The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is one of the oldest and most popular Christmas markets in Germany. Here’s a detailed guide to Nuremberg’s Christmas markets, plus my top tips for making the most of your visit.
“You men and women, who once yourselves were children / Be them again today, happy as children be, / And now the Christkind to its market calls, / And all who come are truly welcome.”
On the Friday before the first day of Advent, the angelic Christkind ascends the balcony of the Church of Our Lady in Nuremberg’s market square to deliver her traditional prologue to welcome visitors from all over the world to the famous Christkindlesmarkt.
Come December, Nuremberg is the place to experience a traditional German Christmas market. Although the Christkindlesmarkt isn’t the oldest in Germany (that honor goes to Dresden!), it’s by far the most popular in the country.
In this guide, I’ll be sharing everything you need to know about the Nuremberg Christmas markets — yes, there are a few! — including my honest feedback on each market, what foods you should try, the types of gifts for sale, and so much more.
Because, yes, Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt and surrounding Christmas markets are every bit as magical as you’d expect!
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Nuremberg Christmas Market Dates, Hours & Locations 
Dates: December 1 to 24, 2023
Locations: The entire city center is taken up by different markets. The key locations to note are the Hauptmarkt (Christkindlesmarkt), the Altes Rathaus (Sister Cities Market), and St. Sebald Church (Original Regional Market).
Opening hours: 10am to 9pm daily; 10am to 2pm on December 24th.
The Best Christmas Markets in Nuremberg
During Advent, Nuremberg’s Old Town is taken over by Christmas markets lit up with string lights and decked with garlands.
The Christkindlesmarkt is one of the best-known Christmas markets in all of Germany and is where I recommend spending most of your time in Nuremberg. However, I was impressed by how good all of the Christmas markets in Nuremberg were!
The Christmas markets in Nuremberg, Germany have a clear emphasis on regional products, and I loved how unique the theme of each market was.
Below is an overview of the Christmas markets that you should know about, including the Christkindlesmarkt, the Sister Cities Market, the Original Regional market, and the Children’s Christmas market.
Christkindlesmarkt (The Most Famous in Germany!)
The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg is world-renowned. Not only is this a beautiful, fun Christmas market to visit — it’s historic, too! The first records of the Christkindlesmarkt date back to 1530, but many historians believe that the market stretches farther back than that.
The reason for the long-term popularity of the Christkindlesmarkt? It’s steeped in tradition!
The most notable figure of Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt is the Christkind (more on who she is and how she earns her role in the next section). On the opening day of the Christkindlesmarkt, the Christkinds addresses the crowd from the balcony of the Frauenkirche.
From that point on, it’s officially Christmas market season in Nuremberg!
The traditional Christkindlesmarkt takes place at the Hauptmarkt (main square) in front of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). The open square is unrecognizable during Advent; it transforms into a glittering “little city of wood and cloth.”
It’s a large Christmas market with lots to do, see, and eat. I recommend arriving earlier in the day if you intend to do some serious shopping for Christmas gifts. After nightfall and on the weekends, the market is so jam-packed with people that it’s difficult to navigate.
While perusing the stalls of the Christkindlesmarkt, keep an eye out for the decorative Rauschgold angels, traditional prune men (Zwetschgenmännle), and spiced Elisenlebkuchen (Nuremberg’s special gingerbread).
You’ll also see many stalls selling Traditional Franconian Christmas decorations, such as straw stars and feather angels, as well as the usual assortment of goods like sheepskin slippers, Christmas ornaments, and light-up paper stars.
Another must-see sight at the market is the beautiful crèche (nativity scene) in front of the Frauenkirche.
Above all else, come to the Christkindlesmarkt on an empty stomach! While you’re here, you should try Nürnberger Rostbratwurst (the local sausage), Elisenlebkuchen (the local gingerbread), blueberry mulled wine, and Eierzucker (fragrant local cookies made with anise).
Tip: For the best view of the Christkindlesmarkt, you can pay to climb to the balcony of the Frauenkirche.
Who’s the Nürnberger Christkind?
The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt wouldn’t be the same without the Christkind. During the opening ceremony on the Friday before the first Sunday or Advent, the Christkind addresses the crowd from the balcony of the Frauenkirche to welcome them to the market.
The Christkind’s prologue has remained largely unchanged since its conception, which adds yet another layer to the traditions of the market.
The Christkind is a position that any Nuremberg girl over the age of 16 can apply for. A jury selects the top candidates for the Christkind position, then their photos are published in the newspaper and the city’s residents vote for the final choice.
If you’re lucky enough to see the Christkind in person, you’ll notice that her white and gold uniform resembles the Rauschgold angel (Rauschgoldengel) which is the traditional Christmas tree topper in Nuremberg. She’s truly a sight to behold!
Original Regional Market
Clustered around St. Sebald Church is the Original Regional Market, which exclusively sells regional foodstuffs and gifts. The Christkindlesmarkt definitely gets the most style points, but the Original Regional Market was my favorite market for buying gifts!
Local goods you can look forward to sampling at the Original Regional Market include regionally produced sausages, honey, fruit spreads, liquors, soaps, pralines, beeswax products, and so much more.
Don’t forget to admire the locally harvested licorice that’s been woven into garlands and hung with glass bulbs from Sonneberg to decorate this Nuremberg Christmas market!
Sister Cities Market
Nuremberg’s international Sister Cities Market has over 20 stalls representing its 13 partner cities and additional “friendly communities.”
Some of the partner cities you can look forward to seeing at this Christmas market include: Antalya (Turkey), Cordoba (Spain), Glasgow (Scotland), Nice (France), Prague (Czech Republic), San Carlos (Nicaragua), Shenzhen (China), and Venice (Italy).
This small but vibrant Christmas market is located just outside the Old City Hall (near the Christkindlesmarkt).
It’s definitely one of the more interesting and unexpected markets since there are only international gifts for sale here. I especially loved the Scottish plaids and shortbread, Nicaraguan coffee, Provençal lavender products, and all the Italian cheeses!
Children’s Christmas Market
Seeing as how I’m neither a child nor have any children of my own, I didn’t hang out at the Children’s Christmas market for very long. But, I did look around briefly to see what’s there.
This is a cute Christmas market for littles that includes a small merry-go-round, a railway, and a mini ferris wheel.
The “Fundbaum” (lost and found tree) made me laugh since it was “decorated” with forgotten socks and gloves. (It’s funny how kids lose the most basic of clothing items!)
If you have kids, definitely check the events calendar ahead of time because this market has activities and craft projects that you can complete together!
FAQs About Visiting Nuremberg at Christmas
For my top tips on visiting the German Christmas markets in general, definitely check out my full guide here. I’ve done my best to address the most pressing, Nuremberg-specific FAQs below.
What Nuremberg Christmas Market Foods Should I Try?
The three Christmas market foods you HAVE to try in Nuremberg in particular are Nuremberg gingerbread (Elisenlebkuchen), Nuremberg Rostbratwurst, and Feuerzangenbowle (a special alcoholic punch).
Christmas Market Food: Elisenlebkuchen
This is Nuremberg’s special gingerbread, and my personal favorite variety I’ve tried. It’s very well spiced, chewy, and made mostly of nuts!
Legend has it that Elisenlebkuchen was invented by a Nuremberg baker whose daughter (named Elizabeth) was deathly ill. No doctor could help her, so the baker created this special gingerbread to help her get better. Low and behold, after eating the gingerbread the daughter recovered!
Elisenlebkuchen have been baked in Nuremberg for nearly 700 years and counting. You can enjoy this fragrant gingerbread plain, coated in chocolate, coated in a sugar glaze, or topped with almonds.
Christmas Market Food: Nuremberg Rostbratwurst
Nuremberg’s Rostbratwurst are yet another historic food that the city is incredibly proud of. These sausages date back as far as 1313. They’re traditionally grilled over a beechwood fire, which is how you can expect to see them being cooked at the Christkindlesmarkt.
Nuremberg’s local sausages are teeny tiny — about the length and width of your finger. You can either order 6, 9, or 12 sausages on a plate with sauerkraut, or you can chow down on three stuffed in a bun with mustard (my personal favorite way to enjoy them!).
Christmas Market Food: Feuerzangenbowle
You can find Feuerzangenbowle at every Christmas market in Germany, but Nuremberg has the unique claim to fame of having the largest Feuerzangenbowle IN THE WORLD.
The massive bowl of strongly alcoholic punch isn’t located at one of the main Christmas markets, but it’s easy to spot since, well, it’s big.
For a full list of the foods and drinks to try at a German Christmas market, read my full guide here.
What Should I Buy at the Nuremberg Christmas Markets?
There are a few traditional Christmas gifts and decorations you should consider purchasing at the Nuremberg Christmas market.
Straw Christmas ornaments are very popular in the region and have long been made by hand in Nuremberg.
The delicate Rauschgold angels are another favorite Christmas decoration, and the symbol of the market to boot! The angels date back to the 16th century and were likely meant to symbolize the Christkind, who gave children their Christmas presents. The angels used to be made from thin brass foil, but today they’re made out of paper.
My personal favorite traditional Christmas decoration from Nuremberg has got to be the funny prune men (Zwetschgenmännle). The handmade figures range from 9 to 22 centimeters in height, and as the name suggests they are indeed made from prunes!
Legend says that a Nuremberg wire drawer needed Christmas gifts for his children, but he had nothing to give them except his own wire and prunes made from the plum tree outside his house. He threaded the prunes onto the wire to create little figures, and the Nuremberg prune man was born!
If you buy a prune man at the Christkindlesmarkt, you can set it out every Advent for years to come. Just don’t eat the prunes as they’re not safe for consumption nowadays!
What Else Should I Do in Nuremberg at Christmas?
Other Christmas activities in Nuremberg to look forward to include:
- Listening to a Christmas concert at St. Sebald Church
- Climbing the balcony of the Frauenkirche for a view over the Christmas market (it’s especially pretty at night)
- Taking a day trip from Nuremberg to one of the nearby Christmas markets (Munich and Augsburg are both fantastic!)
What Else Is There to Do in Nuremberg in General?
You can easily spend two full days at the Nuremberg Christmas markets and in the Old Town. Here are all of my recommendations for things to do and see in Nuremberg’s Old Town.
What Other Christmas Markets Are Near Nuremberg?
The Christmas markets near Nuremberg that I’ve visited and loved include:
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber (another super popular Christmas destination in Germany!)
Is the Nuremberg Christmas Market Worth Visiting? Yes!
Nuremberg is one of my favorite cities in Germany to visit during Advent. The traditional Christkindlesmarkt gets very crowded on the weekends, but otherwise it absolutely lives up to its reputation and is a Christmas destination I think everyone should visit at least once in their lives.
If you have any questions about visiting Nuremberg at Christmas, leave me a comment below!
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