A Beautiful Advent in Berlin
With over 60 bustling markets to choose from, Berlin is one of the jolliest cities of Germany and an unmissable destination in the weeks before Christmas.
German cities jostle with one another this time of year over who has the best Christmas markets. With over 60 markets to choose from, Berlin certainly has the buzziest of any German city and given the city’s idiosyncratic character, Berlin’s unique take on Gemütlichkeit (winter cheer) almost always raises eyebrows among its peers. From November 23 through to December 31, the city embraces Christmas with real fervor.
Berlin’s ingrained love of spectacle (the city is the birthplace of cabaret) sees shopping going hand in hand with live entertainment. At the Gendarmenmarkt in Mitte, acrobats, fire artists, as well as dance troupes and choirs perform as you slip between the extensive selection of stalls. This is undoubtedly the city’s most elegant and popular market and has a dramatic location nestled between the neo-classical Deutsche Dom, Konzerthaus and Franzozische Friedrichstadtkirche.
A short hop on the S-Bahn will bring you to the beautiful setting of Charlottenburg Palace. For Christmas, the castle and its park are transfigured with a very impressive light display. Ornately decorated pagodas and festive chalets and huts hold stalls from around the world.
Lucia Christmas Market, located in the Kulturbrauerei (Cultural Brewery) at the trendy northeastern district of Prenzlauer Berg, has a Nordic-Scandinavian theme and is an attractive alternative.
Out of town, Spandau has a Christmas Market that is the largest in the city with over 250 stands during the week and 400 at weekends. Not to be outdone there are advent rock concerts, a landscaped St. Nikolai Christmas Garden and a nativity crib with live animals on Reformationsplatz.
If you’re getting tired of the Christmas kitsch and Gluhwein, then the modern Contemporary Christmas Market at Berlin’s design-led Bikini Shopping Mall near the Zoologischer Garten is a refreshing alternative with its rotating selection of retailers. Every weekend until Christmas the mall is transformed with additional pop-ups and events where you can lose yourself in an eclectic range of the latest designer clothes and homewares.
Words: Christopher Kanal