Historic Christmas Markets in Dresden, Germany

Dresden, Germany takes its holiday spirit very seriously. No wonder, it has what is called the oldest Christmas Market in the world with the “Striezelmarket” dating back to the 1400s. If you want to enjoy the Christmas spirit in Europe, then Dresden should be at the top of your list.

Photos by Therese Iknoian and Michael Hodgson 

Dresden’s Augustus Market at Christmas is a kaleidoscope of lights, with the action and color shown off in a long exposure.

Dresden, Germany takes its holiday spirit very seriously. No wonder, it has what is called the oldest Christmas Market in the world with the “Striezelmarket” dating back to the 1400s. If you want to enjoy the Christmas spirit in Europe, then Dresden should be at the top of your list. Doesn’t hurt that it’s not all that far from the famous markets of Prague, either. 

While Dresden is most famous for the Striezelmarket, the city has many wonderful Christmas markets, from quaint ones in small courtyards to a gathering of booths surrounding a church to ones worth exploring outside the historic city center. No exploration of German Christmas markets would be complete without taking the time to shop for nostalgic décor, sipping hot beverages, and nibbling on German specialties. Think gingerbread baked goods and fruit-studded cakes, sausages, soups, and breads, combined with mulled wine and other hot concoctions.  

Of course, any visit to Dresden for Christmas markets means you’ll also want to find time to explore the city’s history and other sights. And Dresden has plenty of things to see and do. It was first mentioned as a dwelling on the banks of the Elbe River in 1216. Sadly, it was nearly flattened at the end of World War II, and then was part of East Germany where it was home to a large resistance movement. There is no hiding some of its darker past. Today, the city is still rebuilding and renovating, with the beloved Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), which was practically destroyed by Allied bombs, finally reopening in 2005. 

Put the city of Dresden on your German Christmas market visit itinerary

A high platform at the Striezelmarkt Christmas market in Dresden lets people get a look over the festivities.

Wondering what Christmas markets in Dresden are the best to see? Since your time in Dresden is likely limited, we did the research for you. We visited numerous Christmas markets and tasted, sipped, and climbed towers for market views, as well as stayed out late to fully experience all the festive lights and merry-making. All this to ensure that your Christmas market visits in Germany will be perfect!  

Michael and Therese drinking Glühwein at a Christmas Market in Dresden.

To get into the spirit, don’t forget about the classic hot beverages around every corner: hot mulled wine and all those other steaming beverages to warm your hands on cold December nights: These days, there are many various brews to choose from. If you can’t speak German, all those German Christmas market drinks could be confusing. We lean toward the classic mulled wine, a.k.a., “Glühwein,” made with red wine and spices, but there is a lot to try for the daring. Here is a guide to market drinks to help you figure out your options. 

Wandering the Christmas markets of Dresden 

The sun will be setting pretty early in eastern Germany, so you’ll have time to explore a number of markets on any one night. Here is a sampling: 


This is THE market, the oldest allegedly in the world. Yes, it has moved around a few times over the centuries, but you can’t beat it. Today, it takes place on the so-called “Altmarkt,” or Old Market Square. City representatives say 2.5 million people visit this market each year. The Striezelmarkt (“Stree-tsel-mark-t”) prides itself on its rotating wooden Christmas pyramid, now in the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest in the world at 48 feet. By the way, Striezel used to be what the famous fruit-and-nut-studded Stollen cake was called. Don’t miss climbing the tower of the Kreuzkirche (Holy Cross Church) neighboring the market for really spectacular views and lights of the Striezelmarkt. 

Christmas market at Church of Our Lady 

A smaller cozy affair surrounds the beloved Church of our Lady (Frauenkirche) in Dresden and extends down a small alley. There, you’ll find traditional items in the booths, from pottery to lace. This one also has a rotating wooden pyramid that is 26 feet high. 

Advent at the Neumarkt 

Lou and BaaBaa tasted some sweet, buttery, dense, fruit-studded German Stollen cake, thought to have been created in Dresden.

The Neumarkt Christmas market is across the square from the Frauenkirche. This is a simple affair without carousels and pyramids. If you head into the QF indoor shopping mall next door, you can saunter into the Stollen Market to taste a few different varieties of the fruit-studded, buttery German Christmas cake called Stollen. Yes, and you can buy some, too. When in the mall, head to the Visit Dresden store for souvenirs, brochures, and any information you need about Dresden Christmas markets.  

Stallhof medieval market 

Tucked away in a courtyard off a side street, the Stallhof market takes on a medieval flair, with vendors dressed for that period and entertainment emphasizing medieval games. The enclosed courtyard with arches is a beautiful sight. Check on a weekend entry fee. 

Alpine Hut Magic 

The Alpine Hut Magic Christmas market is a gathering place for locals.

This one sits in the middle of a busy intersection in the center of town on “Post Office Square” (Postplatz). No shopping, but drinks and munchies as well as curling lanes that are fun to watch – you’ll find locals gathering after work and pretending they are in the Alps at a ski hut. 

Augustus Market

Passing street cars are blurred with a long exposure in this photo of the Augustusmarkt entrance and Ferris wheel.

Just across the Augustus Bridge on the side of town known as Neustadt (New City), the Augustus Christmas market attracts an international crowd and leans toward the amusement park and midway in flavor. Nevertheless, a walk across the bridge for its views of the city and looking out over the market’s carousel is worth the trip. Yes, you’ll still find hot mulled wine and holiday goodies to eat. 


This one is outside of town in an area called Loschwitz near the “Blue Wonder” Bridge. The market literally snakes its way along businesses and down the slope toward the Elbe River (thus the “hang” part of the name, which means slope in German). Take a tram or bus because it’s worth experiencing such a quaint community market with an emphasis on natural, local, and organic goods. Don’t forget to take in the TWO, yes two, historic funiculars, right there.  

Christmas Cheer at Schloss Wackerbarth winery 

The 850-year-old Castle Wackerbarth winery transforms its grounds into a holiday affair.

Not a market per se, but a winery that celebrates the Christmas season on its estate with lights on its terraces and buildings, music, and booths selling wine and goodies. on its estate. The winery itself dates back about 850 years — and it claims to have the first recipe for mulled wine ever developed. You can buy bottles thereof that wine, now called “Weiss & Heiss” (White & Hot) which is a delightfully light take on hot spiced wines. Just a 40-minute tram ride from Dresden town center. 

When you head to Germany or Europe to take in the festive holiday spirit at Christmas markets, Dresden with the oldest market in the world offers a must-see look at the season it fully embraces.  

Share the Post:

Related Posts