Dresden Christmas markets take center stage during the Christmas season in Germany. Since Dresden is often called the capital of Christmas, the surrounding region is surely a Christmas Wonderland. No other place in Saxony is better known for its Christmas rituals than the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains). Starting on the first Sunday of Advent (the weeks before Christmas), some 500 Christmas events morph the Saxon capital of Dresden and the region south of it into Germany’s unrivalled “Christmas Wonderland.” Snow is not guaranteed, but neither is it unlikely.
You’ll find plenty of excuses to warm your hands and souls with candied almonds, hot chestnuts or mulled wine. The latter, by the way, is traditionally made of red wine, but in recent years it’s increasingly made with white wine.
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Twelve wildly different Dresden Christmas markets vie for favour among visitors. The absolute highlight is the Striezelmarkt, which claims to be Germany’s oldest Christmas market. Two completely divergent markets are only a five minute walk from here. The Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) the Advent at Neumarkt beams you back 100 years with its tradition, charm and romanticism. Its faithfully recreated market booths offer only high-quality, handmade products – from aromatic soaps, cheeses and chocolate specialities to glass art and puppets. The Medieval Christmas market around the corner in Stallhof beams you back a little further. Hearty traders loudly praise hand-made wares; jugglers, jesters and minstrels guarantee precious moments at every turn. For something even more special, try a hot bath in a traditional tub. On weekends bands play medieval music, surrounded by fire-eaters, fortune tellers, knights and an archery tournament. The market is open until 6 January.
Smaller markets have their own appeal. My favourites include the small and cuddly market in Loschwitz at the Blue Wonder and the market in Kötzschenbroda, just outside of Radebeul, where local winemakers show off their very own mulled white wine.