Ever since I moved to Germany in 2019, I have eagerly awaited the holiday season because it means that the Christmas markets will open. All around Germany, cities are transformed into winter wonderlands for five glorious weeks of holiday cheer. From the warm drinks and delicious food to the joyful atmosphere and adorable decor, I fell in love with German Christmas markets!
I was heartbroken in 2020 when all of the markets were closed due to Covid (although I understood the rationale), and vowed to do a Christmas market roadtrip in 2021 when they (hopefully) reopened. I desperately wanted to visit the famous Christmas markets in Saxony and Bavaria, so you can imagine my disappointment when it was announced that they would not open in 2021 either. I, along with most Germans, was crushed.
Thankfully, 2022 was finally the year when my Christmas dreams came true. We welcomed visitors from the US to join us on our Bavarian Christmas market adventure. After exploring the Christmas markets in my home city of Cologne, we set out for a week of festivities. Exploring other cities in Bavaria like Nuremberg and Bamberg, our visit culminated in Munich.
The Christmas markets in Munich are not only some of the best in Germany, but also some of the oldest, dating back to the 14th century. With three days in Munich, I set out to visit as many of the city’s Christmas markets as I could. It was also my first trip to Munich, so I wanted to leave time for some sightseeing and other activities as well. In this blog post, I am highlighting my favorite Christmas markets in central Munich.
What You Need to Know About Munich’s Christmas Markets
Overview of the Munich Christmas Markets
Like other cities of its size such as Cologne and Berlin, Munich has several different Christmas markets. In fact, there are more than 10 markets around Munich. Each Christmas market has a slightly different theme and their designs are distinct. In this blog post, I am only featuring the markets in central Munich, particularly around the old city and popular neighborhoods. There are even more in the surrounding areas, further outside the city center.
Thanks to clever lighting design and pop up stalls along the side streets, sometimes it is hard to distinguish where one market ends and another begins. You’ll just keep wandering, enjoying the Christmas spirit all along the way! I am listing the main location of the markets, but don’t forget to explore a bit – you will definitely discover hidden gems and nice photo spots.
Where to Find Munich’s Best Christmas Markets
Marienplatz Christmas Market
The main Christmas Market in Munich can be found in Marienplatz. Largely considered to be the oldest market in the city, the Christmas Market in front of Munich’s town hall features more than 150 wooden stalls. It is huge! The dramatic backdrop of the gothic town hall and the 50 foot Christmas tree add to the holiday charm. I found the city scape surrounding this market to be super impressive, although the buildings were not lit up in 2022 because of the ongoing energy crisis.
With wooden huts all decked out in lights and decor, there is a romantic Bavarian charm to the Marienplatz market. You’ll have a wide selection of different food and handicrafts to choose from. A few worth noting include hand drawn paintings of Munich and Bavaria, unique felt Christmas ornaments, and several luxury Lebkuchen options. Don’t miss a peek down the side streets surrounding Marienplatz, all of which also have stands. I found a really beautiful wreath maker (pictured below) along the side streets!
Because this market is quite well-known, you can expect significant crowds. It will be especially crowded around feierabend (after work) hours and on the weekends. Try to go earlier in the day or on a weekday to truly enjoy the ambiance without too many people bumping into you or spilling gluhwein on your coat. At 17:30 every day, the city plays Advent music from the town hall balcony. A small note – the 5 euro glass deposit in Munich is higher than I have seen anywhere else.
- 2022 Dates: November 21 to December 24
- Address: Marienplatz
- Website: www.christkindlmarkt-muenchen.de/
Rindermarkt Christmas Market
Offering the largest Weihnachtspyramide or Christmas pyramid of all the markets in Munich, this little market is just around the corner from Marienplatz. I thought the stalls surrounding this market were especially lovely with intricate decorations and themed scenes in the roof eaves. The stalls also had covered areas with seats and bars to eat and drink if the weather was bad. You can expect slightly less crowds and better food as well! There isn’t much by way of shopping at this market.
- 2022 Dates: November 21 to December 24
- Address: Rindermarkt 7
Residenz Christmas Market
It is not everyday that you can enjoy a bratwurst or a gluhwein inside the confines of Bavaria’s largest castle. But at the Residenz Christmas market, you can! This pop up Christmas village is located in one of the palace’s interior courtyards, keeping it nicely protected from the cold wind. It is full of charm with scenery like a Christmas pyramid atop one of the main drink stalls.
I especially liked the lighting in this Christmas market, because it plays with and accentuates the beautiful palace backdrop. It really pops in the photos! The wooden stalls are stocked with traditional holiday products and authentic Bavarian decorations. Be aware that this market is more child friendly than other markets in Munich. There is a special kids section which includes animated stuffed animals telling stories and a little playground.
If you are visiting Munich for the first time, you should definitely visit the Residenz museum inside the palace. It is one of the most extensive palace complexes I have visited in Germany. Plus, you’ll get a lovely view of the market from the second floor gallery.
- 2022 Dates: November 17 to December 22
- Address: Residenzstrasse 1 (enter from Odeonsplatz)
- Website: dasweihnachtsdorf.de
Sendlinger Tor Christmas Market
What this pocket sized market lacks in variety, it makes up for in neighborhood ambiance. As I meandered through the approximately 10 stalls in this market, I really felt like a local. You saw colleagues and friends meeting up for a drink just above the uBahn station on their way home from work. Plus, it sits under one of Munich’s original medieval gates to create a historic and imposing feeling. Supposedly, Christmas markets have been held in this local since the late 1880s, a tradition the residents continue to uphold today. Most of the stalls here are run by local owners, so there is a quirkier selection of locally inspired gifts like candles, hand thrown pottery, and jewelry.
- 2022 Dates: November 21 to December 22
- Address: Sendlinger-Tor-Platz 12
- Website: sendlinger-tor.com
Wittelsbacherplatz Christmas Market
Take a stroll back in time at Munich’s Middle Ages Christmas market. You’ll immediately notice staff dressed in historical garb, as well as the rustic nature of the stalls. Wooden huts are lit by real fire lanterns and candle chalices, giving it a warm glow. I liked the simple pottery mugs here, which come in goblet shapes that make you feel like medieval royalty. There are entertainers at this market, such as people on stilts and live performances on the stage. We saw a very strange aerial witch performance during our visit at this market.
In addition to the decor looking Middle Aged, the food and drink have a historic feel too. Gluhwein is branded as Drachenglut, or Dragon’s embers, and you can even get a feuerzangenbowle with real flame on it. The food here is reminiscent of what people ate in the Middle Ages. Salmon is flamed over an open beechwood fire, bakers prepare tarte flambée in the traditional way and grilled sausages sizzle over circular hanging grills.
- 2022 Dates: November 21 to December 23
- Address: Wittelsbacherplatz, 80333 München
- Website: mittelaltermarkt-muenchen.de
Karlsplatz Christmas Market
Looking to go for a skate in between sips of gluhwein? Head to Munich’s Karlsplatz near the main train station to get out on the ice. This temporary ice skating rink, called Eiszauber by locals, pops up annually giving residents the opportunity to skate in the heart of Munich. If skating isn’t your thing, there is a two story wooden stall to watch while staying warm with drinks and food. And let me tell you – the people watching is sublime. There are also special deals and events during the week, such as a Saturday Night Fever skate featuring party and disco music, or free skates for anyone wearing Dirndl or Lederhosen on Mondays.
- 2022 Dates: November 18 to January 15
- Address: Karlsplatz-Stachus
- Website: www.muenchnereiszauber.de