The Christmas season is finally here, and if you´re looking for a 72 hour holiday trip, look no futher than Munich, Germany! This country really knows how to celebrate Christmas, and no city does it better than Munich! From November 27th to December 24th, the Bavarian capital transforms into a Christmas wonderland full of Gluwein, pretzels, and sauerkraut (my personal favorite…. weird, I know). The Grinch wouldn’t even be able to deny the Christmas spirit in air, mostly due to the amazing variety of Christmas markets in the city.

Germany knows how to celebrate Christmas, and no city does it better than Munich! From November 27th to December 24th, the Bavarian capital transforms into a magical Christmas wonderland full of pretzels, sausages, sauerkraut, and gluwein. Munich takes Chris day markets seriously, so you have several unique markets to choose from. Here were my the favorites!

For those of you who have never experienced a German Christmas Market, there is no charge for admission and you can just walk through perusing the many festive booths that are set up, and look at the variety of Christmas lights. Typically there will be many different booths selling, some selling food and drinks and others selling different items that would be great Christmas gifts. The food booths traditionally sell Gluwein  (hot spiced wine, often called Mulled Wine in English), beer, german sausages, german noodles, sauerkraut, pretzels, and other regional items. When you buy your first gluwein, you´ll pay around 6 euros or more becasue in addition to the Gluwein, you put down a deposit for the commemorative mug. Then, when you stop at other stands you just pay to refill the mug. If you decide you don´t want to keep the mug, you can return it to one of the booths to get your deposit back. As for me, I always keep the mugs and now have quite the collection!

The booth that sell items often range from Christmas ornaments to toys to scarves and hats. But it really depends! Personally I´ve always gone for the food, but I have a lot of friends who collect Christmas ornaments from the different markets. Experience the magic of Christmas with these three amazing Munich Christmas markets:

1. Christmas Market around Marienplatz

Stay close to your friends in this Christmas market because it’s huge! It’s the largest Christmas market in Munich and is located in the Old Town. This Christmas Market is the perfect place to start your Christmas Market tour because 1. You can´t miss it. You´ll most likely just stumble upon it while exploring the city (at least that´s what happened to me!) and 2. It´s located alongside some of the most famous Munich landmarks. You´ll see the New Town Hall, known as the Neues Rathaus in German (and by ¨New¨ they mean that it dates back to 1867, but is done in the neo-gothic design that makes it appear way older), and during the Christmas season this is the location of a huge Christmas tree. Going inside the Town Hall is also worth your time, as you can see the Glockenspiel, which chimes and has figurines that tell stories from Munich´s 16th century history. If you want to see this spectacle, you´ll have to be there at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. during Christmas Market season. You also have the option to go up into the tower to see great views of the city.

Very close to the New Town Hall and the Christmas Market, you can also see the Old Town Hall, Altes Rathaus, which now serves as a Toy Museum. The original building dated back to the 14th century, but was almost entirely destroyed during World War II so the current building was rebuilt based off the original plans.

I loved this Christmas Market because it seemed like it would never end! My advice is not to stop and get the first Gluwein that you see…a lot of the stands sell different commemorative mugs and you should get the one you like best! In this market I ended up buying two because I liked the second one I saw better and didn´t have the patience to go get my deposit back for the first.

2. The magical Christmas village in the Residenz

Walking into the Chistmas Village in the Residenz palace was like walking into the most perfect and magical Christmas Town! The market was whimsically decorated and had Christmas music playing all around, which made for a lovely experience! I´m a big fan of matching, whimsical decorations so I was really in love with this market (and it definitely didn´t hurt that it was located in the courtyard of a palace!). We did have a little mishap in this market though….I was travelling with a group of Americans and one friend decided to get a spicy German sausage. The German vendor repeatedly warned us that the spicy sausage was very spicy, but being spicy-loving Americans and coming from non-spicy Spain, we opted for the spiciest option. BAD IDEA. Literally noone in our group could stomach the sausage. One friend covered it with mayonayse. Didn´t help. Another immediately had to order a beer to try to cut the spice. Didn´t help. I only tried a toothpick amound of the sauce and thought my mouth was on fire. So yeah. Unless you like ghost peppers, don´t choose the Santa Special at the Christmas Village in Residenz.

Besides just visiting the Christmas Market, you can also go inside Residenz Palace. A lot of it was rebuild following World War II, but it´s still really lovely to visit, espceically if you love palaces as much as I do. As morbid and creepy as it is, my favorite part of the palace was seeing the saint´s relics (aka the highly decorated bones of saints). While it is definitely a strange tradtion, it was still cool to see how they decorated the relics. More pleasantly,  when I was walking through, I heard a flautist playing in the Chapel which made the experience really special. You could also see cool views of the Christmas Market from the warmth of the Residenz.

3. Medieval market on Wittelsbacherplatz

If you’re a nerd and love history, Game of Thrones, or Lord of the Rings, you´ll love teh Medieval Market in Wittelsbacherplatz, which isn´t too far from Residenz. I had been to Christmas markets before, but had never seen one as unique as this one! The buildings were all made of rugged-looking wood, and the booths there reflected the medieval theme as they sold unique items like swords, Viking rune necklaces, and other unique medieval-esque items. They also had unique live music acts and the people working in the booths were dressed in medieval garb. While this was not the biggest market in Munich, it´s uniqueness made us go back several times!

Honorable mention: Christmas Market in Salzburg, Austria

You could easily spend 72 hours exploring the Munich christmas Markets, but if you want to experience  different city, (and country!) you could easily take a day trip to Salzburg. We left really early one day and took a 2 hour bus ride to the land of the Sound of Music! With unique churchs, quaint streets, beautiful christmas markets, and a castle on a hill, this small city is worth visiting!

The whole city of Munich takes Christmas seriously so you will definitely be in the Christmas spirit after 72 hours in Munich! So book a flight, grab a mug of gluwien, and get in the holiday spirit!