Tollwood winter festival in Munich

Pink, sustainable – and totally varied

The six most unusual Christmas markets in Munich

After two years, there is a huge sense of anticipation as everyone looks forward to the wonderfully atmospheric Christmas markets that have been so sorely missed. In 2022, they reach a whole new level in terms of diversity and uniqueness in Munich.

These distinctive Yuletide bazaars give enthusiasts an entirely fresh opportunity to explore the various neighbourhoods of the Bavarian capital off the beaten track: from Pink Christmas in Glockenbachviertel and the Schwabing Christmas Market at Münchner Freiheit to the “Starfleet” on the Alte Utting (disused pleasure boat) in Schlachthofviertel and the family-friendly Haidhausen Christmas Market on Weißenburger Platz – the latter being the favourite among Munich residents. Other highly worthwhile winter gatherings include Winterrausch at the Witches’ House in Giesing – a real insider tip – and the alternative Tollwood Winter Festival with its focus on sustainability.

 

Pink Christmas – the queer Christmas market in Glockenbachviertel

Pink Christmas is the LGBTQ* community Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) near Sendlinger Tor (gate) – totally different from anything else of its kind and so in a sense more relevant than ever. Stephansplatz is a modestly-sized square at the heart of Munich’s lively and popular Glockenbachviertel neighbourhood that has glowed pink throughout Advent ever since 2005.

From November 24 onwards, the diverse crowd that always come here can look forward to a range of different acts on the market’s small stage, including drag artists and up-and-coming singers, not to mention familiar faces such as Grand Prix legend Johnny Logan and pop star Patrick Lindner.

 

Christmas Market at Münchner Freiheit in Schwabing

For over 40 years, visitors have been able to enjoy artistic creativity and good food at an atmospheric Christmas market offering a wealth of lovingly crafted gift ideas at Münchner Freiheit in Schwabing.

This year, the most ‘artsy’ of Munich’s Christmas markets offers not just culinary delights but also an art tent, a sculpture trail, free concerts and live music, happenings, children’s activities – and more than anything else, an entirely unique atmosphere. Every Sunday at 2 pm starting on 25 November, the Christmas market – complete with Schwabing Goodie Bag – is the crowning finale of the Hood Love Winter Special Tour organised by München Tourismus.

 

“Starfleet” on the Alte Utting in Schlachthofviertel

A discarded excursion steamer from Lake Ammersee, the Alte Utting in the Schlachthofviertel neighbourhood is now celebrated as a landmark of alternative culture in Munich – and in the run-up to Christmas it is especially enchanting with its twinkling lights and delightful fragrances.

For a whole month in 2022, the Christmas Harbour Starfleet (Sternenflotte des Weihnachtshafen) over Sendling invites you to enjoy warming fire pits, culinary specialities and numerous arts and craft stalls. There’s also a lively programme of culture every day for young and old on the Pirate’s Cove Stage (Bühne der Piratenbucht).

 

Haidhausen Christmas Market on Weißenburger Platz

A genuine favourite and the number one option for many people in Munich is the Haidhausen Christmas Market. Now in its 45th year, it is not only neighbourhood locals who appreciate the familiar, tranquil character of this Christmas market around the fountain at Weißenburger Platz. Almost every day there is live festive music and a programme of children’s activities. The hand-carved figures in the South Tyrolean Christmas Nativity scene are also a captivating attraction. As it turns out, the initial concern that this atmospheric Yuletide market in Haidhausen might steal some of the thunder from the big market on Marienplatz (main square) was not entirely unfounded.

Winterrausch at the Witches’ House in Giesing

Winterrausch at the Witches’ House (Hexenhaus) in Giesing is actually open to visitors through to 31 December. As part of the alternative Kulturcafé Gans Woanders, the name Winterrausch (“winter ecstasy”) says it all at the Witches’ House decked out for Christmas: smoke rises from the chimney, and the trees in the garden of the crooked little cottage glitter in festive style, while the delicious smell of gingerbread lures you in to enjoy all manner of Yuletide delights.

This real insider tip among Munich’s Christmas markets puts on a glistening display throughout the whole of Advent, featuring local musicians, fascinating readings, Christmas workshops, spectacular fire shows, fun bingo sessions for senior citizens, a diverse programme of children’s activities and breathtaking aerial acrobatics.

 

Tollwood Winter Festival in Ludwigsvorstadt

From the end of November onwards, the Tollwood Winter Festival immerses the Theresienwiese (Oktoberfet fairground) in Ludwigsvorstadt in a wonderfully atmospheric display of light. Tollwood’s richly varied offerings include music and other performances, international arts and crafts, and organic delicacies from all over the world. Ecological commitment and the sustainable development of our planet have always been the consistent focus of this alternative Christmas market.

In addition to the Market of Ideas (Markt der Ideen) the Food Plaza and the Witches’ Cauldron (Hexenkessel) – the place to rock out at Advent – there will be a curling rink here for the first time in 2022, while the Magic Forest (Zauberwald) will attract visitors with glittering sculptures. From 13 to 30 December, the Canadian circus group Machine De Cirque performs spectacular acrobatics combined with a dash of humour. Visitors can also opt to enjoy a four-course menu in organic quality created by well-known chef Holger Stromberg.

 

 

Photos: Bernd Wackerbauer, Frank Stolle, Fabian Christ, Thomas Giessner, Mattis Beutel, Christian Kasper

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