Munich Christmas Market: One of the Oldest in the World

Munich Christmas Market: One of the Oldest in the World

While Munich has many Christmas markets (I’ve counted 17), the Munich Christmas Market, is THE original!

Munich Christmas Market in Bavaria Germany

Not only is it the largest and oldest in Munich, it’s also one of the oldest in the world! According to the official Munich Christmas Market site, it was first mentioned in the town records in 1642, but according to Wikipedia, it’s the second oldest in the world, dating back to 1310. Only the Vienna Christmas market is older (1294). Regardless of its exact age, it retains its original essence with 150 wooden huts selling Glühwein (mulled wine), traditional sweets, Christmas ornaments and toys.

OK, now it’s time for a confession. While I believe it is by far the most beautiful Christmas market in Munich, it’s also not my favourite. Don’t get me wrong, I still go several times a year, but it’s busy. I mean crazy busy, especially in the evenings when its lit up and at its finest. It’s also by far the most popular Christmas market in Munich with tourists. And I don’t do crowds. I prefer the smaller, albeit less impressive Christmas markets that attract less people.

Having said that I still recommend going to see it and experience it. Join me on a photo-journey through the Munich Christmas Market and you’ll see why I still recommend going:

My favourite place in the entire Munich Christmas Market is at Sternenplatzl (Star Platz) at the Rindermarkt.

It’s just steps away from the more popular Marienplatz, but feels worlds away and the stars hanging from the trees give it a whimsical feel. Sternenplatzl is a highlight of the Munich Christmas Market in Germany.

Christmas pyramids are usually much smaller and used for decorative purposes inside, but I love this oversized one that serves as a Glühwein stand at the Sternenplatzl. It’s thought that Christmas pyramids were the predecessor to the Christmas tree, so perhaps the medieval Christmas markets had more of them!

Christmas pyramid at Sternenplatzl, Rindermarkt, Munich, Germany

Traditional Christmas pyramid at Sternenplatzl (Star Platz) at the Rindermarket in Munich.

 

The Munich Christmas Market runs the length of Kaufinger Strasse, a pedestrian shopping street, that is one of the longest in Germany.

The Munich Christmas Market runs the length of Kaufinger Strasse, a pedestrian shopping street.

Christmas markets are much more impressive at night than during the day, as the photo below shows, but they’re also busier. If you’re there to shop, go during the day. If you’re there for the atmosphere and to drink Glühwein, then go in the evening:

A Glühwein stand that is a replica of the Frauenkirche (church) and in front of it at the Munich Christmas Market.

A Glühwein stand that is a replica of the Frauenkirche (church).

The Frauenkirche Glühwein stand at the Christmas market isn't nearly as impressive during the day.

The Frauenkirche Glühwein stand at the Christmas market isn’t nearly as impressive during the day.

The other unique aspect of the Munich Christmas Market is the Kripperlmarkt (Manger Market). It’s toted as being “probably” the largest manger market in Germany.

The largest Manger Market in Germany can be found in Munich.

What is “probably” the largest Manger Market can be found at the Munich Christmas Market.

I’m not in the market for a new manger, but even I can appreciate the craftsmanship of some of the wood carvings.

Life-size hand-carved manger scene from a craftsman in Oberammergau, a region in Bavaria, Germany

Life-size hand-carved manger scene from a craftsman in Oberammergau, a region in Bavaria.

There’s even a skating rink at Stachus (Karlsplatz). This is well thought out as there’s a Glühwein bar overlooking the skating rink – a win-win for both parents and kids…or kids at heart!

Münchener Eiszauber (Munich Ice Magic) offers skating at Stachus (Karlsplatz) in Munich, Germany

Münchener Eiszauber (Munich Ice Magic) offers skating at Stachus (Karlsplatz)

If you go to a Christmas market and only try one thing, let it be Kaiserscharrm. Named after the Austrian Emporer (Kaiser) Franz Joseph I of Austria, it has royal roots. It’s a fluffy cut up pancake that is sprinkled with icing sugar and usually served with a side of applesauce. My German and foreign friends alike both go nuts for it. Being Celiac (gluten-allergy) I have to skip it, but you can try it at the Munich Christmas Market on Kaufinger Strasse.

Kaiserschmarrn is a must-try at the Munich Christmas Market in Germany.

Kaiserschmarrn is a must-try at the Munich Christmas Market.

 

So you can see why I think a visit to the Munich Christmas Market is worth braving the crowds.

After you’ve seen it, then check out my recommendations of the Most Beautiful Christmas Markets in Munich.

Know Before You Go to the Munich Christmas Market:

  • Entrance is free.
  • It’s open from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday to Saturday and until 8:00 pm on Sunday.
  • There’s live music every evening at 5:30 pm sung from the balcony of the Town Hall at Marienplatz.
  • Check for special events like the Krampus Run (happening from 4:00 to 5:00 pm on Dec. 20th, 2015).
  • Santa makes an appearance everyday between 4:00 to 6:00 pm.
  • The market runs until 2:00 pm on Dec. 24th.
  • Visit the official website for further info.

Check out my new book, Bavaria’s Top Castles and Christmas Markets, now available on Kindle for just €2.99.

Alternatively, you can read it for free by signing up here to get your Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial. It gives you access to unlimited reading from over 1 million books. I’m a big fan.

guide to castles and Christmas markets in Bavaria, Germany

Be sure to check out my Munich City Guide for how to make the most of your precious travel time.

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their active holidays in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.
2017-06-19T15:53:29+00:00

4 Comments

  1. Lili December 14, 2015 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Just lovely photos! And such great information. I also really enjoyed the Medieval Christmas Market!

    • Laurel December 18, 2015 at 9:34 am - Reply

      @Lili – Thank you! Agreed, the Medieval Christmas Market is great!

  2. Danny December 21, 2015 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    I just have gone back from this Christmas Paradise. It is very beuatiful place to spend Christmas holyday with your family. My eyes have never seen somemthing like this. Really wonderful! I enjoyed every second of it.

    • Laurel December 28, 2015 at 12:04 pm - Reply

      @Danny – So glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much!

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