Germany lights up the holiday season every year with 140 different Christmas markets across the country. And Bavaria gets into the spirit with dozens of markets from Munich to Nuremberg. These community celebrations, known as Christkindlmärkte in German, transform center cities into holiday wonderlands. Locals and visitors come out to shop for gifts at open-air booths, enjoy traditional treats, and soak up the festive atmosphere.
And these markets are more than just shopping affairs. You can also admire the Christmas trees and decorations, or check out live entertainment (usually including traditional carols and dancing). If you get cold, the tastiest and most practical solution is to order a glass of Glühwein, a delicious mulled wine that will warm you up after a few sips.
• 10-day itinerary of Germany
• Berlin’s best Christmas markets
7 Best Christmas markets in Bavaria
Ready to hit the holiday markets? Here are seven of our favorite Christmas markets in Bavaria.
Nuremberg Christmas Market
December 1 to December 24
Hours: 10 am – 9 pm (Christmas Eve until 2 pm)
With a history that goes all the way back to 1628, the Nuremberg Christmas Market is one of Germany’s oldest. Don’t leave without trying a famous Nuremberg sausage with a piece of gingerbread for dessert. Browse through hundreds of vendors selling handcrafted gifts including Christmas ornaments. You can also hop on a horse-drawn carriage for a stagecoach ride through the market.
Related: Search through 200 hotels in Nuremberg.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber Reiterlesmarkt
December 1 to December 23
Hours: 11 pm to 8 pm
The charming medieval town of Rothenburg has a magical look, making it a wonderful location for a holiday visit. The Rothenburg Christmas Market offers an intimate atmosphere where you can roam the food and gift stalls sparkling with thousands of lights. Snack on a bag of freshly roasted chestnuts or try a traditional Rothenburg Snowball Cake (fried dough covered in powdered sugar).
Don’t miss: Santa Claus makes an appearance at the market every day at 4:30 pm, and is followed by a brass band concert at 5:30 pm.
Ready to go? Search hotels in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Munich Christmas Market
November 27 to December 24
Hours: 11 pm to 8 pm
Nestled in the heart of Marienplatz, the city’s central square, the Munich Christmas Market is a holiday sight to behold. Featuring more than 160 booths selling vintage Christmas ornaments, hand-painted glass, and Bavarian specialties, Munich’s market traces its origin back to the 14th century. The Christmas tree is lit with over 3,000 tiny lights for a breathtaking scene in the city’s main square.
Don’t leave without trying a cup of homemade berry mulled wine and herb liqueurs.
Need a hotel when visiting the market? Check out our favorite budget hotels in Munich.
Winter Market at the Munich Airport
November 18 to December 30
11 am to 9 pm
How many airports host an annual Christmas market? Welcome to Munich International Airport! Boasting 300 real trees and an ice skating rink under the airport’s roof, the Winter Market at Munich Airport will make you wish for an extended layover. Enjoy live music while you visit 50 market stands to pick up a Bavarian sausage or a special gift for someone back home. Before you flight, warm up with a glass of mulled wine.
Related: While you’re at Munich airport, why not check out the airport’s beer garden?
Augsburg Christmas Market
November 27 to December 24
Hours: 10 am – 8 pm, Sun – Thurs, 10 am – 9:30 pm, Fri – Sat, (Christmas Eve until 2 pm)
Over one million people visit the Augsburg Christmas Market each holiday season to browse through more than 90 booths selling gifts and food. The market features special activities for kids and live entertainment every day.
If you visit on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, you can see the famous Angel Performance when City Hall transforms into a beautiful Advent calendar with the help of 24 girls from Augsburg playing the part of the angels.
Related: Search for rooms at more than 60 hotels in Augsburg
Bamberg Christmas Market
November 24 to December 23
Hours: 9:30 am to 8 pm (Sundays from 11 am to 8 pm)
Stroll the charming streets of Old Town Bamberg to discover a winter wonderland. At the Bamberg Christmas Market, vendors grill bratwurst, roast almonds, and sell traditional lebkuchen (a Christmas treat similar to gingerbread). Highlights include the impressive nativity scene in a half-timbered house that’s part of a nativity trail with over 400 Christmas cribs around the city.
Ready to visit? Search budget-friendly hotels in Bamberg.
Floating Christmas Market in Vilshofen
Scheduled for the first three weekends of Advent, this unique market floats along Danube River on a boat! Pick up Christmas-themed gifts from Bavaria as well as unique crafts from Austria, Slovenia, and Hungary. The Vilshofen market is famous for another reason — the wooden creche scene is the largest of its kind in the world!
Additional German Christmas markets
That’s just a small sampling of the Christmas markets in Bavaria. Other locations hosting Christmas Markets include Passau, Coburg, Landshut, Bayreuth, Dachau, Forchheim, and Würzburg. Check out the full list on the Bavaria Tourism website.