Nuremberg Christmas Market: What to Really See and Do

Nuremberg Christmas Market in Bavaria, GermanyThe Nuremberg Christmas Market is Germany’s most famous and one of it’s most traditional markets.

That also means it’s a popular attraction, drawing in over 2 million visitors from Germany, Europe, and even Japan!

I went to the Nuremberg Christmas Market for the first time last year.  I thought it was nice, but overcrowded (avoid going on a weekend if possible).  I went again this year and really enjoyed it, in large part because I went with locals who showed it to me through their eyes and I really enjoyed it!

Here’s What To Really See and Do at the Nuremberg Christmas Market:

Visit the International Christmas Market

Besides the regular market there’s also an international one with 14 of Nuremberg’s sister cities.  Cities are represented from Nicaragua, Czech Republic, Italy,  and from all over the world.  My favorite was the Cuba stand where we were treated to an impromptu salsa demonstration!  Any guesses which city/country this wooden booth belonged to?…
Booth from Atlanta, Georgia at the International Christmas Market in Nuremberg, Germany

Atlanta, U.S.A!

Meet Christkind

Me hanging out with the Christkind.

Me hanging out with the Christkind.

Christkind was the traditional giver of gifts.  Not surprisingly children love meeting the Christkind.  I had the opportunity to meet her as well and she was lovely.  Maybe we’ll even be BFFs.  Then again, she might be kinda busy at this time of the year.  The Christkind first appeared at the Nuremberg Christmas Market in the 1930s.  She now appears at other  markets throughout Germany as well.  Children can visit her every afternoon at Hans‑Sachs Platz at 2.30 (arriving on the main market square at 3 o’clock).

Meet the Prune People (Zwetschgenmännle)

The famous Prune People, which you can buy in Nuremberg.

The famous Prune People, which you can in Nuremberg.

The Prune People are some of Nuremberg’s most famous residents and can be found going about their daily life.  Locals have a saying “If you want someone in your life who doesn’t cause you any trouble, get a prune person!”  Good advice!  Prune people are for sale at many vendors.

Children’s Christmas Market

Children decorating gingerbread cookies.

Children decorating gingerbread cookies.

This is one of only a few in Germany.  Even as an adult I loved it.  There are rides including an old-fashioned carousel and it’s even interactive!  Children can make candles or decorate Nuremberg’s famous gingerbread cookies!

Eat What is Quite Possibly the World’s Best Gingerbread

Nuremberg has a long-standing history with gingerbread.  You can read about it at A Medieval Treat from Nuremberg.  It’s such an interesting story that I wrote a whole post on it.

Nativity Scene Exhibit

Nativity scene exhibit

Nativity scene exhibit

On the way to the Children’s Christmas Market is a nativity scene exhibit on the left side, hiding behind the wooden stalls.  Many people miss it, but it’s worth a quick look.  I loved this one with all the animal figurines.

Take in a Concert

All the churches have frequent concerts during the Christmas market and there’s a stage set up in front of the Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) where school choirs and big bands perform.

Drink from the World’s Largest Feuerzangenbowle

Feuerzangenbowle, according to Wikipedia, is a traditional German alcoholic drink for which a rum-soaked sugarloaf is set on fire and drips into mulled wine.  All I know is that it is some seriously strong stuff!  I’ll stick to my mulled wine!

Tour Nuremberg in a Stage Coach

This was so much fun and surprisingly comfortable!  The stage coat is a 1939 replica that takes guests through Nuremberg’s cobble stone streets.  I felt like I was stepping back in time even without a lady in waiting waiting for me. Tours last about 10 minutes and leave from across from the fountain in the main square.

Learning more about the history of the Nuremberg Christmas Market really brought it to life for me and made it meaningful, much more so than when I walked around clueless last year.  And besides, it’s not everyday that I get to be BFFs with Christkind…even if it is only in my imagination.

Visit the official Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg for further info.  You may find that visiting just one market is not enough (I’m a bit of a fanatic myself), in that case check out the Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market and My Favorite Christmas Markets in Munich.

Thank you to Nuremberg tourism for their tour.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.


    • says

      @Italian Notes – It’s definitely a southern Germany thing and I believe the prune people are unique to Nuremberg, but I could be wrong about that.

  1. says

    How awesome to be shown all the best parts by a knowledgeable local. I’ve always heard the Nuremberg market is touristy and overcrowded but this post makes me want to move it up to the top of my list of German markets to visit.

    • says

      @Jennifer – Agreed, I got a lot more out of this this way than when I went by myself last year. It was also really interesting to learn more about the history of the market.

  2. says

    This is the third or fourth post I’ve read about different Christmas markets, each suggesting that they have the best gingerbread available. I think there’s some serious research that needs to be done here. Get on that will you Laurel, and make sure you send some of the winning gingerbread back to me please.

    • says

      @Steve – I’m a Christmas market junkie and Nuremberg definitely gets my vote for the best gingerbread, although they do sell Nuremberg gingerbread at other Christmas markets :). I still prefer the gingerbread in North America though over the German gingerbread.

  3. says

    The market looks extremely festive. My favourite are the prune people – I’ve never seen anything quite like them before. Interesting idea to include the sister cities.

  4. says

    You were a big inspiration to us for our own journey to the German Christmas markets back in December. Thank you so much for all your help!

  5. says

    I am not very often in Europe for winter season, but I headed to Berlin last December and I was in love with Christmas markets. It feels so great to indulge in German sausages and mulled wine! Miss these moments a lot. Looks like Nuremberg has a lot to offer from delicious food to amazing locals.

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