Where does the Christmas tree come from? Where did Christmas decorations originate? The answer to all kinds of questions around Christmas is – the Cultural Heart of Germany. Scroll through our selection of top destinations in Saxony and Thuringia for the perfect Christmas market trip and unique festive experiences.
Meet Annaberg-Buchholz’s Christmas market: historic houses covered in snow around a market square, the warm glow of a multitude of lights and stalls selling unique wooden handicrafts. On top of that, the picture-perfect setting comes with some very special festive traditions that are closely related to the town’s mining past, such as an impressive miners’ parade on the last Sunday before Christmas.
Discover a multitude of Christmas markets in the Saxon capital, including Germany’s oldest known as Striezelmarkt, a spectactular sight and delight for the senses. Vistors should time their visit with the Stollen festival on the second Advent weekend to marvel at a giant version of this special Christmas cake that was invented in Dresden. The many smallers markets, including a medieval one in the city’s Stallhof courtyard add to the experience.
At Eisenach’s Wartburg Castle, a historical Christmas market each year brings old crafts and trades back to life: Meet candlemakers and glassblowers, musicians and magicians at his highly atmospheric event, set against the backdrop of UNESCO World Heritage site Wartburg Castle. And don’t forget to keep warm with a mug of hot apple-cinnamon wine!
Centred on the city’s Cathedral Square, this is Thuringia’s biggest Christmas market. The surroundings of the medieval town centre create the perfect backdrop for more than 200 stalls and a giant Christmas tree. Add a ferris wheel for a bit of fun and tasty culinary treats of the region (Thuringian bratwurst!) and the perfect festive experience is complete.
Handmade since the 19th century, the so-called “Moravian Stars” – known as Herrnhuter Sterne in German – are a unique Christmas decoration that originated in Saxony within the Moravian Church community. The special shape of this illuminated stars is patented and during the festive season, they can be found in many homes in Europe and around the world. Travel to the small town of Herrnhut to see how they are produced all year round or buy them at the local Christmas market in December.
Leipzig truly glitters and sparkles during the festive season. At the centre of all things Christmas: the city’s Christmas market, dating back to the 15th century and featuring more than 250 stalls right in the historical city centre. Marvel at its famous giant spruce tree and try some delicacies in the market’s special Scandinavian section, such as roasted salmon and Glögi mulled wine.
Meet an entire town of Christmas: Seiffen in the Ore Mountains welcomes visitors with an allround festive experience including a picture-perfect Christmas market and some special traditions going back to its silver-mining past. Don’t miss the Miners’ Parade and make sure to see the special Christmas displays in the famous toy museum!
High above the Saale valley, Leuchtenburg Castle's Christmas market puts on a very special festive experience, revolving all around the fine porcelain that has been produced in the region for hundreds of years. Porcelain makers from Thuringia sell their delicate ware and there’s also castle-made honey and wine on offer. Then, put your Christmas wishes on a porcelain plate and throw it down from the 20-metre-long Skywalk of Wishes!
This is where you have to go when you just can’t get enough of Christmas markets: Weimar’s delightful market right in the town centre is open until 6 January and features a charming ice rink, perfect for families. Afterwards, find your perfect spot for a warm drink in the market’s winter village. By the way, did you know that the world’s first public Christmas tree was put up in Weimar in the early 19th century?