When it gets dark and the snow on the roofs of the market stalls shines in the bright glow of countless lights, the Munich Christmas Market on Marienplatz is the most beautiful.
The approximately 2,500 lights of the large Christmas tree, which is the landmark of the market, glitter against the romantic backdrop of the neo-gothic town hall. Year after year, visitors from far and wide mingle with the Munich locals in the city’s „best parlour” to join in the festive spirit and yuletide traditions celebrated at this charming Christmas market.
Gingerbread and plum manderl, wood products from Oberammergau, South Tyrol and the Erzgebirge and everything else that belongs to the Advent and Christmas season are offered in over a hundred stalls around the Marienplatz.
One of the great pleasures of a visit to the Christkindlmarkt is the opportunity to enjoy its particular culinary delights. There’s mulled wine and mead to give visitors that inner glow as well as freshly roasted almonds and chestnuts to keep body and soul together. Other traditional features of the Christkindlmarkt include tempting grilled sausages and Advent sweetmeats such as spicy “Pfeffernüsse” biscuits and “Magenbrot” cake.
Every day, around 5.30 p.m. and at noon on December 24th, there are live recitals from the town hall balcony by soloists, choirs and music groups to spread the festive spirit to the crowds.
The “Krampus Run” across the Christmas Market is great fun for locals and tourists alike. The 500-year old tradition of the “Krampus Run” dates back to the Christian mythological character of Bishop Saint Nicholas and his companion, “Krampus”. The members of “Sparifankerl Pass”, Munich's first “Krampus group”, dress up in archaic costumes, take a thrilling run across the Christmas Market and show up in the most unlikely places.
Official Munich tour guides provide cultural and historical facts as well as culinary information during their tours “about Kletzbrot and Fatschnkindl” and the tasting tour “Baked Apple, Fatschnkindl and Stories”. Tours can be booked for groups only at München Tourismus:
With mulled wine, children's punch, Christmas cookies and festive music on board, the journey on the Christmassy decorated tram is an unforgettable experience. There is a special children's programme for young passengers on Sundays in Advent. The entrance and exit point is at the tram stop "Sendlinger Tor".
Come and sing some Bavarian and German Advent songs and Christmas carols together. Musicians will invite visitors at the Christkindlmarkt every thursday at 5 p.m. in front of Michaelskirche church to sing along for half an hour. Extra features include: full disabled access, texts in large lettering and Braille, sign language interpreters and induction loops for the hard-of-hearing. Guide dogs are allowed.
Participation in the singing lessons is free of charge, as well as the music provided. Registration is not required.
The Munich Christkindlmarkt offers a special service for your Christmas mail. If you would like to add a Christmas extra to your letters and cards, you can find the Christkindl post office in the passageway to the inner courtyard of the town hall. The Christmas mail will be stamped with the postmark "Christkindl" and delivered to the respective recipients all over the world in time for Christmas.
Letters to the Christ Child can also be handed in here. And of course the children will get an answer to this question. Every year the municipality of Christkindl near Steyr in Upper Austria sets up this Christmas post office.
In addition, there is a special stamp "Münchner Christkindlmarkt" for all collectors' friends and philatelists. A yellow special post box marked with the stamp image is located at the entrance to the town hall entrance (Fischbrunnen entrance). The mailbox is emptied daily. For the duration of the Christmas market, all items receive a special stamp with the current date.
Of particular interest is that area of the market known as the Kripperlmarkt (meaning literally the “market of the holy manger”) which is situated around the Richard-Strauss fountain just a few yards from the Marienplatz. It features displays of handicraft figures portraying scenes from the Nativity. This Kripperlmarkt is thought to be one of the largest of its kind in Germany and boasts a longstanding tradition.
Large oriental stately cribs or alpine mini variants are offered for sale as well as guaranteed unbreakable crib figures made of deceptively wood-like plastic mass. From the lantern for the stable to the offerings of the Three Magi, everything that belongs to a real crib can be found here.
Enjoying a separate identity within the Christmas market, it has always been very popular with visitors. In the mid-nineteenth century the Kripperlmarkt divided off from the rest of the yuletid market and had its own opening times starting on the first Sunday in Advent, trading right through Christmas and going on till Epiphany. It was not till after the Second World War that the Christkindlmarkt and Kripperlmarkt joined forces again.
Manger builders, both amateur and professional, will find inspiration in the historic city manger created in 1953 by the Munich artist Reinhold Zellner and located in the town hall’s inner courtyard (Prunkhof).
More information on the christmas market and all events can be found here.