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You can stuff yourself and complete your Christmas shopping all in one fell swoop. From exquisite handcrafted Christmas ornaments of wood, blown glass and ceramics crafted from traditional and modern designs to kitchen utensils, pottery and candles, it should be no problem to find something unique for that hard-to-shop-for relative. Nicholas Christmas Market
Nov 26 - Dec 24
Opening ceremony Nov 27, 17:00 - 20:30
The city's main Christmas market, on Marienplatz, begins traditionally on the Friday before Advent when the Mayor officially opens the market at 17:00 and leads the lighting of the 2,500 lights on the 30m-high Christmas tree. This market is full of traditions going back to the 14th century when it began as a market for wooden nativity figures, woollen clothes and sweets made of almonds and plums in the shape of angels and chimney sweeps, a Bavarian good luck charm. Today the market is spread out over 140 stands and offers a wide variety of handicrafts, toys, gifts, and practical household items. Some specialties available are fried apples, roasted almonds, plum and almond sweets, fruitcake, Reiberdatschi (fried potato pancake), cheese, Bratwurst, and punch. Every day at 17:30 musicians perform on the balcony of the town hall under the light of the enormous Christmas tree, adding to the magical feeling. The music varies from the traditional Christmas carols sung by a choir, to brass bands, international folk music and alpine music.
Open 10:00 - 20:30, Sat 10:00 - 21:00, Sun 10:00 - 20:00.
24 Dec open 10:00 - 14:00.
www.muenchen-marienplatz.de In the Rindermarkt (beef market), which adjoins Marienplatz to the south is the Nativity Market (Richard-Strauss-Brunnen) where craftsmen display different wooden nativity figures from Bavaria and South Tyrol from Nov 27 - Dec 24. Even if you’re not interested in buying, the delicate craftsmanship of the figures is worth a look. If you’re a collector it’s perfect place to find your three kings, angel or donkey. A life-size nativity scene can be admired in the town hall courtyard.
The market also contains some very child-friendly services, one of these being the Himmelswerkstatt (Heaven’s Workshop, admission free, Nov 28 - Dec 15 (open 14:30 - 18:00) in the town hall pub (Ratskeller) where an international team of artisans and teachers initiate children from 6-12 years into the world of angels. They are garbed in angel’s robes and golden wings and shown how to make Christmas handicrafts. If you want your Christmas cards and letters stamped with a Christkindl (Christ child) postmark, you can do it at the Christkindl post office at the town hall. If you post it there, you’ll get a Munich Christmas market stamp as well. Tollwood Winter Festival
Nov 26 - Dec 31
This huge winter festival that ends on the New Year’s celebration is on the Theresienwiese, the grounds of the Oktoberfest. The Christmas Market is full of hippy artisans and international foods, concerts, shows, beer and Glühwein tents: this place is guaranteed fun. This market and festival cater to the Munich trendy crowd and offers organic Glühwien and even a hot caipirinha.
Open 14:00 - 01:00, Sat & Sun 11:00 - 01:00.
www.tollwood.deSendlinger Tor Christmas Market
Nov 26 - Dec 22
This small market at the Sendling gate is known for its blown glass items (complete with live demonstrations), Christmas jewellery, wooden toys and nativity scenes. The entertainment programme includes Christmas choirs, magicians, and a Punch and Judy show.
Open 11:00 - 21:00.English Garden Christmas Market
Nov 29 - Dec 23
Enjoy a special Christmas experience around the Chinese tower. This market specialises in watercolours, porcelain and ceramic, Italian china dolls and marionettes, woodcuts, paraffin figures and antiques. The children will be entertained by a jolly Santa as well as by the roller coaster and carousel rides and a visit to the painting and handicrafts workshop. Or you could just snuggle up with your sweetheart under a warm blanket on a horse-drawn carriage ride through the park.
Open 12:00 - 20:30, Sat & Sun 11:00 - 20:30.
www.chinaturm.deSchwabing Christmas Market
Nov30 - Dec 24
This market at Münchener Freiheit, the heart of Munich’s artsy Schwabing district, is considered to be less commercial than the other Munich Christmas markets as all the wares on display here are handcrafted originals created by 120 of Munich’s best artists and craftsmen. This festival hosts a cultural programme of international dancers and musicians and a huge food tent with both traditional and international goodies.
Open 12:00 - 20:30, Sat & Sun 11:00 - 20:30.
24 Dec 11:00 - 14:00.
www.schwabingerweihnachtsmarkt.deOther Christmas Markets
Haidhausen Christmas Market, Weiβenburger Platz. Nov 26 - 24 Dec, 11:00 - 20:00, Dec 24, 10:00 - 14:00. S-Bahn Rosenheimer platz. www.haidhauser-weihnachtsmarkt.de
Neuhausen Christmas Market, Rotkreuzplatz. Nov 26 - 23 Dec, 11:00 - 20:00, Sat & Sun 10:00 - 20:00. U-Bahn Rotkreuzplatz.
Airport Christmas Market, Nov 27 - 26 Dec, 11:00 - 21:00, Sat & Sun 11:00 - 21:00. This cosy indoor market of 40 stands has its own manmade forest and ice-skating rink. www.munich-airport.de
On Dec 24, 25, 26 and 31 and Jan 1 transport is as per normal until 01:00 when the night lines start.Shop, restaurants and museums
Shops close at 12:00 or 14:00 on Dec 24 and 31. All shops are shut on Dec 25 & 26, and Jan 1.
Restaurants remain open except on Dec 24.
Nearly all museums close on Dec 24 & 31. On Dec 25 the following (amongst others) are open: Archäologische Museum, BMW Museum, Glyptothek, Lenbachhaus, Munich City Museum, Pinakothek der Moderne, Toy Museum, Egyptian Museum.