2020 Update: Unfortunately, the Nuremberg Christmas Market has been canceled this year – but it’s never too late to start planning for 2021!
Often touted as the oldest Christmas market in the world, and with plenty of unique traditions, Nuremberg Christmas Market is one of those things that makes it onto everyone’s bucket list. And for good reason.
With a plethora of unique traditions you won’t find anywhere else, and the smell of Lebkuchen and Wurst wafting through the air, it’s the perfect place to spend a few days getting into the Christmas spirit!
This guide is absolutely packed to the brim with information about Nuremberg Christmas Market, the other little markets throughout Nuremberg, and what to eat and buy while you’re there! So let’s get right to it.
How to Get to Nuremberg
Nuremberg is easily reached by air thanks to the Nuremberg International Airport. Quite a few budget airlines have flights to Nuremberg.
If you’re flying from further afield, the cheapest airports to fly into will probably be Frankfurt or Munich. It’s then an easy train ride from both of those airports to Nuremberg!
Nuremberg is well served by train connections from all over Germany. If you’re coming from Munich, it’s approximately 1 hour by train. From Frankfurt, it’s 2 hours, and from Berlin it’s 6 hours.
The best place to book train tickets is through the bahn.de website. If you book more than 3 days ahead of time, you’ll also save a little bit of money!
Nuremberg is served by Flixbus, the budget bus carrier throughout Europe, with plenty of connections from all over Germany. You can click here to browse bus tickets to Nuremberg!
Nuremberg Christmas Market Hotels
Five Reasons Hotel and Hostel – If you’re looking for a budget-friendly place to stay that still feels like you’re getting a comfortable, almost luxurious experience, then Five Reasons Hotel and Hostel is absolutely the place to stay! I stayed in an 8 bed dorm that was absolutely HUGE (think: could have fit 20 beds in there). Oh, and have I mentioned the rainwater shower??? Quite possibly the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in. It’s also just a 12-minute walk from the main Nuremberg Christmas market!
Adina Apartment Hotel – A great option if you’re looking for a bit more room, the Adina Aprtment Hotel offers studios with all of the amenities of home, including a kitchenette and washing machine. It’s also a short, 10-minute walk to the markets.
Hotel Am Jakobsmarkt – If you’re looking for an absolutely charming hotel in a traditional half-timbered building, then this is it. Nestled in the old town, it’s also just a short walk from the markets and has an amazing breakfast!
dasPaul – A modern, luxury hotel with an absolutely amazing location just a five minute walk from the Nuremberg Christmas Market. Reviews say that it has an amazing breakfast!
Top Tips for Visiting the Nuremberg Christmas Market
Try to visit NOT on the weekend
Nuremberg Christmas Market is by FAR the most popular Christmas market in Germany (and, well, the entire world). Which means that it can get ridiculously crowded.
If you can, try to arrange your visit so that you’re not there during the weekend. I was there on a Tuesday and Wednesday and it was still packed, so I don’t even want to THINK about what the Hunger Games of the weekend looks like.
Take a Nuremberg Christmas Market tour!
The Nuremberg Christmas Market is absolutely huge, and it can get overwhelming. One great way to avoid that overwhelm is to take a Christmas market tour!
These tours will take you to the absolute best stands, and you’ll also get to learn SO much about Nuremberg and its Christmas market that I think is invaluable.
The two tours that I ended up taking were both in German, but if you don’t speak German not to fear–there are English options as well. Here are a few that look awesome:
- Nuremberg Old Town and Christmas Market Tour – This tour takes you around to some of the top sights in the old town and ends at the market!
- Nuremberg Christmas Market Food Tour – Learn about the history of the Nuremberg Christmas Market and taste plenty of food!
And if you do speak German, then I highly recommend these two tours!
- Dies Städtlein in der Stadt – This hour and a half long tour takes you behind the scenes of the Nuremberg Christmas Market, introducing you to vendors who have been there for generations and telling you all about the different Christmas market traditions. Plus, you pick up a little something from each of the stands that you visit!
- Advent, Advent Night Watchwoman Tour – The Nuremberg Watchwoman gives tours all year long, but during the Nuremberg Christmas market her tour turns Christmas themed, with a nighttime walk around Nuremberg and plenty of traditional stories.
Save money with the Nuremberg Christmas Card
A Christmas Market trip through Germany can be a pretty budget-friendly trip, especially if you’re getting most of your meals from the markets themselves.
If you’re looking to save even MORE money, though, then Nuremberg is a great market to visit thanks to the Nuremberg Christmas Market card.
For €11 (approx. $12.25), you’ll get a little booklet with coupons for:
- 1 “Drei im Weckla” Nuremberg Bratwurst
- 1 Elisenlebkuchen
- 1 Glühwein (+ mug to take home)
- 1 Christkind postcard
- 1 Self-adhesive Nuremberg Christmas Market seal (for use on that postcard or any other post you send)
- Entrance to the Creche Exhbit at St. Eigidien church.
If you’re interested in all of these things and use all of the coupons, then you’ll save over 30%, so it’s definitely worth considering! I got one and was really happy with everything it came with.
Nuremberg Christmas Market Guide
Nuremberg is a little bit different from other large cities in Germany because instead of having one main market and then a few other, different ones throughout the city, Nuremberg focuses almost entirely on the main, seriously famous Christmas market.
There are then a few smaller, off-shoot markets right next door to the main market with specialties like the Children’s Market and the Market of the Sister Cities that are still technically part of the main market.
In addition to these, there are two mini set ups: the Nuremberger Feuerzangenbowle (aka the Biggest Punch Bowl in the World) and a mini artisans market right by the train station.
Nuremberg Christmas Market Map
Here’s a map with the locations for all of the Christmas markets in Nuremberg. Save it to your phone so you know exactly where to go!
Main Nuremberg Christmas Market
When it comes to German Christmas markets, Nuremberg Christmas Market is the big cheese. It’s by far the most famous Christmas market–both throughout Germany and the wider world.
Although it’s often cited as the oldest Christmas market in Germany, it’s actually only one of the oldest, with Dresden being the actual winner.
Despite this slight bend in the truth, though, Nuremberg Christmas market is special in more ways than one, with its many different traditions that set it apart from any other Christmas markets in Germany.
Whether you’re strolling through the stalls with a mug of blueberry glühwein in hand or watching one of the many school choirs and bands perform on the stage (Nuremberg Christmas market only has live music and it’s absolutely charming), if you’re planning a German Christmas market trip, then you simply can’t miss Nuremberg.
Nuremberg Christmas Market Traditions
The biggest way which Nuremberg differs from other Christmas markets is that it’s not called a “Weinachtsmarkt” (Christmas Market) but the “Christkindlmarkt” (Christ Child Market). This is because it is based around the Christkind, a figure created by Martin Luther to replace the traditional saints who surrounded Christmas.
These days, the Christkind appears in white and gold throughout the market season, handing candy and small presents out to children. She’s actually a girl from Nuremberg who is elected every two years!
When you’re wandering around the Nuremberg Christmas market, one of the first things you might notice (besides the enticing smell of wurst), are the little statues made out of prunes and walnuts.
These are the Zwetschkemanne (prune men), and they can be found only in Nuremberg!
The story goes that there was once an old man who was very sick. The neighborhood children brought him food and kept him company, and when he got better he wanted to thank them. But he didn’t have anything to thank them with.
So he took the dried prunes from his garden and built a small little man out of them. The little man was so beloved that they’re still made today!
Another Nuremberg Christmas tradition is the Rauschgoldengel. If you look up while you’re walking around, you’ll likely notice her: an angel in a golden dress, without any arms.
The story behind this one is that there was once a doll maker who lost his daughter. He made a doll with wings, a golden dress, and no arms (all dolls in Nuremberg had no arms then), and gave it to his wife.
Now, that figure is the Rauschgoldengel, and she watches over Christmas in Nuremberg.
Nuremberg Christmas Market Opening Times 2019
- Opening Ceremony: November 29th at 5:30 PM
- November 30th-December 23rd: 10 AM to 9 PM
- December 24th: 10 AM to 2 PM
For up-to-date information on the Nuremberg Christmas market, click here.
Children’s Nuremberg Christmas Market
Just a block away from the main Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt, you’ll find a child’s dreamland: candy stalls, a merry-go round and other rides, and more!
Although I don’t have kids, I did take a second to wander around this small offshoot of the market and it was absolutely charming! I think my favorite part were that many of the handicraft stalls were open for children to come behind and try their hand at the craft as well!
If you have kids, then the Nuremberg Children’s Christmas Market is an absolute must. And don’t worry-they have glühwein there too!
Even if you don’t have kids, though, you’ll enjoy a short wander through it!
Nuremberg Children’s Christmas Market Opening Times 2019
- November 29th-December 23rd: 10 AM to 9 PM
- December 24th: 10 AM to 2 PM
Market of the Sister Cities
If you wander around the corner from the main Nuremberg Christmas Market, you might just stumble into another world: one where Scotland sells scotch and kilts, Nicaragua sells coffee, and there’s glühwein from all around the world.
That’s right, you can pull an Epcot and drink around the world at the Nuremberg Christmas market.
The Market of the Sister Cities features booths from Nuremberg’s Christmas cities. In 2019, the following places are represented:
- Antalya, Turkey
- Atlanta, Georgia, USA
- Kharkiv, Ukraine
- Gera, Thuringia, Germany
- Glasgow, Scotland
- Kavala, Greece
- Krakow, Poland
- Nice, France
- Prague, Czech Republic
- San Carlos, Nicaragua
- Shenzhen, China
- Skopje, Macedonia
- Limousin, France
- Bar, Montenegro
- Brasov/Kronstadt, Romania
- Kalkudah, Sri Lanka
- Klausen+Montan, Italy
- Verona, Italy
Market of the Sister Cities Opening Times 2019
- November 29th-December 23rd
- 10 AM to 9 PM
Original Regional Market
Another small offshoot of the main market, and again right around the corner, is the Original Regional Market, which features a small number of booths selling specialties from around the metropolital region of Nuremberg.
Stop by here to sample honey, liquors and brandies, fruit spreads, and more.
Original Regional Market Opening Times 2019
- November 29th-December 23rd
- 10 AM to 9 PM
Nürnberger Feuerzangenbowle (The Biggest Punch Bowl in the World)
If you’re a fan of glühwein (and really, even if you’re not), then a visit to the Nuremberg Feurzangenbowle is an absolute must.
Well, if you haven’t heard of Feurzangenbowle before, then get ready, because I’m about to blow your mind.
Feurzangenbowle is what happens when you take glühwein, stick a rum-soaked sugar loaf on top of it, and then set that loaf ON FIRE.
It is by far the best way to get lit quick (literally), and Nuremberg is home to the biggest Feuerzangenbowle in. the. world.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the main Nuremberg Christmas Market, the Feuerzangenbowle is the kind of thing that needs to be seen to be believed.
It’s also surrounded by a few other huts selling snacks like sausage and fries, so you can grab something to eat if the punch gets to be a little bit too much for you 😉
Feuerzangenbowle Opening Times 2019
- November 29th-December 31 (with a New Year’s Eve Party)
Sheltered between the old town walls of Nuremberg just across the street from the train station, the Handwerkerhof is a small, medieval-style craftsman village which houses artisans from the end of March each year.
During the Christmas season, it gets into the festive spirit with Christmas decorations, glühwein, and a few different Christmas snacks. It’s a great place to head to escape the crowds and admire some amazing handiwork!
Handwerkerhof Opening Times 2019
- November 25th-December 30th
- Food: 9 AM – 9 PM
- Stores: 11 AM – 6 PM
What to Eat at Nuremberg Christmas Market
There is SO much good stuff to eat at Nuremberg Christmas market! At the main market, you’ll find pretty much everything that you can imagine, but here are just a few things that you should be sure not to miss.
One of the classic images of German Christmas markets is those decorated Lebkuchen hearts hanging in bunches. You probably have it in your mind already to buy one.
But here’s the secret no one tells you: those hearts look pretty, but they don’t taste very good.
Does that mean that all Lebkuchen tastes bad though? Not at all. You just want a different kind of Lebkuchen: Elisenlebkuchen.
Elisenlebkuchen are the top tier of Lebkuchen, made with hardly any flour and perfectly soft and chewy.
You can get a circular little Elisenlebkuchen from many different stands throughout the Nuremberg Christmas Market (in loads of different flavors), perfect for munching on as you wanter through the booths!
An Elisenlebkuchen is also included as part of the Nuremberg Christmas Card.
Glühwein is a must at any German Christmas market, but the glühwein at the Nuremberg Christmas Market, like everything, is extra special. It’s made out of blueberries!
Of course, you can find the normal glühwein as well, but make at least one of your drinks the Heidelbeer glühwein!
You’ll need to pay a pfand (deposit) of a few euros for your mug. You can either keep the mug as a souvenir or hand it back to get your deposit back.
“Drei im Weckla” Bratwurst
Bratwurst are another food synonymous with Christmas markets. But once again, Nuremberg does things a little bit differently!
The “Drei im Weckla” is three skinny little bratwurst in a roll–and they can only be Nürnberger bratwurst, made within the city limits of Nuremberg!
There are 7 different families which sell “Drei im Weckla” throughout the market, and they rotate stalls each year so that no one can complain about having a bad spot! Each one has a slightly different way of making their bratwurst, so you’ll have to try them all and decide which one is your favorite.
We already talked about this one earlier, since there’s a whole market dedicated to it, but Feuerzangebowle is another must-try while you’re in Nuremberg! Head on down to the biggest punchbowl in the world to try glühwein which has had a rum-soaked sugarloaf placed on top of it and SET ON FIRE.
The easiest way to get lit quick.
Like glühwein, you’ll need to pay a pfand, which you can get back one you give your mug back.
If you’re getting a little tired of wurst (and even if you’re not), then you’re going to die for Schaschlik. These melt-in-your moth pork and onion kebabs are truly some of the most heavenly things I’ve ever tasted.
They’re located at only one stall in the entire market (Stall 6 in 2019), and are 100% worth seeking out.
Küchle are a bit like funnel cakes, but puffier and more German. You can get them by the town hall with the official Christkindlmarkt seal on them in powdered sugar!
Another classic German sweet in marzipan. Now personally, I don’t love marzipan. I think it’s way too sweet. But when we stopped by a marzipan stall on my tour of the market, we tried some marzipan and it actually blew my mind how nice it was! Not only was it not too sweet, but it was genuinely delicious.
So that being said, handmade marzipan is another thing that you should try in Nuremberg!
Früchtebrot, or fruit bread, is a sweet, dark break absolutely filled with dried fruit. You’ll see small loaves of it piled up at many different booths throughout the market!
What to Buy at Nuremberg Christmas Market
Nuremberg Christmas market is a great place to buy gifts for your friends, family, or just for yourself. Here are a few things that you should keep an eye out for!
Zwetschkemanne, or prune men, are a Nuremberg classic, and can only found at the Nuremberg Christmas market! If you find these little guys charming, then you’ll definitely want to pick one up while you’re there! They start as low as €5 for a small one which will easily fit in your suitcase.
Another Nuremberg tradition is that of the Rauschgoldengel, which I talked about earlier. You can buy small Rauschgoldengel to serve as the angel on top of your tree.
Glühwein mugs are probably my favorite souvenirs because they’re super cheap (the pfand at the Nuremberg Christmas Market in 2019 is €3) and unique. Each market has their own mug for each year, so if you’re taking a larger Christmas Market trip you can start to amass a little collection.
Traditional straw ornaments are absolutely charming and a great thing to buy from the Nuremberg Christmas Market! Whether you grab a small little star to slip into your bag, or get new ornaments for your whole tree, this is a great place to do it.
Body Butter & Soap
A little bit less traditional, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dr. Röska, the body butter and soap stall run by a charming old German man full of knowledge about what can help with your specific skin problems and who refuses to sell out to the big guys.
He’s had a stand at the Nuremberg Christmas Market for a decade now, and it’s definitely one you’ll want to check out!
And there you have it: the complete guide to Nuremberg Christmas Market. I hope you enjoyed!
If you’re planning a larger German Christmas market trip, be sure to check out these posts: