Would Christmas in Germany even be Christmas in Germany without an abundance of Christmas Markets?! I made it my mission to seek out the best markets Munich has to offer; I spent countless hours sipping gluhwein, tasting lebkuchen, and perusing the ornaments. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
MUNICH’S BEST CHRISTMAS MARKETS
I’m dedicating this post to my husband, Paul. No one loves Christmas more than this guy. In fact, I’ve never seen him happier than he is during the holidays. To quote Phoebe Buffay, at Christmas time he’s “like Santa Claus, on Prozac, at Disneyland, getting laid”.
And now, I present to you, Munich’s BEST Christmas Markets.
The Pink Market is just so… pink! Dubbed as the “gay friendly” Christmas market, everything is covered in pink lights. Santa’s hang from the trees and pink-plastered angels adorn the stage. The market offers nightly live-shows for free. DJ’s (dressed as a unicorn when I was there) pump Mariah Carey’s famed Christmas album and everyone sings along! The atmosphere is vibrant and fun. They have many food and drink choices, including vegetarian options.
Distance from Altstadt: 15 minute walk or 6 minute train
Entertainment: Live music every night at 7pm
Insider Tip: Wear something pink! Almost everyone had the festive color on, whether it was a scarf, hat, or full-on jumpsuit.
MUNICH’S MEDIEVAL MARKET
The Medieval Market is small but cozy. It’s unique to the others on this list because it is in fact, medieval! The stalls are decorated like ancient half-timbered buildings, adorned with intricate carvings. All of the employees are dressed in traditional costumes. You’ll find glass-blowers, lantern makers, and goldsmiths, sharing their craft with the crowds.
Distance from Altstadt: 10 minute walk or 5 minute train
Entertainment: On the weekends there are live performances by jugglers, knights, and evening fire shows.
Insider Tip: Head towards the back of the market and order a feuerzangenbowle. What’s that? It’s a super special gluhwein. They start by filling your chalice (yes chalice, this is a medieval market after all) with gluhwein. Then they add a rum-soaked sugar cube and light it on fire. The sugar cube slowly melts into the wine, creating a slightly sweet, spiced wine. This delicious masterpiece is a bit controversial, many markets have banned the process for safety reasons.
Christmas market isn’t exactly the right word for Tollwood, it’s a massive festival. Each year they choose a theme, with this year’s motto being “‘We, all’. Let’s stand up and fight for a tolerant, peaceful and open society. Only together we can preserve and create a world that’s worth living“. Tollwoord is focused on being a socially conscious festival. Check out their Market of Ideas which includes various tents offering fair trade goods and more vegetarian & vegan options than you can imagine! Don’t worry, meat eaters, there are plenty of brats and the likes to go around.
Although entrance into the festival is free, there are some exhibits that require paid tickets. Never fear though, because 70% of their options are free!
Distance from Altstadt: 30 minute walk or 15 minute train. It’s held in the same spot as Oktoberfest.
Entertainment: Tollwood is overflowing with entertainment. There are many art installations throughout the grounds, live music, and other multimedia options (like theatre & cabaret).
Insider Tip: Take some time to head out of the market and walk a short distance to the Bavaria Monument. This bronze, 19th century statue “is a female personification of the Bavarian homeland, and by extension its strength and glory“.
Santa gave me a jingle on the ole’ telephone tonight to tell me how good you have been all year! So as a treat, I’m throwing in one more item for your Munich Christmas Bucket-List… the Muchner Eiszauber skating rink! It’s held at the Stachus Square (also known as Karlsplatz) just a few minutes walk from Marienplatz.
If skating isn’t your thing, there’s a two story bar where you can grab a drink and watch the action below. They have a different theme each night of the week. A few of my favorites include Mondays “Tracht on Ice” (if you wear dirndl or lederhosen you get free admission), Tuesdays “Singles Night” and Fridays “Party on Ice” pumping house beats.
There are so many markets to discover in Munich, I decided to make this a two-part post, so next week you will find the conclusion here on the blog… A few of my favorites are yet to come! Until then, stay warm, and enjoy a mug or two of gluhwein!
What’s your favorite Christmas Market tradition?