... Christmas starts a little earlier. The first chocolate Santas reach the shelves as early as autumn. And quite right, too – since you now have all the time in the world to enjoy at leisure what Munich has to offer during the pre-Christmas season. Have a wonderful Advent in Munich!
This traditional Christmas market dates back to the 14th century and is considered the most original and authentic in Munich. The romantic setting in front of the neo-Gothic town hall on Marienplatz adds to the magic of the many stalls radiating traditional Bavarian charm. Living tradition and ancient craftsmanship are established here, as is Germany’s largest “Kripperlmarkt” (“Manger Market“). Everything imaginable to create a nativity scene is available, from manger lanterns to gifts of the Three Magi. Munich‘s first “Krippenmarkt” started in 1757. The Himmelswerkstatt (Heavenly Workshop) for children aged 6-12 is a mini-paradise for creative youngsters. Here, free crafting fun is the name of the game. The “Krampuslauf” involves a horde of wild and wooly creatures charging through the Christmas market disguised as Saint Nick‘s evil twin, the Krampus. It is well worth the experience. Traditional Bavarian house music to set the mood for Advent is played daily live on the Town Hall balcony, with musicians and choirs accompanied by wind instruments. If you would like to learn more about the history of the Christkindlmarkt, you can book a guided tour of the Christmas Market at Marienplatz.
Location: around Marienplatz
Some well-known Bavarian musicians will be singing Bavarian and other German Advent carols outside the Michaelskirche in Munich’s pedestrianised zone from 5pm every Thursday during Advent. After the performances, hundreds of passers-by will gather around the stage to sing together.
The Viktualienmarkt, Munich‘s permanent open market, always offers an abundance of freshness and a vivid experience of Munich‘s way of life. This popular market is especially charming during the Christmas season – the many treats on display are an open invitation to indulge one‘s palate. Visitors can also enjoy Christmas carols and feel the magic of Advent with a glass Glühwein (mulled wine). Well worth visiting is the nativity scene at the beer garden, where the gures reflect perfectly the life of the market.
This Christmas village is situated in the large courtyard of Munich City Palace, the Residenz, well protected from cold winds and snow. Exploring the magical forest where Hänsel and Gretel reside and visiting the “Kasperle“ theater offers fun and excitement for the whole family. And it wouldn’t be a traditional Bavarian village without the local crafts workshops, including goldsmiths, furriers and glass blowers.
Location: Munich Residenz, entrance on Residenzstrasse, Odeonsplatz
Living history: dozens of carefully furbished wooden huts recreate the atmosphere of the Middle Ages. Merchants in historic costumes sell their wares. Craftsmen demonstrate ancient crafts. There will be daily performances by artists, including appearances every Sunday from “Lady Sansa of Winterfell” and “Daenerys Daughter of Dragons” on horseback. The market even features medieval cuisine. “Flammbrot” bakers roast their bread, bratwursts sizzle on open beechwood fires, and hot mulled wines such as Drachenglut and Würzwein are made using ancient recipes.
The little Stephansplatz right in the middle of Munich’s Glockenbachviertel is illuminated bright pink during Advent. The LGBT Christmas market will take place here for the 14th time in 2018. Gifts and glitter, hot mulled wine and heaps of treats await the diverse crowd. Drag artists, start-up bands and big names such as Grand-Prix legend Johnny Logan or pop star Patrick Lindner perform on a pocket-sized stage. It‘s exclusive and simply amazing!
Location: Stephansplatz (near Sendlinger Tor)
Brienner Strasse really lights up during Christmas season, with 16 silvery chandeliers creating a spectacular light display using LEDs. Modern technology is set against a distinctive feel for the history of this grand avenue.
This winter, the Munich Feuerzangenbowle at the Isartor will once again be a “hot topic”. The drink, which is a fragrant blend of red wine, rum and spices, is served from a gigantic cauldron with a aming top. The annual tradition has been back for 2019 with another joint exhibition from hosts including the Geschichtswerkstatt historical society and other partners. And there will be no shortage of refreshments, as the stalls will be open until 3am on New Year’s Eve.
Seasonal melodies played by a wind ensemble in the tower sound from the Chinesischer Turm, while horse-drawn carriages make the rounds ... The lights of this romantic agglomeration of booths partially hidden by the old chestnut trees glimmer and glitter in the midst of the wintery Englischer Garten. At the stalls, there are lamb-wool slippers, hand-made dolls and little wooden angels waiting to be purchased by the visitors, who can otherwise enjoy the gastronomical delights at Sepps Schmankerlhütte, the waffle bakery, or the cute little shack selling doughy Kaiserschmarrn. Children are in for a special treat: Lese-Oma (Reading-Grandma) reads fairytales to them out loud, while Schreiner-Opa (Carpenter-Grandpa) makes wooden toys with them.
Location: Chinesischer Turm, Englischer Garten
Everyone from Haidhausen residents to visitors from far and wide love the intimate and relaxed atmosphere of the Christmas market held around the fountain on Weissenburger Platz. It features Christmas music and a programme for children nearly every day. The hand-carved gurines in the South Tyrolean nativity scene are very special.
Location: Weissenburger Platz
From 22 November, the festival grounds in front of the Cosimabad (indoor pool) will be transformed into a fairytale Christmas world: in two large tents with a modern lounge area or cosy seating areas over 30 types of mulled wine, punch and "Feuerzangenbowle" await visitors. Artisans present their work in the open air in a festively luminous fir landscape. In addition to delicacies such as roasted almonds, gingerbread or marzipan, freshly prepared dishes from all over the world (including vegetarian and vegan) are available on site.
For children there is much to discover: a nostalgic children's railway and a carousel with beautifully painted historic vehicles, a Punch and Judy show, storytellers and much more. Alcohol-free children's mulled wines are also on offer.
Location: Festival area in front of the Cosimabad (Cosimastrasse/corner of Englschalkingerstrasse)
It is now over 40 years ago that artists, artisans and restaurateurs held their first festive Christmas market on Münchner Freiheit in Schwabing, full of lovingly crafted details and perfect gift ideas. And last year’s Christmas market was naturally no exception, featuring culinary delights, an arts tent, a sculpture trail and a variety of installations, free concerts, performances, guided tours, children’s activities and, best of all, a truly special and unique atmosphere.
Location: Münchner Freiheit (square)
A film set located in the middle of the square serves as a cosy bar, delicacies from Bavaria and the rest of the world are served and nostalgic circus tents exude warmth and cosiness. Clothing, leather goods, original jewellery and wooden artworks beckon visitors to buy. However, the Märchenbazar also offers a varied programme of art, culture and music for the “big kids”, as well as plenty of action and surprises for the young ones. These include candlemaking, a comical puppet theatre and even fairytale hours with a moon goddess.
A Pegasus-themed Christmas? The mythical beast is the main theme of the magical Christmas market held on two weekends from Thursday to Sunday with a mix of stage performances for people of all ages. The range of goods on offer at the market reflects the diversity of the locals – creative minds, artists and restaurateurs always ensure new "wow" moments.
Location: Knoedelplatz (near Ostbahnhof station)
Twinkling lights and enchanting fragrances will lead the way to the "Sternenflotte" (Starfleet), a Christmas market in the Sendling district at the Alte Utting boat. The Alte Utting is situated on a bridge between the Grossmarkt (market hall) and the Viehhof. It's a disused pleasure boat with music, mulled wine, food and gifts.
Location: Lagerhausstrasse 15 (near the market hall Grossmarkthalle)
The Tollwood Winter Festival turns the Theresienwiese into a sea of lights. Typical for this Christmas market of a third kind is the mixture of tasty organically-grown foods and all kinds of original crafts, which are to be found at the “Market of Ideas“. This winter‘s guest performers will be the contemporary circus troupe "Recirquel" from Hungary with their programme "Paris de Nuit" from Nov. 27 to Dec. 30. The events include theatrical and musical offerings, performances, or even activities involving the environment; many are free of charge. The Festival ends with the traditional New Year's Party.
As of November 16, the aroma of roasted, sugar-coated almonds and hot mulled wine will begin to pervade the largest covered winter market in Bavaria. With over 50 stalls, numerous show acts, a 15-metre giant tree, over 400 Christmas trees and an ice-skating rink all of its own, this winter market does count as a very special attraction. Parking is available for free for the duration of your visit.
Location: Munich Airport at MAC-Forum