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Christmas Day in Germany

We are considering a trip to Germany over Christmas 2023 - 2 adults and 2 teenage boys. We hope to visit the markets before Christmas but are wondering what there is to do on Dec 24/25/26 for tourists. It seems like many sites will be closed. We are thinking of visiting Munich, Berlin and possibly Dresden and are open to suggestions. Thanks!

Posted by
11368 posts

Our experiences over the holidays in London and Rome was what you fear, lots of restaurants and stores were closed.

Posted by
11368 posts

Our experiences over the holidays in London and Rome was what you fear, lots of restaurants and stores were closed. I have no idea what it’s like in Germany at that time though.

Posted by
556 posts

Christmas in Germany sure is family time and shops are closed on 24.(Sunday) and 25./26.12.

But Munich for example some museums are open, some restaurants as well (the hotel sure will help), all the parks like the English Garden, Olympic Park and Nymphenburg Park.
I'm pretty sure the famous Eisbach Surfers are doing business as usual in the English Garden.

Or one could go swimming in a beautiful old Art Nouveau bath (Müllersches Volksbad) or in one of the many other baths/spas in an around Munich.
You could go skating as well. Just stroll the streets and enjoy a warm beverage in a Café.

Or just hop on a train and visit the foothills of the alps or one of the lakes south of Munich.

I think there are plenty of things one could do in every German city.

I hardly visit a church on Christmas but usually on the evening of the 24th there is an impressive Mass.

Posted by
88 posts

This may be too far afield, but we spent Christmas in Salzburg one year and loved it. (1.5 hours by train from Munich so possible as a day trip). We used Panorama Tours for excursions. Normally we don’t like tour operators but we had the same fears as you. Anyhow, we booked their sleigh ride for Christmas Day and it was AMAZING. I just checked and they run other tours as well. They have a silent night tour for Christmas Eve. I’m guessing similar operators would run out of other major cities; it’s worth checking into. Even if you don’t want to book through a company, which tours they have available on those dates would give you a good idea as to what is open!

Posted by
11 posts

We found that essentially all the restaurants were closed after lunch on the 24th as the staff were home to celebrate the holiday. Our Christmas eve dinner in Munich ended up being cobbled together from a last minute run into the grocery store and a couple of treats we had bought at the Christmas market. Plan accordingly!

Christmas day was not a problem as enough restaurants were open and we had a reservation for what turned out to be a wonderful meal.

Posted by
2670 posts

Here you will find an overview of Berlin's "Christmas Markets Open Between the Years".

Germans celebrate Christmas on Dec. 24 evening (called Heiligabend). 25th and 26th are holidays as well - most people visit family and friends. Therefore trains are often well booked. For opening times of sights and food places I recommend to visit their websites beforehand. If you plan to visit a restaurant a reservation is recommended. Special events such as concerts are also offered and often sold out.

Posted by
1338 posts

I would find a good German traditional restaurant and have a Goose/Gans dinner for lunch/Mittagesessen (11:30-13:00) on the 26th (second Feirtag). Finish it off with coffee and cake/Kuchen. You probably should dress a little nicer, but now a days a T-shirt and jeans is not that uncommon. Relax and then take a walk. You will need to make reservation ahead, sometimes weeks ahead for the better places were ever you land.

Posted by
5149 posts

Check the dates of the Salzburg markets- they may run thru Jan 1. Safe travels!