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Berlin Christmas Markets: First Advent (27-28 November)

Firstadventberlinchristmasmarket

I can't pretend I'll manage them all, but here are the Christmas markets I've starred for this weekend. Which are you looking forward to?

Domäne Dahlem, Königin-Luise-Straße 49, Berlin-Dahlem (map) Open 11am-7pm

For everyone: If I were to recommend a single Christmas market, this would be it. I still remember when David made me go here after lacklustre visits to Gendarmenmarkt and Mexicoplatz. I dragged my feet, convinced Christmas markets were wildly overrated. And then I stepped through the gate.

Oh, I shouldn't talk it up too much, it's not so very extraordinary (standards are rising in the ol' Berlin blogosphere!) but particularly if you have small ones in tow, it is magical. It's an old farm converted into an open-air museum, and when the Christmas market is on, stalls crowd the cobblestone paths. To the left of the entrance is the apiary where children can sit around tubs of warm beeswax and make their own candles. In the outbuildings, you can buy handprinted indigo and handwoven knits produced by Domäne Dahlem volunteers. There's a carousel run by a cantakerous old man. If the crowds are too much, take your mugs of hot chocolate and go walking in the fields behind the farm stalls. (Here are my first breathless posts on the activities and food.)
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Hof Apfeltraum, Hauptstraße 43, Märkische Schweiz (map) Saturday 2pm-6pm

For nature-lovers: This biodynamic farm 30 miles outside of Berlin has a little Christmas market with handmade goodies, candlemaking, organic treats and a festive trumpet concert. Apfeltraum translates to a dream of apples, and the farm is run by a team of ambitious dreamers. If you take the 13:34 train from Lichtenberg they'll pick you up at Müncheberg (reserve a spot by calling 033432-736082).
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Swedish Christmas Bazaar, Landhausstr. 26, Berlin-Wilmersdorf (map) Saturday 10am-7pm, Sunday noon-6pm
Danish Christmas Market, Brienner Str. 12, Berlin-Wilmersdorf (map) Saturday noon-6pm, Sunday noon-5pm

For anthropologists: I love circles that feel secret. Last year's Swedish Christmas market felt very much an insider affair. I was happy to hover at the fringes, amid the hum of strong consonants, admiring the line of girls in their white robes following the symbolic Saint Lucia crowned with candles. Afterwards, we gorged ourselves on too much cheese in the tasting room-cum-preschool. The bazaar was thick with mystery. Why do Berlin-based Swedes bother to buy smør over plain-jane Butter? I may find out this year. Note that the Saint Lucia procession will take place at 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. (What you see in the photo above is the blur of the girls' candles.) I hope to make it to the Danish Christmas market this year; I imagine the atmosphere will be much the same.
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Bohemian Christmas Market in Potsdam, Weberplatz, Babelsberg-Potsdam (map), Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 11am-6pm

For romantics: Each time I step off the train in Potsdam, I feel I'm on holiday. I haven't been to this market before, but if I can bundle S onto a train I would love to see what the atmosphere is like at here. The program promises all manner of concerts and storytelling, with all the neighboring shops open this Saturday too. And if the weather cooperates, I might even like to repeat this walk.

Comments

I just misread "Hof Apfeltraum" as "Hot Apfeltraum" and I was a little confused. Hee! Great write-up! x

Thanks for the wonderful tips Sylee! I'm most keen on these Scandinavian market, although I only have a couple of weekends in Berlin before returning to Derbyshire for Christmas so it might be tricky pulling everything in.

you're a star, sylee, for featuring these. just yesterday my mum asked me if we had any nice christmas markets in berlin that i like going to and i said no. maybe that's bound to change?

First Christmas in Berlin and reading this late-ish on Sunday the 28th. Will these markets be on again next weekend or do I have to wait for next year?

Luisa, you make me laugh!

Vanessa, I know, looking at the list makes me relieved I live here and don't have to cram everything into a brief visit! Next year, next year.

Kristina, you're so sweet. Christmas markets have a terrible reputation, don't they? And I know they're often cheesy and overcrowded, and that the scent (stink) of Glühwein can hang too heavy in the air, but still, on the right afternoon, that brassy blast of trumpets feels just right. I counsel first-timers to have low expectations and be pleasantly surprised :-)

Foodie, that's a good point. The Domäne Dahlem market is every Saturday and Sunday until Christmas but the other ones are just this weekend. Loads of other things on in the coming weekends, so stay tuned!

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