The Ultimate Guide to the Hamburg Christmas Markets

It has been our dream for a really long time to visit the Christmas Markets in Germany. So when we were invited back to Hamburg to experience them first hand through the Come to Hamburg project, we couldn’t say no. Most European cities have their own take on the markets but nothing compares to Germany. In Hamburg you will find Christmas Markets in different parts of the city, so of course we had to explore them all. Here is our guide. 

Getting Around

First things first, Hamburg is a big city so you will need a Hamburg Card to help you get around the city. That way you can explore the city by bus, train, and ferry.

Rathaus Markets

Located next to the incredibly picturesque Rathaus (Town Hall), these are some of the busiest markets in Hamburg. If you can, try to visit in the day or during the week when it is less crowded. As soon as we arrived we made a beeline for the bratwurst stand, and then of course felt it was necessary to wash it all down with some gluhwein.

The atmosphere at these markets is very jovial and you will find stalls from over 80 traders as well. The fact that the markets are located right next to the Rathaus make them really atmospheric. You will also find rides for the kids, as well as several makeshift bars for the adults. Definitely take your time and enjoy the stalls with your gluhwein in hand.

Of course food is such a big part of the markets as well. Here we dined on bratwurst, fried potato cakes topped with cheese and ham, as well as some amazing traditional donuts.

Santa Pauli Markets

The Santa Pauli Markets are supposed to be the naughtiest Christmas markets in Hamburg. Located near the Reeperbahn we felt it was more of a light hearted take on the Christmas markets. You will still find your traditional market stalls, mixed with some more risque stalls. There is also a stripper tent that opens at around 6pm. I mean what could be more festive? And before you ask, yes it is heated, and no we didn’t go in.

In all honesty the markets weren’t too shocking. You can choose to go into the more risque areas, but this is seperate to the rest of the markets.  Really these markets are designed to shock and entertain, so it is definitely worth a visit if you are after something a little different.

Winterwald and markets around Monckebergstrasse

Dotted around the shopping area just up from the Rathaus you will find a lot of festive cheer. The markets here don’t get as busy as the Rathaus because there is more open space to walk around.

Here we feasted on waffles, fries, and some sort of stick with meat (I really wish I had of paid attention to what kind of animal it was).

The best thing about these markets though is the Winterwald, a small winter forest with gluhwein and hot chocolates with rum. For us, this was so magical. There are wood chippings on the floor and Christmas lights strung out all around.

Markets at Jungfernsteig Station

These markets are brightly lit and provide plenty of Christmas cheer with a view of Lake Binnenalster (with its very own Christmas tree). They are not as big as the markets mentioned above but do provide a nice respite from the crowds of the other markets.

Gansemarkt Ginger Bread Villiage

This was a complete Hansel and Gretel moment for us as the huts in this market looked like you could eat them. It is a lovely atmosphere and a real visual treat.

Apart from the gluhwein, here we feasted on crepes and shashlik (a chicken skewer in curry sauce).

Uberseeboulevard markets in Hafen City

Although the markets here are small and there isn’t a huge variety of food, what makes them different is the ice skating rink. Of course, being full of bratwurst and gluhwein, we watched the enthusiastic skaters from the comfort of the tented bar.

Bergedorf Christmas Markets

These were without a doubt our favourite Christmas Markets. We stayed at the Hotel Bergedorfer Hohe, so stumbled upon these markets by accident. We are so glad that we did. Located about a 20 minute subway ride from Hamburg city centre, these were the most authentic markets we visited.

The markets are located out the front of the Bergedorf Castle, and whilst they weren’t huge markets walking around here made us feel so christmassy. We absolutely recommend visiting if you have the time.

Winterdom

So this technically isn’t a Christmas Market per se but there were a lot of Christmas stalls and gingerbread stands so lets go with it. It is a bustling fairground open throughout most of the year. In November it gets its winter on in a big way. The atmosphere is fantastic and there are a lot of rides and rollercoasters you can hop on if you are looking for a thrill. Otherwise you can just sit back and relax in one of the many bars.

Tips

  • Don’t forget that you pay a deposit for your mugs whenever you order a drink at the markets. You then get the option to either return it and get your deposit back or keep the mug as a souvenir. The different markets tend to have different mugs as well, so if you are anything like us you will be carrying more mugs then luggage on your trip home.

So on that note cheers and enjoy the markets!

 

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Divya
    December 9, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    I must have looked at your pictures more than a couple of times! Such warmth in your pictures and oh yes, its been my dream too, and I am glad I am seeing it through you now. Such gorgeous marketplace makes you feel more festive, and about mugs, you bet 😛

    • Reply
      wanderlustandlife@gmail.com
      December 9, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      Aww thank you so much. We definitely felt super festive after visiting!!! Bring on Christmas!

  • Reply
    wanderlustvlog
    December 11, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    All that food looks so delicuious!! Hamburg, and Germany in general, always offer very good (and a lot!) christmas markets. Love the pictures!

    • Reply
      wanderlustandlife@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      thanks so much. We really loved it, and you are right they do offer A LOT of Christmas Markets!!

  • Reply
    Lori
    December 12, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Wow, we were just talking about this very thing for next year. After seeing your photos which I keep looking at, your article may have made-up our minds. Thanks for all the tips on where to go.

    • Reply
      wanderlustandlife@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      Oh good. We really recommend it. The atmosphere is incredible, and the food and drinks are even better.

  • Reply
    Tami
    December 12, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    I’ve always wanted to visit a European Christmas market. In fact, I’m the one who ventures into any Christmas-themed store, Christimastime or not! I’ve always thought it would be so magical, especially with the addition of snow. However, I had no idea they added strip joints or other risque attractions. I would have been completely shocked to run into one of those! Please tell me they don’t ALL do that! Anyway, I enjoyed your photo tour, and I DO hope I can make it to one of the markets (or many!) someday.
    Tami recently posted…San Diego’s Global Winter WonderlandMy Profile

    • Reply
      wanderlustandlife@gmail.com
      December 12, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      No it was just one random one in Hamburg near the Reeperbahn area that had that. I guess really it is for shock value. Not our cup of tea but the markets and mulled wine were lovely.

  • Reply
    Medha
    December 13, 2017 at 4:15 am

    These Christmas markets look pretty amazing! I’ve heard so much about the German markets, I must visit them one of these years. This year, however, I am visiting Austria and I am super excited about seeing my first ever Christmas market there. So excited!

    • Reply
      wanderlustandlife@gmail.com
      December 13, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      that sounds amazing. Austria is so beautiful I would love to be there at Christmas.

  • Reply
    Aniek
    December 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Though I have visited lots of German Christmas markets, I haven’t been to Hamburg yet. I just love all the little shops at the markets.
    Aniek recently posted…7x keer bijzonder overnachten in de TarnMy Profile

    • Reply
      wanderlustandlife@gmail.com
      December 15, 2017 at 8:36 am

      I know the little stalls are so awesome aren’t they.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    December 14, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I will be in Europe in January and everything I read keeps talking about Christmas markets! They look amazing and I guess next time I’ll just have to plan my trip for December!

    I especially love all the pictures of food on sticks! I love anything you can eat off a stick 🙂

    • Reply
      wanderlustandlife@gmail.com
      December 15, 2017 at 8:37 am

      I’m with you there, anything on a stick is definitely worth eating. HAHA!

  • Reply
    Juergen Klein
    December 15, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    I didn’t know that Hamburg has so many Christmas Markets. Did I see Bratwurst with tomato ketchup in your hand? That’s not how you should eat it! It calls for hot mustard! You picked a good location to stay and find your favourite Christmas Market: Bergedorf is a nice suburb – it feels so removed from the city of Hamburg!
    Juergen Klein recently posted…32 More Street Art Photos to Admire from Comuna 13My Profile

    • Reply
      wanderlustandlife@gmail.com
      December 16, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      I will have to go for the mustard option next time!! We really did get lucky with Bergedorf, it was so beautiful there.

  • Reply
    Alice Teacake
    December 17, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    I ADORE the Christmas markets in Germany! They just have such a warm, glorious atmosphere to them – and all that yummy food and drink makes it for me! It’s cool to hear about Winterdom: get me on that rollercoaster!
    Alice Teacake recently posted…The India Golden Triangle Tour Package That Will Change How You Travel ForeverMy Profile

    • Reply
      wanderlustandlife@gmail.com
      December 17, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      I agree. The food and drink at these Christmas Markets is just the best. Thats what xmas is all about!

  • Reply
    Kate Rebel
    December 19, 2017 at 10:34 am

    Dang, I’ve just been to Hamburg in August and naturally missed out on the Christmas markets 😀 Your pictures look amazing and thank God I just had a mug of Glühwein earlier otherwise I would have wanted one now hehe 😀 As a true Bavarian though I have to admit that I think that the best Christmas markets are down South 😛

    • Reply
      wanderlustandlife@gmail.com
      December 19, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      Oh my gosh I can only imagine how amazing the markets are in the South! One day I hope to visit. x

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