Last month I headed over to Germany to fulfil my dream of visiting a traditional German Christmas market. I decided on Munich as my destination (there are so many markets throughout Germany) as it meant that I could also visit the gorgeous snow-topped Bavarian Alps whilst there.
Munich is such a beautiful city and the traditional old buildings give a fabulous backdrop for the market stalls and Christmas lights.
There are in fact quite a few different markets throughout the city, a couple of which we didn’t get to, which means that you get to explore different areas of Munich while eating sausages and drinking gluhwein (mulled wine).
The market areas and their stalls are literally dripping with lights and decorations and the surrounding streets are all lit up too, which makes for such a magical and festive ambience. It got me right in the Christmas spirit!
Most of the markets have very similar offerings, namely different kinds of crafts, all of the baubles you could ever possibly imagine, homewares and some delicious looking stollen and sweet treats.
There were also so many wood carvings and wooden ornaments, which are very typical of Bavaria.
Look at these big candle holders!
The big central market is in the main square called Marienplatz, and this is a little peek as to what it looks like from above, although you can’t see the full plaza.
From up here, the stalls look so tiny! But don’t be fooled, there are a lot of them to wander between.
A little walk from the main square brings you to the gorgeous Sternenplatzl (Square of Stars) in the Rindermarkt.
The trees are strewn with glittering stars and in the centre is a stunning Christmas Pyramid; a giant version of the wooden ones they sell throughout the city. The figures move around in the middle and the top spins just like their counterparts. It’s so magical.
However, if your mind gets boggled by the amount of baubles, there are some alternatives selling something a little different to everywhere else.
Firstly, there’s a market entirely dedicated to nativity displays, selling all the figurines in a variety of sizes, all the accessories like grass and hay, stables and cribs, and some full sets. The amount on offer was pretty insane.
Secondly, Wittelsbacherplatz is home to a medieval market which is all lit up by firelight.
Everything looks like you’ve been transported back in time, including the outfits of the servers and the terracotta goblets and mugs for the gluhwein.
Some of the stalls even sell things like sheepskin rugs and bows and arrows. It was an amazing surprise to find this market square! I even got to try white gluhwein for the first time and I would definitely recommend it if you’re not a red wine fan. I’m a fan of both, so I was happy with whatever was on offer.
Talking of wine, when you order a drink (both alcoholic and non) each bar has its own souvenir mug/cup/glass, which you can either return and get your deposit back, or keep to take home with you.
Luckily all the markets offer food to soak up all the gluhwein!
Obviously the traditional bratwurst was on offer, but my favourite has to be the white veal sausages. They were soft and creamy and almost the opposite of the bratwurst. Loved this served in a crusty but soft white roll and topped with mustard. I had to steal some of my dad’s sauerkraut though as I’m obsessed with that!
I also had some noodle dumplings fried with meat and onions, which was the perfect antidote to the cold weather! For a traditional fish dish, you should head to the Sternenplatz for their flamed salmon which is quite a spectacle.
Another Christmassy market area of Munich we visited was the Viktualienmarkt, which is a farmer’s market that’s open all year.
It’s not a Christmas market as such, but it sold a fabulous selection of festive foliage.
I was so in love with this wreath, but there was no way I could’ve got it back on the plane!
There’s also a market up in the Englischer Garten (English Garden) by the Chinese Tower, but unfortunately we didn’t head up there until our last day and it wasn’t quite open yet. That was a shame but the English Garden is a beautiful spot for a wander – even in the rain.
Munich is a stunning city filled with great food and drink and the market just fills the city with festivity. I’m so glad I chose it as my destination and I would be thrilled to go back again!
Keep a look out for my next Germany post, where we visit the glorious Bavarian Alps and the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle.