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From Glühwein to Gifts: Berlin’s Christmas Markets

Wednesday, December 6th

With flurries of snow whirling around Berlin (yes, this industrial city actually looks like a winter wonderland!) it feels like the perfect time to talk about Berlin’s winter-time redeeming quality Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas Markets in English.)

From toasty open-pit fires to the rich aroma of glühwein (mulled wine,) Berlin’s Christmas markets are something that everyone (except maybe the grinches among us) looks forward to. They’re the perfect place to thaw out, look for handmade holiday gifts, and enjoy   Germany’s legendary Christmas atmosphere. Let’s take a look at three of our favorite markets around the city.

Christmas Market at Charlottenburg Palace

If you want to feel like you’re on the set of a romantic Christmas movie, then the Christmas Market at Charlottenburg Palace is the place for you. The palace was commissioned by Queen Sophie Charlotte in 1695 and served as a summer home for the Queen and her husband King Fredrick I. In World War II the palace sustained substantial damage from the bombings carried out by the Allied forces. Luckily for us, the palace was renovated after the war and now it is alive and well (and the perfect place for spending a cold December evening eating tons and tons of wurst and lebkuchen.) Besides the palace backdrop, the market’s thousand twinkling lights and use of natural materials give it a nostalgic and royal feel.

Lucia Christmas Market at Kulturbauerei

If you’re a Christmas Market veteran and you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, then we recommend checking out the Nordic Lucia Christmas Market at Kulturbauerei. Unlike many other markets in Berlin, this one is focused on Scandinavian cuisine and wares (try swapping out glühwein for glogg). In fact, the market is named after the Nordic goddess of light, perfect for escaping the dark Berlin winter. Plus, the ambiance of this market is made even cooler by the fact that it takes place in a historic brewery located in Prenzlaur Berg. Originally built in 1878, the complex is 25,000 meters squared and has more than 20 buildings! No longer an active brewery, it is home to a cinema, a billiards hall, the Soda Club, and more.

Spandau Christmas Market

The Spandau Christmas Market, known as the “Spandauer Weihnachtsmarkt” is nestled in the historic old town of Spandau, located in West Berlin. Besides being Berlin’s biggest Christmas Market, what sets this market apart from the rest is its medieval theme. Set right next to the St. Nikolai Church, this market makes you almost feel like you are going back in time (of course, the fact that Spandau wasn’t bombed to pieces also helps with creating this ambiance.) Walk along the cobblestone streets, check out their nativity scene (complete with live animals,) and bump into the many minstrels and knights that fill the market’s pathways. It doesn’t get much more holly-jolly than that!

If you can believe it, these are just three of Berlin's 70+ Christmas Markets (okay Berlin, we get it, you love Christmas.) So, lace up your boots, put on your warmest jacket, and head out into the city to explore Berlin’s Yuletide offerings!

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