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Located in one of Southern Bavaria’s most stunning regions, an easy day trip from Munich, surrounded by mountain peaks patiently waiting for snow is Lake Tegernsee. Scattered around the lake are five small villages hugging the shoreline, each decked out in Christmas holiday spirit. Together, the five village’s Christmas markets form what is called Tegernsee Advent Magic loaded with Christmas stalls with a unique twist to traditional German Christmas gifts. A perfect location if you’re looking for something less touristy than Christmas markets in larger cities.
Want to Experience a Classy Christmas Market? PIN IT FOR LATER!!
On select dates, the five different Christmas markets are open throughout the holiday season. Be sure to check the dates and times. The main Advents markets to check out here is the Tegernsee Schloss Markt and the Rottacher-Egern Advents Markt, one of the most unique Christmas Markets in Germany!
After setting out GPS guide to take us to the center of Tegernsee, we quickly found parking not far from the city hall. From here, we strolled down to the shores first to enjoy a beautiful mid-afternoon’s Baileys Hot Chocolate to get us started as we waited for the markets to open!
At first glance, you could tell that Tegernsee was an upper-class destination for people coming from Munich. You could see in the type of cars being driven around the town to the way rich Bavarians dress, especially when they wear their finest Lederhosen and Dirndl.
Most markets don’t open until around 2pm, so it is not necessary to get there much earlier, unless you want to stroll around and enjoy some of the beauties of Tegernsee. And that’s just what we did! A nice stroll along the walkways hugging the shoreline made for a relaxing afternoon before the hustle and bustle of Christmas market strolling.
Today, the Tegernsee Abbey and the monastery buildings are known as the Tegernsee Schloss, however its official name is St. Quirinus Abbey. Up until 1803, it was the most important Benedictine community in Bavaria and the town abbey grew up around it, giving the lake its name.
A little before 2pm, the market in front of the Tegernsee Schloss began to trickle open. We meandered through, sniffing here and there of goodies to be tried and lunch to be had! We settled with a traditional Bratwurst Semmel (sausage sandwich) and some homemade Gluhwein from the local Verein (club). Scattered throughout the different markets, you’ll find large fire pits for warming up!
I knew that this market would be unlike any other Christmas Market in Germany that I had visited so far by the type of gifts which were on display. What I liked the most about this one was the hard carved wooden decorations, costing a pretty penny. Anything, from large statues to immaculate wooden carved ornaments, the Tegernsee Christmas Markets had some unique Christmas gifts!
After checking out some of the stalls which had some unique gifts to offer such as hand-carved wooden statues and Christmas ornaments, we made our way back to the shore of the lake, near the Rathaus (city hall) to catch a boat across the river.
While online, some sites might announce that there is a free shuttle boat between Tegernsee and Rottacher-Egern, we found this NOT to be the case! We ended up paying 5€ per person round-trip.
Now, on Dec 12/13 and 19/20th, the shuttle boat runs back and forth every 30 minutes between the two Christmas markets and takes about 10-15 minutes one way.
Immediately, upon arrival to the Rottacher-Egern Advents Market, you are greeted with the classic Christmasy image of the stalls lining the shores of the lake with the tall Alpine peaks looming in the distance.
The Christmas market here is not over loaded with stall after stall, but with around 20 stalls filled with more unique gifts such as Bavarian deer trophies. No, don’t worry, not real ones! I particularly took a fancy to the hand carved wooden ornaments in multiple sizes.
What made this market a little more high class than normal Christmas markets wasn’t just fancy, unique gifts but that Champagne was even offered for those who want to up their game instead of drinking traditional Gluhwein. As this market is located along a lake at the foot of the surrounding mountains, it’s naturally much colder here. So it was nice to find large fire pits to stand around to warm up again after your hands and feet get cold!
By 4pm, the sun was starting to set rather quickly, which actually made for the perfect time to leave and catch the next boat out as more and more tourists were rolling in. I don’t say this just because I’m not a huge fan of big crowds, but because it’s the perfect time to snap some amazing pictures in that perfect Blue Hour glow. So as we waited in line to catch the next boat, we enjoyed a fantastic sunset with the glow of the white Christmas lights from the market. It was a perfect ending to a lovely sunny winter afternoon.
While the Tegernsee Christmas Market was quite interesting to visit, as it was different from any other Christmas Market we had ever been to, I don’t think I would personally return as I generally avoid rubbing elbows with the rich. There’s some so un-Christmasy in my opinion about drinking Champagne at a Christmas Market instead of hot Glühwein. I also found a lot of the Christmas stalls to be a little out of our price range and therefore we didn’t buy anything. It is certainly a beautiful market though, especially around dusk with the reflection of the lights twinkling in the water, with a few swans swimming around, but I also found it to be a rather simple set up. I can imagine though how the beauty of the market increases tenfold with fresh, white snow!
If you’re interested in visiting Germany and are looking for more information, I highly recommend using the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide! Without these guides, I would be lost! This is my travel Bible!