If you’re a lover of all things Christmas like we are, then visiting the European Christmas Markets is probably high on your travel wish list! And it’s no secret that Germany has some of the best and oldest markets in all of Europe, and Munich is home to over a dozen of those markets! And while I’m sure that all of them are worth visiting, chances are, you won’t have time to see them all on your visit, so we’re going to share with you what we think are the top 5 Christmas Markets in Munich!
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Check out our “Exploring the Munich Christmas Markets” vlog for a closer look at our time at the markets!
Before we get into our top 5 Munich Christmas Markets, here are a few things that might be helpful to know before your visit…
1. In general, the German Christmas Markets open the week of or the week after Thanksgiving (3rd or 4th week of November) and stay open through Christmas Eve or the day before Christmas Eve. There are obviously exceptions to this which is why we recommend looking up the specific market that you plan to visit to confirm that it will be open during your visit.
2. Be sure to brush up on your German before your visit. From our experience, all of the stalls at the markets only offer menus and signage in German, and some vendors spoke very little English. Don’t let that scare you away though! A simple “Hallo” (Hello) and “Danke/Danke schön” (Thank you) can go a long way!
3. Market vendors charge a “pfand” (deposit) for mugs, bottles, plates, silverware, etc. For instance, a cup of Glühwein may cost you €10… €5 for the Glühwein and a €5 pfand. Once you finish your Glühwein you can return your mug to the vendor and receive a refund for the €5 pfand. That said, the mugs make great souvenirs, so if you would like to keep your mug that's totally fine! Simply don’t return it and you have a great €5 souvenir or Christmas gift, but be sure to pay attention if your bottle of Coca-Cola or Nürnberger Rostbratwurst (served on a plate) has a pfand attached to them... They don't make as great of souvenirs as the mugs! Lol
4. Be sure to bring cash! Many vendors do not accept cards and you don’t want to get stuck paying an unnecessary ATM fee.
5. The markets operate rain, snow, or shine! In other words… They don’t close for weather! Well… It would take a LOT for them to close for inclement weather. During our visit, the high temperatures were in the 20s and 30s and it snowed and sleeted most of the time we were there and all of the markets were still going strong. So, just prepare for whatever the forecast is calling for and go out and enjoy the sights, smells, and tastes of the markets!
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into what we think are the top 5 Munich Christmas Markets (in no particular order):
1. The Munich Christmas market at Marienplatz (Münchner Christkindlmarkt)
Location: Marienplatz, 80331 München, Germany
With 140+ stalls, the Munich Christmas market at Marienplatz, or as the locals would say, the Münchner Christkindlmarkt, is the largest and oldest market in the city. Opening the 3rd or 4th week of November each year (check this year’s dates HERE) and running through the 24th of December, this traditional market is hard to beat with the Gothic Revival style Town Hall and its almost 75-foot (23-meter) tall Christmas tree decorated with an estimated 2,500 lights serving as its backdrop! Needless to say, the Münchner Christkindlmarkt is a must for anyone looking to get into the Christmas spirit!
2. Christmas Village at the Residenz (Weinachtsdorf im Kaiserhof der Residenz)
Location: Residenzstraße 1, 80333 München, Germany
While the Christmas Village at the Residenz (or if you want to sound like a local, Weihnachtsdorf im Kaiserhof der Residenz) is one of the smaller markets in Munich, there is a charm to it that none of the other markets can replicate. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it takes place in the courtyard of a 14th-century royal palace! I mean… Who doesn’t want to sip hot Glühwein where royalty used to reside?! Whatever the reason for the special charm and romance of this market, we really enjoyed it and definitely think it’s worth adding to your Munich Christmas Market list!
3. Munich Advent Spectacle and Medieval Christmas Fair (Münchner Adventsspektakel und
Location: Wittelsbacher Platz, Briennerstrasse 6-10, 80333 München, Germany
If you’re into renaissance fairs and medieval lore, then the Munich Advent Spectacle and Medieval Christmas Fair AKA Münchner Adventsspektakel und Mittelalterlicher Weihnachtsmarkt is the market for you! From whole hogs being roasted on a spit to bakers preparing traditional tarte flambée on site to sausages being grilled over an open beechwood fire, the Medieval Market does an incredible job at making you feel like you walked back in time by about 1,000 years! Heck, they even serve their Glühwein in clay goblets! Don’t worry though, they’ve also embraced some of the newer, well-loved foods of the Christmas markets like Churros and Baumstriezel (Chimney Cake)! You’ll definitely want to make some time to visit this market on your visit!
4. Sendlinger Tor Christmas Market (Christkindlmarkt am Sendlinger Tor)
Location: Sendlinger-Tor-Platz 1, 80336 München, Germany
The Sendlinger Tor Christmas Market is held at one of the 3 remaining gates from the medieval city walls, and while it is very much a traditional Bavarian market in its decor, it offers a surprising amount of goods from all over the world. And of course, there is plenty of food and hot drinks to keep warm. There is also a daily program featuring live Christmas music to get the yuletide spirits flowing!
5. Tollwood Winter Festival at Theresienwiese
Location: Theresienwiese, Matthias-Pschorr-Straße, 80336 München, Germany
While this isn’t technically a “Christmas Market”, the Tollwood Winter Festival has been offering visitors a more modern take on the Christmas Market experience since 1991! It’s held at Theresienwiese which is the same meadow/park where Oktoberfest takes place each year. The Tollwood Winter Festival has been called the “Hipster Foodie market” featuring a more eclectic selection of foods and organic, ethically sourced, and sustainable goods. I mean, it’s the only Christmas Market/Festival in the city that I know of where you’ll find a Veggie Bratwurst! As the name states, this is a festival and it offers live shows, art installations, and games that are sure to entertain the entire family.
We do hope that this blog has helped you plan your visit to the Munich Christmas Markets though, and if it has, we hope that you’ll consider following us on Instagram and subscribing to our YouTube Channel for more travel tips!