I've heard so much about European Christmas Markets over the years, but somehow we haven’t managed to visit one. After our recent business trip to Berlin, it was such a bonus to be able to coordinate our return visit in December with the city's festivities in full swing!
Christmas Markets originated in Germany in the Late Middle Ages, with many on record in different cities as early as the 1300s. These days they take place all over Europe, with Berlin alone hosting hundreds of markets simultaneously throughout the four weeks of advent.
We managed to make it to two markets - Alexanderplatz and Gedächtniskirche. They were quite distinct, so it was awesome to be able to visit both.
We started at Alexanderplatz quite late on the night we arrived. The whole square was completely abuzz with lights, festive fairground rides, and rows and rows of wooden huts selling all sorts of Christmas delights from traditional wooden toys to hearty German dinners.
The whole square was completely abuzz with lights, festive fairground rides, and rows and rows of wooden huts selling all sorts of Christmas delights from traditional wooden toys to hearty German dinners.
We rode on the carousel, drank Glühwein (mulled wine), nibbled on gingerbread, and chose a decoration each for our tree. It was pure Christmas magic.
The following morning I couldn't help myself - we had to return to Alexanderplatz so I could splurge on a divine wooden advent calendar shaped like a little house.
As you open each of the numbered doors, lights twinkle, music plays, and little wooden figurines dance. It was impossible to resist (!), and will be something that we treasure for years to come.
Then it was time to visit Gedächtniskirche, which had a much more traditional feel. The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church set a particularly beautiful backdrop for the rows of seasonal huts and festive lights.
This market was the scene of last year's horrific terror attack. We were glad to see the place full of tourists and locals celebrating the holiday season.
The whole experience was so joyous. Now that I’ve had a taste of Christmas market magic, I have a feeling this might become an annual tradition for our family :-)