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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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!