Today’s post was supposed to be one to get people in the Christmas spirit and for me to reflect on the amazing trip I had to Berlin last month. Unfortunately this post is overshadowed by the horrific terror attack that took place at the Christmas market in Breitscheidplatz on Monday night. After being at that exact market just three weeks ago, it sends chills through me and has really stopped me in my tracks for writing what was supposed to be an exciting post. Whilst in Berlin, the capital of Germany, it felt like one of the safest cities I’ve ever been to. My heart goes out to the poor victims who were wrongly killed so close to Christmas and to all who were injured. I wish the cruelty in this world would just stop; just when you think we’re over the worst, something else comes along to cause more tragedy.
I really hope the terror attack doesn’t deter people from visiting the beautiful city of Berlin. It holds a chilling yet couragous history, brilliant artictecture and some amazing modern art. Germany is the home to traditional Christmas markets and after getting the bug for them last year when I went to the Christmas markets in Budapest, me and my friends decided to book to go to the markets in Berlin. With around 60 Christmas markets scattered across the capital city, I’ve picked out some of my favourites from our short trip back in November.
My favourite Christmas market in Berlin has got to be Weihnactszauber Gendarmenmarkt. This is the only market we visited where we had to pay an entry fee of 1 euro, the small fee goes towards the on-stage performances and supporting charity. The Weihnactszauber market is popular for its traditional arts and craft stalls; you could watch some of the stall holders produce and sell products right in front of you which made making a purchase extra special. This market offered the most diverse collection of gifts and decorations; despite the products being a little bit pricey, you could see first hand how much effort had gone into creating each gift. Weihnactszauber has a wonderful festive atmosphere with some beautiful stage performances from German schools and choirs, not to mention it’s surrounded by some beautiful monuments. This one also had a much larger choice of food options, perfect for foodies like me!
Weihnachtsmarkt am Gedachtniskirche, Breitscheidtplatz
The Gedachtniskirche Christmas market was a much smaller scale than the others we had visited, making it a popular option for families to take their young children to. Decorated with twinkly overhead lights, it was lovely to have a stroll through this market as it was less busy than the other ones. With a few rides for the children and arcade games to win giant teddies, Gedachtniskirche is a brilliant place for the kids. Located nearby the Berlin Zoo, the market would be a great place to visit after a day of seeing the animals.
Probably the most popular and biggest Christmas market in Berlin located in the heart of Alexanderplatz square, surrounding the famous Berlin TV Tower – the Alexanderplatz Christmas market has something for everyone. Unfortunately we visited the market on a foggy night so we were unable to see the TV Tower in all its glory however the atmosphere of the market more than made up for it. There’s an ice rink, traditional fair rides, gift stalls and mulled wine & food stations. If that’s not enough, the market is surrounded by mainstream shops so you can buy some more contemporary gifts whilst you’re there too.
Charlottenburg Palace, City West
As you can expect, the Charlottenburg Palace Christmas market is one of the more luxurious markets as it’s located in the grounds of an actual palace. The stunning backdrop (which was unfortunately under construction whilst we were there), makes for a beautiful location for the festive stalls. There are around 250 vendors at this market selling their handcrafted goods from their small wooden huts which are decorated entirely with natural materials. With a brass band performing much-loved Christmas songs and heated huts for you to stand under and enjoy a mug of mulled wine or two, it’s pretty easy to get in the festive spirit here.
If you want to pick up some authentic, handmade decorations and gifts for your loved ones at Christmas, the German Christmas markets are the perfect place to do so. Although I’d already finished most of my Christmas shopping before our trip, I loved going to the markets to take in the festive atmosphere. Eating local food, drinking mulled wine and listening to Christmas songs is the perfect way to fill yourself with Christmas cheer!
Is Berlin a place you would like to visit? Have you been to any Christmas markets this year?