Wind nips at rosy noses, peaking over woolen scarves. They surface just long enough for thirsty shoppers to sip hearty Glühwein, steaming from adorable mugs. The soft snow lands on the glowing thatched roofs of the merry venders. Everyone is smiling and laughing as they meander among the Munich Christmas markets. A warm feeling of happiness, or as the Germans say – Gemütlichkeit, spreads through the market. Deep down, the anticipation of Christmas day is bubbling. It is undeniable that Munich Christmas markets are the best place in the world to experience this warm feeling of good tidings and cheer.
There is no denying that traditional Christmas markets are the heart and soul of the German Christmas season. However, with over 12 markets to explore, Munich offers a wide array of unique Christmas markets that are unlike anywhere else in the world. The traditional over-crowded markets can quickly get old, if I will, often selling the exact same cheaply made trinkets vender after vender. If you stray a bit from the beaten path you will find charming markets that are sustainable, host a wide array of hand crafted and high quality gifts from around the world, medieval period vendors and even a fabulous pink LBGTQI friendly market, complete with drag shows!
Non-traditional Munich Christmas Markets
Tollwood Winter Festival
The center piece for this Munich Christmas market isn’t your conventional Christmas tree. A huge tree-shaped tower of recycled bicycles lights up the market as you meander the venders. The tree is powered by human energy, so festival goers peddle as fast as they can to light up the night. You may have guessed, this is the sustainable and somewhat hippy Christmas market. Every year the Tollwood Winter Festival highlights a different environmental or social issue and combines it with the cheer of the holidays. The theme of 2016 was sustainable mobility, so there was plenty of art involving bikes, old tires and repurposed junk cars. The sustainable art isn’t the only highlight as you’ll find a forest beer garden, hand made crafts from locals and global venders, a vegan food court, a music tent and yes, even your beloved Glühwein. This festival is located in the Oktoberfest beer grounds, so it’s HUGE and full of unique things you won’t find in any other market in the world!
Theresienwiese, 80336 München
Tollwood Winter Festival
Munich’s Medieval Christmas Market
Grab your period garb and get ready to drink flaming Glühwein out of a hand cast goblet! This is one of Munich’s smaller markets, but every vender – food and gifts fit the medieval theme, making it a jovial experience for everyone. Make your first stop the Feuerezangen Bowle (flaming Glühwein) where you will sip warm mulled wine out of an unique goblet. Don’t freak out over the price, as more than 10 euros is the “pfand” or return price for the goblet. The lighting for the market is provided by flames licking at the oil burning torches. The shops are unlike any other Munich Christmas market and you’ll find vintage swords, armor, hand sewn cloaks and leather masquerade masks. The food is all cooked on open iron oven grills adding to the authenticity. I found it hard not to wander around in absolute awe of the intricate details in this market.
Wittelsbacherpl., 80333 München
Schwabing Munich Christmas Market
Located in the hip university district, this market is similar to Tollwood, except this Munich Christmas market focus on the crafty artists. Charming lanterns hang above your head and you meander the local and global artist’s work. Don’t miss the Art Tent which features large art pieces that make amazing gifts for the crafty person on your list that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Münchner Freiheit, Marktleitung Bude 502 (Nina Thorp), 80802 München
12-8:30pm most days in December
Pink Munich Christmas Market
Everyone belongs at Munich’s only LBGTQI friendly market. The Pink market is nestled in the heart of the LBGTQI district Glockenback, so even after you explore the market you’ll be right at home among like minded people. The theme is pink, so be ready to be dazzled by glittering pink lights, flashy drag shows, hip DJs and cabarets. This market is small, but it is not short on love and cheer.
Thalkirchner Str. 11, 80337 München
Pink Christmas Market
Sat-Sun: 12-10pm Mon-Fri: 4pm-10pm
Don’t get stuck in a rut this holiday season and make sure you get out and explore these non-traditional Munich Christmas Markets. Make sure to share this post with any friends or family heading to Germany this holiday season! Fröhliche Weihnachten!
Check out other amazing holiday and winter travel ideas in our travel blogger link up party featuring holiday travel ideas from around the world!Winter Wonderland Travel