‘Tis the Season to be Merry: Christmas Markets in Germany’s Historic Cities

‘Tis the Season to be Merry: Christmas Markets in Germany’s Historic Cities

iNSIDE EUROPE encourages travelers to take the road less traveled and enjoy the festive season in the Historic Highlights of Germany. If you have not yet been, make sure to visit soon!

The Historic Highlights of Germany are 17 beautiful cities across the country with equally stunning Christmas Markets.
Each city played a major role in German history, some also in European and world history. Quaint old town centers form unique backdrops for traditional one-of-a-kind Christmas Markets. Make sure to plan well in advance to visit if you seek to stay close by overnight. Hotels tend to be booked in full a few months in advance.

Join our virtual pre-tour to a selection of Christmas Markets in the Historic Highlights of Germany, compiled originally by our 2017 fall intern, Daniela Kammermeier, and since updated annual by our Weihnachtsmark-loving team. For the 2020 edition, we also included additional information by our friend Kirsten Maxwell from kidsareatrip.com and her network of travel writers. Check for the links at the end of this story.

Heidelberg Christmas Market close to Frankfurt, with a Direct Airport Train

Karlsplatz Christmas Market in Heidelberg, Germany
Karlsplatz Christmas Market in Heidelberg, Germany
Photo: ©Heidelberg Marketing GmbH by Tobias Schwerdt


Heidelberg is often called the most romantic city in Germany and is well-known for its castle ruins and renowned university. Heidelberger Weihnachtsmarkt takes place on five squares of the scenic old town and is very popular among locals as well as international visitors. Stroll along ancient streets with over 140 booths. Treat yourself to mulled wine or other traditional foods. Make sure to visit the open-air ice skating rink with vies of Heidelberg Castle at Karlsplatz (open until early January) and the fairytale winter ‘forest’ at Kornmarkt (ends also in the new year).

Dates: November 23 to December 23, 2020

Opening Hours: Sunday to Friday 11 am – 9 pm (10 pm at the latest), Saturday 11 am – 10 pm

Additional information on the Christmas Market in Historic Highlights of Germany Heidelberg can be found here.

Opening Hours: Sunday-Friday: 11 am to 9 pm; Saturday: 11 am to 10 pm

Traditional Christmas Market Lübeck

Christmas Market in Lübeck, Germany at the Historic City Hall.
Christmas Market in Lübeck, Germany at the Historic City Hall.
Photo: Olaf Malzahn

Marzipan and the Holsten Gate are the first things that come to mind when thinking of Lübeck. The traditional Christmas Market Lübeck is located in the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Marktplatz  and Breite Straße are the main locations and the stalls offer decorations, toys and food. The Traditional Christmas Market isn’t the only market organized in Lübeck. More information about the other event highlights during the holiday season, including an ‘Enchanted Forest’ at St. Mary’s churchyard, can be found here.

Dates: November 23 through December 30, 2020, closed on December 25th – special hours December 24, 2020 11 am to 2 pm, December 26, 2020 1 pm to 8 pm and December 30, 2020 11 am to 6 pm

Opening Hours: Daily from 11 am to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday: 11 am to 10 pm

Blue Lights Christmas Market Potsdam — just a short train ride from Berlin

Blue Lights Christmas Market Potsdam
Photo: ©TMB-Fotoarchiv Steffen Lehmann

Potsdam, located close to Germany’s capital city Berlin, is known for its beautiful palaces, mainly Castle Sanssouci. The city organizes a variety of different Christmas Markets with the Blue Lights Christmas Market being the largest one. Potsdam’s Brandenburgerstraße and Luisenplatz are lit in blue lights which creates a unique ambiance. The Blue Lights Christmas Market offers many events including special shopping nights and activities for the children. Potsdam’s other Christmas Markets are worth seeing, too. For more information, click here.

Dates: November 27th to December 28, 2017 (closed on December 24th)

Opening Hours: Sunday-Wednesday: 11 am to 8 pm, Thursday-Saturday: 11 am to 9 pm, December 25th and December 26th: 11 am to 7 pm, December 28th: 11 am to 6 pm

Christmas Market Trier close to Luxembourg and France

Christmas Market Trier
Photo: ©Trierer Weihnachtsmarkt, Werner Hardt

Germany’s oldest city, founded by the Romans over 2000 years ago, Trier is a perfect place to travel back in time. Pre-Christmas, experience Trier Christmas Market on the Marktplatz in the old town. With 95 booths in front of imposing Trier Cathedral, they sell everything from culinary specialties to unique gift articles. Meet Germany’s only Mulled Wine Queen and taste “Original Moselle Vintner Mulled Wine”. A variety of special musical events such as performances by brass bands or gospel choirs keep visitors entertained.

Dates: November 27 to December 22, 2020

Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday: 10:30 am to 8:30 pm, Friday and Saturday: 10:30 am to 9:30 pm, Sunday: 11 am to 8:30 pm

Erfurt Christmas Fair in the heart of Germany

Erfurt Christmas Fair.
Photo: ©Erfurt Tourismus und Marketing GmbH

Erfurt is the capital city of Thuringia, dating dating back over 1200 years. Two of Erfurt’s most famous landmarks, St. Mary’s Cathedral and Church of St. Severus serve as the setting for the city’s yearly Christmas Market. Over 200 wooden stalls are set up and around Domplatz, Fischmarkt, and Willy-Brandt-Platz. Sample iconic Thuringian Bratwurst and Erfurt Schittchen, a delicious type of stollen. Another great gift idea is handcrafted local Christmas decorations from the nearby Erzgebirge mountains, a region known for rich Christmas traditions and one-of-a-kind holiday souvenirs.

Dates: November 24 to December 22, 2020

Opening Hours: Sunday to Wednesday: 10 am to 8 pm, Thursday: 10 am to 9 pm (also opening day), Friday and Saturday: 10 am to 10 pm

Rostock Christmas Fair (Weihnachtsmarkt) on Germany’s Baltic Coast: 

Rostock Christmas Fair
photo: ©Großmarkt Rostock GmbH

The Hanseatic city of Rostock is the only Historic Highlight city located on the Baltic coast. The Christmas Fair happens on several squares in Rostock’s city center . It is supposed to be the largest in Northern Germany — aside from Berlin or Hamburg — and features numerous attractions that go beyond the average Christmas Market. Wintercarneval with traditional rides including a ferris wheel plus a Fairytale World are additional highlights.

Dates: November 26 to December 22, 2020

Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday: 10 am to 8:30 pm, Friday and Saturday: 10 am to 9:30 pm, Sunday: 11 am to 8:30 pm

There is much more to see and do in the Historic Highlights of Germany:  OsnabrückMünsterAachenAugsburg, Bonn, Freiburg, Koblenz, Regensburg, Wiesbaden, and Würzburg  also host beautiful Christmas Markets.

Last, but not least, make sure to visit Historic Highlights of Germany to learn more about these and other special cities that you may not yet have heard of, but are well worth a visit!  

Curious to see what markets await you outside of Germany, too?
Take a look at Kirsten Maxwell’s blog post about the ‘Best Christmas markets in Europe Not to be Missed’ for more great festive reads:

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