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2021 Christmas markets starting from Berlin

Hi all,
Flying to Berlin for the Christmas markets 2021, will have 8 days to hopefully visit Berlin > Dresden > Prague > Vienna > Bratislava > Budapest > Rothenburg > Nuremberg > back to Berlin. Is this even doable? I appreciate suggestions very much, thank you in advance!


Posted by
3746 posts

4 countries in 8 days is not a good idea. You should stick to Germany or to Vienna and one other nearby city. Or maybe take a river cruise that covers Christmas markets.

Posted by
566 posts

4 countries in 8 days is not a good idea...

It is worse than that, 8 cities in 8 days.

It is Polly's first post, so go easy on her.

Posted by
7745 posts

Eight movements in eight days? Consider that however you get from one place to another (plane, train or automobile) it will eat up half a day just in transportation and logistics time. Distances look close on the map, but are deceiving. I would guess all those markets would be a blur, and no time for much else. And there's much more to see and experience in each of those places. I'd pick two or three at the most.

Posted by
25 posts

My wife takes 4 hours for a Christmas market. Minimum. Then we have to come back sometimes.

I'd suggest focusing on perhaps 3 markets in 8 days with re-visits and maybe short looks at other markets you stumble on in between.

Take a day between each market for travel and rest and if you find yourself with time on your hands, you could easily fill that time with Christmas relates activities. Music, food, beverages...

Posted by
1100 posts

Hi, Polly. I think you will be worn to a thread with this schedule. Yes, transportation will take so much time and the logistics of getting to the hotel(s) and then to the Christmas markets. Will the hotel be walkable to the markets?

I have visited Munich Christmas markets twice since 2017. Even with a fairly direct flight from Philly to Munich, I end up being able to set out exploring about 3 in the afternoon. And it gets dark soon thereafter. Are you travelling solo? Just a head's up, after viewing many of the similar ornaments for sale, it becomes clear that lots of the attraction of the markets is being with friends and sharing drinks, laughs, and food. And, there are multiple markets in most towns.

Myself, I would explore 3 of your locations. Berlin is a must if you are flying in and out of it. Others can advise you about which of your locations fits nicely with Berlin. Even though the tours are not running this year, maybe check out the itineraries of the Berlin, Prague, Vienna tour and the Prague and Budapest tour to get an idea of how to spend your days. I think with a full agenda and tight time, it is important to have a comfortable loop from Berlin and back to Berlin. Gee, are all these markets running this year? I have not been on top of my research.

Posted by
30292 posts

Last time I looked German Christmas markets (most, all, some, I don't remember) for this year were either cancelled or likely to be cancelled.

Have you checked that each of these 8 are actually happening in 2021?

Posted by
794 posts

We go over every other year. You will spend way too much time traveling and not enJOYing the markets. Also, book multi-city plane tickets so you don't have to circle back to Berlin. I'd skip Bratislava. We love Nuremberg, even tho others say it's too big. I'd stay at least 3 days there. We love HOTEL VICTORIA - it's super close to the markets, next to the train station - you just walk underground and you're there, the breakfast and service is amazing. Have you considered just doing Vienna, Salzburg, Nuremberg - train to Munich to fly home (Munich also has a great day trip with Radius Tours to Regensburg which is fantastic). Or you could do Prague, Vienna, Nuremberg. Just remember, when it comes to travel, LESS IS MORE. It takes LOTS of time to travel and check into hotels, etc. Feel free to PM me if you have questions. Another great way to see the Xmas Markets is a Xmas Market River Cruise. We've done many of them too.

I'd also be careful, as I'm not sure the Markets will happen this year. We were due to go again December 2020 and those canceled - we rebooked for 2022 as we are so unsure about them even happening this year

Posted by
2 posts

Based on all your replies, I short listed it to 5 cities possibly 4! It will be me and my husband. Yes, planning on flying back to Berlin from Budapest. I did check for Christmas market openings on each city and so far no cancellations yet (crossed fingers). I will look into the river cruise, sounds interesting. This will be our first Christmas Markets trip if nothing cancels! If you have more tips pls feel free to tell me, thank you all and happy travels!

Posted by
8493 posts

Berlin has multiple markets for one thing that will take you more than one day to get through. I would reduce your visits to perhaps 3 nearby cities - Dresden, Hamburg, perhaps take a day and go to Potsdam.

Posted by
15135 posts

Right now, last I heard, the Budapest Christmas markets were not going to happen. If anyone sees something to the contrary, please let me know.

Posted by
6113 posts

The largest market in Budapest has been cancelled, so I assume that the others will follow. I spent a week in Berlin, visiting a different market every evening, plus there is lots to see there during the daytime. There are far more Christmas markets in Berlin than in Budapest.

As with all other recommendations given this year, stick to one country in case Covid restrictions are reintroduced. Flight schedules change frequently with little notice and winter cancellations are common. Trying to keep on top of the entry requirements for so many places is going to be a full time job and maybe very expensive if a PCR test is required for each change.

I think the chance of Christmas markets being cancelled is quite high - although outdoors, many are very busy with no chance of social distancing. The chances of cruises being cancelled is even higher.

Even in pre-Covid times, your itinerary is too ambitious.

Posted by
4656 posts

Cutting down on the number of cities is a step in the right direction. But, 4 cities in 8 days is still a rushed schedule and will give you very little time at each market (assuming they are not cancelled).

And you should take the night train back to Berlin to save a bit of time spent travelling.

Posted by
264 posts

Wow, this is ambitious even in a pared down form.

For a first Christmas market visit, I would stick to Germany and Austria. Pick cities you think will also be interesting so that when you get burned out of markets, you can go to museums or other attractions, particularly if the weather is bad.

Berlin is a fantastic city for a variety of markets, museums, and things to see and do. I ADORE Berlin. What it does not have is old town charm. So keep that in mind. Larger cities do tend to have more than one market, so you can go to the themed ones. Munich would also be a great choice for variety. I would consider Salzburg and the Wolfgangsee in Austria as well. Nuremberg is famous for a reason, but it can be quite crowded in normal times. Basing in Munich for a few days makes it easy enough to go to both Nuremberg and the local markets without having to change hotels every day, and you could probably do the same for Salzburg / Wolfgangsee if you are ambitious.

We here in Germany are cautiously optimistic about markets, but we expect there may be registration and entry restrictions. That's what they did with the carnival here, and it worked well; there is talk of using the method for Christmas markets. We registered in advance, got "tickets" (free) for a 3 hour window, and had to scan in our tix and vaccine proof. By basing in only two or three cities you can be assured of seeing markets even if you don't get a ticket on your preferred night; it would be a bummer to travel to, say, Rothenburg, only to find tickets gone on your preferred night. In non-Covid times, this would not be an issue.

Posted by
15135 posts

The largest market in Budapest has been cancelled, so I assume that
the others will follow.

Yes, that's the word on one non-official site; I'll make a phone call and see if I can get a better source.

If all open, and if a market a day is something you would have fun doing; go for it.

Your two big stretches are Vienna/Bratislava and Budapest, so if you drop something that's where I would start.

But probably not the best year for Christmas markets; just go hang out in Budapest for a week.