German Christmas markets

  • Things to do
  • Germany
  • 6 min read
German Christmas markets

Kick off your festive season and discover the best Christmas markets Germany has to offer with LeShuttle now.

Planning a trip to one of the many German Christmas markets is the perfect way to spend times with the ones you love and to experience the festive atmosphere first-hand.

German Christmas markets

Throughout the Christmas period, Europe is filled with beautiful festive markets, but one stand out has to be those in Germany which have still retained their authentic charm.

Offering handcrafted quality gifts and adding a bit of magic to your shopping expeditions, let LeShuttle introduce you to some of the top festive markets in Germany.

Düsseldorf Christmas market

Illuminated Ferris wheel at dusk in Düsseldorf Christmas market with clocktower in the background

Düsseldorf is just four hours and 40 minutes from Calais. What makes the Christmas market at Düsseldorf special is that it is held in seven individual locations throughout the city.

You can browse for handmade gifts at the little festive huts outside the town hall or go for a free skate on the huge open-air ice rink at Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz. Schadowplatz is perfect for family fun with a merry-go-round and super-sized Santa Claus hats. Other highlights include the promenade along the Königsallee with big chestnut trees decorated in thousands of little lights, while Engelchenmarkt is the place to go for the hearty taste and smells of traditional German food.


Taking less than 5 hours, the drive from Calais to Trier takes you past some of the best Christmas markets and shopping opportunities France has to offer, giving you the chance to take in as much of the seasonal magic as possible. 

Trier itself has been awarded the title of ‘Best Christmas Market in Germany for 2021’, and the award is well deserved. The main market is set in front of Trier Cathedral, and comprises of 95 booths, offering hand-crafted decorations and regional specialities including ‘hot mulled Viez’ (apple wine).


Stuttgart Christmas Market stall rooftop decorated with reindeers, a stocking filled with toys and decorated trees

Not only is Stuttgart Europe’s oldest Christmas market, but its size and beauty make the 7 hour and 26-minute drive from Calais well worth the journey.

From December 1st, Stuttgart Townhall is transformed into a giant advent calendar, which reveals one picture each day in the run-up to Christmas. The decorations are extended to the stalls, all of which have individually designed rooftops.

Unlike other Christmas markets, Stuttgart’s Karlsplatz also boasts a Finnish market, complete with a Christmas village, wooden stalls selling Glögi (Finnish mulled wine), and Flammlachs (salmon cooked over a fire). 


Rüdesheim combines all the highlights from a traditional Christmas market with the natural beauty of the Rhine Valley. The journey from Calais will take just over 6 hours, and when you arrive, you’ll be treated to streets decorated with intricate light displays and numerous stalls all selling baked goods, hot wine and brandy punch to help keep out the cold. Make sure you visit the ‘Drosselgasse’, which is lined with restaurants, shops, and bars, and is filled with traditional Rhineland music. 

If you have time to continue your festive trip across the continent, Rüdesheim is the perfect place to make the 3 hour drive to travel across to Monschau, which also has another incredible Christmas market.

The medieval market in Siegburg

If you're looking for an alternative Christmas, then you should visit the Medieval Market in Siegburg. Just outside of Bonn, the drive from Calais takes around four hours and 15 minutes.

On the first day of advent, the city takes a journey back in time with a festive medieval spectacle. Vendors dressed in period costumes, jugglers and medieval artisans put up their tents and showcase their skills and wares. You'll be able to buy crafty gifts for your loved ones including baskets, clothing and wooden toys. The absence of electricity and artificial light adds to the dim medieval glow.

Leipzig Christmas market

People walking between the decorated and lit stalls at Leipzig Christmas Market in the evening

Dating back to 1458, the Leipzig Christmas market is filled with more than 250 stalls. Although the drive from Calais takes almost 9 hours, Leipzig is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Germany and it’s easy to see why. 

The market itself is divided into six regions, which you can stroll through, mulled wine in hand. The main square hosts a trombone concert, and visits from Santa Claus are also a regular occurrence. Another feature is the Ore Mountain pyramid, where visitors can enjoy a round of Feuerzangenbowle, a classic German fire punch.


With stalls stocking everything from gingerbread to handmade jewellery and Franconian Christmas cookies, Würzburg is another fantastically traditional Christmas market for you to visit. The drive from Calais takes just over 7 hours, giving you plenty of time to enjoy all your favourite Christmas classics. 

When you arrive, you’ll be able to explore Würzburg's Old Town where the market is held. The Gothic Chapel of St Mary and its Baroque architecture provides the perfect background for lots of festive photos, and the traditional Glühwein served throughout the market is a bonus.


Slightly nearer than some other German Christmas markets, the journey to Aachen should take 3 and a half hours from Calais. 

The market itself is constructed from about four weeks before December 25th, when the squares and streets around the Cathedral and Town Hall are bathed in festive lights and transformed into a winter wonderland. 

The Aachen market is especially popular with locals, who will often meet family and friends during their lunch breaks in the weeks leading up to Christmas to make the most of the atmosphere.

The Berlin Christmas market at Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace Christmas market at night time with the palace in the background, a statue in the foreground with market stalls and people browsing.

Decorated by colourful lights, Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin transports visitors back to Christmas past, with its famous market. 

From Calais, the drive to the Charlottenburg Palace takes 9 hours and 15 minutes. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by the music performed by the Charlottenburg Christmas market orchestra. In the Charlottenburg Palace and the palace park, you’ll be able to enjoy guided tours which feature the Christmas traditions of former palace inhabitants.

Carousels and glimpses of Santa Claus roaming the streets are more than enough to make children’s eyes sparkle in delight. The market also puts on a special programme for children which includes a handicrafts tent where you can make your own Christmas presents.

Cologne Christmas market

Door to door, from Calais to Cologne, the journey will take 4 and a half hours. The city hosts several markets, however, one of the most famous is the Cathedral Market. 

Held in the centre surrounding an enormous Christmas tree with the cathedral forming a magnificent backdrop, the Weihnachtsmarkt am Dom has a maze of stores selling traditional fare.

Another must visit market in Cologne is The House Elves’ Winter Fairytale Christmas Market, which pays tribute to the local legend of the Heinzelmännchen. Again, the market is filled with stalls all split into tiny alleys which are great to wander through, glühwein in hand and admire all the extra details.


Eclipsing even Leipzig, the Striezelmarkt Christmas Market in Dresden is documented to date back to 1434. The current market is a 10 hour and 21-minute drive from Calais, but the journey does take you past places like Düsseldorf and Leipzig, so you can always break your trip up and visit their Christmas markets along the way. 

The Dresden Christmas market is housed in the Altmarkt, the city’s oldest square, and envelopes visitors in an enchanting atmosphere. Along with wooden stalls, you’ll be able to enjoy fairy tale style elf cottages, a puppet theatre and Santa Claus’ house.


Iced multicoloured gingerbread hanging from a market stall in Nuremberg

Around 8 and a half hours from Calais, the Nuremberg Christmas Market is still rooted in tradition. 

Must try eats include the gingerbread and Nuremberg grilled sausages, both of which are on offer throughout the market. There’s also the opportunity to try Blueberry Glühwein, a twist on the original cold weather drink which is popular with tourists and locals alike. 

Another tradition which you can take home with you is the Prune men. Supposedly invented by a wire drawer who wanted the perfect gift for his children, Prune men are sold throughout the Nuremberg Market and make a great memento or present.

Start your festive trip with LeShuttle

Step back in time and give the whole family a Christmas to remember this year with a trip to Germany and it’s magical Christmas markets. 

Book your festive trip now with LeShuttle

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