markets in Munich’).
What are the Munich Christmas Markets?
They’re brilliant fun that’s what they are! Highly recommended too if you ever get the chance to go. So much to see and do in a variety of locations in one of the most incredibly friendly cities in the world.
02/12 – 06/12/2019