Munich, Germany (Christmas Market Special)
First of all, if you’ve never visited Munich, I’d highly recommend it! Located in southern Germany in the Bundesland (state) of Bavaria, Munich is full of culture and food all-year round that is representative of how non-Germans view ‘traditional’ Germany. It’s the home of Lederhosen, the Hofbräuhaus and a plethora of over 20 Christmas markets when December rolls around! I’ve had the pleasure of visiting this fantastic city several times, but one of my favourite times was when my boyfriend and I took an extended weekend break there last December with the primary aim of hitting up as many Christmas markets as possible. For anyone planning a Christmas Market getaway this December, Munich should be top of your list of destinations. Here’s my guide to the wonderful world of Weihnachtsmärkte in the city:
Top 5 Christmas Markets
Needless to say, during our 5 day stay we didn’t quite make it around all of the Christmas markets in the city, but we gave it a good go! Here are my top 5 not to miss during your visit:
5. Kripperlmarkt (manger market)
Although this isn’t necessarily your ‘typical’ Christmas market with all the food, drink, bells and whistles attached that’s typically been exported around the world, this market makes it into the top 5 for its uniqueness; welcome to the largest manger Christmas market in Germany. This is very traditionally German and consists of vendors selling exclusively figurines and accessories for your manger at home, if you have one. This includes everything from real hay for the stable to cribs for the baby Jesus and intricately painted figurines in a whole range of sizes.
Location: Just off from the main market in Marienplatz so it’s well worth a wander over to have a look. Head down Neuhauser Street, away from Marienplatz and towards the Richard Strauss Fountain (Richard-Strauss-Brunnen) to discover more.
4. Christmas Market Schwabing
This market is a must-see for art lovers in the city at Christmastime. There are some fascinating stalls here, selling paintings, pottery and everything in-between. You’ll be able to enjoy some Glühwein and Bratwurst as you peruse artwork that’s for sale on stalls as well as other art features placed around the market for you to look at, making this market a bit like an outdoor art exhibition. Highly recommended if you’re looking for some more unique gifts to take back home for Christmas, although be aware that prices can be expensive for some of the wares.
Location: Münchner Freiheit. The market is very close to the U-Bahn station and well-signposted.
3. Tollwood – The Winter Festival
Tollwood Winter Festival is actually a Christmas market that we almost missed during our visit… although it’s absolutely huge and just down the road from the apartment we were staying! We’d been so focussed on finding the other markets in the middle of Munich that we nearly skipped over this one and only ended up stopping by because we had some time left over on the last day! Tollwood is the same festival ground where Oktoberfest is held each year and the market is formed of massive marquees with countless food and drink stands squeezed in-between, lining the paths through the ground. The giant marquees are full of all sorts of traditional and not-so-traditional stands selling a huge range of things, including incense, rugs, clothes, toys, various world cuisines… you name it, you’ll probably find it somewhere in there! Tollwood is nicknamed the ‘market of ideas’ and also hosts other events as part of the market, such as theatre shows and music performances to keep all their visitors entertained. Allow a good half day to look around as a minimum, rather than rushing it at the last minute like we ended up doing!
Location: Theresienwiese. You can’t really miss it as it’s so huge and lit up at night.
2. Festive Middle Age Market
I honestly couldn’t get enough of this fascinating, historical Christmas market and we visited it twice, which is why it makes it to the number 2 spot here. The market is laid out in a circular formation, making it great to wander through and not miss any stands. Vendors sell a range of Middle Age wares, such as jewellery, glass, furs, and even Middle Age weapons like bows, arrows and swords. There are lots of performers around to keep you entertained and all the participants are dressed in Medieval clothing to give the market a really authentic vibe. My favourite part of this market though was the food, particularly a stall offering traditionally cooked fish in a barrel oven, made to order. We had prawn skewers with a baked potato and herby quark – traditional German food at its best! We also tried some of the traditionally cooked Pfannkuchen – think a small flatbread pizza with your choice of topping; perfect to take the edge off a chilly evening looking around the market!
Location: Wittelsbacherplatz, near Odeonsplatz. Very easy to find from the U-Bahn station; just follow the people in Medieval dress!
1. Christkindlmarkt at Marienplatz
And finally, the ultimate Christmas market in Munich. Full of everything you could wish for in a perfect Christmas market: Christmas decorations, all of the Glühwein and food, beautiful gifts and natural products such as bath bombs and soaps and in the most beautiful setting next to the famous Frauenkirche, which has a Glockenspiel and clock tower figurine show at 11am every day and is stunningly lit up by night. This is where we consumed excessive amounts of Glühwein, hot chocolate with Amaretto, crêpes with nutella and white chocolate, chocolate-coated fruit skewers, roasted nuts and, of course, Bratwurst. If you only get chance to visit one Christmas market in Munich, this should be it.
Location: Prime location right in the centre of the city in Marienplatz, next to the Frauenkirche. There’s also loads to see around the area, including a large food market and beer garden (Viktualienmarkt) that you can take advantage of for a lunch stop just around the corner from Marienplatz. Prost!
For more Munich Christmas market information and links to the individual market websites, take a look here.
How to get there: There are lots of options to get to Munich direct from England, including BMI from Bristol and Southampton; British Airways from London Heathrow; Easyjet from London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted and Manchester; Flybe from Cardiff and Southampton; and Lufthansa from Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester.