A guide to Berlin’s authentic best Weihnachtsmärkte – 100% no Alexanderplatz!
It’s coming up to that time of year again, when you don your Handschuhe, gather your friends and settle around that Christmas Market fire, rapidly-cooling cups of Glühwein clasped in your hands (with 2 EUR Pfand, don’t forget).
Assuming you’ve no intention of going near Alexanderplatz, the Neo-Nazi badlands of Spandau, or the charmless market (which has the cheek to charge an entrance fee!) at Gendarmenmarkt, join the festivities at one of these, much better, Christmas markets.
When: Saturday 14th December, open 10:00-18:00
How to get there? It’s a 5-minute walk from S-Bahn Hermanstraße.
This market is one of Berlin’s best-kept Christmas market secrets. Good things don’t last for long, and the Dicke Linda Weihnachtsmarkt is around for just one day in mid-December.
Wave goodbye to the pille palle of conformity, and say ‘Juuten Tach’ to the Berliners of Kranoldplatz. This is a local’s market for local folks. There’s no cheesy snow globes or wooden chopping boards manufactured in China on offer here. Nope – this market is all about locally made goods and gifts.
If you’re in need of some gifts for the folks back home, this is where you should go. Stock up on cheese, homemade candles produced from natural oils or handmade picture frames. There’s music on throughout the day, from blues hits to old Berlin classics.
Alt-Rixdorfer Weihnachtsmarkt, Neukölln
When: Friday 6th December. Open from 17-21:00,
Saturday 7th December. Open from 14-21:00,
Sunday 8th December. Open from 14-20:00
How to get there? Near U-Bahnhof Karl-Marx-Straße, which is on the U7.
Nestled among the endless Berlin townhouses is a charming little village that’s been swallowed by the metropolis.
The Alt-Rixdorfer Weihnachtsmarkt is located in the old Böhmisches Dorf, the heart of the district once called Rixdorf (now a part of Neukölln).
For one weekend only during the Christmas period, the locals put on a magnificent display of festive cheer. The Platz at the centre of Rixdorf, Richardplatz, becomes a bustling mass of stalls selling crafts and homemade wares. Even the local späti gets involved, ladling out cups of Glühwein at ridiculously-low prices.
Take a break from the Glühwein and pop into the blacksmiths that still operates at the centre of the old village for a glimpse of life in the neighbourhood as it used to be. Bands, orchestras and choirs perform on stage, completing this collage of Christmas festivity.
Adventsmarkt, Dömane Dahlem
Where: Königin Louise Straße 49, Dahlem
When: 11am to 7pm, every advent weekend. Starts Saturday 30th November.
How to get there? Take the U3 to Dahlem-Dorf. It’s right across the road.
You’ll have to make small Ausflug to get to this one, which is located in the Museum of Agriculture and Food in Dahlem.
Nestled between the farmyard buildings, the city seems far away – the air is fresher and the crowds are gone. The market itself takes on a horseshoe shape, with a cosy barn-bar to shelter in when it gets too cold.
Since we’re pretty much in the countryside, you won’t be surprised to hear that the sausages served are homemade and made from locally-raised pigs, and the Glühwein is organic. There are also other local delicacies on offer – including homemade marzipan.
You’ll find a nice selection of local arts and crafts at the market, as well as bauble-painting workshops for children and candle-making.
Quality costs, so there’s a 3€ entry fee (1.50€ reduced).
Wedding Wintermarkt, Wedding
Where: Leopoldplatz, Wedding
When: Sunday 8th December and Sunday 15th December, open 1pm-9pm
How to get there? It’s located directly outside U-Bahnhof Leopoldplatz, which is on the U6.
Ah, Wedding. We always forget this neighbourhood but we shouldn’t – there’s plenty of great stuff going on up there. Like a lot of things in Wedding, the neighbourhood’s charming Wintermarkt has something of a ‘best-kept secret’ feel to it.
Now in its seventh year, the Wintermarkt is playing host to over 80 stalls. These stalls will be selling unique handmade products of all kinds, many of which have been made locally. There’ll be plenty of international street food, including Mexican tacos and Italian panzerotti, to take your mind off the cold, miserable Berliner weather.
Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt, Prenzlauer Berg
When: 25th November – 22nd December, open Monday to Friday, 15:00-22:00/Saturday and Sunday, 13:00-22:00
How to get there? Take the U2 or trams M12, M1 and M10 to Eberswalder Straße.
The Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt has been a staple of Berlin’s Christmas market scene for years. Situated in the grounds of one of Berlin’s many old breweries, the market is secluded from the noise of bustling Prenzlauer Berg. However, that’s not to say it isn’t busy inside – no way. Prepare to be hit in the shins by the prams of P-Berg’s yummy mummies – many, many times. But it’s worth it.
The Scandinavian flair of the market brings people from all across Berlin to rejoice in the festivities on offer. Sit next to fires whilst chomping away on Rudolf and his friends in the form of reindeer burgers. Put the children on the chain carousel as you become dizzy from Swedish Glögg, Finnish Flögi or Icelandic Jolaglögg. Or why not warm up and sweat out the chill in the sauna.
Top tip: be sure to be there on the 13th December for the “traditional Lucia Lantern Parade.”
When: 21st November – 5th January (except: 25.11-26.11, 02.12-03.12, 24.12-31.12), open 17:00-22:30
How to get there? The easiest way to get there is by taking the U5 to U-Bahnhof Tierpark.
Ok – so it’s not a Weihnachtsmarkt in the traditional sense. Or the modern sense. This is something a bit different. But come on, once you’ve had your fill of booze at Dicke Linda and stuffed yourself at Alt-Rixdorfer, it’s definitely time to try something new.
Full disclosure – this place ain’t cheap. It’s 15€ for adults and children cost 12.50€ (make them pay for themselves). However, if you want a spectacle and Christmas cheer, this is it.
With over 30 light installations, the Tierpark truly comes to life at night. With the smell of toasting cinnamon buns wafting through the air, wander amongst the illuminated walkways for a truly magical experience. Tierpark’s USP is the ice rink, which is by far Berlin’s most beautiful. With the city’s other ice rinks costing a bomb to enter, you can certainly get your money’s worth here. Top tip – bring your own ice skates!
Simon Asquith has been giving private tours of Berlin to celebrities, royalty and entrepreneurs since 2014. He is the founder of The Berlin Tour Guide, a bespoke tour guide service dedicated to discovering the most interesting parts of the city.