This past December I finally made it to my very first German Christmas Market. Christmas markets happen all over Europe. We have German themed Christmas markets in the UK, but it’s not anywhere near the same.
With so many Christmas markets across Germany, how do you decide?
I found a site that lists all the markets per county/province. There was also an interactive map that showed them all. I think it’s fair to say pretty much every town in Germany will have one! You can find the interactive map here.
With this also being my first ever trip to Germany I was finding it hard to just choose one. Whenever I think of Christmas, the region of Bavaria always comes to mind. Nuremberg was a good option, which gets lots of good reviews. But I wanted to experience the surrounding areas too, so eventually I decided on Munich, so I could pair it with a visit to Nueschwanstein Castle.
Munich Christmas Markets
During my four day trip to Munich I managed to visit three different Christmas Markets in the City. Most of the Markets will sell similar things but you can find some unique hand-made gifts.
Marienplatz Town Hall
The biggest and most popular Christmas Market in Munich is in front of the Neus Rathaus (New Town Hall) in the Marienplatz. It was a beautiful setting for the market and looked mesmerising at night.
The Marienplatz is home to Munich’s Christmas tree and post office where if you send off Christmas cards they’ll be marked with the “Christkindl” stamp.
The Neus Rathaus features a glockenspiel, which is an attraction in itself. Since 1908 the figurines of the glockenspiel tell the story of Munich, you can watch them at 11am, 12pm and 5:00pm.
The Munich Residence is the former Palace of the Wittelsbach Monarch of Bavaria. The Residence is the biggest city Palace in Germany and is worth visiting. The Palace displays 130 rooms featuring former Royal Collections.
One of the Residence courtyards features it’s own Christmas Market.
On my last day in Munich I decided to take a slow stroll through the English Garden. I stumbled on yet another Christmas Market, this one was smaller than the others and more geared towards children.
Sample The Amazing Food & Drink
Apfelkuchle is a snack which consists of apple slices that are battered like a donut and deep-fried, so good!
No Christmas market is complete without a hut selling mulled wine. German Gluhwein is the best mulled wine I’ve tried anywhere. Just the smell as you walk past is amazing. At German Christmas markets Gluhwein is served in a souvenir cup and each hut will have their own mug.
Spekulatius is a type of German cookie, it tastes very similar to Gingerbread but not near as spicy. These shortcrust cookies are apparently supposed to taste better the longer you leave them.
Lebkuchen is a traditional German Christmas treat that resembles Gingerbread. I found Lebkuchen to be far softer than a gingerbread cookie. You can find these all over the Christmas market, adorned with a variety of Christmas designs.
I’ve had strudel many times before, but nothing will compare to the authentic German strudel I had whilst in Munich. Having such a sweet tooth I sampled both the apple and raspberry strudels.
Probably one of the best snacks I tried in Munich was Rahmfleckerl. Native to Bavaria, it consists of a rye sourdough flatbread, topped with sour cream bacon and chives and served fresh from the oven.
One of the things I was most excited for in Munich was the “Krampuslauf” aka “The Krampus Run”
In the UK, badly behaved children get put on the naughty list. In Germany? They get a visit from Krampus. A horned demonic looking creature, that brings coal and whips you with twigs.
December 5th is known as Krampus day, so traditionally the Krampus run will happen on this day. In Munich they have two events throughout December and I booked my trip around the second event.
The Krampus run is where people dress up as many different Krampus and “run” through the streets to punish all who are naughty. The run is always lead by St Nick with the Krampus in tow. The idea of this fascinated me so much, that it was a must do!
The Krampus run was incredibly fun; I must have been naughty this year as I managed to get attacked by about three. I had my hat stolen and another two whip me. Maybe it sounds a bit violent, but it’s all in good fun I promise!
Visiting Munich wouldn’t be complete without visiting a few beer halls. I managed to visit three during my time here.
Beer halls in Munich seemed like the German version of a Starbucks, One on every corner and always full of people. I can only imagine what it must be like during Oktoberfest – that’s one experience I’d like to eventually tick off my bucket list.
German beer halls are designed so that you sit with complete strangers on your table, if you see a few seats on a table with people already there, it’s okay to go join them!
This is one of the biggest and most famous of beer halls in Munich. Here I tried the pork belly and a litre of Hofbrau Original beer. While I enjoyed the Hofbrauhaus and the overall experience, I much preferred the food and beer at other beer halls.
The Augustiner-Brau Beer Hall
This is the oldest beer hall in Munich. Here is where I first discovered Augustiner Helles beer, which became my favourite beer while in Munich. I also sampled a German pretzel and a dish that features several different types of German sausage.
The Augustiner Klosterwirt beer hall is located just opposite the Frauenkirche church. This place was full of people with a great atmosphere. Here I got my fill of Helles and pretzels!
If visiting Munich, the Frauenkirche Church, or Church of Our Lady, is a good stop to add to your Munich itinerary. It is the second oldest parish church in Munich and is the main symbol of the city. No building in the city is allowed to be built higher than the 99m onion shaped domes of the church. Members of the Wittelsbach family and King Ludwig III, the last king of Bavaria, are buried here.
The church is famous for the mysterious footprint that sits at the entrance known as the “Devil’s Footprint”.
“The story goes that the devil agreed to finance the church, provided Halspach built it without windows running down the aisles. When the work was done Halspach led the Devil to a point near the entrance where none of the side windows could be seen – the view was blocked by 22 inner columns.
The Devil threw a tantrum and stamped his foot real hard, leaving a mark that remains to this day. There always seems to be a wind blowing around the church and that’s said to be Satan himself, circling around looking for the side windows.”
Having experienced the wind around the church late at night after having left the Augustiner beer hall, it’s fair to say I was a little freaked out.
I enjoyed every part of my trip to Munich, it was a great introduction to Germany and it’s Christmas markets.
Have you ever visited a Christmas market in Europe?