Nuremberg is home to one of the oldest and most popular Christmas markets in Germany. The first mention in writing dates back to 1628 and people from all over the world flock to visit this traditional Market. I don’t know why we waited almost three years to finally visit the Nuremberg Christmas market because it was amazing. Nuremberg is already a beautiful city, but when you add twinkly lights around every corner and stalls filled to the brim with authentic German treats it instantly becomes more magical. We were surprised by the size of the market and just how much there was to see and do! To make things easier for future Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt goers, we’ve compiled this list of things to do at the Nuremberg Christmas market.
Buy Hand-Made Gifts
The Nuremberg Christmas market boasts over 200 vendors selling hand-made items that are perfect for everyone on your list! There are booths with glass and wood ornaments, little Christmas villages, lanterns, hats, scarves, purses, and so much more! Nuremberg also has what are known as the “prune men.” Yes, you read that correctly; they are men made out of prunes. Unfortunately, I didn’t grab any pictures of them but they are cute and weird at the same time. It’s so much fun walking down each aisle and seeing what each vendor has on display.
Probably my favorite part of Christmas markets is the glühwein, or hot mulled wine. It’s perfect for warming you up when the temperature drops down to freezing. It also tastes pretty damn good. They have so many different flavors, too! If you’re not a wino, don’t worry; they serve what is called Winter Wärmer and the guy explained it’s like a hot beer. I figured what the hell and gave it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised as warm beer usually turns me off. It was served in this year’s signature mug along with an orange slice garnish.
Another plus to drinking glühwein is collecting all the mugs! Each Christmas market has their own special mug – or five – that you can return and receive your deposit back or keep for memories and nostalgia. We always choose memories and nostalgia.
Try the Nuremberg Sausage
The Nürnberger bratwürste is by far the best bratwurst I’ve had since arriving in Germany. Nothing can hold a flame to the Nuremberg sausage and they somehow taste even better at the market. Three freshly grilled sausages placed inside a crispy roll is heaven at a Christmas market. It smelled so delicious that I devoured mine almost as quickly as they gave it to me. Honestly, no matter what season you go to Nuremberg you have to try the sausage!
Lebkuchen, or German gingerbread, is a staple at any and all fests. They’re all over the summer fests as well, however, I feel they fit much better at Christmas markets. No worries, though, if gingerbread isn’t your cup of tea. They have tons of other delicious baked treats to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Ride in a Horse Drawn Carriage
In the main market square, you can hop into a cozy carriage and take a stroll around the Christmas market and old town Nuremberg. We, unfortunately, didn’t see the carriage on our visit which I think is because it was crazy crowded! It would have been nice to get out of the cold for a bit and take in the sights from a romantic carriage. If you happen to see the horses on your trip, take a spin around the market! It’s just 4 euro per person.
Take the Glühwein Tour
Imagine this: Christmas decorated tram, a mug of glühwein, a gingerbread cookie, and views all along the medieval city wall of old town Nuremberg. Sounds amazing, right? During the holiday season, a few of the city trams get a Christmas makeover and you get a 45 minute ride around the city with drinks and snacks. For 18 euro per person you can ride a newer tram or for 33 euro per person you can ride inside one of the oldest tram cars in Nuremberg built between 1904-1913. This tour is insanely sought after though, so make sure you book early! I didn’t hear about this until the day before we went, so all of the seats were reserved.
Watch a Performance on the Main Market Stage
Several times throughout the day, performers alight the stage in front of the Frauenkirche, or Church of our Lady. The performers are local from around the region and hearing live music adds even more magic to the Christmas market.
Get a Bird’s Eye View of the Market
There are several places that are accessible for you to get an overhead view of the entire market square. One is inside the Frauenkirche. For a few euro each, you can climb a staircase that leads up to a balcony overlooking the market. We made our way inside the church just as they were finishing up for the day, so we had to find a plan B. To the right of the church is a cafe with a ton of glühwein signs that also mention a panoramic view on the first level. We went out onto the balcony of the cafe and had a really great view of everything! There were also several people climbing the stairs in front of the restaurant called Alex to get a view over the market with the church in the background. That is another option, just be aware of any people enjoying dinner at the tables on the balcony.
Visit Käthe Wohlfahrt
If you were looking for a store that is all Christmas all the time, this is it. Käthe Wohlfahrt is located just outside of the main market square and filled to the ceiling with Christmas decorations. This store saves you from the cold, but still keeps you in the Christmas spirit! Due to the Christmas market, Käthe Wohlfahrt, like many other stores, stays open later so you can shop till you drop.
Visit the Kinderweihnacht
This part of the market is perfect if you have little ones! It features a merry-go-round, ferris wheel, and smaller booths that are just the right size for children. Many of these booths feature crafts and activities that the children can participate in, plus a mail box where they can send their letters to Santa!
Visit the Market of the Sister Cities
Another branch off of the main Christmas market is the market of the sister cities. This area features booths from around the world, filled with hand-made gifts from all of Nuremberg’s sister cities! The United States is included with a stall featuring crafts from Atlanta, Georgia; gotta represent the homeland! This is a fun way to travel the globe without ever leaving Germany.
Tips for Visiting the Nuremberg Christmas Market
- If you can, try to avoid going on the weekends! Saturday and Sunday are always crowded and it can be hard to walk through the market square.
- Pets are allowed, but for their sake leave them at home! Not only is it terribly cold outside in December, even on the off days of the market it can still get pretty busy and that’s a stepped on paw waiting to happen.
- Take the train! Tyler chose to drive us and we spent almost 30 minutes looking for parking. From Vilseck, it’s only a 45 minute train ride and then a 10 minute walk to the market square.
- The Christmas market is open from December 1st to December 24th, opening each morning at 10am and closing each night at 9pm. However, on Christmas Eve the market closes at 2pm so get there early if you want to check it out on the final day!
We’ve loved every Christmas market we’ve been to, especially Nuremberg’s. Maybe it was the traditional atmosphere, the live music, the warm glühwein, or a combination of those and so much more. If you’re only able to see one Christmas market in Germany, let it be the Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt; you won’t be disappointed.
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