This guide will show you the best Christmas markets in Berlin for 2020. In addition, you’ll find some practical tips, including opening times, locations and what foods to try.
December is a magical month! And this is especially true for Germany, because of the Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmärkte).
Although today you can find these Weihnachtsmärkte across all of Europe, they are in fact an old German tradition. Their history can be traced back to the 14th-16th century.
In fact, the Christmas markets are street markets, that are dedicated to Christmas. In the past, their main role was to help people to prepare for the coming holidays. You were able to buy meat, vegetables and all kinds of spices. Nowadays, it’s more about fun than practicality.
Then check out my guide on how to spend 3 days in Berlin. It covers all the must-see attractions (plus how to skip the lines).
Berlin, with its 80 Weihnachtsmärkte spread out all over the city, is the capital of the German Christmas markets. And you won’t find two identical ones. Each of them has its own atmosphere and speciality. No matter if you look for a nostalgic, bio or urban Christmas market, you will find it here, in Berlin.
It’s not easy to decide which winter markets to visit, but my blog is here to help you. This list includes the most famous Christmas markets in Berlin.
Read on to find out why you should visit them and what to do in Berlin at Christmas.
Where is Berlin Christmas market held
There are about 80 Christmas markets in Berlin. Most of them are small and run only during weekends.
The best Christmas markets in Berlin in 2020 are at:
- Charlottenburg Palace
- Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
- City Hall
- Potsdamer Platz
Almost all of the main markets are located in the Mitte district (right in the city centre). Yet, to get from one to another you’ll have to use public transport, as distances are big. But don’t worry, Berlin has an excellent public transport network. I’d recommend using the S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains (the German metro system).
When does Berlin Christmas market start
The main Weihnachtsmärkte start at the end of November and continue during the four weeks of Advent. There are only a few that you can visit after Christmas or in January.
Berlin Christmas markets dates 2020
From 23 November to 26 December
Every day from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Between 26 and 31 December – only the Weihnachtsmärkte at Gendarmenmarkt, City Hall and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church will be open
Between New Year’s Eve and 5-6 January – City Hall and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
For more details check each market’s opening times.
Where to stay in Berlin for Christmas markets
The best location to stay for Berlin Christmas markets is the southern part of Mitte district. And to be more precise the areas around Checkpoint Charlie and Alexanderplatz. Both areas are very well-connected to the rest of the city. You’ll get in no time even to the distant Weihnachtsmärkte (using the S-Bahn and U-Bahn).
In addition, most of the main Weihnachtsmärkte are within this area. You’ll be at a walking distance to at least a few. Yet, to be close to the best Christmas market in Berlin, stay near Checkpoint Charlie.
Find more information in my complete guide to where to stay in Berlin.
Mercure Hotel Checkpoint Charlie is the perfect accommodation for couples. Quiet location, yet close to everything – attractions, markets and transport links. Spacious and comfy rooms.
Why book – spacious rooms with soundproof windows, next to Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market
NH Collection Checkpoint Charlie is great for a family stay. There are 3 Weihnachtsmärkte less than 1km away. Moreover, the Friedrichstraße shopping street and a metro station are within a short walk. The hotel features a stylish restaurant, spa facilities and free WiFi.
Why book – excellent location near metro, awesome breakfast
If you prefer to stay in an apartment, this is the best option near Checkpoint Charlie. Apartments are elegant, spacious, with a well-equipped kitchen. In addition, as the property is aparthotel, you’ll have a tapas restaurant and a spa area with a swimming pool at your disposal.
Why book – spacious apartments, spa with indoor pool, tapas restaurant
Which is the best Christmas market in Berlin
Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market
Although it’s hard to choose the best Weihnachtsmärkt from more than 80, there is one that really stands out. The WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt is the most popular Christmas market in Berlin. And it’s also the most visited one (it tends to get a bit crowded during peak hours).
The market is located on a charming square framed by the impressive buildings of the Concert Hall, the German and French Churches. It is also the nearest Weihnachtsmärkt to Checkpoint Charlie.
Besides the location, there is a gigantic Christmas tree and a stage with live choir performances. It is really magical at night when everything is festively lit up.
The wooden stalls offer unique handmade-products by artisans. This is the place if you’re looking for gifts and souvenirs. In addition, you’ll also find gourmet treats and hot beverages. Don’t miss to try some fine wines at the WeihnachtsZauberBar.
The market ends at New Year’s Eve with a DJ party and a large fireworks display.
Yet, there is a tiny downside. Although most of the Weihnachtsmärkte are free, this one charges an entrance fee of €1. If you want to save money, visit it between 11:00 AM – 02:00 PM. At this time the admission is free (only weekdays, except 24, 25, 26 and 31 December). On New Year’s Eve, the ticket costs €6.
Please note that no luggage is allowed in the market.
WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmark Opening times
From 23 November to 31 December 2020
Daily from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
24th December – from 11:00 AM to 06:00 PM
31st December – from 11:00 AM to 01:00 AM
Address: Gendarmenmarkt, 10115 Berlin
Top 5 Berlin Christmas markets
You’ll need probably weeks to visit all the 80 Weihnachtsmärkte. However, there are a few that are not to be missed. So be sure to add them to your itinerary.
Charlottenburg Palace Christmas market
If you’re into palaces, you’ll love this market. Located in the shadow of a gorgeous 18th-century Baroque palace, it’s a real fairy tale!
The spectacular backdrop of the palace is lit up with changing coloured lights. This creates a truly romantic atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a cup of warm Glühwein with your loved one.
In addition, you’ll find a winter open-air restaurant, a petting zoo and free nostalgia carousels.
As far as it concerns food, you won’t be disappointed, too. More than 250 local and international exhibitors offer culinary treats and unique crafts.
Don’t miss to visit Charlottenburg Palace itself. This beautiful palace once served as a private residence of Sophie Charlotte, the first Queen consort in Prussia.
Weihnachtsmärkt vor dem Schloss Charlottenburg Opening hours
From 25 November to 26 December 2020
Monday to Thursday – 02:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Friday to Sunday – 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Address: Spandauer Damm 20-24, 14059 Berlin
Alexanderplatz Christmas Market
To combine the Christmas villages with some shopping, visit Weihnachtsmärkt auf dem Alexanderplatz. The market is set under the iconic TV Tower, right between the Galeria Kaufhof department store and Alexa shopping mall.
There is an open-air ice rink, a fairground ride and a Santa Claus party house. Yet, the heart of the market is a large Christmas pyramid. In fact, this is the largest Ore Mountain pyramid in Europe (with more than 5000 lights).
Weihnachtsmärkt auf dem Alexanderplatz Opening hours
From 23 November to 26 December 2020
Daily from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
24th December – from 10:00 AM to 02:00 PM
Address: Alexanderplatz 4, 10178 Berlin
Berliner Weihnachtszeit at Roten Rathaus
You’ll find this medieval Christmas market on the square between the City Hall (Rotes Rathaus) and St. Marienkirche. Travel back to the Middle Ages, while enjoying hot mead in a clay jug and medieval delicacies.
However, the main attraction is the 50m high Ferris wheel. Take a ride for panoramic views of the Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz.
You’ll also find a 600 square meter ice rink and a petting zoo with donkeys, sheep and ponies.
The little ones have a chance to see Santa Claus, flying through the skies on his sleigh. He appears daily at 04:30 PM, 06:30 PM and 08:30 PM.
Berliner Weihnachtszeit at Roten Rathaus Opening hours
From 25 November to 6 January
From Monday to Friday – 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Saturday and Sunday – 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Address: Platz vor dem Roten Rathaus
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church Christmas Market
This Weihnachtsmärkt is set at the backdrop of the beautiful Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. It is the closest market to the Berlin Zoo. The 25 feet high Christmas tree and festively decorated stores will put you in the right holiday mood.
More than 170 wooden stalls offer handmade tree ornaments and toys. It’s a great place if you look for gifts and souvenirs. I bought a lovely Christmas ornament in the shape of an angel from here.
At New Year’s Eve there is a fireworks display at 06:00 PM, 08:00 PM, 10:00 PM and midnight.
Weihnachtsmärkt an der Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche Opening hours
From 23 November to 3 January
Sunday to Thursday – 11:00 AM – 09:00 PM
Friday and Saturday – 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
24th December – 11:00 AM to 02:00 PM
25th and 26th December – 02:00 PM to 09:00 PM
New Year’s Eve – till 01:00 AM
New Year’s Day – 01:00 PM to 09:00 PM
Address: Breitscheidplatz, 10789 Berlin
Winter World on Potsdamer Platz
Every year Potsdamer Platz turns into an Alpine winter world, featuring all kinds of fun activities. The highlight is the giant toboggan run with a view of Brandenburg gate. In addition, there is a 500 square meters open-air ice rink.
And if you’re hungry, try some Austrian delicacies in Schmankerl or Salzburger Stiegl Alm wooden huts.
Winterwelt am Potsdamer Platz Opening hours
From 23 November to 26 December 2020
Daily from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
24th December – till 02:00 PM
Address: Potsdamer Platz, 10785 Berlin
More Xmas markets in Berlin
If you plan to spend more time at Christmas in Berlin, don’t miss to check out the Weihnachtsmärkte below.
Spandau Christmas Market
The largest Christmas market in Berlin takes place in the charming Old Town of Spandau. There are more than 250 stalls during the weekdays and over 400 on the weekends.
Spandau is a suburb on the city’s outskirts. It may look far on the map, but you can easily reach it from Alexanderplatz (or Zoologischer Garten) with the S-Bahn.
Thousands of twinkling lights create a festive and joyful atmosphere. And at the heart of the market, you’ll find a large fir tree and a nativity scene with live animals.
Wednesdays are family days and this is the time to go if you want a photo with Santa Claus. Every Friday there is a rock concert, starting at 06:00 PM.
Spandauer Weihnachtsmärkt Opening hours
From 23 November to 22 December 2020
Sunday to Thursday – 11:00 AM – 08:00 PM
Friday and Saturday – 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Address: Altstadt Spandau 1, 13597 Berlin
Opernpalais Nostalgic Christmas Market
A nostalgic Weihnachtsmärkt takes place every year on Bebelplatz. More than 200 wooden booths are set up in front of the beautiful backdrop of St. Hedwig’s Cathedral. Craftsmen from all over the world sell wooden toys, candles, lanterns and Christmas ornaments.
Stop for a glass of mulled wine after dark. Everything is festively lit up and the aroma of roasted almonds and chestnuts drifts in the air.
Nostalgischer Weihnachtsmärkt am Opernpalais Opening hours
It didn’t take place in 2019 due to construction work (please note that the dates for 2020 are yet to be announced).
Lucia Christmas Market
If you look for a different kind of experience, visit the Lucia Weihnachtsmark. It’s a Nordic Christmas market, named after Saint Lucia. Saint Lucia is a goddess of light, worshipped in the Nordic countries.
Besides the classic Christmas treats, here you’ll also find Nordic and Scandinavian culinary delights. This includes Swedish Glögg, Finnish honey, moose goulash, reindeer bratwurst and many more.
Lucia Weihnachtsmärkt Opening hours
From 23 November to 22 December 2020
From Monday to Friday – 03:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Saturday and Sunday – 01:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Address: Schönhauser Allee 36, 10435 Berlin
Berlin Christmas markets food
All I can say is prepare for a feast! Grilled sausages, gingerbread cookies, mulled wine – there are so many delicious temptations to choose from. And the best part is that the food is not expensive at all.
I know it’s Germany but forget about the beer (at least for an hour or two). It’s freezing cold and you need something to warm you up! So try the Glühwein.
Glühwein is mulled red wine with various spices such as cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, citrus and sugar. Usually, the markets offer variations such as cherry or blueberry mulled wine. You can also find Glühwein mit schuss, that means mulled wine with a shot of liquor in it.
Glühwein comes in a decorated mug. You have to pay a few euros deposit additionally for the mug. So don’t wonder why you’re charged more than the price you see.
You can keep the mug as a souvenir or return it to get your deposit back. Every market has a different mug. Thus take a look around and find your favourite one before buying.
Eierpunsch is also very popular. It’s a winter egg-based alcoholic drink, similar to egg nog.
It’s a sweet bread with dried fruits covered with powdered sugar. Stollen comes in different variations such as Poppyseed stollen, Nut stollen, Marzipan stollen.
This is the German version of the gingerbread. It is round or in the shape of a heart covered with dark chocolate. Usually, the decoration includes coloured icing inscriptions.
These are small German doughnuts. They are usually served in a paper cone and covered with powdered sugar.
There were so many different types of sausages, but if you have to try only one, go with the Bratwurst. It’s a grilled sausage usually served in a bun with optional ketchup and mustard. This is one of the most popular foods at the Christmas markets.
Berlin TV Tower – it is the most popular attraction. Buy a fast track entrance ticket to skip the long lines (you’ll have to choose a time slot).
Pergamon Museum – it’s the most visited museum on Museum Island. The lines are huge even in the winter, so book your ticket in advance here. Another option to skip the line is to buy a Museum Pass (valid for 3 days and includes more than 30 museums).
Berlin WelcomeCard – it’s a great deal if you plan to use public transport a lot. The card offers free public transportation (including to Potsdam, Tegel and Schönefeld Airport) and discounts at 200 attractions. See more details and reviews here.
Things to do in Berlin at Christmas
Visit an ice bar
Berlin Icebar offers a once in a lifetime experience. Enjoy a nice cocktail in one of the coolest bars in the city. Everything here is made of ice, including the walls, chairs and even the glasses.
Book your Icebar tickets in advance here.
Address: Spandauer Str. 2, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Take a Christmas boat cruise
Take a boat cruise on the Spree River and admire the festively decorated city centre. Plus, you’ll learn more about the intriguing history of the city.
Visit the Christmas garden
Every winter from November to January, the Botanical garden is transformed into a magical fairytale. Immerse yourself into a vast sea of lights while strolling through the garden.
You can book your ticket in advance here.
From 15 November to 5 January
(please note that the dates for 2020 are yet to be announced)
Daily from 04:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Address: Königin-Luise-Straße 68, 14195 Berlin
Dinner with a view
Enjoy fantastic views of the festively decorated city from the Sphere restaurant. The restaurant occupies the iconic TV tower, situated right in the heart of the city. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the sparkling city lights while you dine.
It’s advisable to book tickets for the Sphere restaurant in advance.
There are almost 70 shopping centres in Berlin. It’s a heaven for every shopping lover, especially during the Christmas sales.
The most popular stores are: Alexa Shopping Center, Mall of Berlin, Friedrichsstraße and Kaufhaus des Westens. In fact, Kaufhaus des Westens is one of the biggest department stores in Continental Europe.
How to get to Berlin Christmas markets
The Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) is in Mitte district, right in the city centre. It’s well-connected by public transport to every part of the city. Check timetables and book tickets online at Deutsche Bahn official site.
Tegel is the nearest airport. However, Schönefeld Airport is more convenient, as it is directly connected with a train line to the city centre.
The easiest way to get from either airport to the city centre is by booking a private transfer directly to your hotel. I love Welcome Pickups because they are always on time and very helpful.
For the best flight deals check out Lufthansa official site (it’s the largest German airline).
Berlin Christmas markets map
To help you navigate, I prepared a detailed map with all the markets. You can use it during your trip, you only need internet access.
The popular markets are marked in dark red, the rest – in light red.
Find more markets on the official website of VisitBerlin.
Christmas markets near Berlin, Germany
Potsdam is a great option to escape the hordes of tourists and enjoy a more authentic Weihnachtsmärkt. In fact, there is not one, but several Weihnachtsmärkte in Potsdam.
The biggest one is held in the Old Town, stretching all the way down Brandenburger Straße. The market starts on 23th November 2020 and continues till 29th December 2020.
The smaller Weihnachtsmärkte take place only during the weekends. So don’t forget to check in advance their opening times (see a full list here).
And while you’re in Potsdam, don’t miss to visit the royal palace Sanssouci and Neues Palais.
To get to Potsdam just take the S-Bahn and you’ll be there in less than an hour.