Even though Dresden may hold the oldest Christmas market in Germany, Nuremberg Christmas Market is the most well-known and one of the biggest and most authentic. By authentic I mean all the stalls are made from timber and other natural materials while everything sold must be locally produced and handmade.
You won’t find any plastic or foreign-made toys here and not even products made elsewhere in Germany but outside of Bavaria. The organisers are strict about this with the goal of maintaining the traditions of the market, supporting local businesses and being more sustainable and ethical.
Nuremberg Christmas Market
My focus at most Christmas markets is on food and drinks. Of course, there’s plenty of shopping available too and music, art and theatre events.
I discuss things to do below but firstly, here’s the best Christmas food you’ll find at the markets.
In Nuremberg and elsewhere in Germany that often means starting with a hot mulled wine, known as gluhwein in German. It’s typically made with local red wine and heated through with various spices like cinnamon, star anise and often with orange peel.
If you would prefer something a little sweeter and lighter, choose a hot cider instead. I think this is the nicest hot alcoholic drink. You can always choose hot chocolate if you want something non-alcoholic.
For a stronger hot drink in Nuremberg, you’ll find feuerzangenbowle. This is made by lighting rum-soaked sugar on fire and letting it drip into mulled wine. It’s a great combination and a delicious drink.
At least give it a try before you judge.
Even though I generally consider myself to be vegetarian, I often like to be open-minded when I travel and try the local specialities. In Nuremberg, this meant trying the famous Nuremberg Bratwurst.
Nuremberg Bratwurst is a controlled product meaning only sausages made in Nuremberg to a specific recipe and standard can be sold under that name. At the markets and in the nearby restaurants you can be assured you’re getting the real thing.
At the Christmas markets, you’ll be served your bratwurst 3 to a bun but at a restaurant, you’ll most likely get between 8 and 15! Three is more than enough I think.
The next most famous Nuremberg snack is Lebkuchen. This is usually translated as being gingerbread but it’s quite different to the gingerbread I know.
Traditional Lebkuchen is made with nuts and no or little flour. It’s quite soft and almost like a cake rather than a biscuit.
The gingerbread I’m familiar with looks more like this but according to the locals, it’s not edible although I haven’t been able to confirm if that’s true.
Another very tasty, very rich and very non-vegetarian dish is kartoffelpuffers. These are deep-fried (usually in lard) potato hash browns that are topped with cranberry sauce. You can also order them with apple sauce and various other toppings.
Christmas Market Dates in 2022
Nuremberg Christmas Market dates: 25th November to 24th December 2022
Opening times: 10am to 9pm. Closes at 2pm on Christmas Eve.
Location: Hauptmarkt, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany
Hotels Near Nuremberg Christmas Market
If you want more information or details on the best areas to stay, I published a guide to hotels near Nuremberg Christmas Market. It explains why you might choose one area over another and further recommendations.
On my first trip to Nuremberg, I visited in December especially for Christmas, on a free self-guided Christmas market tour (highly recommended).
I stayed at the NH Nuremberg because it’s across from the train station and I was arriving by train. This was convenient for me but it’s not close to the Christmas market.
I think a better option is to stay at Karl August. This is by far the nicest hotel near Nuremberg Christmas Market as it’s literally one minute from Hauptmarkt, Nuremberg’s main market square.
Christmas Market Location
Christmas Market Stalls
After eating up a storm I spent an hour walking around, visiting the different stalls and chatting to the owners and other visitors.
You’ll find lots of cute, typically German products and Christmas decorations that you can take home decorate your house with or get as gifts.
I adored these ‘plum people’ who are made from dried plums and dressed up in traditional clothing. This is a very classic Bavarian Christmas gift.
I love the story of how one (non-European) visitor took them home and ate them and then wrote to the tourist board saying they didn’t taste that great! Hint: These are not edible.
Another fun option while at the markets in Nuremberg is to take a horse and carriage ride where you don’t only get the see the Christmas markets but some of the famous sights in the city.
This is a very touristy experience and it’s a little expensive but I liked it nonetheless. I particularly loved going by the Beautiful Fountain that is located in the centre of the market.
For more information on visiting the Christmas markets in Nuremberg, including all the latest events and experiences, visit the official site of the Christkindlesmarkt.
Nuremberg at Christmas
Nuremberg is a great city if you love Christmas markets, half-timbered houses and World War II history. There is a lot to see and to be honest I liked it more than I thought I would.
It’s one of the more traditional cities in Germany and I think this is partially why it has such a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
I only had 2 days in Nuremberg and while that was enough to see the markets I would have liked to have stayed longer to see more of the city.
There are many interesting museums and other things to do in Nuremberg, especially with regard to the Third Reich and WWII.
The Christmas markets do get mixed reviews but only as they can get very crowded on the weekends. If you visit during the day during the week you shouldn’t have too many problems with crowds.
If you do find it too busy, there is another smaller market with international stalls from destinations that change each year. In the past, there have been stalls from Romania, Italy, Montenegro, the United States and elsewhere which might be of interest. There is also a dedicated children’s market which is great.
For more Christmas destinations in Germany, Dresden Christmas Market is one of the best and most beautiful.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels in Nuremberg, Germany. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.