Berlin Christmas Markets (TXL)
Head to Berlin for Christmas Cheer!
The weeks leading up to the holidays are a truly magical time in Berlin. The entire city transforms itself into a non-stop celebration of everything that is festive - and the city turns out in full force. There is literally a christmas market every four blocks - and it's impossible not to get seduced by all of the glitter, food- and mulled-wine!
It would take a year to go through and review all of the city's markets. I have two personal favorites - the market in front of the Rotes Rathaus at Alexanderplatz and the one in front of the Konzerthaus on Gendarmenmarkt. The Alexanderplatz one is MASSIVE - and it comes with a huge ferris wheel, skating rink and about 2-million people! The one in front of the Konzerthaus is a little more upscale (they even charge a euro to get in) - with lots of fine dining, champagne and live events.
Food and Drink
Do not eat ANYTHING before you go to a Christmas market (it really is bad form to do so!). One of the main attractions is the non-stop food and drink - and you won't know where to begin once you get there! And of course, almost everything is terrible for you (but that is part of the fun) -- - there isn't a vegetable in site! Dining options include selections from Caviar - to Currywurst -- with some of my personal favorites being: Spatzel, Schnitzel, and Bratworst -which are all to die for.
And don't worry about going thirsty. There's a boozing station almost every two feet. You must have the hot mulled wine or punches!! All of the drinks are sold in glassware and you can wander through the market with them. (I am sure the shop vendors love that as a little bit of alcohol always makes shopping a dangerous affair!).
The markets are a fantastic place for holiday shopping -- especially if you are looking for some traditional German gifts. If you need to stock up on christmas decorations - - this is also the place to do it. Ornaments come in all shapes and sizes - and some of the vendors represent factories that have been making them for over 200 years!
Each market has something to pull the kids in and there is almost always a traditional (and arftull) carousel in the center of all the hub-bub. The Alexanderplatz market has the added feature of a huge ferris wheel that allows you to take in breathtaking sites!
The Celebratory Atmosphere
What you are going to love most about the markets is the festive atmosphere. People come out from all over the city to have a fun time. The mood is celebratory as everyone gathers around bonfires and long-tables to sip their holiday cheer. And if you are lucky -- you will even get a chance to see Santa in the night sky!!