Christmas in Munich 2023: A Festive Extravaganza of Traditions, Markets, and Delights
Germany is one of the best places to experience the Christmas holiday season. It is celebrated with two public holidays, December 25 and 26.
Christmas in Munich, Germany, in 2023 is filled with gentle snowfall, twinkling lights and the distant sounds of carols. The city transforms into a winter wonderland.
The city has over 20 Christmas markets, each offering a unique blend of traditional crafts, delectable treats, and a heartwarming holiday atmosphere.
A romantic getaway or visit to its renowned Disney or Neuschwanstein Castle, can completely elevate your experience to new heights!
With everything taken into account, Germany is a Christmas paradise.
This guide lists things to see and do during your Christmas visit to Munich, Germany.
Christmas Traditions in Germany
The 25 December is the main day of celebration in Germany. It is known as Erster Feiertag, the first celebration day.
On 6 December, people celebrate Saint Nicholas Day by hanging up stockings and discovering surprises left by Saint Nicholas the next morning.
Advent calendars, wreaths, and Sternsinger are all traditions that mark the days leading up to Christmas.
Germans decorate their homes with Christmas angels, hand-carved wooden Nutcracker figures, and Nativity scenes.
On Christmas Eve, families spend the day decorating trees, preparing food, and making their homes festive.
The ‘Christkind‘ delivers presents, and families gather around the tree for carols and the opening of gifts.
Traditional carols like Stille Nacht and O Tannenbaum are an important part of Christmas in Germany.
Traditional Christmas Foods in Germany
On Christmas Day, Germans gather for a traditional Christmas meal.
The main dish is typically a roasted duck, rabbit or goose, served with potato dumplings, apple and sausage stuffing, red cabbage, and other German delicacies.
Popular cookies include Vanillekipferl, shaped like a half-moon.
Warm beverages like Glühwein, a hot mulled red wine, and Feuerzangenbowle, a fiery Christmas drink, are enjoyed throughout the holiday season.
Things to do During Christmas in Munich, Germany
If you visit Munich during the holidays, you will never forget Christmas.
Munich is the ideal Christmas destination due to the abundance of venues and events.
There are plenty of things to do in Germany during Christmas:
1.Don’t Miss the Christmas Markets in Munich 2023
Germany is popularly known for its Christmas markets, known as Christkindlmarkt.
Around 85 million people visit Christmas markets in Munich, Germany, every year.
The markets have all sorts of Christmas foods and decorations. The most famous German decorations are glass ornaments.
Munich’s Marienplatz Christmas Market
The Marienplatz Christmas Market in Munich is a winter wonderland that will fill your heart with joy.
The market is open from 22 November to 24 December and features over 140 stalls selling handcrafted Christmas decorations, intricate wood carvings, and delicate mouth-blown baubles.
The air is filled with the tantalizing aroma of mulled wine, gingerbread sweets, and Bavarian grilled sausages.
Don’t miss the opportunity to send a special greeting from the Christkindl post office, where your postcards will receive a unique commemorative stamp.
Let the festive spirit of Marienplatz Christmas Market fill your heart with joy and create unforgettable memories of your winter adventure in Munich.
Medieval Christmas Market in Munich
Escape the hustle and bustle of the modern world and visit Munich’s medieval Christmas market on Wittelsbacher Platz, near Odeonsplatz.
This is the event for you if you adore everything Viking or medieval.
The merchants provided handcrafted drinking horns, gold jewelry, and lambskins while dressed in medieval attire.
There is an open fire, food is grilled, and there are roaming jugglers and knights in dazzling armor.
A flaming beverage to try is the Feuerzangenbowle (set a bowl of rum punch on fire, then slowly melt a sugarloaf soaked in rum).
Pink Christmas at Stephansplatz
The Pink Christmas Market is far from your typical holiday market.
It’s a dazzling and entertaining spectacle that welcomes everyone with open arms.
Situated in Munich’s LGBTQ district, Stephansplatz, this event truly comes alive in the evening.
At that time, you can see the beauty of vibrant pink lights and festive decorations and enjoy music and performances.
It’s an experience not to be missed!
Winter Magic at the Viktualienmarkt
If you’re looking for a fresh and delicious way to experience the Munich way of life during the Christmas season, the Viktualienmarkt is the place to be.
This popular food market offers fresh variety, and during the holiday season, it exudes a special charm that’s hard to resist.
With Christmas lights, advent magic, and mulled wine, the market is a feast for the senses.
One of the highlights of the Viktualienmarkt during the Christmas season is the Nativity scene in the beer garden.
This beautiful display perfectly mirrors the market’s festive activities and adds to the overall charm and ambiance.
But that’s not all. Many tasty treats are available at the market, inviting you to nibble and indulge while you take in the holiday spirit.
Christmas Market at Munich Airport
The Munich Airport hosts a Christmas and winter market that offers a festive atmosphere.
Amidst a beautifully decorated fir forest and a large ice rink, visitors from near and far can enjoy various delicious foods and positive vibes.
The market opens every day from 11 am to 9 pm, allowing passengers and visitors to enjoy the market’s offerings even if the weather is unfavorable.
Live music of different styles adds to the enjoyment of the event.
As in previous years, the covered outdoor area provides a welcoming space for everyone to enjoy the Christmas spirit.
2. A Visit to Disney Castle- Neuschwanstein
Have you ever seen a real fairytale castle?
You can visit this fairytale castle in Germany, which inspired Walt Disney to design the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.
Neuschwanstein Castle in winter offers a perfect city escape with amazing views and can be visited on a day trip from Munich.
With 1.4 million tourists per year, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world.
It was built by King Ludwig II, who wanted to create more than 200 rooms. Unfortunately, he couldn’t go through with his plans.
You can visit the castle and learn more about King Ludwig, also called “the Mad King,” and the story behind the castle’s construction.
You can enjoy a relatively peaceful visit to the castle without the crowds in the winter. Make sure to book Neuschwanstein Castle tickets in advance for a hassle-free visit.
3. Visit Alte Pinakothek: A Timeless Encounter with Artistic Genius
During Christmas, you can spend a few hours at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich to escape the cold and windy weather.
This prestigious museum, located on Theresienstrasse, is actually three museums in one, showcasing artwork from the Middle Ages to modern times.
While exploring independently, you can also book a guided tour online.
One of Munich’s greatest retail avenues, Theatinerstrasse, is conveniently located nearby.
It would be best to combine your museum visit with some Christmas shopping. All of these locations are within walking distance.
4. Try Curling At The Nymphenburger Canal
Do you enjoy winter sports? Well, here’s an opportunity to try out one of the latest winter sports trends- curling.
The Nymphenburg Canal in Munich offers a beautiful and unique location to curl.
The canal is quite shallow, so it freezes easily, and it’s safe to visit only once the temperature drops below freezing point.
However, visitors must remember that stepping on the ice is risky. Curling sticks are available for rent, so have fun shooting away.
The Nymphenburg Palais, the baroque palace, is situated on the canal and makes for gorgeous surroundings for the activity.
Additionally, ice hockey and ice skating are other options offered on the canal.
5. Jingle Bells, Tram Bells: Ring in the Festive Season with a Ride on Munich’s Christmas Tram
Munich is a lively city known for its festive atmosphere, as seen in the world-famous Oktoberfest.
The city keeps the party spirit alive during Christmas with a special event called the Christmas Tram.
This isn’t just an ordinary tram decked out in holiday decorations.
It’s a moving dinner party where you can enjoy a delicious meal or buffet while touring the city’s most beautiful sights, all adorned with twinkling Christmas lights.
Dressed in traditional costumes, the staff ensures that you have a memorable evening as you ride through town.
To join the festivities, simply book your tour on the website and prepare to celebrate the holiday season in style.
6. Glide into Winter Wonderland: Ice Skate At Muenchner Eiszauber
Ice skating at the Muenchner Eiszauber is an absolute must during the Christmas season in Munich.
For the 20th time, Bavaria’s largest mobile ice arena, “Eiszauber,” is back in the heart of Munich at Karlsplatz-Stachus from 24 November, 2023, to 15 January, 2024.
This year’s program offers a range of activities and specials, including Tracht on Ice on Mondays.
Saturday Night Fever has party hits and a two-for-one special on Sundays.
Skating is available between 10:30 am and 10 pm daily.
Don’t worry if you’ve never skated before; you can rent skates on-site. To ensure a pleasant experience, the ice time is divided into blocks to prevent overcrowding.
Each day offers a different program to keep you entertained.
Plus, if you come dressed in traditional Bavarian attire, such as a dirndl or lederhosen, you’ll even get free entrance to the Wies’n Hits!
And, of course, there’s no shortage of delicious food and drinks available to satisfy your cravings. Get ready to party with the exciting evening program as the sun sets.
There is another ice rink at Olympiapark, where the city’s ice hockey team trains and plays.
If you are serious about skating, you can take free skating sessions there!
Prinzregentenstadion, Eis- and Funsportzentrum Ost, Hamburg and EisArena are other ice skating rinks located in the city.
7. Best Places for Christmas Shopping in Munich
If you’re searching for last-minute or unique Christmas gifts, then Munich is the place to go.
Aside from the traditional Christmas markets that offer handcrafted Bavarian items, Munich is home to shopping streets that cater to different budgets.
Although some of these streets are pedestrian areas, be careful, as they are also open to bicycles and trams.
One of the most popular Christmas stores in Munich is the Galeria Kaufhof, situated between Marienplatz and Karlstor.
It offers a wide range of products and beautiful Christmas decorations.
Marienplatz and Theatinerstrasse are lined with shops selling jewelry, designer clothes, and art.
For a large selection of books in various languages, visit Hugendubel, located either on Stachus or Karlsplatz, right across from Hotel Bayerischer Hof.
8. Unleash Your Inner Elf: See the Magical Wintertollwood Festival
The Wintertollwood festival, held at Theresienwiese, the iconic venue of Oktoberfest, offers a unique Christmas experience.
Running from 24 November to 23 December, this year’s festival exudes a lively party atmosphere.
The theme centers around fire and light, showcased through a magnificent firebird sculpture and fire painting.
Three tents feature stalls selling exclusively sustainable goods.
The enchanted magical forest is a stunning addition to the festival, housing a towering Christmas tree adorned with colorful baubles and balloons.
Visitors can explore captivating art installations and enjoy live band performances in the witches’ cauldron, which remains open until 1 am.
Fun Facts about Christmas in Germany 2024
- The Christmas tree found its place in German homes at the end of the 18th century. Before that, people just decorated their houses.
- Santa Claus doesn’t bring gifts at Christmas in Germany; the baby Jesus—”Christkind”—does.
- Germans love mulled wine and each year, they drink 50 million liters.
- Several tons of gingerbread cookies are made every year in Germany.
- In 1995, they made 1,16,000 tons. One of the most popular cookies is the Vanillekipferl (vanilla flavor), shaped like a half-moon.
- On average, 281 EUR are spent on Christmas gifts each year by the Germans. The most popular gift in recent years has been a gift card.
- Traditional German Christmas food is roast duck with red cabbage and potato dumplings. This tradition goes back to 1588 when the English queen Elizabeth I ate the roast duck for Christmas dinner.
- Germany has approximately 3000 Christmas markets, which make 5 billion euros of yearly income, employ 1,90,000 people, and welcome 80-90 million visitors worldwide.
How do they celebrate Christmas in Germany?
In Germany, Christmas is celebrated with great joy and tradition.
The festivities include decorating Christmas trees, exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve, attending church services, and enjoying festive meals with family.
Is Germany good for Christmas?
Yes! Germany is considered one of the best places to experience the Christmas holiday season.
The country transforms into a winter wonderland with gentle snowfall, twinkling lights, and the sounds of carols.
From renowned Christmas markets like Nuremberg to the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, visitors can enjoy a beautiful festive experience.
Does it snow in Germany at Christmas?
Yes, snowfall is quite common in Germany during the Christmas season.
The scenic view of snow-covered landscapes adds to the festive charm, creating a perfect backdrop for Christmas celebrations.
What are traditions that Germans do on Christmas?
Germans follow various Christmas traditions, including the celebration of Saint Nicholas Day on 6 December and the Krampus Nacht, where people playfully dress as Krampus.
They use the Advent calendars to count down the days until Christmas.
Families decorate their homes with Christmas angels, Nutcracker figures, and festive wreaths.
Christmas Eve is the main celebration day, marked by decorating trees, exchanging presents, attending church services, singing Christmas Carols and enjoying family dinner.
What are German Christmas food traditions?
German Christmas food traditions include a festive meal on Christmas Day with dishes like roast duck, rabbit or goose.
Other dishes include potato dumplings, apple and sausage stuffing, and red cabbage.
Christmas stollen, a delicious fruit bread, is a popular dessert enjoyed throughout the holiday season.
Is there ice skating in Germany?
Yes, ice skating is a popular wintertime activity in Germany.
Various cities, including Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, and others, offer ice skating rinks where locals and visitors can enjoy gliding on the ice.
Notable rinks like the one at Eissporthalle Frankfurt provide a wonderful experience for skaters of all levels.
When do Christmas markets start in Munich?
Christmas markets in Munich, Germany, typically start in late November or the first week of December.
The dates vary slightly from city to city but are generally open in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Is Munich a good place to spend Christmas?
As Christmas approaches, Munich, the enchanting capital of Bavaria, transforms into a glistening winter wonderland.
The city has more than 20 Christmas markets. You can spend time browsing the stalls, indulging in sweet treats, and smelling mulled wine and roast chestnuts, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Does Munich have a good Christmas market?
Munich hosts more than 20 charming Christmas markets.
The main market at Marienplatz is the biggest and most famous, with over 140 stalls selling traditional Bavarian handicrafts, decorations, and delectable treats.
Other notable markets include the Christkindlmarkt at Viktualienmarkt, the Pink Christmas Market at Stephansplatz, and the Wintertollwood Festival, featuring live music, art installations, and festive food.
Is Munich or Berlin better for Christmas?
Munich is a great option if you want a traditional and authentic Christmas experience.
Berlin is a better choice if you are looking for a more modern and cosmopolitan Christmas experience.
Are the Munich Christmas markets worth it?
Yes, Munich’s Christmas markets are definitely worth it. They are some of Germany’s most famous and popular Christmas markets, and for good reason.
They are a great place to experience the festive spirit of Christmas, with their charming stalls, twinkling lights, and delicious food and drink.
What is the most famous Christmas market in Germany?
The most famous Christmas market in Germany is the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, held annually in Nuremberg’s Hauptmarkt square from late November to 24 December.
It is one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world, dating back to the 16th century.
It is known for its traditional wooden stalls, festive atmosphere, and various Christmas ornaments, handicrafts, and food and drinks.
What is the main Christmas market in Munich?
The main Christmas market in Munich is the Christkindlmarkt on Marienplatz.
It is the largest and most famous Christmas market in Munich and is in the city’s central square.
The market is open from late November to Christmas Eve and features over 140 stalls selling traditional Bavarian handicrafts, decorations, and food.
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