What's not to love about mulled wine, delicious street food, homemade trinkets, and cookies that taste like Christmas (Lebkuchen)? Of course, there are so many more things that go on at a typical Christmas market (Weihnachtsmarkt or Christkindlesmarket) that will keep you wanting to come back for more! Christmas markets are a huge deal in Germany as they encourage just about everyone to get in the spirit when Christmas time rolls around.
Nearly 4 years and a whole pandemic later, please understand that prices, locations and hours may vary.
I love that each market varies, sometimes slightly but other times, depending on where you go, the market could be totally different which is what makes these markets so enjoyable. If you've been to a Christmas market in Bavaria before, you've probably already heard about the crazy packed Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg or one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany such as the one in Augsburg but these next few towns seem to have a more small town unique setting to their market.
1. Gut Wolfgangshof Romantic Christmas Market
I'd like to introduce this listacle with one of my favorite Christmas markets in Bavaria which happens to be the Romantic Christmas market at Gut Wolfgangshof. Although the name states the theme as being romantic, this market is great for any crowd, not just the lovebirds!
You will likely find vendors selling a variety of homemade goods and beautiful house decor but also unique and delicious hot drinks to keep you warm outside. There were very little rides for children but there were llamas and other live animals, characters dressed up on stilts and also glass blowing which was really neat to have children be part of the experience. Even as an adult, I thought it was so neat to make my own Christmas ornament by the glassblower himself.
If you plan to visit the Christmas market in Nuremberg, be sure to make time to stop by this Christmas market as it is only 4 stops away by train (take the S-bahn 4) or if you're driving, it's less than 30 minutes away. Bring your friends, bring your family and just enjoy this market as it is a must see!
GERMAN NAME: Romantischer Weihnachtsmarkt Gut Wolfgangshof
COST TO GET IN: Tickets for adults from the age of 16 is 6 Euro each. Children from ages 6-15 is only 1 Euro. Under 6 years of age if free.
ADDRESS: Weitersdorfer Strasse 22, 90513 Zirndorf
DRIVING DISTANCE: From Ansbach - 35 minutes. From Grafenwoehr/Vilseck - 1 hour. From Hohenfels - 1 hour.
2. Romantic Christmas Market at the Thurn & Taxis Palace
Second on this list is another romantic themed Christmas market at the Thurn & Taxis palace courtyard in Regensburg. So I may have cheated a bit here because Regensburg isn't necessarily a small town but this market is not in the city square so you do get that warm, cozy small town feel at the market itself since it is off to the side of the main square.
At this market you will also find live animals such as alpacas and camels, traditional craftsman, and large quantities of my favorite hot drink, Feuerzangenbowle. You'll find this drink brewing in large kettles with its secret recipe. Don't be shy to pronounce this name, it's quite fun to say and drink!
GERMAN NAME: Romantischer Weihnachtsmarkt auf Schloss Thurn und Taxis zu Regensburg
COST TO GET IN: Adults pay 4 Euros on Mondays, 7 Euros on Tuesdays through Fridays, and 9,50 on Saturdays and Sundays.
There are reduced adult tickets at night starting at 8pm on Mondays for 2 Euros, Friday and Saturday from 9pm for 4 Euros, and Sundays, Tuesdays through Thursdays from 8pm for 3 Euros.
Children from the ages 6-16 pay 2 Euros.
ADDRESS: Schloss Thurn und Taxis, 93047 Regensburg
DRIVING DISTANCE: From Ansbach - 1.5 hours. From Grafenwoehr/Vilseck - 1 hour. From Hohenfels - 35 minutes.
3. Christmas Market at Guteneck Castle
If by now you haven't heard of the Christmas market at Schloss Guteneck, then you're totally missing out! Amongst all of my friends and peers, this Christmas market has consistently been voted as a favorite in Bavaria and I can definitely see why.
Once you enter this festive market, you're immediately enchanted by its fairytale-like charm and wonderful aromas. This market also features live animals such as horses, llamas, ponies, and camels but also a live nativity scene, icy fairies on stilts, and the arrival of St. Nicholaus and his angels.
One of the best features of this market is when the Oberfälzer Schlossteufel group performs their Krampus show. It is a very crowded performance that you should arrive at least one hour prior to on the days of the Krampus performance, otherwise you won't be able to experience all the fun! If you miss out on this performance, you can always check out another market where they will perform.
GERMAN NAME: Weihnachtsmarkt auf Schloss Guteneck
COST TO GET IN: 6 Euros for adults. Children up to 15 years of age may enter for free. Keep in mind that parking at the parking lot near the castle is 2 Euros.
A shuttle bus can be taken for 2 Euros round trip from the Nabburg Bahnhof. The shuttle runs every 20 minutes.
If you are taking the train to the market, you can stop at Nabburg and take the shuttle for free showing your ticket.
ADDRESS: Schlossberg 10, 92543 Guteneck
DRIVING DISTANCE: From Ansbach - 1.5 hours. From Grafenwoehr/Vilseck - 35 minutes. From Hohenfels - 45 minutes.
4. Vilshofen Floating Christmas Market
A very small town feel for the Christmas market in Vilshofen an der Donau but the market was so cute and quaint, I couldn't possibly miss out on mentioning this market. On the boat that floats on the water, you'll find precisely wooden carved nativity sets for sale but also the beautiful wood fired candle arches called Schwibbogen.
On top of the boat, you'll find a large wooden crib scene which is actually the largest of this kind in the world! Just outside of the boat on the promenade is where all of the food and drink options were so you'll find anything from Flammkuchen (my favorite) to Kartoffelsuppe im Brottopf which is amazing if you're missing those awesome Panera bread bowls! There were several drink options and a neat frosted collectable mug to remember this adorable Christmas market.
GERMAN NAME: Schwimmender Christkindlmarkt in Vilshofen an der Donau
COST TO GET IN: Free
ADDRESS: Stadtplatz 27, 94474 Vilshofen an der Donau. You will see signs for the free parking.
DRIVING DISTANCE: From Ansbach - 2.5 hours. From Grafenwoehr/Vilseck - 2 hours. From Hohenfels - 1.5 hours.
5. Waldwipfelweg Christmas Market in the Bavarian Forest
If you're looking for an eerie but interesting Christmas market, you'll want to head over to the Waldwipfelweg Christmas market near Sankt Engelmar. What makes this location so perfect for a strange and mysterious setting is that it is in the Bavarian Forest (Der Bayerischer Wald).
This market is also quite interesting as throughout the forest, you will find fun optical illusions and information about the animals in the forest. You can also enter the Upside down house for a fee of 2 Euro. This market was small but had a fun twist and something for the whole family to enjoy.
TIP: Keep in mind that this market is high up in the Bavarian forest so you can expect fog and rain at times. Even in those conditions, this Christmas market is easily considered a favorite!
GERMAN NAME: Weihnachtsmarkt am Waldwipfelweg im Bayerischen Wald
COST TO GET IN: 7,50 Euros for adults
ADDRESS: Maibrunn 2A, 94379 Sankt Englmar
DRIVING DISTANCE: From Ansbach - 2 hours. From Grafenwoehr/Vilseck - 2 hours. From Hohenfels - 1 hour.
6. Kuchlbauer Tower Brewery Christmas Market
I don't think any Christmas market can have a more unique location than the strange but one of a kind Kuchlbauer Tower in Abensberg. The Kuchlbauer tower was created by the Austrian architect named Friedensreich Hundertwasser who was also a successful painter in the 20th century. This tower represents all of the elements of beer and the art of brewing but also has been dedicated to Bavarian beer.
This unique and small Christmas market is located just beside this unusual but artsy beer tower that is connected to its brewery. You can tour the tower which comes with a fee and is almost always in German. You can request an English script to read along to or organize an English tour in advanced.
GERMAN NAME: Kuchlbauers Turmweihnacht
COST TO GET IN: Free only for the Kuchlbauer Tower market
ADDRESS: Romerstrasse 5-9, 93326 Abensberg
DRIVING DISTANCE: From Ansbach - 1.5 hours. From Grafenwoehr/Vilseck - 1.5 hours. From Hohenfels - 45 minutes.
7. Pullman City German-American Western Christmas Market
If you've been missing some mid-calf cowboy boots, bulky belt buckles, and wide-brimmed cowboy hats, you may want to step into the Western town of Pullman City in Eging am See. Not only during Christmas but just about anytime of the year you'll hear live country music playing, folks line dancing, and cattle drives on Main Street during the American history show.
This market was really fun and there was lots to do so I would suggest that if you do check this market out, start early! We started our day at the Vilshofen floating market and then went to the Pullman City market as they are only 15 minutes apart. You can easily switch the two if you don't like crowds because starting around 3pm on a Saturday, the crowds started rolling in!
GERMAN NAME: Deutsch-Amerikanischer Weihnachtsmarkt in der Pullman City
COST TO GET IN: You can purchase your ticket online in advance or the day of arrival. I chose to buy the tickets online in case they were to sell out. If you buy them online, you do get a small discount.
If you purchase tickets online, for Thursdays and Fridays, adult tickets are 7,20 Euros each and tickets for children are 1,80 Euro. On Saturdays and Sundays, adult tickets online are 9 Euros and tickets for children are 2,70 Euros.
If you purchase tickets the day of, for Thursdays and Fridays, adult tickets are 8 each and tickets for children are 2 Euros. ON Saturdays and Sundays, adult tickets purchased in person are 10 Euros and tickets for children 3 Euros.
ADDRESS: Ruberting 30, 94535 Eging am See
DRIVING DISTANCE: From Ansbach - 2 hours. From Grafenwoehr/Vilseck - 2 hours. From Hohenfels - 1 hour.
8. Rothenburg ob der Tauber Equestrian Christmas Market
This location just might be the most picturesque town you'll ever see in Bavaria and it's another one of my favorites! The medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber turns into a Winter fairytale during the Advent period for it's equestrian Christmas market.
From white mulled wine (Weiß Glühwein) to delightful sweets and savory treats, this market is one you should definitely put on your list. The town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is already a wonderful small town to visit at any time of the year but during Christmas is when this town comes to life!
Aside from the market which contain many different events indicated on their program, you can also check out the beautiful town itself such as the castle gardens and the famous postcard photo backdrop at Plönlein.
Each day during the Christmas market period until December 23, you can take an English guided tour in the market square but you'll also want to check out the Night Watchman tour at 8pm near the church (except December 24 & 31). Be sure to have some Euro for tipping.
GERMAN NAME: Rothenburger Reiterlesmarkt
COST TO GET IN: Free
ADDRESS: Grüner Markt, 91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber. There are plenty of parking options just outside of the ancient city walls.
DRIVING DISTANCE: From Ansbach - 35 minutes. From Grafenwoehr/Vilseck - 2 hours. From Hohenfels - 1.5 hours.
9. Hauzenberg Quarry Christmas Market
The Christmas market in Hauzenberg takes place in the unique ambience of an old quarry that also has a small town feel to it. This market is very small and this can also be done as a side trip to another market or even to the city of Passau that is less than 30 minutes by car.
You'll find a petting zoo, cinema playing on the rock wall, and special gifts and crafts from the Bavarian forest but also from Southern Bohemia. There were not many booths and food and drink options were limited. I mostly enjoyed the flammkuchen (as always) and some Jägertee which I had only tried for the first time there. I stumbled upon a very sweet German lady and that made my day at this market special. Otherwise, aside from the market being unique and small, there was not much time needed to be spent there.
GERMAN NAME: Granitweihnacht - Christkindlmarkt im Stoabruch
COST TO GET IN: 3 Euros for adults, children under 14 and under are able to enter for free.
ADDRESS: Passauer Strasse 11, 94051 Hauzenberg. You'll need to park at the Buergerpark for the free shuttle that takes you to and from the Christmas market. You will see signs on the road directing you to the parking spaces.
DRIVING DISTANCE: From Ansbach - 2.5 hours. From Grafenwoehr/Vilseck - 2.5 hours. From Hohenfels - 1.5 hours.
10. Frauenchiemsee Island Christmas Market
Last on this list of unique small town Christmas markets in Bavaria is the Fraueninsel Christmas market. Fraueninsel literally translates to Woman's island and there is even a Herreninsel which is the Man's island. For whatever reason, the beautiful market takes places on the Woman's island (I think we all know why that is)!
What's unique about this market is that you can't drive or take the train to this market but instead you must arrive by boat! And although I wanted to keep this list with only small towns, I couldn't help but mention this market even though many international visitors comes to this market each year.
On this island you'll also find a brewery, a monastery and lots of vendors spread out throughout the land with many distinctive trinkets and homemade gifts. I enjoyed this market better at night, even though I did find it more crowded but it felt more cozy standing around a fire while eating Lebkuchen and drinking some Winter festbier (there was not a good selection of hot drinks so beer it was).
If you do plan to make the trip to this Christmas market, plan ahead with the boat schedule. Also, you may want to hop over to Herreninsel to visit the Neues Schloss Herrenchiemsee.
GERMAN NAME: Christkindlmarkt auf der Fraueninsel
COST TO GET IN: Free to enter the market but you must have a ticket for the boat to enter the island. A round trip ticket for an adult is 8 Euros from Prien to Fraueninsel.
ADDRESS: Am Roseneck 6, Prien am Chiemsee
DRIVING DISTANCE: From Ansbach - 3 hours. From Grafenwoehr/Vilseck - 3 hours. From Hohenfels - 2.5 hours.