As a veteran of the Christmas markets I thought I would pass on some tips if you are going or thinking about going to the German Christmas Markets so without further ado here are my 10 tips for the German Christmas Markets!
1. Book your flights well in advance
If you haven’t booked your flights to Germany as yet then you are most likely going to end up paying an arm, leg and a kidney for a flight especially if you are looking at going to one of the bigger German Christmas markets like Nuremberg, Munich or Cologne. Check out some of the smaller markets instead like Dusseldorf, Hamburg or Stuttgart etc. where flight prices may be slightly cheaper. A great tool to use is Skyscanner or Google Flights where you can search for the whole of Germany to see the price of the flights and which city is the cheapest to fly into. I would also recommend checking out booking.com for all your accommodation needs while in Germany…they earlier you book, the cheaper the deal!
2. Yes you can do a day trip to the German Christmas markets
Germany is a lot closer than you think, with a flying time of one hour to Dusseldorf and Cologne from London, this makes it pretty easy to visit the German Christmas markets in a day. Booking an early morning flight and a late evening flight are normally the cheapest options when booking last minute flights, making these seriously good options if you are planning a day trip.
3. Layers of clothing are required
I can not stress enough that you need to wear layers and layers of clothing, yes you will look like a giant marshmallow however it’s freezing as the markets are all outside and most of the bigger cities are situated near water making it just a tad cold! Trust me when I say you need layers of warm clothing as once your back gets cold and those kidneys (you may only have one if you sold one to get a flight to Germany for the Christmas markets) it’s extremely difficult to warm back up.
4. Not all Christmas markets are created equal
Yes folks, not all are created equal – some are better than others. I will be brutally honest and say Dortmund was the most disappointing Christmas market I have ever visited and the Christmas market in Hamburg is my most favourite due to the location and atmosphere.
If you are spending a few days in one city, then take a train to another town or city and check out another Christmas market to get a bit of variety. This German Christmas Market website is a fabulous tool as it advises what other markets are close by to visit.
5. If you don’t like crowds, find a smaller market
Christmas markets get extremely crowded so don’t consider Nuremberg even though it’s meant to be the best. Locate a smaller market and avoid the weekend if possible. A week day will be less crowded during the daytime so it means you can browse at your leisure but at night time the locals will all meet up for food and a good ol’ mug of Gluhwein so it gets super busy.
6. Always take extra knickers / undies / panties etc
I have visited the German Christmas markets a few times now and I can safely say that I have got stuck in Germany 50% of the time (yes 50%!!!!) so my advice is to pack extra knickers. Why do I get stuck, normally a lonesome snowflake gets blown off course and lands at a London airport and boom they shut it down! Luton Airport, I’m looking at you!
7. Try and buy German made Christmas decorations
Like most things in this world, there is a market for mass produced rubbish however if you are going to visit the Christmas Markets in Germany then I suggest purchasing a beautiful German made Smoker or Nutcracker which you will enjoy for many years. Yes these beauties are expensive however I always prefer to go for quality over quantity and you do get what you pay for.
8. The €2 Christmas Market Souvenir
If you are looking for a cute souvenir then a Christmas Market Mug is perfect. Order your Hot Chocolate or Gluhwein, generally a €2 deposit will be added to the price of your order per mug. If you return the mug you get back your deposit, if you don’t you have a great souvenir that didn’t break the bank. Most of the mugs will have the city and year of the Christmas Market so it’s a great little keepsake.
9. German Christmas food is cheap and cheerful
Be ready for lots of food at the markets, what’s on offer is pretty cheap and cheerful German food. If you are gluten free then there aren’t that many options except the good ol’ pomme frites if you are willing to take a chance – it’s a gluten free nightmare!
10. If you don’t get to Germany in December then visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber
If you can’t get to a German market this December, don’t fret just make a visit to Rothenburg ob der Tauber which is the most gorgeous little chocolate box town you will ever visit and is the home of Kathe Wolfhart – it’s the only place to purchase your decorations from when in Germany. If you can’t visit then you can place an order online.
What’s your favourite German Christmas market? Do you have any additional tips that I should add?