The oldest and best known Christmas market in Munich is, without a doubt, the lovely Christkindlmarkt on Marienplatz square. Until Christmas Eve the Christkindlmarkt creates a special Christmas atmosphere in the heart of Munich. The Christmas market offers an abundance of traditional customs and hand-made products with a certain Bavarian touch to it.
The Christmas huts are spread over from Marienplatz square through to Kaufinger- and Neuhauserstraße up to the Richard-Strauss-Brunnen (well). And also from the Weinstraße to the Rindermarkt, you find the splendid Christmas stands offering hand-made products, Christmas decoration and sweet delights.
Around the landmark of Munich's Christkindlmarkt, the huge and beautifully decorated Christmas tree is placed in front of the new city hall. There are more than 25,000 m² of space allowing 170 merchants to open their market-stands.
Surrounded by Christmas music & decoration, sparkling lights and the sweet scent of macrons, the market sellers offer their lovely hand-made products that you cannot get anywhere else.
The Christmas tree on Marienplatz square
Without a doubt, the centre of Munich's Christkindlmarkt is the huge Christmas tree, which is placed right at the heart of Marienplatz square. Traditionally, it is brought here from an Alpine place each year that is also at present in the courtyard of the city hall. A fortnight prior to the opening of Munich's Christkindlmarkt, the Christmas tree is set up and decorated with 3,000 lights by Munich's fire service. The Christmas tree then stays brightly lit up until Christmas Eve.
The perfect Advent atmosphere comes up when Christmas songs are sung from the balcony of the city hall. The daily concerts given by various well-known groups of brass bands, choirs and three-voiced formations are an essential part of the varied musical programme and a special treat for your ears.
A visit by Santa Claus
Every afternoon, Santa Claus walks around Munich's Christmas market and makes both adults and children smile. He gives out apples, nuts and almonds.
Germany's probably largest crib market is set up around the Richard-Strauss-Brunnen (well) in Neuhauser Straße. It is located in close proximity to the Christkindlmarkt on Marienplatz square where nativity figurines, supplies and carved artwork are offered. Apart from collectibles and other rarities, you find cribs and additional supplies in any shapes, forms and variations. The definite highlights are the “Oberammergauer Großkrippe” and the precious oriental and Alpine splendid crib that you only get to see here.
The “Sternenplatzl” at Rindermarkt
When here, you can literally feel the cosy atmosphere in the romantic “glitter forest” of the old broad-leaved tree at Rindermarkt. There's a lot to discover: Stands with traditional artwork and nostalgic toys will take you back to your childhood and invite you to stroll around. And afterwards you may indulge yourself with any delights Bavarian cuisine has to offer. Try out home-made and smoked specialities, Feuerzangenbowle (brandy punch) and the indispensable Bratwurst accompanied by traditional drinks.
The “Himmelswerkstatt” is a workshop where you can make things yourself, play or bake. It is accommodated in the city hall and suitable for children aged between 6 and 12. The meeting point is the “Engellandeplatz”, the “spot angels land at” right at the gateway. Little guests will be equipped with golden wings, clothed in shimmery garments and prepared to embark on a journey through a miraculous angel world inviting all kids to paint, draw, make artful paper, print Christmas cards or just bake cookies. The kids are taken care of and supervised by artists and pedagogues coming from Munich's children and youth museum. On Sundays, children aged younger than 6 years and parents are also allowed to participate because Sunday is family day. You can check the opening hours of the “Himmelswerkstatt” online.
Let's play “Exploring the Christkindlmarkt”
In German the game is called “20x Budenzauber”, which means as much as “20 times Christmas hut magic”. Children, adults, families... basically, anyone can participate. It takes place each Advent Sunday. For orientation there are free maps given out. You may obtain them in the city hall and at the participating market stands. At 20 stations, participants learn a lot about Munich's Christkindlmarkt and Advent customs and have the chance to try out various techniques covering craftsmanship and baking skills. You receive a puzzle piece at every station. Having collected all, you may put them all together at the end.
Post from Baby Jesus
If you want, you may pay a visit to the “Christkindlpostamt”, the “Baby Jesus Post Office”, located at the passage to the city hall's courtyard. You may send your Christmas post from here as well – for real. Your letters and boxes will be labelled “Christkindl” (“Baby Jesus”) and sent out to the rest of the world. It's made possible by the Upper Austrian community Christkindl near Steyr who are guests in Munich during the Advent time. Letters directed to Baby Jesus himself can also be sent from here. Of course, children will receive an adequate respond to their letter by Baby Jesus.
The “Krampuslauf” takes place on two days during the Advent time. Scary beasts run around and spread fear and terror, according to a 500 year old tradition. Alpine legend has it that beasts, the so-called “Krampusse”, scare the visitors with archaic masks and shaggy fur costumes. The “Krampusse” are the eerie companies of Santa Claus who will constantly try to scare innocent visitors of Munich's Christkindlmarkt.
Should you have any interest in a guided tour, you may participate in the tours offered by the official Munich guides. Walking around, your guide will tell you more about the traditions and stories of the Christmas market and the crib market. Various customs will be explained.
If you decide to participate in the tasting tour, you get to try any kind of delight imaginable that is offered on Munich's Christkindlmarkt.
The origin of the Christkindlmarkt in Munich dates back to the 14th century. The traditional Christmas market, though, the way we know it, has taken place on Marienplatz square in Munich since 1972.
- Christkindlmarkt Munich is among the 3 best rated Tourist Attractions in Germany.
How to get there
The Christkindlmarkt is located in the centre of Munich.
By public transport
We recommend you to take the subway or the tram to get to the Christkindlmarkt. The stops that are in close proximity are “Marienplatz”, “Rindermarkt” and “Karlsplattz/ Stachus”.
Coming to Munich by car, use a park-and-ride car park and continue by subway to get to Munich's Christkindlmarkt.