I must admit that – while a big fan of Christmas itself – I am a bit of a Grinch when it comes to Christmas Markets. I am not fond of standing in the cold eating mediocre Bratwurst, getting bumped by the crowd, spilling mustard on my coat (you will never get rid of these stains), listening to repetitive christmas songs and watch groups of office workers and teens from the hinterland getting drunk wearing silly santa hats. And most of all: I do not care for mulled wine, which as far as I know only exists due to a conspirarcy of winegrowers who get rid of last year’s unsellable residue by mixing it with sugar and spice and sell it during the festive season. Sort of a drinkable „chemtrail“, if you know what I mean.
Like it or not, the Christmas market in my hometown Leipzig definitely is a big thing and draws bigger an bigger crowds each year. Hotels fill up quickly and you will be hard pressed to find a Downtown under 150 Euros/night on december weekends. The californian travel platform Matador even named it europe’s most amazing one in 2018 and travelway rates it number five in Germany.
Dating back to the 15th century Leipzig’s Christmas Market is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany. It is located the inner city, inside the Ring-road, mostly in front of the on the historic Altes Rathaus on Grimmaische Straße, Petersstraße, Salzgässchen, Nachmarkt, and Augustusplatz. The typical arcades and courtyards are also fully decorated.
Where to Start
The central market on Markt is operated by Käthe Wohlfahrt, a global Christmas kitsch dealer. They try, however, to keep things a little upmarket and classy, so this is quite a good place to start your tour.
Behind the Altes Rathaus there is a small „historic“ market on Naschmarkt. It is your typical renaissance fair outfit but nesteled picturesquely into of Leipzig’s most beautuiful squares. The stalls on Grimmaische Straße, Petersstraße and Salzgäßchen are more conventional, some even a littly trashy.
Families with Children
Children will find rides an other atractions on Salzgäßchen and love the huge fairy tale forest on Augustusplatz in front of the opera house.
Mind the spooky talking tree, however!
My Personal Favorites
Two other highlights on Augustusplatz are the cosy Finnish village in front of the Gewandhaus concert hall and the Tyrolean Village next to the university.
Both feature the best food and drink, at least as far as me the Christmas Market Grinch is concerned. I really do recommend to try the Finnish Flammlachs (pieces of salmon cooked over birchwood on site) and the authentic specialities from South Tyrol which including a wide range of spirits from the Kapaurer distillery in St. Walburg.
When you are in this area, make sure do drop by my workplace the Paulinum – Leipzig University’s new church and assembly hall.
2018 Hours of Operation
27th November – 23rd December
Sunday to Thursday 10 am to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday untill 10 pm
Very crowded on thursday and friday nighs and on saturday. Parking is at a premium and often full, so arriving on public transport is highly recommended. Take a train or long-distance bus to Leipzig’s central station, or a S-Bahn to Leipzig-Markt station. Any tram will stop somewhere on the Ring – it never is a long walk to the market from there.