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Exploring Nuremberg's Christmas Market - Nürnburger Weihnachstmarkt - Bavaria, Germany - California Globetrotter

Of all the festive Christmas markets that fill every town center in every major city throughout Europe, Nuremberg‘s Christkindlmarkt is one of the most famous, along with Frankfurt, Dortmund, Dresden & Stuttgart. If ever there were one market you just HAD to visit, this would be the one!

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The Most Famous Christmas Market in Germany - Nuremberg, Bavaria - California Globetrotter

Why you might ask?

Well, before I get into the specifics, first you need understand the fascination Europe and its visitors have for these exciting Christmas markets.

A Christmas Market, or Christkindlmarkt is a street market which is spread out throughout the town center, with stalls decorated in the Christmas fashion, selling knickknacks perfect for decorations or Christmas gifts lasting the entire four weeks of Advent. The very first of these began in Strasbourg, France in 1570.

The tempting aromas of roasting chestnuts, sweet gingerbread cookies (lebkuchen) and warm, cinnamony Glühwein (malted red wine) waft pleasantly through the crisp winter air. You are bundled up in your warmest winter jacket, with a festive Christmas scarf and the buzz of holiday shoppers “oohing” and “ahhhing” fills the air as they stroll up and down the market lanes. You warm your cold hands around a Christmas mug of Glühwein while strolling the cobbled-stoned market alleys.

Sound delightful yet? Got you in the mood for Christmas? Good! Now you’re ready to be introduced to Nuremberg’s Christmas Market.

Possibly dating back to 1610 – 1628, it is unknown exactly when the market began but there are references to Kindleinbescheren which translates to “handing out presents to children” or Weihnachtszeit “Christmas time” which give reference to this time of year, but perhaps not to the market itself.

Today, with over two million visitors per year and over 200 stalls, Nuremberg’s Christmas Market is one of the most famous and largest markets in Germany.

Every year since 1933, the market is opened up by the “Christkind” – a girl between the age of 16-19 who was born in Nuremberg, with two Tinsel Angels by her side as she standing on the balcony of the Frauenkirche by reciting a poem written by the playwright Friedrich Bröger. The Christkind is the traditional German “gift giver”.

Visit the Christkind Exhibition in the Frauenkirche


Every year the Christmas market opens on the Friday before the first Sunday in Advent and ends on December 24. On this day, at 5:30pm, the Christkind opens the Christmas Market shopping season with a little poem. Children sing a few Christmas carols below her balcony prior to her arrival and the entire square joins in with the singing. The ceremony lasts about 15 minutes, but the waiting period prior to the event comes to a complete standstill and shopping is practically impossible. So find yourself a good spot, with a warm cup of Glühwein and enjoy the show!

Here, you will find the main portion of Nuremberg’s Christmas Market directly in front of the Frauenkirche. **Tip – For 3,50 € per person, you can go up a hidden staircase and view the history of the Christkind before stepping out onto the balcony which overlooks row after row of red and white stripped covered stalls which fill the square.


img_9695Exploring Nuremberg's Christmas Market - California Globetrotter

You’ll find everything here from chocolate in the form of tools to more traditional gifts like Räuchermann (Smoking Men) and wooden carved villages that light up!

Snack on some Historic Lebkuchen

Throughout the market, you’ll find the famous Christmas cookie, the Lebkuchen which has been baked in Nuremberg for over 600 years. They are sweeter and softer than any other Lebkuchen you will find in Germany. They come in a plethora of flavors, most commonly milk or dark chocolate covered.


or snack on one of these babies: Schokoküssen – a chocolate covered marshmellow!


Devour a Nurembeger Bratwurst

While you are in Nuremberg, it is an absolute must to try a Nuremberger Bratwurstsemmel (sausage in a roll). Each town in Germany has stalls which sell regional sausages and they vary in size, color and shape. My personal favorite is the white Nuremberg sausages topped with french fried onions.


Find & Spin the Brass Rings on the Schöner Brunnen

As you walk around the market, make your way over to the Schöner Brunnen (The Beautiful Fountain) and search for the gold and black brass rings on the fence surrounding the fountain. The gold is easy to spot, but can you find the black one? Once you do, spin it for good luck and for a return trip to Nuremberg. The fountain has 40 colorful figures on it that represent the world view of the Holy Roman Empire.


Shop for Christmas Ornaments

My absolute favorite thing to do besides shopping for ornaments is definitely to oogle endlessly at the bright colors and the endless variety of Christmas ornaments. From hand crafted wooden ornaments to glass blown, there is an ornament for every occasion in any color!


Catch a Glimpse of the Horse-Drawn Carriage

As if the market wasn’t already the epitome of Christmas, Nuremberg steps it up a notch by providing horse-drawn carriage rides around the town with drivers dressed in an old-fashioned attire!


Check Out the International Christmas Market

Located off of the main market via a corridor or up the main road, The Nuremberg Christmas Market of Sister Cities began after World War II. Nuremberg aimed to mend international relations by creating different outreach programs, one of which included the market. Nuremberg’s Sister Cities include Antalya (Turkey), Atlanta (USA), Kharkiv (Ukraine), Gera (Thuringia), Glasgow (Scotland), Kavala (Greece), Krakow (Poland), Nice (France), Prague (Czech Republic), San Carlos (Nicaragua), Shenzhen (China), Skopje (Macedonia), Bar (Montenegro), Brasov/Kronstadt (Romania), Kalkudah (Sri Lanka), Klausen+Montan (Italy) and Verona (Italy).


We enjoyed the Glasgow, Scotland booth where we found a Hot Toddy Glühwein which had Scottish Whiskey in it, making it not too sweet and not too strong. We REALLY enjoyed it! You could even buy a few Scottish patterned ties, hats, kilts and whiskey!


For any American expats who have a bit of homesickness during the holidays, they can head over to the Atlanta, USA booth which was stocked with Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, Blow Pops, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Slim Jims and candy canes!

Find all of the Gold Angels (Rauschgoldengel)

Gold angels are the symbol of the Nuremberg Christmas Market and can be seen floating in the sky around the entrances to the market. It is said that the angels are represent the Christkind and watch over the market.


Take the Whole Family to the Kinderweihnacht Market

While many markets in Germany have a carousel for children, Nuremberg provides a children’s Christmas market unlike any I have ever seen. Not only is there a children’s carousel, but there is also a mini Riesenrad (Ferris wheel), a swing AND a mini choo-choo train! Here you can find all kinds of toys and gifts for children AND have your picture taken with Santa!

Exploring Nuremberg's Christmas Market - California GlobetrotterExploring Nuremberg's Christmas Market - California Globetrotter

Opening Hours Christkindlesmarkt December 1st to December 24th 2017

  • Opening Day Dec 1st – 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Opening Ceremony – 5:30 p.m.
  • Monday – Thursday – 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Friday & Saturday – 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Sunday – 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Christmas Eve – 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Where to Stay: Motel One Nürnberg-City ⭐⭐⭐– During a weekend business trip, we stayed at Motel One, which soon became one of my favorite chain hotels in Europe. Near the Main Station, my favorite style of decor and a delicious breakfast, this is one hotel I’d always recommend!

If you’re interested in visiting Germany and are looking for more information, I highly recommend using the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide or the Lonely Plant Travel Guide! Without these guides, I would be lost! These are my travel Bibles!










Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own and these products/services have been found useful during our travels and come highly recommended to you from yours truly!

If you’re not headed to Nuremberg for the holidays and looking for things to do in Nuremberg, check out my post about things to do in Nuremberg!

Other Christmas Markets:

Germany’s Magical Christmas Markets

Regensburg’s Christkindlmarkt

Stuttgarter Weihnachstmarkt

Heidelberg’s Romantic Christmas Market

Lake Tegernsee’s Christmas Markets

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Replies to Exploring Nuremberg’s Christmas Market

  1. You just made me hate you even more! This is so beauuuuuutiful! I’m obsessed with Christmas and Germany’s just looking more fabulous during this season. I love it and I would totally pay extra amount to climb that hidden staircase. 🙂

  2. I can almost smell the ginger and Glühwein! Thanks for taking me on a journey around Nuremburg’s Christmas market. I am a big fan of them and this sounds like one not to be missed. Thanks for linking #citytripping

  3. I am not a fan of cold weather but I think I will make an effort if a Christmas market is involved. Like you mentioned, if people are so fascinated with the markets, it is because a reason. #citytripping

  4. The Germans really do Christmas Markets so very well don’t they? Love your little insider tips for Nuremberg Christmas Markets, will pay them extra attention! 🙂

  5. Germany Christmas markets really are fabulous – I can’t believe this gets two million visitors though! And it seems so funny that this one has the Scottish and American stands, when so many people travel for the authentic German experience – I guess if you live there, it’s fun to have something new. And I really fancy some lebkuchen now… #citytripping

  6. Nuremberg is such a lovely Christmas Market! Their bratwurst is also my favorite – yum! And I remember being so excited when I found the American stall at the international market there. But it does get soooo crowded and we were sad that the Schöner Brunnen was under construction / covered every time we visited Nuremberg.

    I hope your post inspires people to visit, because it is absolutely worth it! #citytripping

    1. So glad you loved it! It is a wonderful market! That’s a shame about the fountain being under construction every time. We were there over summer and it was still covered but they must have finished recently because it was finally uncovered!

  7. I’d heard that Nuremberg is one of the biggest and best.. love that Lebkuchen. Reading about these Christmas market treats is seriously making me want something gingery for with my coffee; all I’ve got is a bit of auld Irish flapjack…

  8. It really does look like the epitome of a Christmas market, it has everything! I didn’t realise my town of Nice is twinned with Nuremberg, looks like I better head over there soon! Nice has a fun, but small Christmas market too by the way, but nothing like on this scale. #farawayfiles

  9. You are the queen of the German Christmas Market. This one looks so lovely. Have you been to the markets in Hamburg? We went last year and enjoyed similar fun! I love the golden angels – so special. Thank you for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

  10. Your pictures are so beautiful!! I love a good Christmas market and this makes me want to visit one in Germany in the future. I’ve only experienced London, Paris and Geneva so far during holiday time in Europe.

  11. I’ve heard so much about this market! I’ve never been to a European Christmas market, so between you and Clare now, clearly that needs to change. Love the history behind it, and can practically smell the chestnuts roasting..#farawayfiles

  12. So great to read all about the Nuremberg market. I feel as if you’ve taken me on a tour. I’d definitely be heading to the lebkuchen stall and buying an ornament for my tree. thanks for sharing this on #Farawayfiles

  13. I think next year is going to be Christmas markets in Germany year for us. I am a Schokoküssen addict and I probably wouldnt get the kids off the carousel but who cares?! Because… Christmas. Thanks for the Christmas spirit this week on #FarawayFiles Lolo!

  14. This looks amazing! I had no idea Christmas markets started in Strasbourg, interesting. When I lived in Birmingham a German market would come to town every year, but after a while I got a bit over it because it just seemed to be the same 4 stalls on repeat. I’m not sure what it’s like now, but I’d love to go to a real German market and see all these cool stands! I think having stands from all around the world is really cool, too.

    1. Unfortunately even here in Germany its always the same stalls selling the same exact thing every year. Even for me the novelty has worn off a bit, but I still like to go and peruse, sip of some Gluhwein and snack on some yummy goodies. I never actually buy anything.

  15. I drool just looking at your pictures, Lolo. I miss Europe and especially Germany at this time of year. There nothing more charming than these Christmas Markets in Europe. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  16. What a fun post! Would love to get to Europe – especially Nuremberg – for the Christmas Markets. Had no idea about the international market, but what a great way to get a little bit of everywhere. We have got to stop saying “one of these days” and actually go! 🙂

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