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Spice up winter at these 10 iconic German Christmas markets

By Katie Sehl
December 11, 2018, 11:36:02 AM EST

All the hallmarks of your favorite yuletide carols can be found at Germany’s Christmas markets, including chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Add spiced mulled wine, sizzling bratwurst, artisanal crafts, and wintertime activities and you’re on your way to getting into the Christmas spirit German-style, one merry market at a time. From late November to late December, town squares across the country are filled with vendors and food stalls.

1. Stuttgart Christmas Market
WHERE: Stuttgart, Germany


(Photo: Mikhail Markovskiy/Dreamstime)

Known among locals as the Stuttgarter Weihnachstmarkt, this market is one of the oldest and most traditional in the country, dating back to as early as 1692. A miniature railway, an ice rink, and more than 290 pavilions crowd Schillerplatz, the city’s old square, and spill out toward Marketplatz, passing the imposing Gothic Stiftskirche Church. In the other direction, an antique collector’s fair and a Finnish market fill Karlsplatz with wafts of warm Scandinavian glögi(spiced wine) and sautéed reindeer meat rising in the shadow of the baroque Neues Schloss castle.

2. Winterwelt at Potsdamer Platz
WHERE: Berlin, Germany


(Photo/Elena Krivorotova/Shutterstock)

More than 50 Christmas markets pop up across Berlin during the Advent season, but Potsdamer Platz’s festclaims global dominance. The main attraction at this wonderland is the rodelbahn, Europe’s largest mobile toboggan run, traversing 230 feet and offering a view of Brandenburg Gate from its peak. Revelers can also attempt camel spins and salchows on the large open-air ice rink in front of Stage Theater, or partake in a game of eisstockschießen,a German ice sport akin to curling. Look out for the chalet made from 180-year-old Austrian hut wood, which serves Salzburg snacks and hosts an après ski DJ party regularly after 7 p.m.

3. Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market
WHERE: Black Forest, Germany


(Photo: Jelen Photos (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)/Flickr)

A mini Christmas village forms in the steeply wooded highlands of the Black Forest, one hour by car from Freiburg. Revelers can sign up for a night-time torch lit trek to the Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market, which sits at the base of the Ravenna Gorge under the dramatic 130-foot arches of the Devil’s Valley Railway viaducts, illuminated in bright winter lights. Forty tiny cabins line the market pathways, showcasing artisanal specialties from the region such as cuckoo clocks and, of course, the famous cherry-topped Black Forest sponge cake.

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