Your Guide to the Dresden Christmas Markets
There are approximately 1,500 Christmas markets in Germany, and about 85 million people from around the world pay them a visit every year. If you love Christmas, you will inevitably fall in love with Dresden where you will find 11 assortments of Christmas markets right at your feet.
Dresden is the German city where you will discover the most significant number of markets to celebrate Christmas. If you want to learn more about these customs surrounding the eastern part of the country, we have got you covered. We have compiled a list of everything you need to know about the home of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany.
Traditionally, the Christmas Market in Dresden is called Striezelmarkt, and it is the oldest Christmas market all over the country of Germany. It has a long history with records proving that it dates back to 1434 or the 15th century. The name comes from Hefestriezel, which is a sweet delicacy that many Germans now call the Dresden Christstollen or the German Christmas Cake.
Striezelmarkt is on the Altmarkt Square, which is the city center with a rich history. All around the area, you will see various themed markets that stretch all the way up to Albertplatz and the main railway station.
The Christmas arch is also quite symbolic, which was initially a metal. Today, a wooden arch stands in which candles and Christmas figures are on display. The local folklore says that the miners would hang some candles to the entrance of the mine during their last working day before Christmas came.
Striezelmarkt is a way of dedicating every tradition of the area to each Advent weekend. However, it is not the only place where you can experience these Christmas markets. You can count on the fact that it is the central area and is the largest, particularly in the eastern part of the country. If you want the most traditional market, it is where you should be.
This market is open from the 28th of November to the 24th of December at 10 in the morning to nine in the evening. You can find the Striezelmarkt on the Altmarkt square right in the center of Dresden.
Augustusmarkt is the second largest Christmas market in Dresden. Although it may be second, it is still a powerful force during winter time. The celebration is in the Baroque City right at the Elbe River.
It is a specialized market mainly because of its international ambiance. Expect to see some impressive designs and be sure to spot the white-golden pagoda, which remains illuminated throughout the whole time the market is open.
Augustusmarkt may have its transnational appeal, but it also stays cozy, which is why many locals prefer to visit the market along the alley of Hauptstrasse. You can find the market starting from the Golden Rider statue all the way to the Jorge Gomondai Square.
This market draws in a huge crowd because of the many options available, including some Swedish Julskinha, Finnish Piparkakut, and Italian Pandoro. It offers the visitors different mixes of what a Christmas market is like traditionally with a touch of international atmosphere. It is why Augustusmarkt is exceptional in the city of Dresden.
The original market located on the Hauptstrasse has rebranded quite recently. There used to be huts all over the area, but white pagodas now replace them, which are all over the three sections of the whole boulevard.
Augustusmarkt typically starts from the 30th of November until the 23rd of December. The market is open from Monday to Thursday from 11 in the morning to nine in the evening. If you will visit on Fridays, the market is accessible from 11 in the morning to 10 in the evening. On Saturdays, they open earlier from 10 in the morning to 10 in the evening.
The market is also open every Sunday from 10 AM to nine in the evening. Note that the location of the market is from the Neustädter Markt all the way through to the Dreifaltigkeitskirche.
Christmas Market at the Frauenkirche
Here is another Christmas market that you should certainly see for yourself. It is quite eventful because it is right outside the shops and restaurants of the famous area around the Frauenkirche Church, which translates to the Church of Our Lady.
When you visit the market, you will see the picturesque backdrop at the heart of the historic old town of Dresden. You will also notice that there is a romantic sensation in the air as the Christmas season unfolds. It reveals itself along with the cheery lights on Münzgasse.
The market is right between the world famous church of Frauenkirche and Brühl’s Terrace, which is the popular laneway that is home to about 45 merchants. It is the lane where you will find many traditional handicrafts, along with culinary specialties.
Going around the area, you will see stalls that are quite attractive with the festively-decorated shops all over the place. The atmosphere is unmistakable, especially when the bells of the church toll. This year, the market is open daily from the 28th of November to the 24th of December.
Every Sunday through Thursday, you can visit the market from 10 AM to 9 PM. Meanwhile, if you plan to be there on Friday or Saturday, the shops are open till 10 PM. The snack food stalls stay open to the public for another extra hour every day. On the final day though, the market will only be accessible until 2 PM.
Christmas Market on the Neumarkt
While in Frauenkirche and enjoying the Christmas market there, you may want to continue your journey and visit Neumarkt as well. It is just nearby and is in an open area situated on the other side of the famous church.
This market indeed has a great location since it is also close to the traditional market. Often nicknamed as the Advent Market, and it is where you can find a place that celebrates guild crafts and products that have historical significance in the area.
The shops here are popular for bringing sign writers, chocolatiers, and engravers. If you need carving works, you should visit this market. Top engravers and etchers are all over this site. Plus, while you wait, you can enjoy music and tasty food.
The Christmas market at the Neumarkt is what many locals call the Christmas market of angels because it has angels dressed in white. It is not only a place where you can buy different items and have some inscriptions performed, but it is also where you can have fun as you watch various events.
These events typically begin at night when the market becomes quite busy with the visitors flocking all over the area. Everywhere, you will find good food as music plays in the air. Most of the tracks are to celebrate Christmas, but you will also hear some traditional tunes, along with the popular ones in the music industry today.
The market feels cozy even to those who have not tried any Christmas market in Dresden. There are bright stars all over the trees, and you will see that there are families with kids everywhere even at night.
The free event is open from the 26th of November to the 23rd of December. Every Sunday to Thursday, the market is open from 11 AM to 9 PM. Meanwhile, the schedule changes every Friday and Saturday when the market is accessible until 10 in the evening.
Dresden Winter Lights Market
This market is easy to spot because it is in one of the most recognizable shopping streets in Dresden. It is right between the center of the city and the central railway station. Just recently, there were some changes made, including the rebranding of the market to focus on illuminations.
This way, it truly embodies its name in which the centerpiece of the market will feature a 15-meter or almost 50 feet high Christmas tree.
The Winter Lights Market is thought to be a gleaming gem in the southernmost string of pearls that consist of the Christmas markets of Dresden. It has been around since 2012, and although it is not as old as the others, it is quite a favorite.
It is indeed mesmerizing with its festive lights. You will immerse yourself in these wonderful spectacles as you discover many regional specialties. Every night that the market is open, the Christmas tree at the center of it all will light up brilliantly. There will also be music playing in the background as lights surround the giant tree.
You will also see two carousels, which have historical backgrounds. Of course, there are sweet surprises that will keep you entertained. If you have kids, you should certainly bring them with you here. Many of the events are specially designed to enthrall them.
The market is for everyone, both for the young and old. While here, the house of Santa Claus is one of the top sights to behold as it is under the stairs that run crossways.
If you are ready to experience this market, you will have to visit from the 29th of November to the 23rd of December. It is open every day from 10 in the morning to nine in the evening. Do not forget that the location of the market is on the Prager Strasse.
Shopping Tips for Dresden Christmas Markets
Each year, the Dresden Christmas markets are open to the public. You may think that it is the same annually, but you will be surprised that there will always be something new, including captivating events and displays to show.
The Old City is the most atmospheric and many people will agree that it is also the most beautiful part. Therefore, if it is your first time to visit the markets, you should head first to this part of Dresden. It has great historic buildings, along with museums and galleries. It is also a wonderful experience to walk around the small roads.
Since it is Christmas and the markets are busy, you should expect that there will be crowds of people all around you. The markets have tons of people from many parts of the world, and it can be exhausting for many. To soothe you, try the hot red wine called glühwein, as well as the other foods, which will instantly make you feel better.
Among the things that you should certainly do while enjoying the Christmas markets is to visit the Striezelmarkt, especially on the Saturday before the Second Advent. The Dresden festivity features a giant cake that will be cut during the Christmas ceremony.
Since it is Christmas, do not forget to browse the traditional Christmas tree decorations. Most of them are handmade, and you can find them in many of the markets in the Old City. They are quite exceptional, such as those decorations made from glass or wood.
When shopping for any item, it is best to do it early in the morning or right after the shops open. Typically, the stalls welcome visitors starting from nine in the morning but some shops are accessible an hour later. It is better to buy while there are still a few other customers around because the long lines will certainly exhaust you.
Try to shop during the week too since it will help cut down the crowds. Weekends are painfully jam-packed. However, if you want to experience what these markets genuinely offer, such as the glowing lights and the gigantic Christmas trees, you wish to visit the markets at night.
You have plenty of items to look at and consider buying but among the things that you may want to score are the nativity scenes in which some are hand-carved and the Christmas pyramids that are tiered candle carousels.
What to Eat or Drink at the Dresden Christmas Markets
One of the things that these Christmas markets have in common is Bratwurst. The smell invades the air because it is everywhere. Make sure you get a taste of these famous sausages, which generally cost 2.50 euros though some can go up to four euros.
Aside from Bratwurst, gingerbread is also all around the markets. These famous cookies have been around for more than 600 years in the city. The Christmas markets offer gingerbread cookies in different sizes and tastes, including sugary, strawberry, and chocolate.
Frikadellen or meatballs (also called meat cake) are also something you should not miss. It comes with a roll in which you can make the sandwich with, and you can add the mustard and onions on top.
When it is cold outside, let the Glühwein or red wine warm you up so you can stroll around the market. You do not have to feel intensely cold to savor this drink because just a sip will give you warmth and delight.
Usually, the wine ranges from 2.50 euros to 4.5 euros, but you will have to pay two euros for the cup. You can return the cup to get your money back, or you can use it if you plan to buy the drink again.
Another drink to try is Feuerzangenbowle, which is similar to Glühwein. It is a mulled wine that is quite showy. It has added rum, along with a sugar cube comes with a small fire. It places an extra kick of sweetness and is fun to try.
For people who do not want to drink alcohol or for the younger ones, there is a drink just for you called Kinderpunsch, which is like Glühwein but does not contain alcohol.
In some Christmas markets, you will find eggnog for sale. It is not the same as the ones that you buy in stores. It is warm and thick, which may surprise you if you are a fan of the usual eggnog drink.
Hotels Near Dresden Christmas Markets
It is not only the shopping and the sightseeing that you should plan but also where to stay. Luckily for you, here are the hotels that are close to the Christmas markets in Dresden and how they fare, based on their amenities and what customers say:
This hotel is your home away from home if you want a relaxing place to stay in complete with a spa, fast Wi-Fi connection, and a heated pool. It also has a small gym, a sauna, and treatments for wellness and beauty. The hotel has its own restaurant, café, and bar.
The location is appealing, especially for tourists because it is nearby many attractions, including the Royal Palace, the Elbe Sandstone Highlands, and the Semper Opera House. It is the perfect spot to stay for the night if you plan to visit the market in the Frauenkirche and those near it.
This hotel is a great choice whether you are in the city for business or leisure. It has more than 180 guest rooms and 30+ suites where most of them offer a view of the Theatre Square. It is always best to book early, mainly before the Christmas markets open to secure your space.
Another hotel where you can comfortably rest during your whole experience of the Christmas markets is the Gewandhaus Dresden Autograph Collection. Customers give it excellent reviews after their stay, complimenting the staff and the amenities.
The hotel is for those searching for a luxurious place to spend the night but without paying b atig bucks. Although some of the rooms may be a bit expensive, they are worth the price, according to what the customers say.
Situated in the heard of Dresden, you will not go wrong with the location of this hotel, especially if your goal is to enjoy the Christmas markets in the area. The Frauenkirche Church is only 10 minutes away, and the Semperoper Opera House is just five minutes away.
The rooms are designed with comfort in mind with air conditioning, a spa bath, complimentary breakfast, and Wi-Fi.
Elegance is the word that fits this hotel appropriately. The Innside Hotel has an excellent location as it is in the center of the historic Old Town of Dresden. One of the favorite features here is the Sky-Bar, which is on the 6th floor of the building. It offers breathtaking views of the Frauenkirche Church.
Those who stay in this hotel can enjoy the spa for free. All the rooms are stylish with modern designs. All the rooms come with air conditioning units, and the suites have their own mini bar. You do not have to worry about your connection to the world because you will stay connected with the free Wi-Fi.
The bathrooms are large and spacious with a rain shower and packed with toiletries, bathrobes, and slippers. Guests can also use the sauna, fitness studio, and the steam bath all for free. There are also beauty treatments and massages if you want to relax while staying in the hotel.
Your stay in the city during your Christmas market tour does not have to be expensive. Here is a hotel where the rooms are quite affordable yet comfortable and still luxurious.
Guests can have their own parking spaces, along with free Wi-Fi connection and access to the spa and wellness center. It is at the center of the city so you can quickly get to where you want to go. Whether it is to the Zwinger Museum or the Frauenkirche Church, you will surely find your way to the Christmas market you want to visit in no time.
Plus, you can access the Altmarkt-Gallerie where you can shop for famous brand names. The hotel can even assign a personal shopper for you.
A top property with great reviews from its guests, this hotel welcomes everyone, including pets. Whether you are here for a visit, for leisure or serious business, you will find accommodation that is right for you.
The hotel has its own restaurants and is near many attractions including the River Elbe, Royal Palace, and Zwinger. It features different room categories ranging from superior to deluxe to suite.
Guests will have free access to Wi-Fi, along with 24-hour room service. They can also use the fitness room and the meeting room if needed. The hotel has a bar, laundry facilities, and a terrace where guests can enjoy their meals if the weather permits it.
With all these pieces of information, you can plan your Christmas market journey in Dresden. From where you visit, to the things you will purchase and try, to where you will stay, your experience will undoubtedly be stress-free.
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