I recently spent a few days in Munich to see the famous Christmas markets that I’d heard so much about. We stayed in the old town area close to Marienplatz, which was ideal for a short break and well placed to enjoy the different markets that were available.
It’s an easy journey from Munich airport on the direct S-Bahn line and we arrived in Marienplatz, just as the famous Glockenspiel on the facade of the Neues Rathaus or New Town Hall was striking. This clock has colourful painted figures which move up and down, round and round to the chimes of the clock at 11am and noon. As we came up from the underground station, the sweet smell of gingerbread and toffee coated almonds hit us, putting us immediately in the Christmas spirit.
Although the Christmas market in Marienplatz is the best known, we found it quite commercial and a centre for people coming into town to drink and party, so it got very crowded and noisy at night. Our favourite was the market we found in the courtyard of the Resindenz, the palace in the centre of Munich, which was accessed from Resindenzstrasse.
This market was contained by the old stone walls of the palace and was somehow more charming, with the bandstand in the centre, where we heard different choirs, harpists and a group of Alpine Horns being played. On the second day of our visit, there was a fine dusting of snow on the rooftops, which added to the Christmas atmosphere. As well as the gifts, jewellery and Christmas decorations you’d expect to find at such a market, at least half the stalls were devoted to food and drink and it was a favourite activity to meet your friends and drink some gluwein, with snacks such as german sausages, potato rosti, crepes and sweet nuts and cakes. There was also a children’s section with different tableaux of moving figures, with accompanying recorded music or storytelling from the figures.
As an alternative Christmas festival, which is not so traditionally German, but more ethnic, craft oriented and organic (or Bio as it’s called in Germany) you can visit the Tollwood Market which is held on the Theresienweise Festival ground, where the more famous Oktoberfest is also held. This Market has all the usual out-door stalls with delicious Christmas street food, as well as a number of large marquees, containing craft and gift items, a circus performance tent and a food marquee where you can choose what food to eat from around the world.
We really enjoyed the Christmas atmosphere in Munich, but my recommendation is to check the forecast before you arrive and pack your warm boots and thermal underwear, as the temperatures can fall below zero at this time of year.
More European Christmas Markets
Discover another 24 Christmas Markets in Europe in our collation post.
Best of Munich Tips
Read our collation post, the Best of Munich Tips, to help you get the most from your visit to the city.
Photos by Heatheronhertravels