Striezelmarkt (Christmas market), Dresden
Dresden has one of Germany's oldest Christmas markets and one that has not become overly touristy. These markets are the main reason to go to Germany in winter and are always a highlight for the first time visitor. They have a certain festive flair that is hard to describe and must say I miss them when I am not in there for the holiday season. Luckily for me, that is not too often now! I'm not much of a shopper but I love walking around in the cold, having snacks and of course, imbibing in a glühwein or two. ;)
Though the famous Striezelmarkt is popular some of the smaller ones have a charm all their own. My favorite one runs from the Frauenkirche to the Bruhl Terrace. If you go during the day it's not too crowded.
Main reason why we wanted to visit Dresden were famous Xmas markets. Stands with various goods are everywhere!! You can enjoy also the atmosphere of special "historical" markets, but to some of them you have to pay small entrance fee. If you like Xmas and don't mind crowds, go to Dresden in December! :)
At Stallhof in Dresden Castle you find the historical Christas Market. See how bread was baked in former times and listen to mediaeval music. For the braves you can have a bath in a mediaevally wooden bathtub.
Visiting Dresden in December it should be a must to visit one of Germany's oldest Christmasmarkets dating back to the year 1434. At Striezel Market (that's how the market is called here), you find a lot of individual market stalls that offer you mulled red wine, Saxon sausages, almonds and of course world famous "Pulsnitz Lebkuchen" (ginger bread) and "Dresdner Christstollen".
The most popular items include nutcrackers and Christmas pyramids, but you will find everything from carved Räuchermännchen, or “smoke people,” litlle incense burners, to little Pflaumenmännchen or “prune people” (a regional traditional item) – look for a chimney sweep figure to bring good luck in the coming year.
I just love the markets that are held before Christmas in Germany although they are always busy. They are held from the beginning of December and you can get some lovely locally made Christmas decorations, tasting the local foods and warm wine is fun. The evenings are the best time with the Christmas lights and music.
Lots of fun things at the Christmas market. Toys, Christmas stamps, decorations, food. Try the sauteed mushrooms and sausages.
One note of warning, many locals did not take kindly to us even though we spoke German. Generally, we had a few brushes with East Germans. I hope many things have changed.
In November the 'Striezelmarkt' opens its gates. In most other german towns these christmas markets are called 'Christkindelmarkt' but Dresden has got it's own way...
Apparantly it's one of germanys oldest christmas markets.
Lots of different stands selling all kind of stuff, mostly food or drinks.