If you are looking for a festive experience that’s out of the ordinary but steeped in tradition, then it’s time to look at the incredible Munich Christmas markets.

That’s because this picturesque city offers one of the best Christmas markets in Europe – the Christkindlmarkt – with its rich history and an offering packed with delights waiting to be discovered.

But it’s not the only one! Read on to learn more about Munich’s other Christmas attractions, how to get there and where to stay.

When are the Munich Christmas markets open?

In 2024, Munich’s Christmas markets will follow the same opening and ending dates. Along with the main Christkindlmarkt, most of the markets listed below are within walking distance of that event:

Christkindlmarkt at Marienplatz: 25th November and continues until Christmas Eve around noon.

Christmas Village at the Munich Residenz: As above

  • Medieval Christmas Market Rindermarkt: As above
  • Sendlinger Tor Pink Christmas Market: As above
  • Neuhauser Market: As above
  • Chinese Tower Christmas Market: As above
  • Haidhauser Weihnachtsmarkt: As above
  • Märchenbazar: As above
  • Schwabinger Weihnachtsmarkt: As above.

Where are the Christmas markets in Munich?

The Christkindlmarkt presents its magic in the heart of Munich’s Marienplatz, the city’s main square.

The cobbled plaza transforms into a winter wonderland, welcoming visitors with its twinkling lights.

As mentioned above, there are other markets to explore in the Old Town, such as the Medieval Christmas market, the Chinese Tower Christmas market, and we found the Pink Christmas market to be a charming visit. Most of these are within walking distance – so take a pair of stout boots to cope!

We’ve listed all of the Christmas markets in Munich below – there’s even one at Munich Airport!

Why visit Munich for its Christkindlmarkt?

The Christkindlmarkt boasts a history that is not only inspirational but also impressive.

Dating back to the 14th century, the market was originally a ‘Krippenmarkt’ (crib market) focused on traditional nativity scenes.

Over the years, it has evolved into a place for locals to gather, exchange gifts and celebrate the spirit of Christmas.

Indeed, the market in Marienplatz is home to what is reputedly Germany’s largest nativity scene.

Today, Munich’s Christmas market retains its traditional charm while offering a vibrant array of sights and sounds.


We visited our first German CHRISTMAS MARKETS!

We really enjoyed this video of two American travellers visiting the Munich Christmas markets in 2023.

The final video of their jaunt, the enthusiastic couple start in the Christkindlmarkt at Marienplatz and visit the Medieval Christmas market – and go back to the main market at night.

The video highlights the impressive range of stalls and attractions to enjoy.

They also taste the food and wine and put the prices up on the screen. They also explain about the deposits that are paid for mugs and plates. (The mugs especially are worth the deposit!).

We also enjoyed their enjoyment of a huge cake – it’s on our ‘to do’ list the next time we head back to Munich!

Obviously, the couple have a good look around but mainly it’s for the food and drink that makes the video great to watch!


What are the highlights of this festive market?

Stepping into the Christkindlmarkt is like stepping into a living postcard.

There are more than 140 decorated wooden stalls lining the square, each offering a unique sensory experience.

From the aroma of roasted chestnuts and gingerbread, there’s also the enticing scent of mulled wine, or Glühwein.

Sampling the warm, spiced beverage served in traditional mugs is a must for most visitors. It not only tastes great but helps keep out the winter chill!

However, the market is also a food lover’s paradise.

The list to sample is very long but we would recommend trying the melt-in-your-mouth potato pancakes (Reibekuchen) dusted with icing sugar or savour the iconic Lebkuchenherzen – gingerbread hearts that are beautifully decorated with intricate icing.

Plus, no German Christmas market experience is complete without sampling Stollen, a rich fruit bread dusted with powdered sugar, a true Bavarian treasure.

What else is there to do?

The festive market in Munich offers more than just culinary delights.

There’s a treasure trove of hand-crafted ornaments, perfect for decorating your Christmas tree.

You can also find unique souvenirs like intricately carved nutcrackers, warm woollen mittens and hand-blown glass baubles.

As mentioned earlier, there’s more than the Christmas market to enjoy in the city of Munich.

This is a great city to visit all year round and you can enjoy the city’s architectural wonders (the Christmas.co.uk team always think the architecture makes this a capital city that never was!).

There’s the magnificent Frauenkirche cathedral, with its iconic domes, and enjoy a glimpse into Bavarian royalty with a visit to the Nymphenburg Palace.

This is a sprawling complex that transforms into a winter wonderland with its own Christmas market.

Other things to do in Munich include visiting the city’s oldest church, St Peter’s, and the domed towers of Frauenkirche, a 15th century cathedral is certainly worth looking at. If you like visiting old churches then don’t miss out on Asamkirche, a Baroque church from 1746 with a breathtaking interior.

Or you could spend time at the Olympiapark, home to the 1972 Olympics. There’s also the Olympic Tower next door which is 190 metres tall and offers a great viewing platform of the city.

There’s also the world-famous Oktoberfest which starts in September and runs for 16 days.

Further away from Munich, but still worth a visit, is the Neuschwanstein Castle close to the Austrian border. The fairy tale design demands a guided tour to really appreciate the design and workmanship.

What makes Munich’s Christkindlmarkt special?

Munich’s Christkindlmarkt offers a unique blend of tradition and charm. Here are a few things that set it apart:

The Marienplatz setting: The market’s location in the heart of Munich adds to its magic. Soak in the festive atmosphere as you explore the market.

The Kripperlmarkt tradition: Embedded within the market is a dedicated area for nativity scenes (Krippenmarkt). The intricate craftsmanship and artistry that is poured into these miniature representations of the nativity story really impress.

  • The Glockenspiel show: Every day at noon, the Glockenspiel, a mechanical clock housed in the New Town Hall, comes alive with a whimsical performance featuring figures jousting and dancing to traditional Bavarian music. Not to be missed.
  • The Englischer Garten: For a break from the festive crowds, take a stroll through the Englischer Garten (English Garden), one of Europe’s largest urban parks. Here, you can enjoy a breath of fresh air amidst the city’s winter beauty. (The Christmas.co.uk team also recommend the beer garden in the centre!).

Other Christmas markets in Munich

  • Viktualienmarkt (food market): Enjoy fresh foods and a close-up experience of Munich’s way of life. At Christmas, this market offers tasty treats nibble and the setting with lights, Advent magic and mulled wine is welcoming. A highlight is the nativity scene in the beer garden.
  • Christmas Village in the Kaiserhof: In the biggest courtyard of Munich’s city palace, the Residenz, you will find puppet shows and there’s Hansel and Gretel in the fairytale forest.
  • Christkindlmarkt at Sendlinger Tor (gate): With a history going back more than 100 years, this is a charming though small Christkindlmarkt. The Sendlinger Tor, which is one of Munich’s three remaining city gates, makes for a lovely experience. Here, there are traders from around the world with a huge range of goods.
  • Munich Advent spectacle and medieval Christmas market: The Middle Ages are brought back to life with dozens of stalls. Merchants are dressed in historical clothes with examples of ancient crafts. The food is also traditional – try the traditional tarte flambée or grilled sausages. Along with spiced wine, there’s Drachenglut (dragon’s embers) which is a tasty hot drink.
  • Pink Christmas: As mentioned above, this is a market held in the Stephansplatz (square) and it glows pink. Aimed at the LGBTQ community since 2005, the market gifts, a light display and tasty treats. Attractions include artists and singers (sometimes well known!).
  • Haidhausen Christmas market: Considered by many visitors to be the prettiest market, the fountain in Weissenburger Platz offers a great setting. There’s live Christmas music and a children’s programme every day.
  • Mulled wine festival: Here’s something that’s a little bit different, a festival of mulled wine. Found in the grounds of the Cosimabad (wave pool), there are two big tents with an alpine cottage setting and a choice of more than 30 mulled wines and punch. Who knew? There’s also a selection of foods including gingerbread and roasted almonds and plenty to see and do including storytellers for children.
  • Munich Airport: Yes, there really is a Christmas market at Munich Airport. It’s a spectacular creation that’s under cover and is based around an ice rink. Highly recommended!

There are other markets and festive attractions too! Visit the main Munich Christmas markets page.

It’s also worth considering Vienna’s Christmas markets, and Budapest’s Christmas markets are worth a trip too!


Christmas In Munich: A Walking Tour of The Christmas Markets

Here’s another video we enjoyed that takes in a lot of the Christmas markets in Munich, from the stalls to an ice rink and a spectacular light show (with giant puppets).

The presenter starts in a bar with an oompah band and moves onto the Marienplatz in the Old Town for its market in front of the gothic town hall.

There’s also a good tour of the trinkets available and the architecture that helps set Munich’s Christmas markets apart.

There’s also a good illustration of the food and wine and traditional festive gifts.

The walking tour makes clear that there are markets off the beaten track and the courtyard holding the Kaiserhof der Residenze is certainly worth a detour.

The presenter also makes clear that there are some foods that British visitors can’t bring home.

There’s a visit to a restaurant (the presenter recommends booking a table before visiting) and there’s an interesting beer hall too.


Planning your Bavarian Christmas escape

Munich’s Christmas market is incredibly popular and it’s worth the effort of visiting. Here are some travel tips to help you enjoy your visit:

Getting there: Flying into Munich Airport is the easiest option for British travellers. Both British Airways and Lufthansa offer regular flights – which take just over two hours – to Munich (Germany’s second largest airport). Other UK airports with regular flights include City Airport, Stanstead, Luton and Gatwick. Airlines also fly from Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. From Heathrow expect to pay around £155 in mid-December for a return fare (according to Flightsfrom.com/Kayak). There’s also an efficient public transport system which connects the airport to the city centre. Trains are also a great option, offering a scenic journey through the German countryside. Munich’s tram network is also impressive.

  • Accommodation: Book your stay well in advance, especially if you’re travelling during peak season (late November to mid-December). Hotels in Munich tend to fill up quickly during this time. Booking.com highlights that a quality hotel in Munich can be had for around £200 for a long weekend in December. Some of the hotels are very modern and many are in the city centre. Airbnb offers a 3 star hotel for £77 a night in the centre, with apartments from £122 a night and a room with a host for £55 a night. Consider exploring options beyond the city centre, as many well-connected suburbs offer well-priced, quality accommodations at slightly lower rates. (The Christmas.co.uk can recommend Augsburg – a lovely small city with its own attractions and great travel links to Munich).

Don’t forget to pack…

One recommendation that all visitors should appreciate is that the winter weather in Bavaria can be very cold – so take plenty of layers.

That means packing for crisp winter weather with thermal layers, a warm coat, hat, scarf and gloves are essential.

Comfortable shoes with good grip are recommended as the cobblestone streets can get slippery with snow or ice.

A few useful tips when visiting Munich Christmas market:

  • Embrace the use of cash: One issue that visitors might find is that some stallholders will only take cash. That means loading up with Euros and carrying a debit or credit card too.
  • Learn a few German phrases: Even though many people in Munich will have a good standard of English, learning and using a little German goes a long way. A few basic phrases like ‘Guten Tag’ (Good day), ‘Bitte’ (Please), ‘Danke schön’ (Thank you), and ‘Entschuldigung’ (Excuse me) will be appreciated by vendors and locals alike. It also, we think, demonstrates effort and respect for the local culture.
  • Navigating the crowds: The market can get quite crowded, especially on weekends and evenings. If you prefer a more relaxed experience, consider visiting during weekdays or earlier in the day.
  • Sustainable souvenirs: The market offers a huge range of souvenirs. Look for stalls showcasing local crafts and artisans to ensure your purchases support the local economy and promote sustainability.

Other Christmas markets

Along with Munich, you could consider visiting Salzburg in nearby Austria, known for its stunning architecture and ‘Silent Night’ origins, or Nuremberg and its famous Christkindlmarkt with its unique prune men (Zwetschgenmännle) figurines. Both offer a great Christmas market experience within easy reach.

Budgeting for your Christmas market trip

  • Accommodation: Costs can vary depending on location and hotel type. Expect to pay more for central locations. Budget travellers can find hostels or guesthouses, while those seeking luxury can choose from a variety of high-end hotels.
  • Food and drink: Budget around €5-€10 per meal at the market stalls. Factor in additional costs for restaurants and cafes.
  • Activities: Entry fees for attractions like museums and palaces are typically around €10-€20. Consider purchasing a city pass for discounted entry to various attractions and free public transport usage.
  • Souvenirs: Prices vary but expect to pay around €5-€20 for small trinkets and ornaments.

Visiting Munich’s Christkindlmarkt

Munich’s Christkindlmarkt offers an unforgettable experience and once you visit, you’ll appreciate why it is so popular.

It’s not only a cultural phenomenon but it’s also a feast for the senses and staged in a city with a lot to offer visitors.

With this Christmas.co.uk guide, you’re well on your way to experiencing the magic of Munich’s Christmas market.