Christmas Markets, Berlin
Berlin has some of the best and most famous Christmas markets in Europe. There are around 60 open every year, usually between November and the end of December. Some require and entry fee, but most don't. The biggest one is held at the foot of Gedächtniskirche (the Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church) near the Zoo station in west Berlin. In the eastern half there is a big market in Alexanderplatz, which straddles both sides of the TV tower. On one side it clusters around the World Clock, and on the other around the Neptune Fountain.
The Christmas Market at the Gendarmenmarkt has a wonderful back drop with the French and German Cathedrals and the Concert Hall. Unusually there is an entrance fee of 1 euro but if you attend between 11-14 it is free to enter. Of all the markets I visited this is definitely the creme de la creme. If you want to purchase presents, make sure you have plenty of cash. Goods on sale appear to be of the highest quality as in keeping with the location and surrounding area, but it costs nothing to window shop.
The second Christmas Market at Alexanderplatz was located in the main square. I have in the past seen them constructing the cabins which are used by the stall holders. There are fire to warm you up, an ice skating rinks and some carousels. Nothing seems to spring to mind as to a theme for this market.
There are three Christmas Markets in the Alexanderplatz area. I thought that the Christmas Market outside the Berlin Town Hall contained more food stalls than some of the other markets I went too around Berlin. There was the largest ice skating rink in Berlin around the Neptunes Fountain which was free if you had your own skates, a 50metre high ferris wheel with cabins which looked like a smaller version to the one in Vienna and fires to warm you up.
This was my first visit to the Christmas Markets of Berlin. The first one I visited was the one in Spandau, which is one of the larger ones if not the largest. It is not to far from the main railway station and starts by the Town Hall. There were approximately 250 stalls spread old in the old town. I discovered that the markets, though they appear similar, there are subtle differences between them. The market had a lot of food, drinks, crafts, artisans and clothes stall as well as some rides. The was a program of different entertainment events which the website listed, including a number of events for children. This was the first time I tried Glühwein, which I did not like and I'm not likely to try again. It was also my first snack of cooked mushrooms with garlic sauce, which was delicious and I will try again.
Berlin is really vibrant. I have stayed in East and West Berlin, both I recommend for different reasons. THe City is quirky and also ultra modern and each area has its own characteristics. Remember it has two centres since the Cold War, but the majoirty of sites are in Mitte.
Like all German Cities the transport on S-Bahn and U-Bahn is excellent, so I wouldnt be too worried out your exact location.
Before Christmas try a Christmas market as this is a very different and unique to Central europe. See below for some resource on the market I found on the internet
The German Christmas markets are a must visit if you visit in late November or December. They are pretty much all over the city, and hard to miss. They are fairly similar to each other and sell handmade German crafts and great food and drink.
It's very affordable to have dinner there by going from stand to stand and trying different things. Don't forget the mulled wine to keep you warm. The best market by far in Berlin is the one on Sophienstrasse. They sell cool arts and crafts and is a bit hipper and younger, and fewer tourists.
If you are visiting in december then you cannot miss the Christmas markets as they are all over the city. My favourits and probably the largest is in the district of Spandau. The whole town centre is converted to one big market that livens up every night of the week until the last weekend before Christmas.
The third Christmas Market in the Alexanderplatz area is behind the Alexa Shopping Centre. This market is more of a street fair with some white knuckle rides.
There are a lot of x-mas markets in Berlin.
One of the best is the market "City West" between Tauenzienstrasse and Kurfuerstendamm - it is lokated at Breitscheidtplatz in Berlin.
We spent some time wandering along the Kurfurstendamm (the Ku'damm) looking at the wonderful window decorations for the Cgristmas period. Great place for shopping.