Not far from Germany’s eastern border you’ll find one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. Dresden is home to wonderful Baroque architecture, my favourite museum in the world and the Striezelmarkt, Germany’s oldest Christmas market.
Along with the main Striezelmarkt there are a number of of smaller Christmas markets spread around the city. One of the best is the medieval style market in Neumarkt, just in front of the Frauenkirche. It’s a popular meeting place with the after work crowd unlike the Striezelmarkt which is great for families with young kids.
While you can buy handmade Christmas toys and other gifts, I prefer to spend my Christmas market time sipping hot wine (or even better hot cider) and sampling the sweet and savoury snacks available at the stalls. Of all the Christmas markets I’ve visited, Dresden has the most diverse food options, from traditional German food like bratwurst and pretzels to international specialties like Hungarian langos.
Savoury Christmas Snacks
It’s tempting to go straight to the sweets but I had some amazing savoury food at the markets including what was possibly the best sandwich I have ever eaten in my life, a fladenbrot sandwich. Fladenbrot is a flat Turkish bread and at the markets they prepare it with vegetarian fillings including three types of cheese, pickled chillies (one of my favourite things in life), sundried tomatoes and olives. Super lecker.
Next best snack for me was the Dresden Rahmklecks. It would have made the top of my list if it didn’t have ham in it but Germany is the land of pork so it’s quite hard to find vegetarian food, especially at the Christmas markets. I just ate my way around the ham. Hot, freshly cooked bread stuffed with cheese.
Another great vegetarian option (although I don’t know what they fry it in) is langos. Langos is a Hungarian specialty eaten just out of the fryer. It’s a crispy fried dough brushed with garlic butter and topped with cheese, sour cream and various other ingredients. You can also eat it with sweet toppings.
Sweet Christmas Snacks
These delicious Dutch pancake-like bites are know as poffertjes. No, I have no idea how to pronounce that. You can have plain ones with butter and powdered sugar (as I did) or indulge a little more with apple sauce, caramel sauce or Nutella. I really should have gone back and tried the Nutella ones.
Another of my favourite desserts in Dresden was the baked apple available from the little Christmas market on Münzgasse. It’s baked with jam, cinnamon and honey and served with custard and whipped cream. It’s served in a degradable bowl (used at quite a few of the stalls) so you need to eat it quickly, which you would anyway.
My least favourite of the sweet snacks was the krappelchen. They were very heavy and doughy. I couldn’t eat more than one but they seemed to be very popular with the locals.
Nougat is another popular sweet at Christmas but I’m 50/50 whether or not I like it. It had a delicious hazelnut flavour but it was so, so sweet.
A marshmallow wafer sandwich. At €1 a piece you can’t really go wrong if you have a sweet tooth.
Where to Stay
On this trip to Dresden I stayed at the Hotel Am Terrassenufer which is a 5 minute walk to the Christmas markets near the Frauenkirche and Schlossplatz and it’s a few minutes further to the main Striezelmarkt. I would definitely recommend this hotel if you are planning to visit the Christmas markets this year especially for the incredible view of the city.
Visiting the Christmas Markets
I was surprised by the diversity of food at these markets with a great mix of local and international cuisine. Future Christmas markets will likely be more of the same. This was also the cheapest of all the Christmas markets I have visited in Germany and if you could get a cheap flight or train ticket here it would make for a great value getaway. Dresden is located half way between Berlin and Prague so you could easily make the trip into a three city Christmas market tour.
Dresden is such an amazing city and out of all the Christmas markets I have visited this is most likely the only one I would return to again and again.1