It’s that time of year again, to eat, drink and buy anything Christmassy, so with that in mind, I decided to treat myself to a long weekend in Berlin. The german capital, bursting with its cosmopolitan vibe and history that dates to way back when and of course all those beautiful Christmas markets filled with smells of Gluhwein (mulled wine), gingerbread and pork sausage.
It was time to get wrapped up warm and embrace that Christmas glow. Checking out the Christmas Markets being my soul purpose for this trip I plonked myself in a very handy, central hotel the ‘Arcotel John F‘, nicely situated in the Mitte region and very conveniently for me within half an hours walking distance of five different Markets.
- Weihnachtszauber Gendarmenmarkt
- Berliner Weihnachtszeit
- Wintertraum am Alexa
- Winterwelt am Potsdamer Platz
- Weihnachtsmarkt auf dem Alexanderplatz
located just a five-minute stroll from the hotel, is one of the cities most beautiful markets hosted in the square and offering a whole heap of handy crafted goodies. This being one of the more traditional markets, the smell of gluhwein, otherwise known as (mulled wine) and roasted pork, hit your senses as you leave the hotel and I for one couldn’t wait to get tasting them.
One of the things I loved about the markets was that when buying a drink it was given to you in an actual glass, glass and you could carry that around with you refilling as much as you desired and then when you leave, you can either take the glass with you as a souvenir or exchange it to get some of your euros back, now that’s what I call a great way to encourage sustainable travel, and an even better way to drink gluhwein!
Whilst at this market I tasted the very best pork roll I had ever tasted, it was so good I had to go straight back as soon as id finished and buy another one.
There were countless stalls and cabins filled with unique edible and non edible gifts, there is literally something for everyone, and whilst I like to stick more with the edible gifts for myself, I can still fully appreciate the work and craftsmen-ship that has gone into them all.
I must say this has to be one of my favourite markets for the pure fact of its location, situated in-between such grand elegant buildings, its traditional touch, massive central Christmas tree and the fact they host a whole heap of short live plays and carol singing sessions, it really brings the feeling of Christmas alive and makes you feel like a big kid again.
Berliner Weihnachtszeit at Roten Rathaus
My second favourite market, just across the river Spree is the Berliner Weihnachtszeit. This is in the Alexandraplatz region, also known as the Central meeting point in Berlin, there are actually three markets in this area all within a few minuets of each other, however this one stands out a mile off with its extremely large, illuminated ferris wheel (which of course I did have a go on). I feel like this market is more aimed at young families with its small circular ice skating rink and Santa who comes to visit three times a day, however that being said there is still something for all ages to enjoy.
Wintertraum am Alexa
Within just a few paces of Berliner Weihnachtszeit, you will spot Wintertraum am Alexa. I’d say the least traditional market of all the ones I visited this one is more of a teenage thrill seekers fair ground, lots of bright lights, loud music and scary looking rides, definitely not the one to go to for a traditional sing-song and unusual gifts, however still very much worth the visit, just to have a look and if you like crazy rides you could probably spend a few hours here, getting spun around and thrown up and down (maybe just don’t drink too much gluhwein beforehand).
Winterwelt am Potsdamer Platz
This market is slightly further away and will take you around 25 minutes to walk to from Weihnachtszauber Gendarmenmarkt however the reason for it being slightly further out is also the reason you should visit, they have an artificial snowy mountain there, nestled between the high buildings, that you can tube down, and lets face it, this is good fun no matter what age you are.
They also have a good selection of Christmas goodie stalls, selling all sorts of foodie and hand crafted goods. Along with all of this they host a selection of live music over the weekends giving the place a great vibe.
Whilst visiting Winterwelt am Potsdamer Platz I had a very traditional, simple yet delicious meal here in one of the many log cabins, the classic german pork schnitzel, sauerkraut (Finley chopped, fermented cabbage) I know it doesn’t sound the most appealing but it’s really very tasty, almost like a pickled lettuce but warm and of course the meal was topped off with mashed potatoes, which germans seem to have with every single mealtime in some form or another.
Weihnachtsmarkt auf dem Alexanderplatz
Ten minuets walk from Roten Rathaus market, situated right in the heart of the main shopping district, surrounded by shopping malls and high street fashion shops is Weihnachtsmarkt auf dem Alexanderplatz, yet an other great addition to the Christmas festivities, there is a huge merry-go-round and the centre attraction is a Japanese type tower which serves you, your mulled wine and hot fruity cider, this place gets many of the day time shoppers come to get refreshments and a well deserved break from the Christmas shopping. There is also another larger rectangular Ice Rink here, where you can come and practise your skills, with a little more space.
Sum up of Berlin
I’ve absolutely loved my time here in Berlin, what a beautifully clean and easy to navigate city. I’ve always struggled with any sense of direction and normally find myself wandering around and around in circles when I get to a new destination, however here everything just seemed to make sense and following the smells of Christmas I’ve managed to stay on track and not get lost.
The food has been phenomenal, all very traditional, slightly stodgy however very warming and homely, apart from the dinner shown in the picture below, as you can imagine I was a little shocked when this was served up to me, another german classic ‘pork knuckle’, but I have to say it looks much more like a raw pigs snout, once I got my head around the way it looked and gave it a try, it was actually very edible, but definitely a one-off for me and not something ill be ordering again any time soon. It would appear my camera was also a little disturbed by the sight as when taking this picture my camera died.
I will 100% be visiting Germany again and look forward to seeing what other cities have to offer, and for anyone with a severe case of Christmas FOMO (fear of missing out), I’d get yourself booked up for Berlin pronto, as there is nothing more Christmassy than bouncing from one Christmas market to another, soaking in the smells, sounds and vibes.