The Battle of the Berlin Christmas Markets

Elena Bauer
December 14, 2019

Germany is known for its gorgeous, festive Christmas Markets. Sights and smells flood the senses: mulled wine (Glühwein), Christmas spices, roasted nuts, and warm crepes, families and couples wrapped up in scarves and hats, twinkling lights and log cabin style stalls filled with cookies, jewelry, ornaments, cheeses, sausages, bratwurst, and so many more delicious and cozy snacks. Although Berlin is hardly the city that made Germany famous for these festive winter festivals, I have yet to ride my bike through the city without running across at least one Christmas Market. So let’s check out the hottest Christmas Markets in Berlin.

For the tourist lost in Mitte, coming from Museum Island and trying to find the TV tower, the Nuptunbrunnen Christmas market is the place for you. 

Centered around the Neptune statue, on the south side of Alexanderplatz and in the shadow of the TV Tower, this market is an obvious draw for tourists seeking to visit one of Berlin’s most famous symbols. The market is formed in a circle and as you walk through, every stand draws you in with a new smell of cloves, cinnamon, fried potatoes, warm waffles, bratwursts, and mulled wine. If you aren’t afraid of heights and looking for a view of the Platz, a Ferris wheel stands tall on the south end and lights up the market. Suspended above the cheerful Christmas tourists, Santa’s sleigh stands on the roof ready to fly off into the night. 

For the tourist with a map, trying to find the TV tower, the Christmas Market on the Alexanderplatz is the place to get lost.  

Probably the official Alexanderplatz Market, this market is quite extensive with all the things one expects from a Christmas market: bier, hot mulled wine, wursts, roasted nuts, cookie Christmas ornaments. Everything is bigger and better at Alexanderplatz. The merry-go-round is two stories, so is the Christmas Pyramid that distinguishes every market, not to mention the ice skating rink in the middle.  

For anyone looking for a mediocre market straddling the former Berlin Wall, the Potsdamer Platz Market is the mini beer garden for you.  

Really a tourist trap, it is just a block away from Checkpoint Charlie and part of the Potsdamer Platz excitement. The most singular part of this market is the giant sledding slide that draws attention away from the meager and stereotypical offerings of the stalls and stands.

In this city, with no elevation gain whatsoever and rare snowfall, the only opportunity to go sledding is under the imposing skyscrapers of Potsdamer Platz. 

For the Berliner walking out of the Friedrich Str. U+S Bahn Station, this street market is the place to consider passing through on your way home from work. And for those who do decide to take a look, please enjoy the live music and a fun photo opp in a giant light-up Christmas ornament and a train engine.

For anyone and every family hoping to spend some time in one of Germany’s famous Christmas markets, these next two markets have got to be on your list.

I’m tempted to say that Lucia Christmas Market wins the prize for best location, however, I think the Charlottenburg Market might take the honor, because who can beat a Christmas market at a Palace? However, the Lucia market is still pretty cool. The market is in the KulturBrauerei (literally “culture brewery”), home to a free DDR museum, a grocery store, a restaurant, a bike tour headquarters, and open from the 24th of November to the 24th of December. All the stands are Scandinavian themed with a lovely selection of boar burgers, wursts, sausages, Glühwein, crepes, and a place where you can sit in a heated jacket to warm up. As with all Berlin Christmas Markets, this one boasts a merry-go-round and a few other carnival rides for children. The best part of this market is turning a corner, expecting that to be the end, only to find the market continues deeper into the fascinating old brewery.

For those wanting a Christmas Market near a Prussian palace, the Charlottenburg market is truly a sight to see.

This market is full of all sorts of wonderful shops and plenty of people without being impossible to walk through. The best part of this market is the brass quartets scattered around the stalls. This market has all the traditional things as well, more unique shops with handmade jewelry, ornaments, chocolate, scarves, and so much more. There is no carnival feeling at the Palace, but even without the Ferris wheel or a merry-go-round, this market is a beautiful spot to explore with friends and family.

Most of these markets, you would just run across on a tour of Berlin, and I do recommend stopping and walking around when you come upon one of these. However, two markets are worth an extra trip, Lucia and Charlotten Palace markets. While the Lucia market is pretty packed and the lines are long, it is busy for good reason. And most definitely go out of your way to stop by the Palace market.

Elena Bauer

<p>Apart from my first two years at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, I have lived my whole life in Bellingham, Washington, a college town surrounded by green hills and snowy mountains on one side and the Puget Sound on the other. Since I was eleven, I've made a point to ride my unicycle down my town's Memorial Day parade route before it starts, a tradition interrupted briefly in high school when I was in the marching band. My summer job is teaching swim lessons, and I have gotten quite good at talking a scared four-year-olds into jumping off the diving board.</p>

Destination:
Term:
2019 Fall
Home university:
Pacific Lutheran University
Hometown:
Bellingham, WA
Major:
English
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