Dresden Christmas Markets Guide: The Best Markets, What to Do, and More!

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I lived in Germany for 6 years and visited at least 25 Christmas Markets in Germany alone.

Dresden was one of the most impressive markets I visited. And with 11 markets, there’s a lot to see and do!

This article will outline everything you need to know for your visit, including my recommended itinerary to make the most of your trip.

Why Visit a Christmas Market?

It’s hard to explain the magic that is felt at a German Christmas Market. All your senses are awakened, and you get a sense of nostalgia, happiness, and merriment.

From the hints of cinnamon and spices, the smell of warm loaves of bread, hot mulled wine being passed around to keep you warm, and lights lining the streets in all directions. All of it comes together to form a sense of magic that needs to be experienced in person.

The Dresden Christmas Markets

Dresden has the oldest and the most Christmas markets in Eastern Germany.

In total, there are 11 Christmas markets around the city, with the largest being the Striezelmarkt.

Each market has its own distinct themes and features, and here are the top markets to visit:

Top Christmas Markets in Dresden

1. Striezelmarkt

29 November to 24 December 2023
10am – 9pm daily
4pm Nov 29 | 10am – 2pm Dec 24

The Striezelmarkt is one of the oldest and most traditional Christmas markets in Germany, dating back to 1434. This is by far the most popular market in Dresden. It’s truly impressive!

Here you’ll find the tallest Christmas pyramid in the world, the Ore Mountain Pyramid, standing 48 feet tall!

It is named after the “Striezel,” a type of fruitcake that eventually became the famous Dresden Christstollen. The market is located in the historic Altmarkt Square and features over 200 stalls, selling crafts, gifts, and festive treats.

There’s a carousel, a small Ferris wheel, and live performances for kids. Overall it’s a lively and fun area. As you can see, it gets packed at night, so be prepared for the crowds!

We spent hours at this market but could have easily spent two evenings here.

2. Christmas Market at the Frauenkirche

29 November to 24 December 2023
10am – 9pm daily
4pm Nov 29 | 10am – 2pm Dec 24

This traditional market is set against the backdrop of the magnificent Dresden Frauenkirche, one of the city’s iconic landmarks. This market is known for its artisanal crafts, high-quality products, and a cozy atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy live music and cultural performances.

We spent a few hours wandering these streets, checking out the stalls, and visiting the Frauenkirche.

3. Medieval Christmas Market

29 November to 23 December 2023
11am – 9:30pm daily
Rough Nights fun Dec 27-30 & Jan 2 – 6
Admission Fee: Friday to Sunday, 5 euros (3 euros for children)

Located near the Stallhof (Stables Courtyard), this market offers a unique medieval theme. Vendors dress in period costumes, and the market focuses on traditional handicrafts, period-appropriate food and drinks, and historical entertainment.

And although this medieval market is nowhere near as large as the one in Esslingen, they also have a bathhouse that seats up to 8 people!

Rough Nights Dresden Market

Dresden has an additional special program called Rough Nights. This signifies the market ‘between years’ from Christmas Day and the Day of the Three Kings.

This is still a medieval fair with a massive program. Some of the events include medieval music, magic, and comedy. You can use this link to find more information.

4. Augustus Market on Main Street

29 November to 23 December 2023
11am – 9:30pm daily

Across the Elbe River, the Augustus market (Augustusmarkt) runs along Hauptstrasse (main street) for many blocks.

It’s popular for its international flair. Here you can find Danish Glögg, Finnish Piparkakut, Swedish Julskinha, Alsatian Bredele, and Italian Pandoro.

5. Romantic Christmas Market

29 November to 23 December 2023
11am – 9:30pm daily

There’s a small romantic market at Dresden Castle. What’s special about this area is there’s a large ice rink at the Kempinski Hotel Taschenbergpalais Dresden.

6. Neumarkt Christmas Market
(Advent on the Neumarkt)

29 November to 23 December 2023 | 27 December – 7 January
11am – 10pm daily
(Closed December 24 & January 1)

This market is located in the Neumarkt square and boasts a beautiful backdrop of the Frauenkirche. It features various stalls offering crafts, sweets, and regional specialties.

7. Alpine Magic Hut

29 November to 23 December 2023
11am – 9:30pm daily

This isn’t necessarily a market but a large area that appears reminiscent of an Apres Ski town. There’s an Alpin Hut Bar and even a curling track where you can practice your skills.

Is It Easy To Get to All The Markets?

Most of the markets are condensed around the downtown area and are easy to get to on foot.

The markets at the Frauenkirche as well as the medieval market are in the Innere Stadt area. Just a short distance south is the Striezelmarkt and Romantic Market.

And just north of the river, you can find the Augustus Market.

Here’s a map I created highlighting all the main markets.

Food & Drink

Best Foods to Try

  1. Dresden Christstollen: This is a must-try, as Dresden is famous for its Christstollen, a traditional Christmas fruitcake. It’s a rich and dense cake filled with dried fruits, nuts, and spices, then dusted with powdered sugar. You’ll find various versions and sizes at the markets.
  2. Kartoffelpufer (or Reiberdatschi): These are potato pancakes, similar to hash browns. They’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. You can enjoy them with applesauce, sour cream, or even smoked salmon for a unique twist.
  3. Kartoffelsalat: German potato salad is a popular side dish at the markets. It’s made with tender potatoes, vinegar, and a flavorful broth. The salad can include ingredients like bacon, onions, and fresh herbs.
  4. Lebkuchen: These gingerbread cookies come in various shapes and sizes and are often beautifully decorated. They are sweet and spicy, with a hint of honey and spices like cinnamon and cloves. They make for delightful edible souvenirs.
  5. Quarkbällchen: These are essentially deep-fried, round doughnut holes or fritters. The name “Quarkbällchen” comes from the main ingredient, “Quark,” which is a fresh, soft cheese with a texture similar to cottage cheese or ricotta.
  6. Pflaumentoffel: Made of dried plums, this is an edible figurine.
  7. Bratwurst: German sausages, especially bratwurst, are a staple at Christmas markets. And let’s be honest, they’re overall a German staple! These flavorful, grilled sausages are often served in a bread roll (Brötchen) and can be accompanied by mustard, ketchup, or sauerkraut.


Mulled wine (Glühwein) is a must-try drink at the Christmas markets. It’s a warm and aromatic spiced red wine made with cinnamon and cloves that will help keep you cozy as you explore the market stalls.

Tip: Be sure to drink glühwein while it’s hot. The taste isn’t as great once it cooled – the locals tell you it’s best when hot!

This market has a much larger variety of gluhwein flavors than I’ve seen at other markets. Many stands have additional options such as holunder (elderberry), cherry, plum, and many more!

They even have Gluhbier for a completely different experience.

You can also add a shot of rum or something else to your glühwein. And there are stalls that sell other types of spirits and drinks.

There are options for children such as punch and hot chocolate.

Things to Do

Watch the Stollenfest Parade

Dresden is home to Stollen, a fruit-type bread with cinnamon and topped with powdered sugar. They are also home to the largest Stollen ever made, which equates to around 4 tons of bread!

This giant Stollen is paraded through the city, cut into pieces, and shared with the crowd.

Visit the Frauenkirche

The Frauenkirche was built in the 18th century in the Gothic style, and is a beautiful sight to see. There’s a large central dome, which is one of the largest stone domes in Europe. The church features an intricate sandstone façade adorned with sculptures and ornate decorations.

Admire the Local Crafts and Stalls

There are hundreds of local vendors selling everything from unique and handmade items to food and drink. Just at the Striezelmarkt there are over 240 stalls!

The handmade gifts and wooden toys stand out at this market. Herrnhut Stars, which represent the star of Bethlehem, make for great Christmas gifts.

Other things you can find include glass ornaments, pottery, nutcrackers, candle holders, and much more.

Top Things for Kids To Do

  1. Meet Santa Claus (Weihnachtsmann): Many of the markets have dedicated areas or Santa’s houses where children can meet Santa Claus in person. Kids can share their Christmas wishes and receive small gifts or candies. It’s a memorable and magical experience for young ones.
  2. Ride the Christmas Carousel: Located at Striezelmartk, there’s a beautiful 2-story carousel that’s fun for all ages.
  3. Santa’s Mailbox: There’s a letterbox next to the Christmas bakery where children can send letter. They’re collected daily.
  4. Fairytale Houses: The Striezelmarkt has special fairytale houses or booths where kids can experience the magic of fairy tales and storytelling. These enchanting setups often include interactive exhibits and storybook characters, bringing classic tales to life.
  5. Craft Workshops: Various markets offer craft workshops where children can engage in hands-on activities. They can make ornaments, create holiday-themed art, or even participate in gingerbread cookie decorating. These workshops allow kids to express their creativity and take home their own handmade keepsakes.
  6. Christmas Train Rides: Look out for miniature train rides, often designed with a Christmas theme. Children can hop on these mini locomotives and take a scenic tour of the market, adding an exciting dimension to their visit.
  7. Sweets and Treats: Christmas markets are a treasure trove of delicious sweets and treats. Kids can indulge in warm waffles, roasted chestnuts, cotton candy, candied fruits, and gingerbread cookies, making their visit to the market a culinary adventure.
  8. Children’s Entertainment: Check the market’s event schedule for children’s entertainment like puppet shows, storytelling sessions, and live performances by entertainers in festive costumes. These activities are sure to keep kids engaged and entertained.
  9. Ice Skating: There’s an ice skating rink located at the Romantic Christmas Market.

Questions About the Dresden Christmas Markets

Is the Dresden Christmas Market Worth Visiting?

I’ve been to over 25 Christmas markets and Dresden was one of the most impressive. It was also one of the first Eastern German markets I visited, and had quite a different feel from the markets in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

Here’s my take on whether to go: if you are planning a trip to that area of the country, then definitely add it to your list. Truly, these markets are amazing!

But, if you are planning a trip to the western portion of Germany, I’d stick to that area and combine France and Switzerland (you can read my 10-day Christmas Market Itinerary on that area here!). See below on how you can make an entire trip to include the Dresden markets.

How Much Time Do You Need?

When we visited, we were only there for a day. One day is long enough to get a taste of the biggest markets, but not long enough to see it all. I recommend two days (three if you prefer to go at a slower pace) to see the markets and explore Dresden.

When Should You Visit?

Just like any other market, the least crowded times are in the morning and midday. Weekdays, typically Monday – Wednesday, will be less crowded. Afternoons into evenings get very crowded, so expect long lines.

Weekends will draw the most crowds.

I HIGHLY recommend visiting any Christmas market at night, and Dresden is no exception. Everything comes to life when the sun goes down and the light displays are magical to see.

Is There an Entry Fee?

Entrance to these markets are completely free, filling up the squares (platz) and side streets of the downtown area. You can just walk on in and enjoy.

When Do the Markets Open?

The market dates for 2023 are:

  • November 29 from 4-9pm
  • 11/30 to 12/23 from 10am – 9pm
  • 12/24 from 10am – 2pm

*Note the Neumarkt stays open past Christmas and through the New Year (closed on holidays)

Other Things to Do in Dresden

The easiest way to see the main sights in Dresden is with a Hop-on Hop-Off Bus tour. It’s inexpensive (less than $25) and you can easily see the best sights around the city.

The Zwinger Castle is downtown next to the markets. It’s well worth a visit as the grounds and architecture are beautiful.

Koenigstein Fortress is about 45 minutes from the city in the Saxon Switzerland hills (not Switzerland, just has the name). These are the oldest preserved barracks in Germany, and the fortress is atop a hill overlooking the valley.


  • Bring Change: Most toilets charge .50-1EUR
  • Bring Cash: Many stalls accept card but just as many only take cash. ATM’s are available all over downtown.
  • Dress in Layers: These markets get COLD! I’m from Alaska, and I freeze to my bones if I don’t layer properly. Layer, layer, layer!
  • Pfand: A deposit is paid each time you get a drink and returned when you return your mug.
  • Parkplatz: If you’re driving, look for Parkplatz signs marked in blue.
  • Entry Fees: With very little exception, there are no entry fees.

How to Plan a Trip That Includes the Dresden Christmas Market

If I were planning a trip that included Dresden, I would focus on that region, meaning Germany and Czech Republic. Berlin would be the largest nearby airport to fly into. Then you could explore all the markets in Berlin, head to Dresden, visit Leipzig, head down to Prague, then Pilsen, and finish in Nuremberg or even Munich.

You could even add in Poland too. If you want a more detailed itinerary for these markets, let me know in the comments.

Dresden Germany

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One Comment

  1. Beautiful photos! I’d love to go to the Dresden Christmas Market. I heard that this is ‘the place’ to get the original Räuchermännchen (aka ‘Smoking Guys’) hand-carved out of wood. My in-laws got me an adorable one a few years ago from the Dresden Christmas Markets and I’ve been looking forward to checking it out ever since!

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