Roasted chestnuts, mulled wine, and the scent of cinnamon in the air can only mean one thing, it’s Christmas market season! No other country does Christmas markets quite like Germany, so there’s no better place to visit than the capital of Berlin.
These outdoor markets were originally created to boost morale and lift spirits during a dark, cold, and sometimes depressing time of year. That’s why there are plenty of warm drinks and delicious hot German food sizzling away. No two markets are the same, but you will always find fun festive music playing and twinkling lights. They are sure to get even the biggest Christmas curmudgeon into the holiday spirit.
Every year there are over 60 Christmas markets taking place in Berlin. As well as the hugely popular ones, you will also find smaller, more niche markets such as the Sustainable Christmas Market and the Vegan Christmas Market.
This guide will focus on the top 6 Berlin Christmas Markets that shouldn’t be missed.
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Alexanderplatz Christmas Market
First up, we have the most central of Berlin Christmas markets. It’s located in the heart of the city, in the busy Alexanderplatz, so you can’t miss it. It’s no surprise that one of the liveliest places in Berlin also has one of the liveliest Christmas markets.
Most of the market is outdoors, but the highlight is the large indoor Bavarian-style beer hall complete with a DJ. You can listen to some cheesy tunes while staying toasty and warm inside, sipping on German beer or mulled wine. This market is also perfect for gift shopping, be sure to check out the extensive indoor Christmas decoration shop – an absolute must if you’re looking for gifts or souvenirs.
Another factor in this market’s favor is that it’s easy and convenient to get to. The nearest train station is Alexanderplatz which connects with most of the city.
Open: November 21 – December 26, 2022
Rotes Rathaus Christmas Market
The next one is just a stone’s throw away from the Alexanderplatz market and is in front of the red town hall (Rotes Rathaus). It’s great to experience both as they offer very different atmospheres. This Christmas market feels more family-friendly and has traditional narrow alleys of wooden huts selling food, drink, and gifts. Just be warned that it can get pretty crowded during peak times.
A large appeal of the Rotes Rathaus Christmas market is the incredible ice rink. This temporary rink is placed around the famous Neptune Fountain, making it a truly magical skating experience. Ice skate rental is a reasonable 4€, so it’s no surprise that it can get busy, especially at weekends.
There’s also the huge Ferris wheel! If you choose to ride this you will get some stunning views across central Berlin. Gaze out to the famous TV tower and Berlin Cathedral.
Another great feature you will only find at this market is the fun photo machines that are nestled between the stalls. For a small fee, you can snap some photos and get them printed out to keep as a souvenir.
Open: November 22 – December 30, 2022
Address: Rathausstraße 15
Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market
Arguably the most popular Berlin Christmas market, it’s also the only one in this guide which comes with a fee. Visitors have to pay 1€ to enter, however, there is free entry between 12 Noon and 2 PM Monday – Friday.
Usually found in Gendarmenmarkt square, the location has changed for 2022-24 due to construction work. You will now find this market on the historical square, Bebelplatz, just a short walk from the original location. The Christmas market is mostly covered which gives you a nice respite from the cold. There are performances taking place frequently and plenty of stalls selling high-quality handmade gifts and gourmet treats.
This market fits perfectly into any tourist itinerary as it’s the closest to most of the main sights like Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate. Get off at the underground station Unter den Linden and you’re directly at the market.
Open: November 21 – December 31, 2022
Lucia Christmas Market at Kulturbrauerei
This next market is a truly unique experience offering something a little different. The Lucia market is the Scandinavian Christmas market of Berlin, so you’ll find plenty of Swedish Glögg and reindeer bratwurst. It’s small and snug, feeling cosy without being overwhelming, and is located in the courtyard of an old brewery in the trendy Prenzlauer Berg district.
This market seems to have the most variety of Glühwein, including Swedish, Finnish, and Icelandic. The best feature is the small heated Yurt that has a bar inside and comfy cushion seats. Despite the compact size, there are also little rides and trampolines for the kids to enjoy.
The closest train station is the underground U2 line Eberswalder Straße.
Open: November 21 – December 22, 2022
Address: Schönhauser Allee 36
There’s nothing quite like sipping a steaming mug of mulled wine with a 17th Century Palace as your backdrop. Beautiful lights illuminate the Charlottenburg palace and grounds, and a light show is projected onto the building.
The food and drink on offer are slightly more expensive, reflective of the opulent district the market is located in. You will find unmatched variety here with plenty of local and international food. There’s also the Hungarian hut which serves as a free viewpoint if you climb the stairs. Another plus point of this market is that some of the shops and restaurants are covered if you want to escape the freezing temperatures.
It is a little further out of the city and requires more planning to get to but it’s definitely worth it. The closest train station is the S bahn stop Westend.
Open: November 21 – December 26, 2022
Address: Spandauer Damm 20-24
Winter World at Potsdamer Platz
The final one in this guide is an honorable mention, the Winter World at Potsdamer Platz is quite small but is worth stopping by if you’re in the area. It’s the market that opens the earliest, beginning in late October! They sell a lot of delicious food such as roasted almonds, crepes, and the famous lebkuchenherzen (gingerbread hearts) and there is a 12m high toboggan run which costs just 1.50€ if you’re feeling brave enough!
The closest train station is the sprawling S+U Potsdamer Platz station.
Open: October 28 – January 01, 2023
Address: Potsdamer Platz
Festive Fun in Berlin
This list only scratches the surface of the Christmas markets that are on offer in Germany’s capital city, with new ones popping up each year, some only for a few days. But if you want to dip your toe into German Christmas markets, Berlin is one of the best places to do that.