Although Munich’s main Christmas market has only been in its present location since 1972, history records similar events in the city dating back more than three and a half centuries, with the possibility that the origins of the event lay further back still.
After a dry, mild fall, there might not be as much snow as normal this year, but central Munich will, as ever, be completely devoted to all things Christmas. Festivities are focused on Marienplatz, where a soaring Christmas tree stands guard in front of the magnificent Neo-Gothic Rathaus.
Musicians and choirs perform seasonally-appropriate music from the Rathaus balcony every day at 5:30pm. Across the square, over 160 stalls festooned with lights offer traditional German craftworks as well as glühwein (traditional German mulled wine, always found this time of year), gingerbread, sugared almonds and baked apples.
You want to know how seriously these people take Christmas? There’s a whole market purely dedicated to magi, sheep and all your other Nativity scene requisites, which this year takes place on Neuhauser Strasse. You can take a tour of mangers in central Munich churches for inspiration.
Naturally the whole event is great for kids, no more so than at the “Heavenly Workshop”, where children between six and twelve can take part in games, bake cookies or make craft pieces. Santa makes a daily afternoon visit, but where there’s “nice”, “naughty” is never far behind: On the last two Sundays before Christmas, mischievous horned companions of St Nick run riot through the market like runaways from a Finnish death metal band.