Festive season has kicked off in the capital, which makes milling around Berlin’s huge selection of Christmas Markets an absolute must. With estimates ranging from 60 – 100 over the advent period, it’s best to hone your selection to avoid Glühwein fatigue. Thankfully, there are a couple of standout markets that manage to show the best of Berlin at Christmas time.

For luxury and grandeur, head to Gendarmenmarkt, the subject of much festive related praise. The entry fee of €1 guarantees you access to a covered winter-wonderland of fine dining and shopping, with plenty of handmade and upmarket gifts to take home. The prices are high, but the experience – which includes fire artists, choirs and the stunning surroundings of the Französischen and Deutschen Dome – is priceless.

Gendarmenmarkt Berlin,
26 November to 31 December, 2012.
Opening Times: Daily 11am to 10pm
Admission: free (Mon-Fri 11am-2pm) / €1 (stage programme and all other times).

The second weekend of December also promises some of Berlin’s best Christmas Markets. Alongside the annual Rixdorf Market (http://www.miniloft.com/en/shopping/rixdorf-christmas-market.html), there’s also an indoor option in Prenzlauer Berg’s stunning Stadtbad Oderberger thanks to the increasingly popular Weihnachtsrodeo. Expect something a little more design led than the usual traditional fare, with local Berlin boutiques and designers offering up their Christmas finest.

Weihnachtsrodeo im Stadtbad Oderberger,
8th & 9th December, 2012.
Opening Times: 12-8pm.
Admission: free.

If you’d prefer a slight break with tradition, the Lucia Scandinavian-themed Weihnachtsmarkt in the Kulturbrauerei should it the spot. Including a Finnish sauna, the usual bratwurst and glühwein is swapped for elk steaks and glog, although there are still plenty of festive stalls and handicrafts for your nostalgia fix. And with a mini-me ferris wheel in the courtyard, Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt is also a great bet for those who still believe in Santa Claus.

Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt in der Kulturbrauerei,
26 November to 23 December, 2012.
Opening Times: Mon-Fri 3-10pm, Sat & Sun 1-10pm.
Admission: free.

Christmas Market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche

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