The Most Beautiful Christmas Markets in Munich

Munich has an unbelievable 24 Christmas Markets! It’s one of the best cities in Germany to celebrate the holiday season.

5 of the best Christmas markets that you'll want to visit in Munich, Germany

Christmas Markets all share commonalities. There are vendors selling their wares, and locals meeting over a mug of Glühwein, but each has its own flair. Before you go, be sure to read my Tips for Making the Most of Your Time at a Christmas Market.

Here are 5 of the Most Beautiful Christmas Markets in Munich:

Medieval Christmas Market

You'll find the Medieval Christmas Market at Wittelsbacherplatz in Munich, Germany

Medieval Christmas Market

Upon entering the Medieval Market in Wittelsbacher Platz (near Odeonsplatz) you’ll wonder if you’ve just stepped into a time machine and popped out back in the middle ages. Vendors dressed in medieval clothing sell their medieval wares.

Glühwein is served in heavy hand-pottered mugs.  On weekends, there are a variety of free musical performances played on long-forgotten instruments dating back to the middle ages.  Children especially enjoy this market.

Christmas Village in the Munich Residenz

The Christmas village is held in the courtyard of the Munich Residenz and is great for children.

Christmas Market in the courtyard of the Munich Residenz.

It’s hard to compete with a Christmas market held in the courtyard of a palace. Strategically placed lights provide the WOW factor on the entrance.

In addition, this market has the best food of all the Christmas markets in my opinion. It’s a popular meeting spot for locals. You’ll also find a fairytale village which is always a hit with children. Expect singing moose and

You’ll also find a fairytale village which is always a hit with children. Expect singing moose and miniature Santa Clauses singing Christmas carols.

The Christmas Village at the Munich Residenz features a fairytale village which is popular with children.

The fairytale village features singing Santa Clauses and angels are a hit with kids.

Tollwood Winter Festival

You'll find a Christmas market as part of the Tollwood Winter Festival in the Theresienwiese, Munich, Germany

Tollwood Winter Fesitval

I found it impossible to identify just one reason why I love Tollwood Winter Festival so much.  Tollwood is a combined Christmas market/exhibition of cultural, political and scientific events.

It’s also a hip place to hang out with live music. The commonality that ties it all together is the environmental focus.  I plan multiple trips to Tollwood each year. It’s fun meeting friends and listening to free live music at the Tief im Wald Bar (Deep in Forest Bar),  the coolest bar I’ve ever been to complete with a forest atmosphere. or to listen to one of the incredible presentations. A couple of years ago I saw a film about my idol, Jane Goodall film (famous primatologist who works with chimpanzees). This year I’ll  honour of hearing her speak at Tollwood.

I also enjoy attending the incredible presentations. A couple of years ago I saw a film about my idol, Jane Goodall film (famous primatologist who works with chimpanzees). This year I’ll  honour of hearing her speak at Tollwood.

A couple of years ago I saw a film about my idol, Jane Goodall film (famous primatologist who works with chimpanzees). In 2016 I had the honour of hearing her speak at Tollwood.

I’ve spent more money at Tollwood than I have at all the other Christmas Markets I’ve visited combined. While I’m not much of a shopper, my favourite Christmas market find was at Tollwood. It’s a handcrafted coffee table built from a Bavarian farmhouse dating back to 1807.

Tollwood is often described as a “small Oktoberfest” since the winter festival is held on the same ground as Oktoberfest.  I’ve never seen anything as eclectic, making it a strong contender for my favourite festivals of all time. Only the World Nomad Games are in contention!

The Christmas Market at Marienplatz

You'll find the Christmas Pyramid at the Rindermarkt, near Marienplatz in Munich, Germany.

The Christmas Pyramid is one of the seasonal highlights.

This is the oldest and the largest Christmas market in Munich. It’s also the most touristy. While I find it too crowded for my liking, it definitely is the most gorgeous. The huge Christmas tree at Marienplatz is always a highlight.

Be sure to check out the giant Christmas Pyramid at Rinderplatz. You’ll also want to stroll down Kaufinger St. all the way to Stachaus (Karlsplatz). Here, you’ll find a skating rink. I recommend visiting it, getting your photos, then heading to one of the smaller markets for a mug of Glühwein.

Schwabing Christmas Market for Artisans

This market is charming with hanging lanterns scattered throughout. But what really impressed me about it was the artisans. It has some of the most talented artisans I’ve seen at any Christmas market.

There’s also an Art Tent where vendors display their larger works of arts.  This bohemian type market will be especially appreciated by anyone with an interest in art, or those looking for a unique gift.

Convenient Places to Stay for Visiting Christmas Markets in Munich

Rocco Forte the Charles Hotel

This 5-star design hotel gets raves reviews for its location – it overlooks the Old Botanical Garden. Guests love its special touches, like the original paintings by Munich artist Franz von Lenbach in every guest room.
Price: From €360
Getting there: Sophienstrasse. 28, Munich (a 2-minute walk from the Hauptbahnhof, Central Train Station)

Platzl Hotel – Superior

This 4-star hotel is in the heart of Munich. It features old-world charm, a 16th century restaurant and floor to ceiling windows.
Price: From €285 double
Getting There: Sparkassenstr. 10, Altstadt – Lehel, 80331 Munich (a 2-minute walk from Marienplatz)

Hotel Torbräu

A classically furnished 4-star hotel, with some rooms offering views of Isator (one of the city’s three remaining gates).
Price: From €190 double
Getting There: Tal 41, Altstadt – Lehel, 80331 Munich (a 5-minute walk to Marienplatz)

Hotel Freisinger Hof

Located in Bogenhausen, where some of Munich’s most extravagant villas, can be found, this 4-star hotel overlooks the English Garden. You’re just a few minutes’ walk away from the Christmas Market at the Chinese Tower. Afterwards you can warm up in the hotel’s Finnish sauna!
Price: From €126 double
Getting There: Oberföhringerstraße 191, Bogenhausen, 81925 Munich (~12-minute tram ride to the city centre).

What are your favourite Christmas markets in Munich?

Check out my new book, Bavaria’s Top Castles and Christmas Markets, now available on Kindle for just €3.99.

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

Note: This article was originally published in 2011, but was updated in December 2016. 

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.

There are a whopping 24 Christmas Markets in Munich, Germany! Here are my top 5 that I recommend visiting to celebrate the holiday season.
2017-10-26T15:06:50+00:00

42 Comments

  1. Mette Christensen December 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    24 Christmas markets is a lot – even for a city the size of Munich. Must be a lot of hard work to check out all and sample their Glühwein;)

  2. Laurel December 6, 2011 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    @Mette – I was surprised that there were so many as well. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it 🙂

  3. Zhu December 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    I had no idea a city could have that many markets! I always think of one Christmas market per city, like in France.

  4. Claire December 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    I’m now thinking Germany would be wonderful to visit over Christmas next year. That is a lot of markets! Good luck with the Chimpanzee photo!

  5. Turkey's For Life December 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    I’m not the jealous type Lauel but – I’m jealous! We’re suckers for a good Christmas market and I’ve never been to one in Germany but in my head, the Germans do a pretty decent Christmas market. They have Gluhwein for a start! 🙂 We’re getting festive at the moment and are enjoying an evening gluhwein or 3. Love it! 🙂 Lucky you having so many markets to get you in the spirit of things.
    Julia

  6. Michael December 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    Isn’t it interesting to see how different Chrismas markets can be? I too prefer the more original ones, the ones that doesn’t try to appeal to foeign tourists too much.

  7. Annie - FootTracker December 7, 2011 at 12:01 am - Reply

    I been wanting to go to Christmas Market in Germany for all my life =DD Thank you for posting this, I think I will like the Medieval market (double themed is even better than only Christmas!) and Schwabing market. Which market has the best food to you?

  8. Barbara - The Dropout Diaries December 7, 2011 at 3:31 am - Reply

    I’m jealous too!
    It’s not very Christmas-y here in Thailand. Which may be a good thing this year. I am dreading the first Christmas without my Dad. 🙁
    I am so desperate for a while Christmas and lots of Gluhwein, though. Maybe next year!

  9. Lisa December 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    I have become increasingly obsessed of late with visiting Christmas markets in Europe – here’s three more added to my growing list!

  10. Sam December 8, 2011 at 2:17 am - Reply

    The Medieval Christmas Market looks like it would be my favourite.

  11. Laurel December 8, 2011 at 9:46 am - Reply

    @Zhu – I was surprised too. Some of them are small, but still 24 is a lot for one city.

    @Claire – I love Germany in December, it’s a beautiful time to come. Thanks for the wishes on the chimpanzee photo. Fingers crossed.

    @Julia – I’m a lucky girl 🙂 Glad that you’re able to find Gluehwein in Turkey. I’ve had more than my fair share already but don’t plan to slow down.

    @Michael – Agreed, some of them are really different and after seeing so many, they need something unique to make them stand out.

    @Annie – The medieval market in Munich is fun, but the one in Esslingen is even better. Regarding food, I would have to say Tollwood since they have all the traditional German food, but also an international food court with Thai and Indian food to name a few. The best Gluehwein I’ve had is at the Munich Residenz Christmas Market which I also really enjoy, but wasn’t one of my top 3.

    @Barbara – I really missed Christmas when I lived in Thailand as well. The second year I lived there we decided to go for a beach holiday – one of the most un-Christmasy things you can do. The first Christmas after the loss of a loved one is the toughest – my thoughts are with you.

    @Lisa – Me too. I’ve already started on my list for NEXT year 🙂

    @Sam – The medieval one is a lot of fun.

  12. […] 1. Taking a vacation around Christmas-time (when you often get extra days off work for free) can seem like a great idea until you realize that while you’re sitting in a sterile hotel room by yourself, everyone else is off with their families, eating, drinking and opening gifts. Whether you’re traveling by yourself, or with young children who are longing for the traditional Christmas experience, it’s possible to reignite the holiday spirit by visiting a festive market. This article lists five great European cities for Christmas markets, while this one delves specifically into the market scene in Germany. […]

  13. fotoeins | Henry December 10, 2011 at 8:01 am - Reply

    I stopped by the Schwabing market last year (2010) on my way to see some friends around the Münchner Freiheit area – the market was a lot of fun, and had a different and distinct vibe than the markets in the Mitte.

    I’ve heard some great things about Tollwood at various times of the year. In all of the times I’ve visited Munich over the last ten years, I’ve never been to Tollwood. Usually my schedule is a little tight and there’s enough to pack in just a single visit with friends and, perhaps, a museum or two, over a period of two to three days. Perhaps, I can fix that by visiting Tollwood at the end of next year …

    Thanks for your post, Laurel!

  14. trvl8dintern December 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    Love the first one! Was the stuff expensive?

  15. Paul Steele March 4, 2012 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    Love it 🙂 I do so miss the markets from when I lived there

  16. Stephen Reynolds October 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Now a family tradition for us – we visit Germany every year the last weekend before Christmas. We’ve been to Munich 3 times, but Cologne is our favourite. We’ve been to Berlin (which was incredibly crowded and a bit unpleasant for that reason) and did a quick visit to Bonn last year where the market is small but you could visit Beethoven’s house. This year we are trying Dusseldorf.

    Stephen.

    • Laurel October 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      @Stephen – You sound like the Christmas market expert! I haven’t been to the Christmas markets in Cologne or Berlin yet. The one in Bonn also sounds lovely. Let me know how the one in Dusseldorf is. I’ll be exploring more Christmas markets in southern Germany/Austria this year.

  17. Michael Hodson November 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    One of the few things I am excited for, being here this time of year. I hate the weather, but these markets are going to be so much fun to shoot.

    • Laurel November 27, 2012 at 3:24 pm - Reply

      @Michael – You will love it. There’s no shortage of Christmas markets in Germany. I’m doing my first Christmas market photo shoot of the year later this week.

  18. Ali December 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    Andy and I were just in Frankfurt over the weekend for their Christmas Markets and they were pretty great! Maybe we’ll get to Munich to check these out next year. Christmas Markets make cold December slightly more bearable. If only they lasted through the whole winter!

    • Laurel December 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm - Reply

      @Ali – I haven’t been to the Christmas Markets next year, maybe that will be on my list. We can swap places. Agree, it’s impossible to see them all in less than a month.

  19. Angela December 3, 2012 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Lovely photos, the medieval market looks fantastic, I’m already market-obsessed, plus a historical one, I couldn’t ask for anything better 😉

    • Laurel December 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      @Angela – I love the medieval market, it feels like you’re stepping back in time. I’m market-obsessed as well, markets are easy to be obsessed with 🙂

  20. Nisha December 9, 2013 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    I never thought Munich will have so many markets! This year I am also going to see some Christmas markets but not in Germany. 🙂

    • Laurel December 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      @Nisha – I was surprised as well. Hope you enjoy your visits. Let me know if you find any that you really like, I’m always on the lookout for new ones to explore.

  21. Renuka December 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    I have been reading a lot about Germany Christmas markets…. sounds really good! It looks like perfect Christmas spirit is in the air.

    • Laurel December 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      @Renuka – I love the Christmas markets, it really does get you in the holiday spirit.

  22. Sand In My Suitcase December 7, 2014 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Wow! You’re like a Christmas market queen, having visited so many of them in Europe, lucky girl :-). The lights, the color, the festivities – it probably all compensates for the cold, right? (Or would you prefer to visit these places in summer?)

  23. Francesca One Girl: One World December 16, 2014 at 12:34 am - Reply

    I have to bookmark this – it will be really helpful in the future! I have yet to make it to Germany but Christmas seems like the perfect time 🙂 Thanks for sharing

    • Laurel December 18, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

      @Francesca – Germany is amazing at Christmas time with all the Christmas markets. There are 17 alone in Munich – post coming soon 🙂

  24. Will December 26, 2014 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    Hope you guys had a wonderful holiday … cheers!

  25. Stella February 15, 2015 at 9:34 am - Reply

    WIsh i had come across this blog post earlier. I was in munich around christmas time 🙁

  26. Jill Browne December 10, 2016 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    How could I ever choose! These all sound like great Christmas markets.

    • Laurel December 10, 2016 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      @Jill – Good reason to keep coming back so that you can visit them all 🙂

  27. Lombok Wander Tour January 6, 2017 at 8:28 am - Reply

    What a nice Christmas in Munich !

    • Laurel January 8, 2017 at 2:26 pm - Reply

      Love Christmas in Munich, very festive!

  28. Taj Mahal January 9, 2017 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    Christmas Village seems to be great place with awesome food to taste however 25 markets in one city is really a surprise for me. I believe each market has something different to offer for Christmas.

  29. Lori January 11, 2017 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    How late are most of the Christmas Markets open until?

    • Laurel January 12, 2017 at 3:44 pm - Reply

      Hi Lori Most close Dec 23rd or 24th, and are open till ~ 9:00 pm, but some will close at 8:00pm.

  30. Lori January 11, 2017 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    I should have also asked which market is best for shopping (I love shopping 😉

    • Laurel January 13, 2017 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      @Lori, The one at Marienplatz is the largest, but the one at Münchener Freiheit is the best for buying handmade goods (jewellery, pottery, candles, etc.) made my artisans.

  31. France Visa January 30, 2017 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Good reason to keep coming back I want to leave a comment in your support. Carry on with good continuation. Best of luck for your blogging efforts.

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