• Looking for a traditional German Christmas Market? Give Dresden a Try in 2018

    by  • August 21, 2018 • Christmas Markets, Dresden

    Dresden has several Christmas Markets, from the very traditional to those with a more modern twist.

    Dresden Christmas

    It may only be late summer but already the thoughts of many of Cities Direct’s customers are turning towards a Christmas Market break. I can understand their feelings very well. It’s always good to have a holiday booked and something to look forward to in the cold, dark winter months.

    Dresden is not a particularly common city-break destination for travellers from the UK, but If you like Christmas, you’re sure to love Dresden at Christmas time! The city is home to eleven different Christmas markets. These vary from the traditional to a medieval-themed market to the Hüttenzauber market which has an après-ski feel about it.

    The most traditional and biggest market is the Dresden Striezelmarkt which will run from 29th November to 24th December in Altmarkt Square in the heart of the historic city centre. It claims to be Germany’s oldest Christmas Market with a very long history dating back to 1434. Its name derives from Hefestriezel, a sweet delicacy which is now known as “Dresden Christstollen” (German Christmas Cake. Over the centuries the Striezelmarkt has become a major national event with 250 stalls. It spreads further out from Altmarket Square and takes up a large part of Dresden city centre. It attracts around 3 million visitors a year from all over the world.

    Dresden Christmas

    One of the best-known features of the Striezelmarkt is a huge Christmas arch. This was originally made of metal but is now usually a wooden arch decorated with candles and figures. According to local folklore, this stems from the candles that the miners would hang from the entrance to the mine on the last working day before Christmas. On weekends in Advent special events take place, such as the Dresden Stollen Festival and the Pyramid and Christmas Arch Festival. At the centre of the Striezelmarkt stands a 20 metre high spruce, brought from the nearby Tharandt woods and decorated with lights.

    Other Christmas Markets in Dresden which are well worth visiting are the market which is held around the famous Frauenkirche church, the nearby Christmas Market on the Neumarkt and the Winter Lights Market which can be found in one of Dresden’s most popular shopping streets which runs between the city centre and the main railway station. The centrepiece of this market is a 15 metre high Christmas tree.

    Dresden Christmas

    Visitors to the Dresden Christmas Markets come to buy traditional wooden figures, candleholders, gingerbread, glass tree decorations and particular Dresden specialities such as the “Pflaumentoffel”, a chimney-sweep figure made of dried prunes. Visitors can also watch the carvers, glass-blowers and bakers in action. The stalls will also do a roaring trade in mulled wine. I can imagine the wonderful sights and smells of the markets as I write this blog!


    With a degree in Geography under her belt, Ann felt that a career in travel might be a good choice. Fast forward over thirty years, and Ann is still in the industry so her instincts have served her well. Ann spent much of her early career working for big names such as Global Overland and Wallace Arnold where she was involved in the contracting and operation of coach tours on a large scale. Taking time out to raise her family, Ann returned to the industry working for Cities Direct. Her desire to travel is as strong as ever and she loves nothing better than visiting a new destination and being able to relay her experiences first hand to Cities Direct clients.