Over the course of three nights, we went on a whistle-stop tour of four much-heralded Berlin Christmas markets in 2019. The bitter weather was no match for the Grog, Glogg, Gluhwein, Glubier, Lumababa and all the other cockle warming drinks that the portly, moustached locals offered up!
4. Weihnachtmarkt at Gendarmenmarkt
At any time of year the Gendarmenmarkt quarter of Berlin is worth a visit – it’s home to some fantastic architecture, boasting the Berliner Konzerthaus (pictured) and the iconic Franzosischer and Deutscher Doms (French and German tower domes).
Seeing these breath-taking buildings sparkle with festive illumination makes the journey to the Christmas market worth your while. Of course, you’ll find all the perennial German goodies here – piping hot gluhwein, roasted nuts, 10 different types of sausage in bread and plenty of beers.
The market had a quite touristy feel, an entrance fee and above average prices, but is this is understandable when faced with the beauty of this historic part of town.
3. Historiche Weinachtsmarkt at RAW Gelande
This Historical Christmas market is tucked away at the far end of the vivacious arts, culture and nightlife hotspot, that is R.A.W Gelande. Considering this part of the city is known for edgy graffiti, skateboarding and all-night clubs, the Historicher Weihnachtsmarkt, with its child friendly and traditionally rustic theme, feels oddly out of place.
Once inside, however, you’ll be pulled in by the festive magic. There’re bonfires, paunchy Germans in medieval costumes and donkeys freely roaming about. Pitch up by the fire with some Bavarian grub and hot wine and you’ll be happy you made the journey.
2. Christmas market at Schloss Charlottenburg
Of all the winter markets I’ve visited in Berlin, this one delivers on the grandest scale. The stunning Charlottenburg palace serves as a jaw-dropping centrepiece for countless stalls representing Germany, Poland, Hungary, Italy, France and more.
There was a fantastic spread of vegan products at one stall, ran by Lebegesund, and I was lucky enough to try almost their whole range of pestos, mustards, oils and breads.
The food and drinks here were the most expensive we found in a Christmas market, but we were in grand settings in an affluent area in West Berlin.
1. Winter market at Altstadt Spandau
This market, located in the Altstadt (old city) Spandau district, was an unexpected delight. I have visited Spandau a few times over the years and never found it to be a place with enticing qualities. The little, traditional, cobblestoned quarter in the old district is wonderfully charming, however.
There was very little damage to this part of town during the second world war, which explains how it’s retained its authentic antiquated feel.
The market here had by far the least amounts of tourists – after all it’s a bit of a trek from the centre of Berlin, and not a famous destination for those who are only briefly visiting the city.
Everything about it felt quaint and genuine, and the people and prices were truly honest. It was by far our favourite of the Berlin Christmas markets in 2019. We loved the fact that it wasn’t in an enclosed space like the other markets, but was just a sprawl through the main road and the side streets.
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