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German Christmas Markets

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ABOVE: Santa goes shopping in one of Erfurt's smaller Weihnachtsmärkte.

Christmas markets, a.k.a. Weihnachtsmärkte or Christkindlmärkte, have been a fixture of Germany's Advent season for more than 500 years. According to the publishers of German Christmas Magic, Dresden's market dates back at least to 1434, and others are nearly as old. Today, millions of Germans and foreign visitors drink hot spiced Glühwein, devour sausages, shop for gifts and ornaments, and enjoy musical or carnival-style entertainment at large and small Christmas markets across Germany.

The huge Christmas markets in cities like Stuttgart and Nuremberg are certainly worth visiting. But for a more intimate experience, you may prefer the markets in smaller cities such as those featured at Historic Highlights of Germany, a consortium of tourist offices in 13 cities that offer "special charm, architectural brilliance, and historic character."

In the last few years, we've visited several Christmas markets in Germany, and you can read about them in the following pages of this article. For information on other Christmas markets in Germany, see the links on page 4.

Next page: Erfurt Christmas markets



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