Nothing will catapult you full throttle into the festive cheer and holiday spirit of a European Christmas quite like the famous Munich Christmas Market (Christkindlmarkt to the locals). The market takes place in Marienplatz, the city’s central square, every year from late November to Christmas Eve. See the square come alive every night in a spectacular display of golden light and a glittering, 30-metre-tall Christmas tree.
Treat yourself to a warm cup of spicy, aromatic gluhwein (mulled wine) – it smells just like Christmas – as you wander among stalls selling gingerbread, candied almonds, ornaments, handicrafts and traditional Bavarian Christmas gifts. Adding to the joyful atmosphere is the magnificent neo-Gothic Town Hall that rises above the square, where every evening at the market, choir groups and band ensembles perform live music and Christmas carols from its balcony.
The Munich Christmas Market is the oldest such market in the city and provides a delightful experience for the senses. So if you’re short on time in Munich, this is the place to go. But if time allows, it’s well worth branching out from Marienplatz along its adjacent streets, where you’ll find even more specialty markets. One such unique market is Kripperlmarkt on Neuhauser Strasse – one of the largest manger markets in Germany. Here, you can buy beautifully crafted Nativity scenes, an age-old tradition in Munich. In all, there are an additional 20 Christmas markets to explore throughout the city in the lead-up to the holidays, including the charming Medieval Christmas Market.
The Munich Christmas Market’s central location makes it easy to get to from anywhere in the city. You’ll find it’s within walking distance of most hotels in the city centre. Or the closest U-Bahn underground station is Marienplatz, which exits directly onto the square, where you can immediately get swept up in the market’s bustling, Christmassy atmosphere.