As I was sick the last week, a friend of mine, Irena from alien heartbeats (check out her blog!) offered to go and do some christmas market hopping in Hamburg and put together her impressions in a guestposts. And what you’ll find here is most likely one of the most lovely blogposts and detailed information on Hamburgs christmas markets that you can find. Thank you so much Irena! But here we go:
Christmas Market Hopping in Hamburg
It’s not just Düsseldorf that’s renowned for its many authentic Christmas markets. Most larger cities in Germany offer a wide variety where you can explore the twinkling streets and indulge in gingerbread, bratwurst and mulled wine.
And Hamburg is certainly no exception. In fact, Hamburg has so many Christmas markets that I doubt that I’ll ever have time to visit them all. So I have picked the four that seem the most representative for the diversity that awaits you in this extremely beautiful city.
Hamburg’s Historical Christmas Market at the Rathausmarkt
Opening times: 11am – 9pm daily; Friday and Saturday until 10pm.
Maybe the most important thing to say about this market is that its policy is: “Quality art instead of chintzy commerce”. It is divided into charming little lanes offering various handcrafted wares, toys, paper products, delicious festive treats etc. If you’re up to buying some beautiful and special little Christmas presents, this is the right place – I spent a great deal of money there!
The market has its very own town hall mulled wine, which I highly recommend. I also tried the “normal” mulled wine there; it’s actually almost as good as the “special one”. Another highlight is, Santa himself flying over the market in his sleigh. I’ve read that here you can also enjoy a Christmas parade on all of the four Advent Saturdays, but I have missed that.
Fleetinsel Christmas Market
Opening times: 12pm – 9pm daily.
After enjoying a delicious Kalbsbratwurst (veal sausage) on the Historical Christmas Market, I proceeded to the Fleetinsel. It’s only a few minutes’ walk and the Fleetinsel Christmas Market was recommended to me by some people who have been living in Hamburg for far longer than I have. The first thing you notice is: this market is much smaller than the one at the town hall square. Yet there are lots of people gathering around the stalls in Bedouin tent design. The market’s position between the Alster and Elbe makes it very special – for tourists as well as for Hamburgers. The Spanferkel (suckling pork) smells delicious – it was quite hard to resist eating again! But I certainly didn’t miss the opportunity to try the Fleetinsel Christmas Market Feuerzangenbowle (mulled wine with a rum-soaked sugarloaf lit above it)!
The “Santa Pauli” Christmas Market
Opening times: Monday – Thursday, 5pm – 11pm; Friday 5pm – 1am; Saturday 1pm – 1am; Sunday 1pm – 11pm.
My next stop was a very special Christmas market – the one in St. Pauli on the Reeperbahn, Hamburg’s red-light district. Here you can get everything you can get at the other Christmas markets – but also a bit more! Traditional Christmas atmosphere collides with typical St. Pauli entertainment.
The toys offered here are not for kids and the sweets are still sweet, but preferably penis-shaped. No matter how cold it gets outside, in the Adult Tent it’s not just from mulled wine that the visitors get hot under their collar! Strip shows and lighthearted readings make it Germany’s hottest Christmas market. Due to its unique location, the market’s opening times are longer. Among the traditional Christmas stalls there is a show stage which has a daily live music program as well as an open-air art gallery, and, on Sundays even a children’s program.
Schanzenweihnacht Christmas Market in the Sternschanze
Opening times: 2pm – 10pm daily.
On my way home I stopped by a really small Christmas Market: the Schanzenweihnacht. It consists of only 5-6 Christmas stalls where the visitors are offered mulled wine, some bratwurst, some handicraft and…that’s it. The atmosphere is very private, which gives it a special charm, because it feels a bit like a neighborhood-party. The mulled wine is okay, but I’ve had better ones that evening. If you choose this market, choose it for its cozy atmosphere not if you want to enjoy Hamburg’s best mulled wine.