For many people, Christmas has a very special magic to it: they decorate their homes, indulge in mulled wine, punch and sweet treats, and attempt to create a harmonious atmosphere despite the annual shopping bustle. Those who appreciate both a festive atmosphere and big city flair will undoubtedly feel extremely at home in Berlin during the festive season. For in the four weeks leading up to Christmas, the metropolis on the Spree exudes particularly festive flair.
More than 80 Christmas markets are held in different parts of the city offering wares to suit every taste. From classic and festive through young and alternative to artistic or child-friendly. It is well worth visiting Berlin in winter.
Royal flair at Christmas: Berlin’s most regal advent market
The Christmas market in the grounds of Charlottenburg Palace is one of the most popular in Berlin. Alone the backdrop is impressive: the building is illuminated in colourful lights that shine out over the market stalls that fill the palace forecourt. Both savoury dishes such as baked potatoes, currywurst and goulash as well as sweet treats like roasted almonds and crepes are available. Visitors to the market will of course also find a variety of mulled wines here, along with a large selection of handcrafted wares. The Winter Forest offers historic rides for younger visitors and it is possible to dine outside despite the wintry temperatures in the well-heated open-air restaurant.
A colourful mix: Christmas magic at Gendarmenmarkt
The Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt is popular with Berlin locals and tourists alike. Situated between the French and German cathedrals and the concert hall, the Gendarmenmarkt in the Nikolai district is one of the most beautiful squares in the city. It offers a unique atmosphere whose full effect can best be enjoyed at Christmas time. The Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt features a good mix of hand-crafted wares and food stalls. The around 800,000 visitors every year are treated to regular performances on the large stage in front of the concert hall.
The event highlight at Christmas: THE ONE Grand Show at the Friedrichstadt-Palast
A thoroughly Christmassy atmosphere prevails at the Friedrichstadt-Palast during the Advent period. Indeed, the decor at the theatre is particularly festive in December. With THE ONE Grand Show, the Palast offers the perfect indoor entertainment – for when the weather outside is particularly wintry. No less than the star designer Jean Paul GAULTIER was commissioned to develop the stunning costumes for the show.
Experience a wonderful Christmas at the Palast – with more than 100 talented artists on the world’s biggest theatre stage – and confirm for yourself the verdict of the New York Times, which named the Palast one of its top 10 must-sees in Berlin. It’s going to be one huge party!
Christmas in Berlin – events for kids
Children tend to look forward to Christmas more than anything else. The storytelling huts in Monbijou Park add to this seasonal anticipation with its winter plays in the run-up to Christmas. The ensemble recounts the very best tales from the Brothers Grimm in the two fairy tale huts. These include absolute classics such as Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel. There are also tales specifically for adults – with a separate evening programme for them. The in-house pizzeria ensures the necessary sustenance during performances: it is possible to reserve a table up to two hours before the start of a show.
Dining out in Berlin: goose is served at Christmas
Particularly the classic aromas and spices that make the sweet and savoury winter specialities so very tempting contribute to the very special Christmas atmosphere. Cinnamon, cloves and cardamom are just a few of the typical aromas you will be able to smell during Advent. At Christmas, duck, goose and game feature on the menu more than at any other time of the year – and this is also the case at countless restaurants in Berlin.
Jules Verne on Savignyplatz in Charlottenburg is particularly renowned for its roast goose. Available from mid-November, it comes with all the traditional trimmings, including red cabbage, kale, and potato dumplings. In contrast, Restaurant Brenner in Schöneberg pairs breast or leg of goose with cassis-red cabbage or glazed chestnuts. Famous for its outstanding cuisine, this culinary establishment is listed in the Guide Michelin as well as the GaultMillau Guide.
Charlottenburg Palace | Photo: Flickr / Andreas Neufahrt/neufahrt.de (CC BY-ND 2.0)
The Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt | Photo: Flickr / yeowatzup (CC BY 2.0)
A cosy atmosphere in the festive season | Photo: Flickr / włodi (CC BY-SA 2.0)