Christmas markets in German cities are very popular and have a long history.
Christmas markets usually operate in many parts of Dresden, but the main centre is the Striezelmarkt, which is held regularly at the Old Market Square in the city centre. There are other markets on Prager Strasse, Neumarkt square in front of the church Frauenkirche, or on the main street of Dresden’s New Town “Neustädter Markt”.
There is an information kiosk on the main square Altmark Striezelmarkt on the northwest corner, where you can get a brochure about the program of markets in Dresden. The brochure is available in German, Czech, Polish, English and Russian.
A few basic tips:
- if you have any children, visit the children’s corner in the northwest corner of the Altmarkt (details below)
- if you travel by train, walk along Prager Strasse, and take in the Christmas atmosphere and stroll slowly to the Altmarkt
- if you are traveling by car, park outside of the city and go into the city by public transport
- if you come and stay overnight, book a hotel in advance, rather than at the last minute. The hotels are often fully occupied
Christmas Markets at the Striezelmarkt
The Christmas Markets were founded in 1434 and its name is derived from the traditional pastries “Strüzel”. There is also a local specialty trademarked “Dresdner Christstollen®”. It may only be baked by certain local bakers, and its authenticity is recognized by the Golden Seal rider.
The Christmas market at the Striezelmarkt is one of the largest ever and, during the six weeks of Advent, is visited by over two million people and comprises over 250 stalls. Most of them contain snacks – ginger, dried fruits and traditional pieces of chimney-sweeper (ie. Pflaumentoffel) prunes.
There is another characteristic of Dresden‘s Christmas Markets – the Big Pyramid.
The highlight of the Christmas markets is “Stollenfest” – a celebration which traditionally begins in the morning at the Schlossplatz square and ends at the Old Market Square in the afternoon. The celebration always has an organized entertainment program on the Schlossplatz, where the giant “Strüzel” is uncovered. Thanks to its big size, in 2000 it made it into the Guinness Book of Records with dimensions of 4.75 × 1.75 × 0.9 m and weighing four tons.
Then the procession sets off to the Old Market Square, where the “Strüzel” is officially cut into pieces and sold off. This is followed by a fun program on the Old Market Square. In the corner of the Old Market Square in front of the church Kreuzkirche is the children’s corner. Here, in addition to classic attractions, a lot of workshops and interactive entertainments (in German) are prepared for children. And one special characteristic of the Dresden Christmas markets – Santa Claus reads fairy tales to the children. It’s a tradition which takes place from December 1st to 24th. Santa Claus opens one window of the advent calendar every day, under which hides a story that children can read (again in German only).
- The official website of the Christmas markets in English
- Accommodation options in Dresden (you book in advance)