The Christmas countdown begins

People travel from all over the world to experience the magical Christmas atmosphere that somehow only German cities and towns can evoke. Berlin is included in many people’s wish lists and few are disappointed as the city is transformed at this time of year to warm the heart of even the most dedicated of Scrooges.

Christmas © nathan-anderson-

The supermarket and department stores of course set the ball rolling with many starting to stock Christmas treats and decorations as early as October. But you really know the season has begun when the first Christmas market has opened.

Sony centre Christmas lights 2015 © Melinda barlow

Sony centre Christmas lights © Melinda Barlow

This year the spectacular Schloss Charlottenburg will kick off Christmas market season with the first market of the year opening at around 2pm on Tuesday 21st of November. The market runs 7 days a week until December 26th with varying opening times. It is a truly beautiful market with the stunning Charlottenburg Palace as its backdrop and the stallholders offer many authentic foods and hot drinks alongside traditional crafts and hand made Christmas decorations.

Charlottenburg Palace Market © Melinda Barlow

Charlottenburg Palace Market © Melinda Barlow

Next to open, just a week later is the WeihnachtsZauber at the elegant Gendarmenmarkt in the middle of the city. This upmarket venue is the only market that charges an entry fee but it is well worth it with excellent entertainment, toilet facilities and plenty of warm fires to keep the chills at bay. Food is plentiful and there is a wonderful range of other traditional and contemporary gifts available.

The Weihnachts Zauber Gendarmenmarkt christmas market - Image: Michael Setzpfandt

The Weihnachts Zauber Gendarmenmarkt christmas market – Image: Michael Setzpfandt

Those two markets will get you started but there are over 100 markets held all over the city throughout the season so if you are visiting Berlin anytime between November 21st and Dec 27th you will be hard pressed to not find one. Local to the hotel is the market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and others not to miss include those held in the city’s historic locations such as Bebelplatz at Under den Linden, the Nikolai Quarter and in front of the Rotes Rathaus. More information about Berlin’s Christmas markets can be found at the Visit Berlin site and a full list of markets including opening dates, times and public transport information can be found here.

Gendarmenmarket Christmas Market

Gendarmenmarket Christmas Market

If the market crowds are too much for you, take in the open space at Christmas Garden Berlin. Berlin’s Botanic Gardens in Dahlem are transformed into a magical luminescent wonderland with a 2 kilometre trail light show weaving its way through the gardens.

Gardens Berlin © CGB Facebook

Millions of points of light create around 30 wondrous fairy tale like scenes for adults and children alike to truly experience the magic of Christmas. Warm your body and spirits at the end of the trail with roaring fire pits, stands selling hot regional foods and an ice skating rink under the stars.

Christmas Gardens Berlin © CGB Facebook FI

Gardens Berlin © CGB Facebook 3

The Christmas Garden Berlin this Thursday November 16th and is open every night from 4.30pm until 10pm until 7th January 2018. Last admission is at 9.30 pm and it is recommended to buy tickets in advance online. The Botanic Gardens are in Dahlem about 13 kilometres south of the hotel. Ask the concierge for directions to the Botanischer Garden S Bahn station and it’s then a short walk from the station to the entrance.

Melinda Barlow is an Australian freelance writer and editor, based in Berlin since 2012. Melinda works with print and online media and has a natural curiosity that informs her work. She is passionate about travel and great content. She loves to write most about the world, its people and why we all do what we do.