Every year Christmas enthusiasts from around the world head to one of the many cozy Christmas markets in Germany. I have to admit that so far, I've only been to one. But it was a good one: the Munster Christmas Market in North Rhine-Westphalia.
- The Munster Christmas Market: 5-in-1
- About the Munster Christmas market 2019
- Where to stay in Munster
- How to get to Munster
- Pin for later
The Munster Christmas Market: 5-in-1
I'd been to Münster before, but that was in summer, so before I left I quickly googled “weather Munster”. I was happily surprised to find that this wasn’t the case, temperatures would even rise up to 13 degrees!
Not exactly Christmas temperatures, but the shivery type that I am, I didn’t mind.
After check-in, I met with the Belgian Greet who was waiting for me in the hotel lobby. She works as a guide for the city of Munster and would visit the Munster Christmas markets with me.
All the Christmas markets? Yes, because the Munster Christmas market or the “Weinachtsmarkt” actually consists of five different Christmas markets that are spread throughout the city center. Each of these Christmas markets has different stalls so that they each have their own character. The different Christmas markets are:
1. The Aegidii Christmas market
The Aegidii Christmas market is characterized by its 6-meter high wooden pyramid, glockenspiel music, and fairytale ambiance. You can find it on the Aegidii market square.
2. The Town Hall Christmas market
The Christmas market at the town hall is the largest and oldest of the Munster Christmas markets. It takes place at the Rathausinnenhof and aside from stalls selling jewelry and other arts and crafts, you can also find a children's carousel and eat stalls here.
3. The “Lichtermarkt” at the Lamberti Church
The “Lichtermarkt” (“Light Market”) at the Lamberti Church has a diverse range of stalls – all blue with white rooftops. Located right by the Prinzipalmarkt, this market's sparkling ambiance is enhanced by the light decorations in Munster's most famous square.
4. The Giebelhüüskesmarkt
The “Giebelhüüskesmarkt” is Munster's newest Christmas market and it focuses on crafts as well as culinary treats. From Christmas decorations to handmade wooden products and warm wooly things – it's a great place to look for presents. You can find this market underneath the Überwasserkirche between Schlossplatz and Domplatz.
5. The Kiepenkerl Christmas village
It's called a Christmas village but it is like a Christmas market, with wooden stalls selling a variety of items as well as hearty snacks and mulled wine. You can enjoy this market at the Spiekerhof.
The Christmas market in Munster includes around 300 stalls in total, which sell all kinds of sweets and snacks such as Glühwein, bratwurst, pancakes and caramelized nuts. Those nuts, Greet told me, are typical for this time of year. So I had to buy some, right?
I chose the caramelized almonds and they were both delicious and significantly bad for your teeth.
Something I hadn’t heard of before were the Reibekuchen, fried potato slices that are served with some applesauce.
I’ll try those next time. What I did have, was some Glühwein.
I actually seldom drink alcohol, but I just couldn’t leave my first Christmas market in Germany without having tried the signature drink. I’ll have to admit that it was quite strong for me. What I did like though, was the cool cup it was served in.
None of the stalls that serve drinks in Munster use plastic or cardboard cups, instead, customers pay a €2 deposit, for which you get a cool cup in return. When you choose to return your empty cup, you get your deposit back. However, the cups do make for a nice souvenir. Some people visit the Munster Christmas market yearly and end up with a nice collection.
Besides drink and food stalls, there are stands that sell Christmas decorations and seasonal items as well. Think wreaths, warm socks, and candles. Want to do some Christmas shopping in Munster? This is the place to do it. Or you can choose to go to the shopping streets after having visited the Christmas market.
When I was there, the Munster Christmas market was officially opened with a small event on the square by the Lamberti Church (which I climbed on my last trip!). I attended and although I didn’t understand much of what they were singing, I enjoyed the performance of 6-Zylinder, a German A-Cappella band.
More importantly, however, was the tree that was located behind the stage. Each year another tree, that was granted by the citizens, is placed there. This tree does not resemble your typical Christmas tree, it only has a few lights.
Greet explained to me that it is the dream of a lot of families to one day have their tree up there by the Lamberti church. Apparently, it is considered a true honor.
There’s a funny story behind the tree of 2016, Greet told it to me and I now want to share it with you. Apparently, the owner planted the tree after their son was born with the aim of using its branches to make a wreath for this son’s wedding (that type of wedding wreath is common in the area of Munster).
However, this son kept getting older without finding himself a girlfriend so the parents decided to offer the tree to the city of Munster. Chance would have it that shortly after this decision, the son found a girl whom he is now married to.
Another Christmas tradition in Munster is that of the advent wreaths that are hung underneath the arches of the buildings on the Prinzipalmarkt. This tradition goes back to a protestant priest that once made a giant wreath for children, with a candle for each day of the advent. This made it easier for them to count down to Christmas.
Such a big wreath with all those candles was quite expensive, however. For this reason, the wreaths today have a candle for every advent week, instead of every day.
You can now find those wreaths in Catholic churches in the city as well, by the way.
About the Munster Christmas market 2019
Münster Christmas market dates:
November 25 – December 23, 2019
Exceptions: the Lamberti Christmas market and the Giebelhüüskesmarkt already end on December 22.
Münster Christmas market opening hours:
Sunday to Thursday: 11 am – 8 pm
Friday and Saturday: 11 am – 9 pm
There are plenty of stands selling typical Christmas market food for the hungry, but if you want to have a nice sit-down meal, there is plenty of choice for that as well.
Münster Christmas market plan
You can find the plans of the different Christmas markets on their respective website, which are listed here
Münster Christmas market 2019 events
- November 25, 5 p.m.: atmospheric opening with live music on the corner of Prinzipalmarkt/St. Lamberti Kirche
- December 8, 4.30 p.m. – 5.30 p.m.: Advent carols sing-along on the Prinzipalmarkt
Where to stay in Munster
Hotels in Munster
Luxury: Mauritzhof Hotel Münster
I spent a night at the Mauritzhof hotel when I visited the Munster Christmas market. It lies just 10 minutes walking from Prinzipalmarkt, and it’s really easy to get to other city landmarks by foot. There’s an outdoor terrace, free WiFi and a good buffet breakfast. The rooms have a stylish interior with muted tones and a spacious bathroom.
Boutique: H4 Hotel Münster
On another trip, I spent two nights at the H4 Hotel Münster City Center, which is just a short walk from the train station and right in the center of the city. Prinzipalmarkt and the Domplatz were less than 10 minutes walking from this hotel as well and an additional benefit was the free bike hire that came with the room.
The H4 offers an extensive breakfast buffet and spacious rooms with free wifi, a free locker, and a television. No fridge and no tea and coffee supplies, as is usual in German hotels, but you do get free water.
Budget: H.ostel Münster
Located right on Marienplatz Square, this is a fun option if you’re running on a tight budget. The dormitories are different sizes and have a really quirky design. All bunk beds are separated by wood, like sleeping pods, making it still feel private even if you’re sharing a room with others. The air-conditioned dorms offer free WiFi and lockable containers for personal belongings. Linens are provided, bathrooms are large and stylish and there is a fun reception and cafe area to hang out in.
Chain: Mövenpick Hotel Münster
The Mövenpick Hotel is found right next to Lake Aasee and within walkable distance to the center of Münster. It offers really good value for a four-star hotel, with three restaurants, a sauna on the roof, and a gym overlooking the Old Town. The rooms have a contemporary feel with free tea and coffee making facilities, air-con, and free WiFi.
Rental apartments in Munster
Apartment: Ferienwohnung Dörrie im Zentrum
At a fantastic central location right near the railway station and a short walk to the cathedral, this apartment is cute and cozy, feeling like a real home-from-home. Kitchen facilities are not extensive but do include a microwave, kettle and fridge. This place is a great base from which to explore the city. Free WiFi is provided.
If you're looking for alternative apartment options, have a look on Airbnb. I use Booking for hotels, but I always check Airbnb for apartments as they have such a large selection.
If you'd like to try Airbnb but haven’t got an account yet, I can give you a discount on your first booking if you book through my link. This doesn't cost you anything.
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How to get to Munster
On my different trips to Munster, I've both driven and taken the train into Munster train station. If you are traveling by car and want to park in Munster, you’ll want to park your car in one of the covered and guarded parking grounds. I left my car at the Alter Steinweg Parking, with a maximum tariff of €15 for 24 hours.
You can also easily travel to Munster by train – the city center is a 5-minute walk from the train station – and there are also a number of bus companies who organize trips to the Munster Christmas market.
If you're traveling by plane, you can fly to Dusseldorf Airport and then take the train from there. Another option would be Amsterdam Schiphol.
Good to know:
On all Advent Saturdays, the use of the bus and the train within the city of Munster is free. You can also drop your car at the free car park Coesfelder Kreuz and then take the city shuttle to the center.
Pin for later
Munster Marketing invited me to come and experience the Munster Christmas market. I voluntarily tasted the Glühwein and share my honest personal opinion with you, as always.