In Saxony, Christmas is like a fifth season. Centuries-old customs and festive traditions are lived and celebrated with gusto. You can see this unique dedication to all things Christmas in windows decorated with special Christmas handicrafts. You can smell it in the houses. You can taste it when visiting Christmas markets. You can hear it on the streets. And you can feel it – this extraordinary festive and cosy atmosphere in the Christmas wonderland of Saxony.
Discover Saxony’s beautiful Christmas markets:
13 top recommendations in the region’s charming towns and cities
Bautzen's “Wenzelsmarkt” (1 - 22 Dec 2023), first mentioned in the 14th century, welcomes visitors in the town’s historic quarter with a glittering sea of lights and attractions such as arts and crafts, delicious stollen cake and Christmas brass concerts. Especially for children: Santa Claus is on site every afternoon, opening a window of the market’s large Advent calendar!
Chemnitz’s Christmas market (1 - 23 Dec 2023) features a good 200 stalls, perfect for Christmas shopping and festive treats galore. Check out the special Medieval market on Innere Klosterstrasse for historical Christmas magic and pencil in 2 December when a traditional festive miners’ parade – unique to this part of the world – takes place!
Dresden‘s “Striezelmarkt” is considered to be Germany’s oldest Christmas market. Visiting its 589th (!) edition (29 Nov - 24 Dec 2023), you can discover some – literally – great examples of the region’s typical wooden Christmas decorations, made in the Ore Mountains, including the world's tallest wooden pyramid (14.61 metres) and a huge walk-in candle arch. Tip: Don’t miss the special Dresden Stollen Festival on 9 December when a huge stollen will be paraded through town!
The Silesian Christmas Market in Görlitz (1 to 17 Dec 2023) features special church services reminding us of the Christmas message, baking, reading, theatre, singing and music, plus the “Görlitz Christkind” (christ child) which makes a daily appearance on the market. Tip: Browse the arts and craft market in the Silesian Museum.
On third weekend of Advent (15 -17 Dec 2023), Hoyerswerda hosts the “Teschenmarkt”, named after the imperial princess Ursula Katharina von Teschen. Perfect for a seasonal stroll, the Christmas markets in the old town offers baked apples, mulled wine and all kinds of hearty treats, plus a varied programme for young and old on the market square.
Leipzig’s traditional Christmas market (28 Nov - 23 Dec 2023) features over 300 stalls in front of the Old Town Hall and in the city centre. There’s lots to see and do, including “Santa Claus consultations”, the special historical market "Alt-Leipzig", a fairy-tale forest and a 38-metre-high Ferris wheel on Augustusplatz square.
The historic market square with its late Gothic town hall, Renaissance town houses and the Church of Our Lady provide a very atmospheric backdrop for Meissen’s Christmas market (27 Nov - 24 Dec 2023). Festively decorated market stalls offer their Christmas wares while the town hall is transformed into a giant Advent calendar revealing a new Christmas surprise every day.
The Canaletto Market in Pirna is one of the few Christmas markets still open after the holidays (28 Nov - 23 Dec and 27 -30 Dec 2023). The market’s look is inspired by the Italian painter Canaletto and features romantic illuminations on the market square. Not to be missed!
The Christmas market in Schwarzenberg (8 Dec - 17 Dec 2023) is clustered around a historic wooden Christmas pyramid and features plenty of special Ore Mountains Christmas traditions, including a “Weihnachtsberg” with life-sized figures. These mountain-like models of the region’s landscape are set up during the Christmas period and portray the nativity scene and mining motifs. There is also a Medieval market in the local castle’s courtyard as well as a fairy-tale and miners’ parade.
Zittau’s Christmas Market (9 - 17 Dec 2023) is perfect for getting into the festive spirit. In addition to mulled wine, gingerbread and other treats, Santa Claus and angels, music and dance, a puppet show, a spectacular fire show and lots of Moravian Star decorations feature.
At Zwickau's Christmas market (28 Nov - 23 Dec 2023), you can compete with the glitter of a large Christmas pyramid and check out typical Ore Mountains folk art. Or how about trying the special Zwickau mulled wine? Every afternoon, Santa Claus makes an appearance for the kids and there is also a miners’ parade with traditional costumes and a marching band.
In Saxony’s Vogtland region, Plauen’s Christmas market (28 Nov - 23 Dec 2023) on the Altmarket square is a real highlight, featuring a traditional light procession for its opening. Should you be in Plauen on the second weekend of Advent (9/10 Dec), check out the historical Christmas market in the town’s old weavers' houses and “Komturhof” estate.
In Königstein, the fortress of the same name provides a stunning – and romantic! – backdrop for a festive “Winter's Tale". This historical Christmas market (2/3 Dec, 9/10 Dec, 16/17 Dec and 23/24 Dec 2023) is all about authenticity with musicians, jugglers, puppeteers and traditional traders. Game goulash is prepared in large pots over open fire and children can enjoy rides on a hand-operated carousel. The hustle and bustle continues in the fortress’s underground passageways – and every day, a window of Germany's longest Advent calendar (112 metres) is opened.
Find your favourite Christmas market:
Saxony’s palaces and castles:
The perfect stage for 11 Christmas highlights
When the days get shorter and the smell of mulled wine wafts through the vineyards of Radebeul, a very special period starts at Wackerbarth Castle. From November 2023 to February 2024, the splendid wine growing estate provides a romantic and magical winter experience, with special culinary delights on offer every day and a curated cultural programme each weekend. “Wackerbarth's Winter Magic” will warm your hearts and light up the eyes of young and old. Enjoy the wine estate’s delicious mulled wine and delicacies from the castle kitchen!
Christmas Garden Dresden transforms Pillnitz Palace and Park into a magical winter wonderland between 16 November 2023 and 14 January 2024. Go on an enchanting festive journey and follow a good one-mile walkway featuring glittering illuminations.
The Christmas market at Moritzburg Castle takes place from 16 to 17 Dec 2023 against the castle’s breath-taking Baroque backdrop. There is also a special winter exhibition from 22 November 2023 to 25 February 2024 which recreates the magic of “Three Wishes for Cinderella”, a fairy-tale movie that is traditionally shown on German TV for Christmas and was shot at Moritzburg Castle.
On the second December weekend (9/10 Dec 2023), Colditz Castle puts on its traditional fairy-tale castle Christmasevent. Stalls offer regional delicacies in the courtyards of the festively decorated Renaissance castle and in the vaulted cellars traditional crafts are on display.
Set in beautiful surroundings, Burgk Castle in Freital invites visitors on 2/3 December 2023 and 9/10 December 2023 to enjoy mulled wine,“Kräppelchen” (think doughnuts, but different), gingerbread and other delicacies in the castle courtyard. There are stalls selling arts and crafts and various children’s activities, including a petting zoo.
The wait for Christmas will be easier to bear if you take a special festive tour of Rochlitz Castle,featuring singing and dancing – and you are welcome to join in. The acoustics in the chapel are marvellous and so is the food prepared in the historic castle kitchen!
Hoﬂößnitz, a historic wine-growing estate in Radebeul, will host a festive family weekend from 15 to 17 December 2023, with live music, Christmas market stalls and handicraft and baking workshops for kids. Tip: Enjoy the view of the romantic, wintery Elbe river valley!
The scent of fir trees and the glow of lights: On the four weekends of Advent (from 2 - 3 Dec 2023) Waldenburg Castle is getting festive with fir trees and glowing lights. Enjoy Christmas biscuits, mulled wine and other delicacies from regional producers on the splendidly decorated castle terrace.
Head to Rammenau Castle, one of Saxony’s most beautiful Baroque ensembles, for festive fairy-tale moments. The 18th century manor house (very romantic!) hosts a range of special events in the run-up to Christmas, including guided Advent tours, Baroque experiences and Christmas concerts.
Voigtsberg Castle celebrates the festive season with a historic castle Christmas market on the 4th weekend in December. Visitors can witness traditional handicrafts such as blacksmithing, carving or brush-making “in action” and children can enjoy hands-on activities in workshops. Tip for foodies: Try the “Brixtal farmer's soup” and home-made fruit wines!