Photo by hanohiki
Photo by hanohiki

Christmas in Berlin and Tropical Islands

by Emma Bareihs
Stripes Europe

The capital of Germany hosts some of the largest attractions in the country with its detailed history to entertain tourists throughout the year. During the holiday season, these beloved monuments and museums share the spotlight with the next biggest attraction in Germany, Christmas markets. Travel to Berlin this Christmas to experience the city in a different atmosphere, one of Glühwein and tradition strung together with twinkling lights. 

The Christmas Markets

Located in between the Französischer Dom and the Deutscher Dom, the Gendarmenmarkt WeihnachtsZauber is one of the biggest Christmas markets in Berlin. The historical square dates back to the 17th century, gracing the backdrop of the Christmas market with architectural beauty. Enjoy on-stage performances in front of the Konzerthaus for the small admission price of one euro.
Open Nov. 26-Dec. 31, 2018.

Down the street, you can find another Christmas market at the Berlin Town Hall, Rotes Rathaus weihnachstzeit. Take the Ferris wheel to the top to overlook the square decorated with colorful lights. Organ players create an ambiance unique to the town hall. Take your children to meet Santa Claus and watch him fly over the Neptune Fountain with his reindeer.
Open Nov. 26-Dec. 30, 2018.

One of the busier markets in Berlin, Alexanderplatz is in the heart of downtown Berlin. With a Ferris wheel nearby, an ice rink for skating and rides for children, you’ll surely find endless entertainment options. One of the special features of Alexanderplatz is the Christmas pyramid covered in more than 5,000 lights. Known as the biggest walk-in Christmas pyramid in Europe, walk to the top to enjoy a view of the whole market. Open Nov. 26-Dec. 26, 2018.

Know before you go

  • Admission is one euro to go towards charity and on-stage performances at the Gendarmenmarkt. There is free admission for children under 12 and free admission for all from Monday to Friday between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., excluding December 25 and 26.
  • Do not bring your pet! Dogs are not allowed to these markets. Only guide dogs are permitted on these market grounds.
  • There will only be four entrances to the Gendarmenmarkt market, each with controlled security. Do not bring a suitcase or backpack and be ready for a bag check.
  • The U2 and U6 Stadtmitte are public transportation connections direct to the Gendarmenmarkt. The walk from the station is under two minutes. The U2, U5 and U8 go direct to Alexanderplatz. It is a six-minute walk to Rotes Rathaus from Alexanderplatz.
  • The closest parking garage to the Gendarmenmarkt is the Conti Park Parkhaus behind the Konzerthaus. The fee is 0,80 euros per 30 minutes or 5,50 euros per day.

Things to see outside the market

If it is your first time to the German city, the Christmas market is not going to be the extent of what you’ll want to visit. Explore outside the market to get a better feel for Berlin, whether you are a foodie or history buff. Turn on your tourist mode to explore these popular sites.

A trip to Berlin wouldn’t be complete with visiting the Brandenburg Gate. Erected in the 18th century, the sandstone gate is a symbol of unity after years of division in Germany.

Walk 270 steps to the top of the Victory Column in the Tiergarten to get a view of the giant city and learn about Prussia’s victory in the Franco-German war.

Stop at a local restaurant in the city to experience the German food and drinks. Enjoy a classic beer and bratwurst style meal for a relaxing break during your visit.

Things to do nearby

Ditch the freezing temperatures for an indoor beach at Tropical Islands. Tropical Islands is Europe’s largest tropical holiday resort, located 60 km outside of Berlin. Home to 100,000 square meters of water facilities, swim, dive and explore the Tropical Sea or Lagoon at Tropical Islands resort. Take your mind away from the Christmas chaos with seven saunas and steam baths at the Sauna & Spa. The indoor sandy beaches allow you to dig in your toes after being stuffed in winter boots all month. With over 10 restaurants, cafes and bars, experience food from around the world and tropical refreshments for everyone in the family. After Christmas, plan to spend a relaxing New Year’s Eve on the Tropical Islands beach with lounge music and drinks, instead of a loud, cold firework display. Find prices and ticket options online at www.tropical-islands.de/en/prices-booking/prices-tickets.

In a city of almost 900 square kilometers, there are endless routes to appreciate the rich beauty and history of Berlin. As it is the holiday season, ambling through the booths at a Christmas market is a must. But, exploring other landmarks is essential to fully understand the antiquity of the city. If you find too much chaos in the city, relax with a trip to Tropical Islands. Have fun and experience Christmas in Berlin this season.

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