For many of us, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. And it doesn’t get much more christmassy than at Dresden’s Striezelmarkt, Germany's oldest Christmas market, and a cauldron of festive lights, mulled wine aromas and Christmas music. This popular Christmas market fills the baroque city centre with hustle and bustle, offering plenty to enjoy for the young and the old. The festive opening ceremony is a particularly memorable annual event, while the four Advent weekends are all also packed with special events.
Festive Delights on the Market
What would a Christmas market be without festive biscuits, spiced apples or mulled wine? No need to worry, Dresden’s Striezelmarkt has you covered on all of these fronts. The rich culinary pickings naturally also include the famous Dresden Christstollen, which is still baked here according to traditional recipes. In fact, the name “Striezelmarkt” even originated from this delicious festive cake. In the Middle Ages, a Strutzel or Striezel was the name used to describe a long, sometimes platted yeast cake. Over time, the term Christbrot then grew into the established term for Stollen, even becoming a fixed element of the Christmas festival from 1617 onwards. Since the 13th century, the famous gingerbread, honey cake and pepper cake from the town Pulsnitz have also been a must at this time of the year. And nowadays no Christmas market would be complete without a mulled wine stand. Dresden’s mulled wine is served in mugs specially made for the Striezelmarkt – now collector’s items by virtue of carrying a different design every year.
One ever-present fixture of the Striezelmarkt is the arts and crafts on offer here – glass Christmas tree decorations from Thuringia, beautifully patterned fabrics from the Lausitzer Blaufärber, ceramics and pottery from Saxony, and wood carvings from the Ore Mountains. These varied, traditional wares, all crafted by hand, have been quintessential elements of Dresden’s Striezelmarkt for centuries. These products are not only available to buy, but visitors can also look craftspeople over the shoulder as they produce their exquisite pieces.
Highlights for Children
In the “Kindererlebniswelt” children’s area of the Striezelmarkt, there is plenty for young visitors to discover. Whether they turn their hand to baking themselves or explore one of the gingerbread houses, little ones won’t go hungry here any time soon. The children’s railway, the nostalgic carousel, the puppet theatre and kid’s cinema are also great ways to enjoy the wintery magic. Most kids also love watching the daily ritual of opening another door on the market’s Advent calendar.
The first Dresden Striezelmarkt was held in 1434, if only for a single day. Elector Fredrick II. and his brother Duke Sigismund approved a free market on the city’s Altenmarkt on the day before Christmas Eve, and the Striezelmarkt was born. In the time since, it has developed into one of the most traditional Christmas markets in all of Germany. Nowadays, over 240 retailers and exhibitors descend on the market every December to sell their wares. In addition to Santas, Christmas trees, pyramids and a huge Advent calendar, the unmistakable face of the Christmas MARKET has long been the Pflaumentoffel – a diminutive man traditionally made of baked plums who is said to bring luck.
- Striezelmarket Dresden is the the best rated tourist attraction in Saxony.
How to get there
The Altmarkt in Dresden is the traditional home of the Striezelmarkt, and it’s located right in the heart of the Old Town. It is easy to reach on foot, but is also accessible via public transport or by car.
The Christmas market is served by both bus and tram services. Altmarkt, Pirnaischer Platz and Prager Straße are all stops located close to the Christmas market.
If you’d prefer to come by car, take the B6, B170, B172 or B173 into Dresden city centre. When you arrive, you can park in one of the following car parks, all of which are signposted as part of the city’s parking guidance system: Tiefgarage Altmarkt, Tiefgarage Altmarkt-Galerie, Tiefgarage Karstadt, Parkplatz Pirnaischer Platz, Parkplatz Ferdinandplatz. All of these car parks are close to Dresden’s Striezelmarkt.