The 10th in the Insider's Tips for Auslaender series, which focuses on ways to make the most of your tour in Bavaria. Look for articles with this tag and email tips or suggestions to bavariannews@gmail.com.

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Sparkling lights overshadow every town; colorful, decorated trees stand proudly in the middle of town squares; and the aroma of hearty food and sweet treats permeates the air.

Although Christmas in Germany means quite a few things, nothing is as popular or reminiscent of the holiday season as Christmas markets (Christkindlmaerkte), and Germany is deservedly famous for them.

The history of the traditional market goes back to the late Middle Ages.

For hundreds of years, merchants have erected small wooden huts in the centers of cities and towns all across Germany around Christmas, and artisans peddle handicrafts, baked goods, regional cuisine and millions of liters of gluehwein (to help keep Jack Frost at bay, of course).

The Dresden Christmas market, first held in 1434, is one of the oldest and still attracts approximately two million visitors a year.

Nuremberg is arguably Germany's largest and most famous Christmas market, but well-known historic cities like Frankfurt and Regensburg make captivating picture-perfect holiday market settings, as well.

Spectators from around the world travel to the German markets to peruse through the handmade wares, one-of-a-kind art and baked goodies.

From hand-carved wooden ornaments and Nativity scenes, to jewelry and aromatic candles, the Christmas market is a one-stop holiday shop.

Listed below are some of the local Christmas markets around the Bavarian Military Community and throughout Germany.

For a more thorough listing of Christmas markets along with detailed information of each, see USAG Bavaria's Weekly Newsletter.

Amberg
Nov. 28 - Dec. 23: in 92224 Amberg on Marktplatz. Opening hours: Mon. - Sat., 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Sun., 1 - 8 p.m.

Ansbach
Nov. 29 - Dec. 23: in 91522 Ansbach on Martin-Luther-Platz (between the two churches in the historic city center). Opening hours: Mon. thru Thu. 11 a.m. - 7:30 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. and Sun. 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Bamberg
28 Nov. -- Dec. 23: 96047 Bamberg on Maximiliansplatz.

Dresden
Nov. 27 - Dec. 24: Striezelmarkt in 01067 Dresden, Schlossplatz / Chiaverigasse.
Germany's oldest and best-known Christmas market has resided in the Saxon provincial capital for more than half a millennium.

Freihung
Nov. 30: 4 p.m. in 92271 Freihung, at the festsite am Harranger.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Nov. 30 - Dec. 24: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.: in 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Richard-Strauss-Platz. The market is open on Christmas Eve 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Grafenwoehr
Dec. 7: 2 - 10 p.m. in 92655 Grafenwoehr on the Marktplatz. Grand German-American opening at 2 p.m., with the Christkind and the children's choir of the German Elementary School (Volksschule). Santa Claus, the German Nikolaus and Knecht Ruprecht will visit at 4:30 p.m. and give little Christmas packages to the children. Great photo opportunity with the two Santas!

A horse-drawn carriage will make its rounds around Graf from 2 p.m. on, and apart from a couple of rides, you can visit the nativity scenes on display in the Rathaus (city hall).

Munich
Nov. 25 - Dec. 24: in 80331 Munich on Marienplatz. Opening hours: Mon. - Sat., 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sun., 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.; on Christmas Eve 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Nuremberg
Nov. 29 - Dec. 24: Christkindlesmarkt in 90403 Nuremberg. Daily opening hours: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Christmas Eve, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Regensburg
Nov. 28 - Dec. 23: in 93047 Regensburg around the Neupfarrplatz (pedestrian zone).
Regular opening hours: Sun. - Wed., 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Thu. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Vilseck
Dec. 7 - 8: in 92249 Vilseck at the Burg Dagestein castle, inner courtyard. Opening hours: Sat., 4:30 - 9 p.m.; Sun., 2 - 7 p.m.

Weiden
Nov. 28 - Dec. 23: in 92637 Weiden, Altstadt (historic city center). Opening hours: Mon. - Fri., 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Page last updated Tue November 26th, 2013 at 00:00