What are the 2021 Dates for Munich Christmas Markets?
Update as of Nov 20, 2021: All Christmas markets canceled in Bavaria
On Nov 16 it was announced that Munich’s main public market close, while local private-run markets could remain open. Then on Nov 20th a follow-up accountant confirmed that ALL Christmas markets in Bavaria are closed for the second year in a row. Stay home, stay safe and use this post to plan your trip in 2022.
The 2021 season is almost upon us, and yes Munich will have a Christmas market! The planned opening date for Munich’s main Christmas market at Marienplatz is November 22th, 2021.
Most markets close up shop on Christmas Eve, December 24th. However, it is important to note that some markets may not open until later and some stay open until January. In order to ensure you are able to see all the markets, plan your Munich winter holiday between the dates of November 27th and December 24th for the best chances to see all the markets.
What are the 2021 Opening Hours of the Christmas Markets in Munich?
A good rule of thumb to follow is that most markets are open:
- Monday – Saturday 10 am-9 pm
- Sunday 10 am – 8 pm.
- However, there are some markets that may be open later such as Tollwood, as they have somewhat of a party aspect.
Where are Munich’s Christmas Markets Located?
All over the city! You will be accosted by your first Christmas market before you even leave the airport because there is literally a Christmas market in the middle of the airport. They extend all the way to the outer areas of Munich, including Bogenhausen, and of course, the old city center is packed full of them.
I made a custom map just for you! This map has the location of ALL of Munich’s Christmas markets including a description. The snowflakes are some of the more non-traditional ones and the Christmas trees are traditional markets.
Do Christmas Markets in Munich Cost Money?
There is no entrance fee or gated area. The Munich markets are open for anyone to come and go as they please. The only thing is to remember to always have cash on hand for shopping and you’ll want to make sure you remember where your Glühwein mug comes from, as if you wander too far away you might not get a refund. Munich is an expensive city, so I would budget at least 30-50 Euro a day if you want to enjoy eating, drinking and shopping in the markets.
The Christmas Market Pfand System
You might notice that your Glühwein (mulled wine) comes with a very expensive price tag. Depending on the market Glühwein can set you back 10-12 Euros which seems extreme for spiced wine. Most of that cost is what is called a Pfand. You’re literally paying for that adorable mug you’re holding. No, that doesn’t mean you get to keep the mug – it means you get your money back as soon as you return it. This helps Munich embrace a sustainable circular economy and they will wash the cups and rescue them. Hang onto the chip you get with each Glühwein and make sure to return it for your money back.
Can I return them anywhere?
Usually, it doesn’t matter which stand you return the cup to, but as a general rule, you should return the cup at the market you got it from. For, example the medieval market serves Glühwein in ceramic chalices and they should be returned in the Medieval market. If your cup has the name of the market on it, you should return it before you leave. You can only return them to places serving Glühwein and vendor stands will not accept returns.
What Should I Pack for a Christmas Market Holiday in Munich?
It is always best to bring layers. Munich can get pretty cold in winter especially at night – though in recent years our winters have been a bit mild – thanks to global warming! Always bring warm waterproof boots, a hat, gloves, a scarf, and a warm waterproof jacket.
Read my entire guide to winter essentials for Germany’s Christmas markets.
What is the History of Munich’s Christmas Markets?
The markets in Munich date back to the 14th century, which is pretty incredible. However, the markets used to be located along the Isar River, for easy access by boat. The modern markets located in the city center have only been around since the 1970s and some of the more modern markets have only been around since the 80s or 90s.
Consumerism isn’t new. I like to hate on consumerism, but it’s been around for a while. In fact, markets were strategically set up in the 1700s near churches to attract the faithful to buy gifts for their loved ones on the holidays. They were so popular that The Church started complaining that no one went to church on Christmas as they were all out shopping instead.
Many of the items you see are based on traditional handcrafted German toys and decorations. Some popular ones such as nativity sets have been around forever. You can still find handmade crafts, but you’ll also see mass-produced items from China. I always suggest striking up a chat with the vendor to see if your good were made locally.
Along with engaging in the German pfand system (yay circular economies), there are plenty of ways to embrace sustainability as you explore Munich’s Christmas markets.
Munich’s central markets have a lot of mass-produced plastic or glitter-covered tacky Christmas decorations and to be honest, I’ve been a bit disappointed in the overall lack of quality hand-crafted goods at our markets. I encourage you to avoid these as cheap souvenirs decrease the authenticity of a destination nor do they support local crafters. Being such a big market, people come from around the world to sell “international products”. I encourage you to visit some of the more local markets like Märchenbazar and Schwabing to support local artists. Always strike up a conversation with the person selling the items. Ask them where the product was made, who made it, and if it is local.
Beyond that make sure you pack your reusable tote – no need to buy a new reusable tote when I know you have one at home. Follow my vegetarian food tips to reduce your meat intake and ultimately lowering your carbon impact while visiting the markets.
Get ready to explore 16 epic markets sprawled across Munich. I’ve got the details on every market. It’s taken me a few years to explore every market – I usually get distracted by Glühwein. If you are an ambitious traveler you can probably visit most of them. However, I would recommend looking at my map and focusing on the central markets around Marienplatz, Tollwood, and the Märchenbazar.
The Main Market: Marienplatz Christmas Market – Canceled
German name: Christkindlmarkt am Marienplatz
Munich’s main Christmas market is located in the heart of Munich at Marienplatz. At the center of the market is a massive Christmas tree lit up with simple and traditional lighting and yes it’s real! The main market is large and charming, but possibly the most touristy market. While I find the souvenirs in this market to be less than ideal the backdrop is what makes this market worthwhile. Set against the gothic style town hall and with the towering Christmas tree, this market feels like the ultimate traditional market- warm, happy, and cozy. I recommend coming here for the ambiance, experience, and photos, but maybe saving your shopping for other markets. Make sure to check out the courtyard of the town hall for more Christmas spirit.
Marienplatz Christmas Market Dates:
Fun Local Fact: The Christmas Tree is real! It comes from a surrounding Bavarian neighborhood. It stays until January where it is given a new life as a May Pole that resides at Munich’s Viktualienmarkt
The Nativity Market – Canceled
German name: Krippler Market
Located just up the street from Marienplatz on Neuhauserstrasse is a small market composed of 12 stalls selling wares strictly related to nativity scenes and managers. Each stall is unique and you’ll find handmade stables, mangers, nativity figures, angels, animals, special collectibles, accessories, and lights. You’ll even have repairs and services available to you. If you are a manger-o-holic this is the street for you! Collectible nativity scenes and accessories are a big part of German Christmas culture, so these make a great authentic gift for the religious person in your life.
Krippler Christmas Market Dates:
Location: St. Peter’s Church – outside near the church
The Hippy Market: Tollwood Winter Festival – Canceled
This is hands down my favorite market since it is HUGE and sustainable! Taking over half the Oktoberfest grounds this massive market has concert tents, art tents, food tents (including vegan and vegetarian food), gift tents, and tents serving world-famous Feuerzangenbowle. Outside of the tents, you’ll find Christmas-themed outdoor bars, art pieces, funky lights, and decorations. It is like a mini Christmas city! Every year they have a new theme and you’ll find upcycled art that fits with the theme. Make sure to stop by the center of the festival to see their Christmas tree, back in 2017 it was made of bicycles and you had to peddle one of the bicycles to light it up. This is the perfect place to get a fair trade gift and feel good about your holiday shopping.
Tollwood Christmas Market Dates:
The Royal Market: Residenz Christmas Village – Canceled
German name: Weihnachtsdorf im Kaiserhof der Residenz
Forget markets, this place is upgraded to a Christmas village. Nestled inside the walls of Munich’s Residenz Palace this village is isolated from the rest of the markets in the old city by grand palace walls. Enjoy shopping, a large display of Christmas dolls, and lots of food relating to potatoes. I took my mom here in 2019 and she bought a traditional felt purse and we got garlic mushrooms. Who doesn’t want to experience a Christmas market in a palace?
Residenz Christmas Village:
Location: Residenz Palance Courtyard
The Medieval Christmas Market Munich – Canceled
German name: Mittelaltermarkt
Another one of my favorite markets is a legit authentic medieval market. I know what you’re thinking, this is going to be ultra cheesy, but it is honestly so authentic. Every time I visit, I feel like I’ve been transported back in time. Food is roasted over an open fire, oil torches are lit by hand, and an OG Saint Nick wanders around spending Christmas cheer. You can drink Glühwein in fancy handmade ceramic goblets while shopping for handmade crafts, clothing, and gifts from the medieval period. Make sure to try fire-roasted Flammkuchen and Wurst. The shopping here can get expensive as the goods are quality made items, and the pfand for the ceramic mugs is high, so bring some extra cash. It is a small place though, so I suggest arriving before most people get off work to fully enjoy the experience.
Medieval Christmas Market Dates:
Giant Christmas Pyramid: The Square of Stars- Canceled
German name: Sternenplatzl am Rindermarkt
This is a very small central market, but with larger-than-life decorations. I always feel like I’ve been miniaturized and placed inside a snow globe. Order hot Glühwein or Glühbier from the bar inside the giant functioning Christmas Pyramid. This is also one of the few markets that serve flame-roasted fish. The trees above are lit with star-shaped twinkle lights creating a warm ambiance. It is a nice escape from the markets at Marienplatz.
Square of Stars Christmas Market Dates:
The Market at a Brick Gate: Sendlinger Tor Christmas Market – Canceled
German name: Christkindlmarkt am Sendlinger Tor
If you’ve explored Munich you may have seen some old brick gates surrounding the old city. These are the original boundaries of Munich and date back to the 1300s. So, of course, there are festive Christmas markets at both of these gates, including the one at Sendlinger Tor. If you’re starting your Christmas market tour of Munich, I recommend you enter through Sendlingertor and grab some roasted chestnuts. As you venture down Sendlingerstraße toward Marienplatz you can see all Munich’s shops lit up for the holidays. It is a great entrance into the festive season.
Sendlinger Tor Christmas Market Dates:
The Fairytale Market: Märchenbazar – Canceled
German name: Märchenbazar
My favorite market…. oh wait, did I already say that? Twice you say? … oops. Haha well then, this rounds out my top three favorite markets. The vibe is less Christmassy and a little more eccentric and alternative. It feels like a classic fairy tale and a 1920 circus (without animal cruelty) had a baby. Inside the market, you’ll find live music in colorful tents, vegan food, craft beer, and funky art. Open on Christmas day and until the end of the year, all are welcome and it is a great place to spend the holiday with some locals.
Märchenbazar Christmas Market Dates:
NEW Location: Olympiapark
The English Garden Market: Chinese Tower Christmas Market – Canceled
German name: Weihnachtsmarkt am Chinesischen Turn
This is, in my opinion, the best traditional Christmas market in Munich. Set in the beautiful English Garden, the market at the Chinese owner is surrounded by nature and snowy landscapes. Visiting this market is a nice escape from the city congestion. There is something for the entire family, but it can also be a romantic spot for a date night. For the kids, there is Grandma’s reading hut which has stories (mostly in German) on Tues-Fri 2 pm- 6 pm and on weekends from 11:30 am-6:30 pm. There is also a fairytale rally for the kids to practice detective work. For the adults, there is a curling rink, so you can try your hand at this sport. If you are on a romantic trip to Munich there are carriage rides (the horses in Munich are treated quite well), and live music from 4 pm – 7 pm.
Chinese Tower Christmas Market Dates:
Location: Chinese Tower
Pink Christmas Market – LBGTQI+ Market
Located in the LGBTQI district of Munich, Glockenbach, this market is the pinkest market in the city. With holiday-themed drag shows, disco Santa DJs and pink lighting this is the place to go if you’re a member of the queer community, but all allies are welcome too. It is tiny and I keep waiting for it to expand, so be prepared to get cozy with some new friends and dance the holidays away! This market usually opens later in the season.
Pink Christmas Market Dates:
The French Market: Haidhausen Christmas Market – Canceled
German name: Haidhauser Weihnachtsmarkt
Located in Munich’s French quarter this charming market is classy and cozy. Live music is performed every night starting 6 pm, proving Christmas carols can be hip and modern. Every Friday there is a lantern parade, where children bring lanterns around the market. If you are interested in wood carvings, don’t miss the Zillertal hut.
HaidHausen Christmas Market Dates:
The Art Market: Schwabing Christmas Market – Canceled
German name: Schwabinger Weihnachtsmarkt
If you are into fine art and local handmade gifts that are different than your typical baby Jesus nativity carvings then this is the place for you. Walking into the market from the Ubahn station you’ll cross through a walkway lined with fine art displayed just for the event. Abstract statues are sprinkled throughout the market and the gifts are all one of a kind including artisanal metal and wood lawn and home decorations. Every year the market contracts a local artist to design a special collector mug that you can take home for a price.
Schwabing Christmas Market Dates:
Location: Münchner Freiheit Platz
The Locals Market: Neuhausen Christmas Market – Canceled
German name: Neuhauser Weihnachtsmarkt
This charming market really is for the locals with a Christmas goose raffle and an after-work crowd. There are daily gingerbread puppet shows for the kids starting in the evening around 5 pm during the week. On Sundays between 2 pm and 3 pm, special guest puppets make a surprise appearance. Other than that, you’ll find all the regular Christmas cheer from decorations and food all housed in old wooden huts.
Bogenhausen Christmas Market – Caceled
German name: Bogenhauser Weihnachtsmarkt
If you plan your trip in January and you’re crying salty tears that you’re missing all the magic of the Christmas Markets in Munich, then dry your eyes because this market is open until January 6th for an extra-long holiday season. This is another great place for the kids with a historic train, a carousel, a ceramic painting workshop, and music for kids. The adults are entertained by watching artists make their wares while looking over their shoulders. But let’s be honest the real attraction here is that you can try over 30 types of Glühwein. You can feel good about giving back at this market because there is an annual charity raffle supporting local Munich charities.
Bogenhausen Christmas Market Dates:
Location: Cosimabad – festival area
The Get Drunk Market: Feuerzangenbowle Market – Canceled
German name: Weihnachtsmarkt am Isator
This place is literally a hot flaming shit show and it’s great. Located under the other historic gate surrounding Munich, called Isartor, this is a little spot just to get your Feuerzangenbowle fix. If you’re confused about what this is, then keep reading down to the what to drink section. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a place to get drunk quick with a lively crowd hit up the flaming pot at Isartor, you can’t miss it.
Isartor Christmas Market Dates:
The Jetsetting Market: Munich Airport Christmas Market – Canceled
If you’re ready for your Christmas holiday in Munich to start as soon as you land, or if you’re sad to leave the city markets behind as you head home and need one last fix, then this is the market for you. You’ll find a fully functioning Christmas Market between terminals 1 and 2 at the Munich Airport.