Make sure you pack the right clothes…
Are you lucky enough to be going to a German Christmas market in November or December? If so, make sure you pack the right clothes as some areas can get pretty cold. When it’s around zero degrees or lower, it’s not much fun if you’re walking around with cold, wet hands and feet! Glühwein (mulled wine) can only do so much to keep you warm, so you’ll need to make sure you’re well wrapped up too. So, here are my top tips on what clothes to take when you’re hitting the markets…
Will it rain or snow in Germany in December?
The climate in the western part of Germany in winter is influenced by the mild Atlantic air. Whereas, the eastern side of Germany is influenced by the cold air from mainland Europe. Germany also has many low mountain ranges, such as the Black Forest, Harz, the Bavarian Forest and the Ore Mountains. These divide the country into different climate zones – meaning that if you’re going to a Christmas market in Cologne; you may not need to take your thickest winter coat. It would probably be more advisable to take an umbrella and some waterproofs. Whereas a trip to Berlin is likely to mean thermals, gloves, hat, scarf and snow boots.
The climate in North Rhine-Westphalia with its popular Christmas markets like Aachen, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Münster and Essen usually have milder winters with rain being more likely than snow in December.
Take your umbrella if you go to North Rhine-Westphalia
Don’t let the weather spoil your fun
When I was at the Cologne Christmas market last year, it was around 12°C and wet. It certainly wasn’t an easy task walking around the different markets with an umbrella as the weekends in December are always very crowded. But we didn’t let the rain spoil our fun. We were still able to enjoy the atmosphere, sample the delicious food and drink and buy some presents between the showers. As Cologne, Düsseldorf, Essen, Münster and Bonn are the largest Christmas markets in North Rhine-Westphalia, be prepared for some wet weather.
Winter gear for Bavaria
Pick a sheltered market if it’s stormy
As the average daytime temperatures in Munich can vary between -2° and 8°C in November and December, you might be fortunate enough to have snow to complete the magical Christmas market experience. Some of the markets in Munich are quite exposed to the elements, e.g. the Tollwood Winter Festival, which is located in Theresienwiese, where the Oktoberfest is also held. However, there are also some markets that are a little more sheltered, like the Christkindlmarkt in Kaiserhof Residenz (Address: Residenzstraße 1), which a friend of mine recommended. Perfect for stormy days! In the smaller villages in Bavaria, like the medieval town of Bad Tölz, the temperatures can get even lower. I can highly recommend discovering the surrounding area; maybe taking a walk along the Isar River in addition to visiting the Christmas market. But don’t forget to take some proper winter gear.
The beast from the East
Berlin can be very windy and have snow
Berlin, as well as many other places located along the eastern side of Germany, can get a lot of rain in December. That side of Germany is also prone to strong easterly winds, which can make it feel much colder than it actually is. Snow is also likely, so if you’re going to any of the Berlin Christmas markets, take clothes for every eventuality! It’s always better to be prepared and be able to put layers on than arrive in just a pair of wellies and freeze! Average daytime temperatures can vary between -1.5° and 4°C in Germany’s capital city.
A visit to the Dresden Christmas markets can be cold too
Milder in the valley and a few degrees colder in the hills
The Dresden Christmas markets are also highly recommended, although I haven’t been yet. I will definitely keep you posted when I finally get to go. The weather can vary slightly depending on where you go in Dresden. Most of the city is situated in the Elbe valley, which tends to be milder; whereas the hills around Dresden are around 230m, so, temperatures can range between -1° and 4°C.
Hamburg Christmas markets usually have milder temperatures
Prepare for rain and fog in Hamburg
Hamburg often has mild winters due to the westerly winds. Temperatures very rarely drop below zero and it often gets quite foggy due to its close proximity to Lake Alster. The average temperature can vary between -0.7° and 4°C. The city can also get quite stormy in winter as well as being pretty wet.
Average daytime temperatures in December for other locations:
Bremen: -0.3° to 4.4°C
Lübeck: 0° to 4°C
Hanover: 0° to 5°C
Bremerhaven: 1° to 5°C
Kiel: 0° to 4°C
Bonn: 2° to 6°C
Koblenz: 1° to 6°Cc
Bernkastel-Kues: 1° to 6°C
Bad Tölz: : -4° to 2°C
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: -1° to 3°C
Regensburg: -2° to 2°C
Nuremberg: -2° to 4°C
Würzburg: -1° to 4°C
Stuttgart: 1° to 6°C
Heidelberg: 1° to 5°C
Wiesbaden: 0° to 5°C
Mainz: 1° to 6°C
Frankfurt am Main: 1° to 6°C
Leipzig: 0° to 4°C
Rostock: 1° to 5°C
Magdeburg: -1° to 4°C
Chemnitz: -2° to 3°C
Erfurt: -1° to 4°C
Waterproof coat/winter coat
Warm shoes (ideally waterproof if not winter boots)
Warm jumpers to add some layers if needed
Thermals (just in case)
I hope this blog has helped you decide on what to pack for your trip to a Christmas market. Again, it’s always better to be too warm than end up wandering around feeling miserable because you’re too cold. Enjoy a hot drink like Glühwein, Feuerzangenbowle, or Met and embrace the magical Christmas atmosphere that the German markets are well known for!
Romantic Christmas markets in Germany
Top Christmas market tips in Hesse
Christmas markets in Germany – whats so special about them