Year Abroad Diaries: Berlin's Xmas Markets

In this Year Abroad Diaries, we explore the festivity of Berlin's Christmas markets.

Elana Shapiro
7th December 2021
Image credit: Pixabay
This week saw the opening of many of Berlin’s Christmas markets. With the alarmingly high number of Covid cases in Germany threatening their closure, and another possible lockdown on the horizon, I have spent the week trying to see and do as many things as possible before places are shut.

Germany is often associated with Christmas markets and although I have been told by several people that the ones in Bavaria are far better, the few markets which I visited in Berlin have not disappointed by any means. However, I would also like to acknowledge that there are many markets recommended to me which I have not yet visited, and the ones I will go on to discuss are not necessarily the best ones to see, just the ones which, by chance, I have.

  1. Alexanderplatz Market. These have been open the longest, for a couple of weeks perhaps, and I have been a few times. I enjoyed a truly amazing apple strudel with custard here and there are a lot of great traditional German food options on offer. The markets are conveniently located right in the centre of Berlin, which also means that they are always very busy and a key attraction for tourists. When the topic of Christmas markets arose whilst speaking to my boss at work, these were the only ones which she advised against visiting.
  2. Zoologischer Garten. Whilst this market is not especially big, it is definitely a case for quality over quantity. Set in the shadow of the stunningly beautiful Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and shrouded in glittering Christmas lights and various spectacular illuminations (including a giant Santa), this market is also home to some incredible craftspeople. There is also the typical and delicious selection of Bratwurst, Currywurst, waffles and crepes, should you become hungry whilst browsing the stalls.
  3. Historical Market at RAW Cultural Centre (near Warschauer Strasse). My visit here was short but sweet – I went briefly with a friend before going to watch Berlin Ice Bears take on Manheim in an ice hockey game, the ticket for which was also undoubtedly the best 13 euros I’ve spent since being here. This ancient market is the only one on the list which required an entry fee (I think it was only two or three euros), however it was also the most interesting, with traditional German foods and drinks, a very large nativity scene, donkeys, and different rides. There are different activities to try, fully outfitted performers, a large bonfire going on, and I felt I definitely could have spent more time here to fully appreciate everything going on.

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