Christmas markets, gluhwein, crazy decorations and winter surfers – Munich has it all! Laura shares her three day visit to Munich at Christmas.
With only three days to explore Munich’s Christmas markets, we didn’t waste any time! We went straight out after dropping our bags at the hotel and walked down to the Marienplatz – the city’s central square.
Munich Christmas markets
It was a great way to get into a festive frame of mind, as we had a look around all the extremely Christmassy stalls, selling everything from baubles and decorations through to hats and gloves. Every time you walked past a stall selling gluhwein your nostrils were filled with a thick festive smell.
The Marienplatz is home to the Rathaus, Munich’s parliament building. There is a restaurant in the Rathaus, where we tried to get a table, but it was heaving. So instead we went to the Paulaner, which was a traditional bierkeller, where we just had to wait a few minutes for a table that we shared with a German couple.
After filling up on German fare we walked up to Karlsplatz, where there are usually a few stalls and a fountain, but during the winter months these are replaced with an ice rink. From there we went to a huge department store that had a food court downstairs selling everything under the sun. Stocking up on Christmas gifts, we left with Prosecco truffles, gluhwein syrup and many boxes, bags and packets of chocolate and gingerbread.
The Marienplatz webcam
There’s a lot to see in Munich at Christmas, so the following day we continued exploring.
We returned to Marienplatz, a hub of the city where there is a webcam live-streaming the comings and goings of the square. We knew my aunt and uncle were popping on to watch it from time to time, so we spent five minutes having a chuckle and waving at the camera in the hope they would see us!
From there we walked through the new Rathaus, down Ludwig Str past the university to Freiheit, where there was a very eclectic looking market with lanterns and string lights. Here stalls were selling beautifully handcrafted jewellery, clothes and ornaments. It reminded me of London’s Camden market.
After stopping off in a few shops to buy some pretty incredible baubles, including a disco frog, ballerina giraffe and cheerleader frog, we went into the Englischer Garten, a huge park. In the centre there is Chinesischer Turm – a small clearing with a huge Chinese pagoda, and there was a beautiful Christmas tree next to it. What better place to sit and grab some wurst and fries to eat with cups of gluhwein! There were stalls and carousels around the tower, and although we were too early to see them, we were told a band comes and plays daily between 6 and 7 pm.
Surfers – in December
The Christmas markets are scattered across the city, and so the next stop was up to Sendlinger Tor where there was another small market that sold more baubles and handmade crafts. We saw the craziest thing as we heading up past the river – surfers! We were bundled up in about six layers of clothing, so when we saw them in the ice-cold water we thought they were truly insane!
Food and drink in Munich
Christmas markets are as much as about food as crafts and gifts, so before our flying visit came to an end we finished off our trip with a roll filled with pork, cabbage, onions and mustard! This was topped off with a last glass of cherry gluhwein – my new favourite drink! I do love that drinking alcoholic beverages in the street isn’t frowned upon here if it’s warm and in a mug.
Munich’s Christmas makeover has a lot to offer, and it’s really fun just to wander its streets, stalls and shops discovering great food and gifts. Have you visited a German Christmas market, and did you enjoy it as much as me? Let us know in the comments below.