December in Hamburg

There is something magical about spending time in Hamburg during December. Small Christmas markets pop up throughout the city, serving delicious favorites like gluhwein (red wine heated and spiced to perfection), tasty bratwurst sausages, and spicy gingerbread. Local vendors hawk their wares and enjoy chatting with travelers and inhabitants alike. Lights twinkle lazily while busy shoppers enjoy the hum of traditional Christmas music.

While Hamburg is a famous destination for travelers, most seek it out during the warm summer months. And in doing so, they miss out on a fantastic opportunity to see a unique side of the city while enjoying the perks of winter travel. That is why December is the best time to visit Hamburg, Germany.

With winter weather comes cheaper travel


Photo by Camila Matosls via

When most people fantasize about am trip to Hamburg, they conjure up images drenched in sunshine. They imagine riding along the river Elbe in shorts and a T-shirt or sunbathing lazily in Park Planten un Blomen. However, if you’re willing to bundle up and brave the cold, you’ll enjoy some serious benefits of winter travel. Popular tourist sites and hotels that are crowded in summer see the throngs of tourists slow to a trickle (except for the week leading up to Christmas). That means you can enjoy less crowded tours and more hotel options during your stay.

Along with extra hotel options come winter rates. Most hotels charge less during winter months and if you are planning your trip well in advance, you’ll have the most options for savings. For more information on hotels in Hamburg, check out the city hotel guide. The Hamburg Airport also sees less travelers during winter months, which means airlines slash their prices and you can get cheap flights to Hamburg. Just be sure not to book your flights right around Christmas or New Years, when rates tend to spike.

Christmas markets offer a unique cultural activity


Photo by Hopscotch the Globe via

The most enchanting thing about Christmas markets in Hamburg is that you have all sorts of cultural goods packed into one dazzling market square, which makes shopping a unique and exciting experience. You can try a multitude of traditional winter dishes, like wursts on crusty bread, fish buns, and fresh gingerbread. You can purchase traditional Hamburg wares like carved wooden ornaments, pottery from the famous Lausitz region, and trinkets made by local silversmiths. The markets offer up rows and rows of whimsical stalls that hold something for everyone.

You can also enjoy touring and comparing the different Christmas markets in town. Each has its own unique charm. The market at Gerhard-Hauptmannplatz features craftsman in their small shops, where you can watch them at work and find unique gifts for friends and family. The market at Mönckebergbrunnen, the centerpiece of the city at Christmas, features choirs singing at the base of a 20-meter Christmas tree. Bask in the warm lights of the tree or check out the life-size nativity scene. Each Christmas market also features a unique cultural program that keeps both adults and children entertained each night.

Photo by Britta Glasl via

Whether you’re looking for a winter getaway or to experience the Christmas spirit, Hamburg has something to offer all types of travelers in December. Take on the city by yourself or schedule a tour or two. Either way make the most of the low winter rates and see a unique side of the city, transformed by twinkling lights.


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