by Janis / 3 comments - Orginally published:13th November 2018

What to eat while visiting a German Christmas Market

It's way more than just sausages

2017, for us, was another bumper year for German Christmas markets. Not only did we revisit our old friend Cologne, but, we additionally travelled to Munich & Frankfurt. We also visited Strasbourg, I know, geographically it's France but hey, it's only a stone's throw away.

This was one less destination than on our 2016 trip, however, for us “Christmas market lovers” it was still jam-packed. We find it fascinating how one country's food, differs so much from region to region. There's an incredible variety available, and you certainly won’t go hungry.

We learnt fairly early on that you don't need to be seated at a restaurant, to get the most out of the German Christmas market food experience.  You can feast on the markets themselves, or just graze in a bar whilst enjoying a beer or two - you are in Germany after all.

The pin image for our post - 'Feasting at a German Christmas Market'
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I think the theme here is stocking up for the winter.

Here is a sweet and savoury taster for you, but obviously only in the visual sense, sorry!!

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The choices on the German Christmas Markets

Food, glorious food
Top of the list has to be the much-loved German sausage.
A selection of meats & sausages being cooked over charcoal in a German Christmas Market
A grill on the one of the markets in Cologne
There are so many different varieties available, bratwurst, currywurst, krakauer to name but a few.
A mother and young girl at a sausage stall at the Cologne Christmas market
Selecting your sausage at the Angel Christmas Market in Cologne
A bread roll next to a diced sausage, with lashings of curry sauce, in a paper tray at the Cologne Christmas Markets
Currywurst with plenty of sauce
In Nuremberg, they had their own rostbratwurst version; “Drei im Weggla” – “Three in a bun”
Three Nuremburger sausages in a crusty bun at the Nuremberg Christmas markets
Three in a bun in Nuremberg
A rolled sausage, with a good drizzle of german mustard, in a bun at Rothenburg ob der Tauber's Germany Christmas Market
My first curly wurst in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Why not?

Start creating your own German Christmas Market adventure. Search for your flights in one easy place with Over 400 airlines are scanned for your favoured routes and chosen dates.

Or alternatively, like us discover a few of Germany’s Christmas markets on a road trip. If you’re venturing from the UK, jump on Le Shuttle.

Although, if you’re unable to bring your own car or you are flying into this lovely country give Rental Cars a go. They search multiple well-known car hire brands for the best deals.

Plenty of variety on the German Christmas Markets

Honestly, there is fish as well
There are also some tasty fish options, particularly the flame cooked salmon.
Salmon grilling next to a flaming wood fire for sale on the Cologne Christmas Markets
Salmon the traditional way in Cologne
We also came across mackerel in Stuttgart, which we hadn’t seen anywhere else.
A couple of dozen mackerel cooking over charcoal on one of the stalls in Stuttgart's Christmas market.
Cooked over charcoal in Stuttgart
A large wooden cabin at one of the Düsseldorf Christmas Markets selling salmon-filled rolls from sides of salmon cooked over wood on-site.
The Flammlachs Stall in Düsseldorf
A battered piece of cod served in a bread roll on the German Christmas Markets in Cologne.
Backfish in a roll in Cologne

Have we tempted you yet?

The whole German Christmas Market experience is something else, a more adult-oriented feeling, where the Christmas spirit runs freely. Sure kids are welcome but don't expect all the markets to be aimed at the little ones.

Recommended for the big kids that still believe.

Have a peek at the latest offers from, our preferred hotel booking website.

It's a meat-eater's heaven

Back to the grill
If the carnivores amongst us fancied a change from the sausage, other meats are available. There are the foot long kebabs in Cologne and the sticky doughy option in Stuttgart
A smiling vendor handing over his bread and meat kebab on the Stuttgart Christmas Markets
Something new from the markets in Stuttgart
A bread and meat kebab on the Stuttgart Christmas Markets.
Bread & pork kebabs from Stuttgart
A heavily seasoned grilled pork fillet served in a bread roll on the German Christmas Markets in Cologne.
A meat feast in Cologne
Metre long meat skewers being prepared on a smokey grill in Cologne, Germany
A smoking grill in Cologne
Two different foot-long meat kebabs from the cologne christmas markets
Meat and Chicken Kebabs in Cologne
A meat stall with an open smokey grill advertising 'steak' at a Cologne Christmas Market stall
Steak at the Dom Christmas Market in Cologne

Food to Share

We find it enjoyable sharing a lot of these dishes, that way you get a taster of each.

Traditional German cooking

Just the pure meat in a roll
Pork joints roasting on a Christmas market stall in Cologne
Amazing Pork in Cologne
The choices here were glazed baked ham or marinated pork steak.
Thick slices of freshly cooked ham, served with German mustard, in a bread roll from the Cologne Christmas Markets
A generous ham roll in Cologne
You certainly don't get short changed on the portion sizes

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We used a previous version of this book to plan our Germany road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.

Look for differences on the German Christmas Markets

Hearty option
One of my favourite dishes is the gulaschsuppe (goulash soup to you and me, not too sure if you needed the translation), this one even came with its own edible bowl.
A large scooped out roll filled with Gulaschsuppe next to two mugs of steaming glühwein from the Cologne Christmas Markets
Gulaschsuppe & gluhwein

Then there are the carb's

When you have had too much meat
The reibekuchen is a deep-fried potato cake often served with apple sauce, in Cologne they are bought in 3’s. In my opinion, they have to be shared, but I'm not German.
Three potato cakes, served with apple sauce, in a paper tray at the Cologne Christmas Markets
Potato cakes with apple saucein Cologne
Potato cakes served with sour cream in a paper tray on Stuttgart Christmas Markets.
Potato cakes with sour cream in Stuttgart
Different towns & cities have different 'rules' - Stuttgart, and it's two with a sour cream sauce.
A thin pizza-like 'Flammeckeuche' topped with smoked diced ham & onions on a sour cream base.
Flammeckeuche to share
The flammekueche or tarte flambée - it looks like a pizza, but the similarities end there. Quite light to eat, and you can even get a vegetarian option.
A sign at Rothenburg ob der Tauber's Germany Christmas Market offering Flammbrot two different ways, same price
Flammbrot choices in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
A Flammbrot, which looks like an olive-shaped pizza without a tomato base, but topped instead with bacon & onions.
Oh Flammbrot
The flammbrot has a thicker base than the flammeckeuche; we tried this in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
A stall dedicated to artisan Pretzels, or Brezels, with a wide range available on the Angel Christmas Market in Cologne.
Pretzels, or Brezels in Cologne
A popular snack amongst many Europeans particularly in Alsace and Bavaria is the pretzel or Brezel, not only are they dusted with salt, but you can also get them grilled with cheese.


Gary and I did not sample all of these on one trip, with a have been visiting Cologne for years.

Finally, something sweet on the German Christmas Markets

Again, the options can be overwhelming

There are so many choices here this is just the tip of the iceberg. Waffles, crepes, gingerbread or lebkuchen, baked apples, glazed apples, chocolate marshmallows, schneeball, sweet sticky nuts.

Now my mouth is watering.

A selection of Gingerbread hearts hanging from a stall in one of Stuttgart's Germany Christmas Market
Gingerbread hearts
A crisp freshly cooked waffle topped with cream, caramel sauce and crunchy nuts all dusted with icing sugar in a paper plate on a German Christmas Market
A waffle with cream and nuts in Cologne
A selection of the waffle options lined up on a counter at a Cologne Christmas Market stall
A waffle selection
The Aachener Printen gingerbread stall in Cologne. It's stacked his with all the different styles of gingerbread biscuits. The lady behind the counter is handing Janis back her change after we've bought another bag load.
Aachener Printen for sale at the Dom Christmas Market, Cologne,
A woman inspecting the gingerbread at a Christmas market stall in Cologne. The display is full of hanging iced gingerbread hearts.
Carefully selecting the Lebkuchen hearts at the Christmas Market
A wooden stall on Stuttgart's Germany Christmas Market selling chocolate-covered fruit kebabs
Sweet Stuff in Stuttgart
A stall stacked high with the Nuremberg gingerbread loaves as folks pass by.
Gingerbread loaves for sale
A nut seller offering sweet sticky nuts on a German Christmas Market stall in Nuremberg
The nut seller in Nuremberg
A crepe is freshly prepared at a Cologne Christmas Market stall by a gentleman elegantly dressed in a waistcoat & tie.
The Crepe Maker at the Angel Christmas Market, Cologne, Germany
Stacks of different flavoured chocolate covered 'kisses' at a Düsseldorf Christmas Market
Something sweet at the Christmas markets in Düsseldorf
Barbara, Janis’s Mum, tucking into a baked apple on the Christmas markets in Cologne.
Mum enjoying a baked apple in Cologne

Tip of the Iceberg

To be honest each year more options seem to be added, and we've skipped a few because we don't want to spoil all the suprises do we.

Don't forget the differences

Of the regions
A selection of the sweeter delicacies can be found across Germany; however, some are more localised than others.
A packet of gingerbread brought back from our travels to the Nuremberg Christmas markets.
Greetings and gingerbread from Nuremberg
Such as the schneeball (a shortcrust pastry ball), which is quite synonymous with Rothenburg ob der Tauber & Nuremberg gingerbread, which traditionally I believe needs to be produced within the city limits to be classified as Nuremberg gingerbread.
Two cups of hot chocolate to accompany the two chocolate covered schneeballen biscuit balls the size of a snow ball.
The Schneeball and hot chocolate in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
While we were in Munich we came across Apfelschmarrn, apple pancakes with nuts and a plum sauce, you were even able to eat the bowl that it came in (it tasted like an ice cream cone).
An edible bowl containing apple pancakes with lashings of plum sauce and two wooden forks.
Trying Apfelschmarrn in Munich
This warming dish was very welcome, as boy, Munich was cold.

Our Choice

Our preferred mode of transport for visiting these markets is always the car, that way it doesn’t matter how many Christmas treats we return with for family and friends; there’s room for it all. If you’re not taking your car save a little bit of room in your suitcase, surely everybody loves gingerbread.

Why not check out our post 'Your first German Christmas Market by car'

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  1. Ooh that’s a few too many sausages for me!! But that goulash soup looks scrummy and the apple pancakes are just my cup of tea. This is a really useful post, Janis. We’re off to Austria in a few weeks so it’ll be interesting to see how the Christmas market foods compare. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  2. Yes, I preferred the goulash soup, Gary enjoys trying the different kinds sausages.We’ve been toying with heading to Vienna for the Christmas markets, it’s meant to be lovely there at Christmas. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  3. I think my favorites were the he foot long kebabs in Cologne and the pretzels. Yes please! We’ve never been to a Christmas Market in Germany, but I think I must find my way to one at some point as it seems quite magical! #farawayfiles

  4. Yes, I must admit I do like the turkey kebabs. There’s just not enough time to try all the things you like, you end up picking your favourites.I highly recommend visiting a Christmas market in Germany, they certainly know how to embrace all the fun.

  5. Wow this took me back to our time at the Christmas markets a few years back. The food was simply amazing and it was great to experience the Cologne markets and all the unique foods.

  6. It is a fantastic experience; the Germans certainly know how to embrace Christmas. The only problem is that there is not enough time to try all the different foods. Although it’s a good excuse to keep returning.

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