No this is not a holiday, but it is a traditional part of the holidays in Berlin. There are more Weinachtsmarkts in Berlin than we could visit during the holidays if we tried. We did enjoy sampling a few of them around the city. For our first year of markets I think we did pretty well, and now we know a little more for next year. These outdoor markets generally open at the end of November and remain open until the first weekend of January.
The first one we went to was a flop. It took longer to transit there than we stayed. Sadly we were not the target audience for this one but we thought it sounded cool. It was at an old abandoned amusement park in Berlin called Spreepark (sounds really neat right?). It was dark but had some stuff lit up. We could see that there were merely 5 stalls selling Gluwein, crepes and a couple other things. For the kids there was a bouncy house, but it was dark- pitch black- so we only let them jump for a few minutes before we called off the fun and walked back to the bus stop.
Straight from there we then went to Potsdamerplatz. We were out on what has been our coldest night in Berlin. I know we are used to much colder, but that first cold day is always a tough one. We wandered through there taking in what a Weinachtsmarkt truly looks like. We sampled crepes and looked at homemade wares. We negotiated with our children that in fact no, we do not need to buy everything we saw. It was beautiful. Being there helped me realize Christmas was coming and to draw my mind to the preparations that we needed to be making for our first year here. It was a good night even though the first market wasn’t what we wanted. We got to spend some time with new friends who are spending their first Christmas in Berlin as well.
We went to a couple of others during the last few weeks. We may have had our fill. There is one more on my list of markets I really want to make it to, we will see. I think for me the best market, hands down, was Spandauer Weihnachtsmarkt in der Altstadt. It was the best atmosphere, good prices, best food, it was perfect for families. My second place was Weihnachtsmarkt Schloss Charlottenburg, although we left before dark so we didn’t get to see it in its lighted state. I’m also glad we braved the Alt-Rixdorfer Weihnachtsmarkt. It was beyond crowded, but we got a taste of the neighborhood it was held in.
I have loved these markets. Grabbing a warm drink and some candied almonds, walking though browsing Christmas decorations and potential gifts. It was so fun. Whatever will we do in January when these markets are finished? Spring come quickly!