The Ultimate Guide to the Nuremberg Christmas Market, Germany
Heading to the Nuremberg Christmas market this holiday season? Here’s our practical guide to Nuremberg Christmas Market so you can get the most out of your visit.
Germany at Christmas time is a truly beautiful sight. Flickering fairy lights, beautiful decorations, Christmas trees everywhere, and the smell of gluhwein around every corner. The Christmas Market Nuremberg is no exception and as one of the best Christkindlmarkt in Germany, it’s certainly one to have on your bucket list. It also happens to be the oldest too.
Also known as the Christkindlemarkt Germany or the Angel Christmas Market, Nuremberg’s Christmas market is full of sparkling stalls selling Christmas ornaments, local snacks, festive drinks, and unique gifts. It’s a must for all Christmas market lovers.
Is Nuremberg worth visiting? Definitely, and more so during this festive time of year. Not only is it one of Germany’s most historical and best-preserved cities, the Christmas market here really is one of the best in the world.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to visit Nuremberg Christmas Market as well as some other noteworthy things to do.
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When to Visit
The best time to visit the Nuremberg Christmas Market is in early December. Of course, if you’re not too bothered about the Christmas markets and you want to see the city of Nuremberg, summer is also a great choice.
During these weeks in the run-up to Christmas (also called Advent in Germany), the city center lights up in colorful lights and decorations and people take to the streets to drink gluhwein, shop, and see friends.
It’s a busy time of year in Nuremberg with both locals and tourists alike. If you prefer to explore the markets with fewer crowds make sure to head to the Nuremberg Christmas market in November rather than closer to Christmas.
Also, you’ll want to avoid weekends when things really fill up. The market gets very busy in the evenings and weekends so if you can, come during the day as well as in the early evening to see everything in its sparkly glory.
Nuremberg Christmas Market Dates for 2023
Nuremberg Christmas markets 2023 official dates are 1st December – 24th December 2023. The market is open daily from 10 am until 9 pm. On Christmas Eve it’s open until 2 pm.
Where is the Nuremberg Christmas Market?
So you’re ready to visit Nuremberg Christmas Market but where EXACTLY is the Christmas market in Nuremberg itself?
Nuremberg Christmas market isn’t at all difficult to find- you won’t really need a Nuremberg Christmas market map as such. As a general rule, head to the city center and follow the Christmas lights and the people and you will get there without any problems.
The Nuremberg Christmas Market is located in Hauptmarkt Nurnberg, a traditional market square right in front of Frauenkirche, an iconic 14th-century Gothic church. The church is beautiful and definitely worth a look while exploring the market!
On the same square, you’ll find the Nuremberg tourist information office. You’ll also find the Original Regional Christmas Market snaking up Hauptmarkt towards Sebalduskirche and the Sister Cities Market around the back of Nurnberg Rathaus- the town hall.
There is also a Children’s Christkindlesmarkt starting right by the Narrenschiffbrunnen statue located here.
Practical Information Before Visiting
Here are our top German Christmas market tips to make sure you get the most out of the Christkindl Market Germany.
↠ First a little history about Nuremberg’s Christmas market and the German Christmas Angel. You’ll soon gather that the symbol of Christmas in Nuremberg is the angel, the largest gold-foil figure greeting you as you enter from the south.
The Christkind or the Angel custom goes back to the 16th Century, when it would turn up to give children gifts- a little like the American version of Santa Claus. The Angel is Nuremberg’s symbol of Christmas and angel figures can be found and bought throughout the market.
↠ Most stalls don’t take cards so make sure to bring cash. There are many ATMs located around the city and at train stations making getting cash out in Germany very easy. Some stalls do take cards but it’s a very mixed bag so make sure to have cash with you.
↠ Drinks at German Christmas markets do not come in plastic or disposable containers but instead in mugs or glasses. This is an amazing way to keep waste down.
When you order your first drink at a market you’ll need to ‘buy’ the mug/glass which costs just a few euros. If you like the cup and want to keep it as a souvenir (each German Christmas market has its own cup design) then you can. Otherwise, when you’re done drinking you bring back the cup and get your deposit back. With each round you buy all you need to do is bring the cup back and they’ll refill it for you.
↠ Most of the food available at Nuremberg’s Christmas Market is traditional, yes, but sadly not healthy. Luckily there are several great, health-orientated, and plant-based restaurants around the city to take advantage of while at the Christmas markets.
By all means try the food at least once, but then feel free to eat at other restaurants instead- especially those that offer hot soups to beat the cold.
Some of the best health-orientated cafes and restaurants in Nuremberg city center are Takumi Ramen, Kaspar Schmauser, MY HAO Vietnamese, The Green Rooftop Cafe, and Chiso Kitchen. All are within walking distance of the Christmas market.
↠ There are actually a couple of different Nuremberg Christmas markets or extensions to the main Nurnberg Christkindlesmarkt. There’s the main Nurnberg Christkindlesmarkt as well as the children’s Christkindlesmarkt right before the main market. This focuses more on stalls selling toys, candy, and food, and at its center, a carousel.
There’s also the Original Regional Market which specializes in various goods and crafts from distinct parts of Germany and the Sister Cities Market right by the Nuremberg Town Hall.
Here you’ll find stalls set up from different parts of the world like Ghana, Scotland, Nicaragua and Ukraine. You’ll be able to shop for an abundance of lovely international products from Nicaraguan coffee to Italian cured meats.
↠ Bring a reusable bag when visiting Christmas markets in Germany. If you’re planning to do some serious Christmas shopping then you’ll need somewhere to put your purchases. Sellers will put your item in a small paper bag but nobody here gives any kind of plastic (yay!). Make sure to bring your own reusable bag for all those gifts.
↠ There are no Christmas markets open on Christmas Day.
↠ The Nuremberg weather forecast at this time of year is likely to be cold and wet. Make sure to bring some really warm clothes, including a hat, scarf and gloves and don’t forget an umbrella. If you’re lucky you might even get a bit of snow too.
What to Eat & Drink at Nuremberg Christmas Market
There are many wonderful drinks and snacks to be had while wandering and exploring the Christmas Market in Nuremberg. They are a great way to be able to try some local flavors while also enjoying the Christmas atmosphere to the full.
Food and drink varies quite a bit between Christmas markets in different regions of Germany, here are some of the best foods specific to Bavaria and the Nürnberg Christmas Market.
Christmas Market Foods
Nürnburger Rostbratwurst – It’s not a Xmas market in Germany without some type of grilled sausage and Nuremberg is no different. The Nürnburger Rostbratwurst is a local sausage, in fact, it has been awarded a Protected Geographical Indication by the EU, meaning that this particular sausage has to be produced in Nuremberg in order to carry the name.
The sausages are small and finger-like- about half the size of a traditional German bratwurst. They are normally eaten in threes, in a bun with mustard. You can also get them served on a plate with traditional sauerkraut if you prefer.
Lebkuchen (Gingerbread) – Nuremberg is famous for its gingerbread, in fact, Nuremberg is the birthplace of gingerbread. One of the top Nuremberg brands of lebkuchen, Wicklein, has existed since 1615 and you can still buy its treats in their store right off Hauptmarkt.
The Nuremberg variety of gingerbread is a little different from the cookie version you might be used to eating. Lebkuchen here is quite heavy and isn’t made with much flour. Instead, it’s packed full of dried fruit and nuts and gives it a much more substantial consistency.
Elisenlebkuchen is a variety that you’ll see a lot in the Nuremberg Christmas market. It’s made with lots of nuts, dried fruit, honey, and spices. Make sure not to miss it.
Roasted Almonds – You’ll notice quite a few stalls selling roasted almonds or Gebrannte Mandeln during your time in Nuremberg. They are essentially sugar-roasted almonds with a variety of different flavors but you can also buy them plain. I found them overly sweet but they are a big hit with locals.
Früchtebrot– Essentially fruit cake but a much better version compared to ones in the US or the UK. The heavy cake, which comes in the shape of a loaf, is filled with nuts, dried fruit, and spices. It’s really good!
Christmas Market Drinks
Glühwein – Hot, mulled red and white wine that’s a must at all German Christmas Markets.
Christmas Punch/ Apple punch – Served alcoholic, with a shot of brandy or rum, or non-alcoholic this is a good alternative to gluhwein.
What to Buy at Nuremberg Christmas Market
There are so many amazing souvenirs, Christmas decorations and ornaments, and gift ideas at the Nuremberg Christmas market. It’s difficult to not get overwhelmed and want to buy it all- I know I did.
Here’s a short summary of what to buy in Nuremberg Germany at the Christmas markets.
Zwetschgenmännale (German Prune People) – One of the most unique Christmas decorations/gifts that you’ll find, prune people are a real Nuremberg tradition that have been sold at the Christmas market for decades.
Legend has it that they were invented in the 18th Century by a wire drawer who couldn’t afford to buy Christmas presents for his children. He did have plums and wire however so he made little prune men for his children. Today you’ll find prune men of all different shapes, sizes, and characters which make a great stocking filler from Nuremberg.
Christmas Decorations and Ornaments– You’ll find a wide array of tree ornaments and Christmas decor at the Nuremberg Christmas markets. From traditional handmade wooden ornaments to glass baubles and candles there’s something here for everyone.
Winter clothes & accessories – Many of the Nuremberg Christmas markets also sell lovely wintery clothes such as sweaters, hats, gloves, and even leather goods like wallets and belts. This is perfect if you’re freezing and you find out you’ve forgotten your gloves.
Top Things to Do in Nuremberg
Apart from eating, drinking, and shopping, there are still quite a few other things to do in Nuremberg, both related and unrelated to Christmas.
Depending on how much time you want to spend at the Christmas market, you’ll most probably be left with some time in your itinerary to get to know the highlights of Nuremberg a little more.
Here are some of the top places you need to visit while in Nuremberg.
Visit Käthe Wohlfahrt in Nuremberg
Käthe Wohlfahrt is the most famous Christmas brand in Germany. If you’re a big fan of all things Christmas then visiting the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas store will be the best shop you’ve ever stepped foot in.
With a spectacular display of all things Christmas, from wooden figurines to tree ornaments, wreaths and cards, you can pretty much upgrade all your home Christmas decor here. Everything in this Germany Christmas store is really tasteful and well-made with a very traditional European flare to it.
You’ll be able to find Käthe Wohlfahrt all over Germany with stores in Berlin, Bamberg, and Heidelberg. The best and the original one however is in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, so if you’re planning to take a day trip to Rothenburg from Nuremberg you might want to save your shopping for then.
Go on a City Walking Tour
If it’s your first time in Nuremberg that it’s difficult to pass up the opportunity to see a little more of the city while you’re there for the Nuremberg market. There are many lovely things to do in Nuremberg and going sightseeing for a few hours between rounds of gluhwein is a great idea.
One of the ways to see the top sights of Nuremberg in just a few hours is to go on a private tour. Not only will a knowledgeable guide give you all the information you need about the city and its past you’ll also not need to organize a thing.
One of the best tours is this Nuremberg Private Walking Tour with Medieval Old Town which also includes an excursion out to the Nazi Rally Grounds that aren’t located in the city center. You’ll get picked up at your hotel and you can also choose the perfect tour duration based on your schedule. Find out more and book here.
Visit the Nuremberg Castle
If you don’t opt for a city tour, then one of the must-visits in Nuremberg is its Imperial Castle. Perched high on a hill above the old town, this castle has been a symbol of Nuremberg for centuries.
First built somewhere around the 11th Century it was used to serve and accommodate rulers throughout the Middle Ages, during the period of the Holy Roman Emperors, and during the rule of the Kingdom of Bavaria.
You can visit the castle, walk around the grounds and learn more about Nuremberg’s local history through the variety of different exhibitions.
Try Feuerzangenbowle (from the Largest Bowl in the World)
Feuerzangenbowle is another popular hot drink sold at the Christmas market in Germany but it’s not your average gluhwein. Feuerzangenbowle is made from gluhwein but with the addition of a rum-soaked sugar cube on top which is set on fire. The rum-flavored sugar caramelizes and you get a type of sweeter, rum-filled, caramel gluhwein.
In Nuremberg, you can find the largest Feuerzangenbowle in the world. It’s a giant pot that can hold over 9000 liters of the stuff. Click here to find it if you’re feeling up for something very sweet and potent.
See the Churches
Nuremberg is filled with a few really lovely churches that are worth a peek inside while exploring the city. They are all located in the city center so you needn’t go far to appreciate their stunning gothic architecture and stained glass windows.
The main churches to visit in Nuremberg are Sebalduskirche, just north of the Christmas market, Frauenkirche, and Lorenzkirche. They each differ from one another in a few ways but they are all pretty impressive structures. Make sure to note their columns rising sky-high, ribbed ceilings, and colorful stained glass windows.
All three churches are free to enter but you might want to leave a donation.
Take a Day Trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the most beautiful small towns in Germany. Lucky for us, it’s only an hour away from Nuremberg. If you have an extra day in Nuremberg, taking a day trip to Rothenburg is definitely worth it.
Rothenburg is one of the most Christmasy towns in Germany. If you’re all about the Christmas markets you’ll be happy to know that Rothenburg not only has a good one but the whole town is decked out in light and trees. The Christmas atmosphere there is unbeatable.
Here are some awesome things to do in Rothenburg on a day trip:
- Explore the Christmas market- one of the best German markets in Germany
- Visit the Käthe Wohlfahrt flagship Christmas store
- Visit the Christmas Museum
- Explore the Old town- it’s one of the most beautiful small towns in Europe.
For the full travel guide read: The Ultimate Festive Guide to Rothenburg Christmas Market
Shop Till You Drop
There’s no better place to do your Christmas shopping than in one of the best Christmas Markets in Germany.
Spend some time wandering around and getting to know what’s on offer before filling up your bag with some of the best traditional ornaments and toys.
It really is a great opportunity to find some unique gifts for friends and family back home and update your own Christmas home decor.
Where to Stay in Nuremberg
Nuremberg has plenty of great hotels for all budgets. The best place to stay is in the city center for easy access to the Nuremberg Christmas market, the restaurants, cafes, and other top sights the city offers.
Having said that Nuremberg does have an excellent public transportation system. The U-Bahn will easily connect you with many other places in the city should you choose not to stay in the center.
Here are the best hotels near Nuremberg Christmas market and the center to consider as a base for your stay.
Hotel Agneshof Nürnberg – One of the few hotels in the old town, it’s hard to beat the location of this simple yet comfortable hotel. Spacious, warm, and comfortable rooms, some with great views as well as parking options.
They also have a bar selling many different Franconian specialties. A solid, no-frills choice right in the center. Check rates and availability here.
Hotel dasPaul – Sleek, and modern with natural finishes, this fantastic choice is just minutes away from the Nuremberg Christmas market. Opt for a classic double room with a river view for a balcony and the best views of the city.
For larger groups, the three-bedroom apartment here is a perfect choice. Check rates and availability here.
Astoria Apartments – Located just outside the walled city center, Astoria Apartments are one of the best accommodation options in Nuremberg. These beautifully styled apartments are clean and spacious and have everything you’ll possibly need for your trip.
Each apartment has a kitchen for preparing simple meals as well as a washing machine. It’s perfect for those staying in Germany a little longer. Check rates and availability here.
Adina Apartment Hotel Nuremberg – For an apartment stay with the amenities of a hotel look no further. Opt for a fully equipped apartment with kitchen, washing machine, private bathroom, and tea/coffee making facilities.
You’ll also be able to enjoy the gym, pool, and wellness center on offer too. Perfect location right between the central station and the old town. Check rates and availability here.
Are you ready for your trip to the Christmas market Nuremberg Germany? Let me know in the comments, below, I’d love to hear from you.
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