In case the picture alone doesn’t convince you, here are some of the best things about Christmas markets in Berlin.
Growing up in Oregon, I found my hometown would shut down after a few flakes of snow. With but a few scarves, a warm(ish) coat, boots and some wool socks as my “winter clothes” I was not prepared for big time winter in Berlin. The first day it snowed I wore two pairs of jeans, three pairs of socks and kept a thermos full of hot beverages glued to my hand. I was not a happy camper as the weather forecast dropped into the teens.
At this point there were very few things that would inspire me to wander the snowy streets of Berlin. As beautiful as this winter wonderland was, I was much happier to observe it from inside a ball of blankets in my apartment. Luckily, before I shut myself off completely, I stumbled upon Berlin’s Christmas markets.
In case the picture alone doesn’t convince you, here are some of the best things about Christmas markets in Berlin:
- Glüwein – A warm drink made with red wine and various spices. It’s delicious and will help keep you warm! Many of the Christmas markets also have specialized mugs that you can buy to walk around with and keep as a souvenir. I’m currently experimenting to find my favorite Glüwein recipe so stay tuned for the verdict next week!
- Food – Go to these markets when you’re hungry. The food at the big markets is absolutely amazing (especially at the first two of my three favorites that I mention below). Be sure to try the samples of Stollen and Lebkuchen.
- Gifts – Incense smokers, nutcrackers, Christmas pyramids and more!
There are over 60 Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas markets) in Berlin so it can be hard to choose between them. My three favorites were the Charlottenburg Schloss, Gendarmenmarket and Potsdamer Platz Christmas Markets. The castle (“Schloss” in German) of Charlottenburg is decorated with Christmas lights and creates a beautiful backdrop for the market which offers items from 150 different vendors. The Gendarmenmarket is complete with a stage of ongoing musical and theatrical performances. Finally, at Potsdamer Platz you can whizz down Europe’s largest toboggan run (12 meters high and 70 meters long) or skate in the ice rink.
Now that I live in California, I never thought I would miss the frigid winter weather in Berlin. Yet I would gladly trade my sunshine for 18 degrees if it meant a visit to a Christmas Market. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is, in my opinion, the best time of the year and there’s no better place to spend it than in Berlin.