Along the shopping street Spitalerstraße and nearby Gerhart-Hauptmann-Platz square is Winterwald, a winter forest in the city centre and the main Christmas market offering handicrafts, design and art-making from 25 Nov to 30 Dec. Do also check out the market at the nearby St Petri Church, the oldest surviving church in the city.
The largest city centre market is the City Hall Christmas Market on Rathausmarkt Square running from 25 Nov to 23 Dec. The City Hall makes a wonderful backdrop while you browse the decorated stalls selling handmade toys, jewellery and a large variety of international delicacies. Do look up as Santa Claus regularly makes his appearance, hovering above the market in his sleigh.
The Christmas market at St. Michael’s church is the oldest in the Hanseatic city of Hamburg. One of the most notable Hamburg attractions and an iconic city landmark, the church plays host to this lesser-known market in its historic crypt, church square and parish hall on the first Advent weekend (29 Nov – 1 Dec). Expect more than 100 exhibitors offering handicrafts, fashion, jewellery and Christmas decorations.
There are two Maritime Christmas Markets at Speicherstadt and HafenCity. The Speicherstadt market (25 Nov – 23 Dec) is at Fleetinsel near St. Michael’s Church, while the HafenCity Christmas market (25 Nov – 30 Dec; closed 24 & 25 Dec) can be found at Überseequartier, a trendy neighbourhood where modern architecture meets old-fashioned winter cheer. There’s even an ice-skating rink too!
The fairy tale-like Bergedorf Castle Christmas Market has cosy drink booths, Christmas trees and plenty of fun activities for kids from 25 Nov to 30 Dec (closed 24-26 Dec). This market at Hamburg’s last remaining castle has stalls selling handmade gifts and bands play Christmas songs on the weekends.
Stay: After visiting some of the 30-odd Christmas markets in Hamburg, rest for the day at Fraser Suites Hamburg. A 5-star hotel occupying the historic Oberfinanzdirektion in one of the most prestigious areas of the city, this is a luxury accommodation experience you won’t find anywhere else in Hamburg.
Traditional but reinterpreted for Geneva, the Noël aux Bastions Christmas Market transforms one of the city’s most beautiful parks, the Bastions Park, into a magical Christmas village from 4 to 31 Dec. The illuminated path leads you to the heart of the village where you can enjoy a lobster roll or if you manage to snag a reservation, fondue at Le Chalet. Families will appreciate the ice rink and activities in the Children’s Pavilion.
The annual Carouge Christmas market is held in the traditional Italian part of the city, known for its exclusive and bohemian boutiques, good vibe and great choice of restaurants. The 180 shops here open for the four Sundays before Christmas and the market offers upmarket handmade crafts, stylish scarves, hats and jewellery, decorations and treats. You will find the market stalls and entertainment at Rue Saint-Joseph, Place du Marché and the surrounding areas.
Marché de Noël des Pâquis by non-profit association Maison de Quartier also returns this year with a free weekend entertainment programme from 22-24 Dec. Expect concerts, storytelling and children’s crafts all happening while overlooking the iconic Jet d’eau fountain in Lake Geneva.
Stay: In the heart of the city and close to Jet d’eau fountain, Fraser Suites Geneva offers 67 Gold-Standard fully-furnished luxury serviced apartments.