With origins dating back to 1628, the Nuremberg Christmas Market (AKA Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt) is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany! And with around 2 million visitors each year, it is arguably the most famous and some would even say the best Christmas market in all of Europe! After experiencing it firsthand, we can see why this market ranks near the top of pretty much every traveler's must-visit Christmas destination list. The second that you arrive at the Hauptmarkt – the central square where the market takes place – the smell of warm glühwein (mulled wine), fresh lebkuchen (gingerbread), and Nürnberg Rostbratwurst (grilled sausage) take over your senses. The red and white candy-cane-like rooftops on the 180+ neatly aligned festive stalls look to be straight out of a European Hallmark movie, and the twin, 50-feet (15-meter) high Christmas trees on either side of The Frauenkirche ("Church of Our Lady") are the final touches that make the Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt pure Christmas magic. If you’re planning a trip to the European Christmas markets, chances are, Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt is on your list, and in this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know for making the most of your visit to this beautiful city!
Check out our Nuremberg Christmas Market vlog for a closer look at our visit!
Note: Nuremberg is a beautiful city that is worth spending more time in if you can. We unfortunately only had one day which was spent at the Christmas market. If you have more time, we recommend spending at least a half day exploring other parts of the city like the Nuremberg Castle, Frauenkirche, and more. Check out these GetYourGuide experiences to get your adventure started!
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Before we get into the details of the market itself, let’s cover the basics like…
Where is Nuremberg?
Located in the Bavaria region of Germany, Nuremberg (AKA Nürnberg) is the 14th largest city in Germany (population 518,370) and sits about 100 miles (160 km) north of Munich and about 140 miles (225 km) southeast of Frankfurt.
How do you get to Nuremberg?
With 19 different airlines servicing the Nuremberg Airport (NUE) offering direct flights to and from 55 different European cities (as of January 2023), Nuremberg is surprisingly accessible. And if you’re a fan of train travel like we are, then you can skip the security lines at the airport and hop on one of the high-speed Deutsche Bahn ICE Trains which make it an easy 1-hour ride from Munich or 2 hours from Frankfurt (the 2 closest, most accessible nearby cities).
Where should you stay in Nuremberg?
Nuremberg can easily be done as a day trip from nearby cities like Munich and Frankfurt (which is what we did), but if you’re wanting to spend a little more time in the city (and we don’t blame you!) there are many great options for accommodations. Here are a few that came highly recommended to us…
Or see the FULL LIST HERE!
Alright… Now that we’ve covered the general information about Nuremberg, let’s get into the specifics of the Christmas market!
When is the Nuremberg Christmas Market (Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt)?
Every year the Christkindlesmarkt opens on the Friday before the first Sunday in Advent and ends on December 24th. The market is open daily from 10 am to 9 pm EXCEPT on December 24th when the market closes fthe or the year at 2 pm. Check the Christkinlesmarkt website for exact dates for the upcoming Christmas season.
Where does the Nuremberg Christmas Market (Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt) take place?
The Nuremberg Christmas Market (simply called Christkindlesmarkt by locals) takes place in the central square of Hauptmarkt which is located in the heart of Old Town Nuremberg. If you’re arriving by train, Hauptmarkt is a 3-5 minute walk from the Lorenzkirche station.
Are there other Christmas markets in Nuremberg?
Yes… As a matter of fact, there are a total of 4 markets in the Old Town alone! The main market that we’ve been talking about and that everyone travels to Nuremberg for is the Christkindlesmarkt, but within a short 2-3 minute walk from the main market, you’ll find 3 other markets. The first is the Sister Cities Market where Nuremberg’s 12 “sister cities” from around the world each set up a stall and sell items and goods that are local to their city. The second is the Original Regional Christmas Market which is made up of 6-12 stalls all selling local, artisan goods from the Nuremberg region. And finally, there’s the Children’s Market (Kinderweihnacht) which is exactly what it sounds like… A Christmas market aimed at pleasing children with things like carousels, child-sized steam trains, and more!
When is the best time to visit?
We recommend visiting at dusk. The 1 hour before and 1 hour after sunset are the most magical times at the market in our opinion. You get to see all of the lights starting to twinkle as it gets dark and the markets come to life.
How long should I plan to spend at the markets?
We feel that 3-5 hours is plenty of time for most people to experience the markets. Obviously, you won’t be able to try all of the delicious foods and stop at every stall in that amount of time, you won’t leave feeling like you got shorted. Now, if you’re staying at a hotel close by, we totally recommend spending more time taking in all that the markets have to offer, maybe just in smaller increments. If you’re making a day trip out of this as we did, plan for 4-5 hours.
Will I need cash?
Yes! Most of the vendors will not accept credit or debit cards, so be sure to bring plenty of cash so you don’t end up getting stuck paying an ATM fee.
Is there an admission to enter any of the markets?
No. There is no fee to enter any of the markets, but you will want to have some extra cash to taste all of the delicious foods!
What should I eat and drink at the markets?
Out of all of the questions, this one is the easiest to answer, and the answer is… EVERYTHING! Lol… But in all seriousness, the food and drink are a large part of why so many people flock to the European Christmas markets each year, but to narrow down the innumerable options, we’ll list some of the must-eat/drink items:
Glühwein - Mulled/Spiced Wine usually made with red wine, along with various mulling spices
Eierpunsch - Egg-based drink similar to egg nog
Feuerzangenbowle - Mulled/Spiced Wine with a rum-soaked sugar cube that is set on fire and drips into the wine
Heiße Schokolade - Hot Chocolate
Wurst - Sausage… Specifically, Nürnberger Rostbratwurst since this is the city where they were created! But you can also go with a traditional Bratwurst, Currywurst, Half metre wurst… You really can’t go wrong with any of them! But be sure to get some senf (mustard) because German mustard is the BEST!
Reibekuchen & Kartoffelpuffer - shallow-fried potato pancakes made from grated or ground potato, matzo meal or flour, and a binding ingredient such as egg or applesauce. They’re often served with applesauce or sour cream as a dipping sauce
Laugenbrezeln - Authentic German Soft Pretzel
Champignons - Grilled Mushrooms… I know it doesn’t sound great but trust us. Order a cup/bowl with the garlic cream sauce and you’ll thank us! Of course, you’ll need to like mushrooms!
Lebkuchen/Elisenlebkuchen - Nuremberg is famous for its gingerbread, and once you try it, you’ll see why!
Gebrannte Mandeln - Roasted, Candied Almonds
Dampfnudel - Sweet, steamed bun with a caramelized bottom and soft pillowy top that is served in a sweet, creamy sauce and dusted with cinnamon and sugar
Crêpes - You’re probably already familiar with this one, but if not, a crêpe is a very thin type of pancake that can be filled with a wide range of toppings, but we recommend a sweet crêpe with Nutella and any of your favorite fruit toppings.
In addition to all of the delicious, edible items offered at the market, there is a plethora of other items and souvenirs available for purchase to remember your time in Nuremberg. One of the most popular would be one of the Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt mugs. To purchase one, simply don’t return your mug after finishing your beverage. Don’t worry… We’re not recommending that you steal the mug! Every beverage has a mug pfand (deposit) that you pay in the initial purchase price. If you don’t return the mug, then they just keep the pfand and you get an awesome Christmas mug! Other notable souvenirs would be Christmas ornaments, handmade jewelry, wooden toys, prune men (small doll-like creations made of dried plums, nuts, raisins, and figs), the Nuremberg “Rauschgoldengel” (a symbol of the Christkindlesmarkt and can be found in all sizes at the stands offering Christmas tree decorations), and more!
We hope that this guide has helped you plan your visit to the Nuremberg Christmas Markets, and if it has, we hope that you’ll consider following us on Instagram and subscribing to our YouTube Channel for more travel tips!