(Editor’s note: This is the third installment in our series of 2022 Christmas markets lists. You can see Pt. 1 here, with Berlin, Strasbourg, Vienna, Düsseldorf and Pt. 2 here with Amsterdam, Nuremburg and Salzburg.)
Dispatches has had Christmas markets roundups every year since 2017 though there were years when the pandemic shuttered some of the markets. This year, to everyone’s relief, the pandemic is a distant memory and it’s once again time to celebrate the Yuletide as only Europeans can.
New for this year is a more stripped-down Christmas market list format that makes it easier to just get the details such as dates and open times. But, you can see the observations and curated recommendations of our expat network here, here and here.
Let’s start Pt. 3 in Munich, one of the most diverse (and dispersed) Christmas markets in Germany.
Munich is a truly cosmopolitan city and the several Christmas markets that are held throughout the city reflect its diversity. Here are the most outstanding with dates and opening times.
Christmas Market at Marienplatz
This is the main Christmas market, but there are multiple markets city-wide.
What you will see at Marienplatz:
• a 25-meter tall Christmas tree with about 3,000 lights.
• What you’ll experience: Christmas the way it was before Santa Claus delivered Coca Cola.
• What you will hear: “Es wird scho glei dumpa”, trumpeted from the town hall balcony .
• Who you will say cheers to: to the left, a tourist wearing a Santa hat; to the right, a creepy horned mask from the traditional Krampuslauf (traditional parade).
What you will say cheers with: organic mulled wine.
What you will eat: Bratwurst (fried sausage), Rauchzipferl (smoked sausage), giant bratwurst,
farmer’s bratwurst, organic bratwurst, Schweinswürstel (pork sausages), Debreziner (seasoned
pork sausages). In other words, sausages.
What you will buy: a beeswax star or a bauble in the shape of a pretzel.
What you will see: pink-coloured, sparkling plastic trees.
What you might like: pink, plastic glitter.
Tollwood Winter Festival
Munich’s famous Theresienwiese, at other times the location of the Oktoberfest, has its Christmas market, too, Tollwood Winter Festival on the Theresienwiese.
What you will see: blue, green, yellow, red, purple and brightly lit tents.
What you will eat: vegan Spätzle (pasta) with seitan.
And something sweet: crepes and hot chocolate with rum.
Schwabling, once known as Munich’s artists’ quarter has its own Christmas market too, the Schwabinger Christmas Market. This market is put on by a club, and all the exhibitors – more than 80 this year – are curated.
What you will see: light columns and fairy lanterns .
What you might like: (Munich) artistic freedom.
What you might buy: art.
What else you might see: More art.
Open 25 November thru Christmas Eve for 2022.
25 November: 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Mondays thru Fridays: Noon to 8:30 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Christmas eve: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you can’t make up your mind which Christmas market you should visit, you can always hop on the specially decorated Christmas tram and take a tour around the inner city, admiring the lights and Christmas trees.
Remember, there are more Christmas markets. (See the graphic above,)
The markets generally run from 21 November to Christmas Eve although dates and opening hours can
Check out individual websites to avoid disappointments.
Colmar, La Magie de Nöel
Colmar in the Alsace region of France is a medieval city that even without the decorations of the holiday season looks like it came straight out of a fairytale. Narrow streets, half timbered houses and colorfully tiled roofs prevail. Now imagine the lights, smells and tastes of Christmas markets (and possibly the snow). Not for nothing is it called “the Magic of Christmas.”
Colmar has six themed Christmas separate markets in six separate squares though they run into each other. Each is a little different and in total, there are almost 200 vendors.
The markets and the entire town are a symphony of lights and colors. Christmas and winter scenes are projected onto the walls of the houses. You will also find an indoor market at Koifhus and the colorful lights of Petite Venice reflected on the water.
On Wednesday mornings and Friday and Saturday evenings, local chefs come to the Gourmet Market, which was added in 2019, for food tastings and cooking demonstrations. Marché Gourmand is located in Place de la Cathédrale at the Collégiale Saint-Martin next to the cathedral. There are multiple booths, each with its own chef/master restaurateurs concocting dishes from starters to dessert, oysters and Alsatian specialties. You’ll be able to eat on-site at a standing bar or take away. You can have lunch, cocktail hour or dinner. Marché Gourmand will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
The markets run from 24 November to 29 December.
Opening hours are:
- Monday to Thursday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Friday and Saturday & Sunday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Christmas Eve: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Christmas Day: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- 26 December : 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
There are also Christmas markets in nearby villages along the Alsacienne Wine Road including:
The pretty and original Christmas markets of Copenhagen cannot be left out of this list. The short days, the lack of sunshine and more often than not snow, inspire the typically Danish feeling of hygge, where locals and visitors alike live in the moment in a cozy, warm and peaceful atmosphere.
Copenhagen has several Christmas markets, but only one of them is free. That’s the market in Hojbro Square in the historic center.
The most famous market is located in the Tivoli Amusement Park. Tivoli Gardens Wooden Christmas stalls are decorated with lights and pine branches, creating a cozy atmosphere amongst Tivoli’s regular amusement park rides. You do have to pay the Tivoli entrance fee to visit the Christmas market but it’s a great experience once you’re inside.
• Book your admission ticket here (about 19.49 euros, valid one day). These tickets do not include the rides, but you have come to see the Christmas market.
The Copenhagen markets run from 19 November to 30 December.
Tivoli opening hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 a.m to 11 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Inka Piegsa-Quischotte is an international attorney-turned-travel and lifestyle writer based in Spain. She has contributed to BBC/Travel, several in-flight magazines, TripSavvy (Spain) and TravelAwaits among many other publications.