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How to travel to Christmas Markets by train

Popular Christmas Markets By Train

How to experience the festive fun in Berlin, Brugge, Brussels, Budapest, Cologne, Dresden, Munich, Prague and Strasbourg by train.


Europe's most popular Christmas markets are inevitably staged in city centres, which makes them very accessible by train.
So whether you will be riding into the city for a festive day trip, or making a smart decision to choose holiday accommodation by a station, the markets tend to be either within walking distance, or a short hop away by public transport.

(Image above taken by Travis Wise from Bay Area, California, United States and downloaded from Wikimedia).


Cerlin Christmas markets by train Berlin Christmas markets by train

Most cities with Christmas markets tend to have just the one, but in Berlin there are more than 100!
A plus of taking the train to the German capital is that the most popular of its winter wonderlands are within easy each of the city's main station, Berlin Hbf.

to The Winterzauber
Berlin's largest winter wonderland covers an area of 20,000 square metres.
It's combination of traditional stalls and fairground rides is in the Lichtenberg area of the city
The closet U-Bhan station, Magdalenenstraße is on line U5, which happens to have its western terminus at Berlin Hbf.

The Christmas Market on Gendarmenmarkt (Bebelplatz)
This market is the closest to the historic heart of Berlin, but due to construction work on its usual site, it has been relocated to Bebelplatz for the next two years.
Despite that it can be still be found by Unten den Lin station, which is only a three stop ride from Berlin Hbf on line U5.

The Christmas Market on Breitscheidplatz
Pictured above, this is the main festive showpiece in the heart of West Berlin, hence it's less than a 10 min walk from Zoologischer Garten station.
So if your Regio train or S-Bahn train is calling at that station, you can leave it there, or there are trains approximately every 5 mins from Berlin Hbf - which also call at Friedrichstraße and Alexanderplatz stations.

The Christmas market on Alexanderplatz
Taking of which Berlin's most famous city square wasn't going to be left off the festive locations list, so it is home to around 100 stalls.
And Alexanderplatz station is a three stop ride from Berlin Hbf, the easiest option is take any of the frequent S-Bahn trains heading east from gleis (platform /track) 15 - on the upper level.

The image of Berlin above, was taken at this market, and is by Sergey Galyonkin - and downloaded from Wikimedia Commons

The Christmas Market at Berlin City Hall

Within a 10 minute walk of the market in Alexanderplatz is the market that's the location of the famous giant Ferris wheel, which after nightfall provides a wonderful view of the illuminations across the city.
It's old fashioned carousels and miniature train through a winter forest makes it a good choice for keeping the little ones entertained, plus it's also home to a 600 square metre ice rink.

If you want to head directly to it from Berlin Hbf, you can ride line U5 five stops to the station named Rotes Rathaus.

The Christmas Market on Potsdamer Platz
Older children will likely prefer the thrills to be found at this market where aside from stalls offering festive food and drinks, you'll find a toboggan run created from artificial snow and another ice skating rink.
It's a one stop ride away from Berlin Hbf on any Regio train heading south towards Sudkreuz from the lower level.

The Christmas Market at Charlottenburg Palace
For those who prefer the more sedate delights of experiencing a Christmas market in a beautiful setting, this is the location to head to.
From Berlin Hbf board any S-Bahn from gleis (platform /track) 16, on the upper level, for a short six station to ride to Westkreuz, where you can make an easy connection into another S-Bahn train for a two-station hop on to Westend.

The Christmas market in Friedrichshain
The Raw-Gelande is a collection of re-purposed industrial buildings for cultural use located a short walk from Warschauer Straße station.
So it's an apt location for a market with a a medieval Christmas theme, where handmade works from blacksmiths, woodcarvers, potters and other artisans can be purchased.
Warschauer Straße is within a 15 minute ride of Berlin Hbf on any S-Bahn local train from gleis (platform /track) 15 - on the upper level.

Medieval Christmas Market at Britz Palace
There is more than one Christmas market with a Medieval theme in Berlin, as on the first three Advent weekends in 2023 ( December 01-03, December 08-10, December 15-17, the place to head to is the Schloss-Britz.
Within its two hectares of preserved park land you will find traditional and Nordic characters, fire shows, historical entertainment, a wooden water wheel, and Viking boats.
In addition to over 50 stalls there are multiple activities to experience including sledge dog and pony rides, archery and crossbow shooting.
All of which rewards the effort to get there, as its a three stage journey from Berlin Hbf
1: Take an S-Bahn train from gleis (platform /track) 15 one stop to Friedrichstraße
2: Take a line U6 train to Mehringdamm
3: Connect for a line U7 train to Parchimer Allee station.

By train to Berlin

Befitting its capital city status, Berlin is served by express trains from and to every other city in Germany, including those which host other iconic Christmas markets - Dresden and Köln / Cologne.
Heading to Berlin from by train from Paris will become easier from December 10th when a new three times per week Nightjet service, will link the French and German capitals.
With a connection in Paris this Nightjet service will provide an alternative to riding the budget European Sleeper service from Bruxelles, when heading to Berlin from London by train.
Though taking day trains from London or Paris to Berlin involves a route which passes through the Christmas market locations of Brussels and Cologne.
Or if you want to see the markets in both Strasbourg and Berlin, Paris has direct trains to Strasbourg - and a Strasbourg to Berlin rail journey requires only connection.
Berlin also has direct international trains to and from Amsterdam, Budapest, Krakow, Praha / Prague, Wien / Vienna and Warszawa.

Brugge / Bruges

Take the fee shuttle bus from the station to the market in Brugge Take the fee shuttle bus from the station to the market in Brugge

Enchanting settings can give Christmas markets a wow factor, hence the inevitable popularity of Brugge as a festive destination.
Brugge also keep things simple, its main square the Markt is the perfect location for a traditional Christmas market, and at the city's other main market, in the nearby Simon Stevinplein, you will find handmade jewellery and other craft items.

Brugge train station is to the south of the historic city centre, but both markets are within a 20 - 25 min walk.
The best alternative to heading off on foot is to take the free shuttle bus which departs every 5 minutes - though note that it leaves from a stop to the right of the bus station, which is in front of the train station exit.
It's city centre stop is on the north side of the Grote Markt,
Regular bus routes/lines 1, 4. 6, 11 and 12 connect the station to the stop named Dijver which is to the south of the Grote Markt.

Image of the market by Edison McCullen and downloaded from Wikimedia.

By train to Brugge

Brugge has no international trains, but is is linked to and from Bruxelles /Brussel twice per hour by fast IC trains with a journey time of around 70 minutes.
So thanks to the connections available at Bruxelles-Midi station, Brugge has straightforward access by train with journey times of under four hours from Amsterdam, Köln / Cologne, London and Paris.
If you want to also see the Brussels markets while in Brugge / Bruges, take the train to and from Brussel-Centraal station.

Brussels / Bruxelles

The Grand Place in Brussels is iconic for being one of the most beautiful main squares in a European capital city, so its an obvious location for a Christmas market - though what makes its market stand out is the dazzling free light show that takes place at least once an hour after sunset.
The Grand Place is within a 10 - 15 minute walk of Bruxelles-Central station.

Though Brussels is a city of hidden gems, which its multiple Christmas markets across the city centre take full advantage of.

In and around the Marché aux Poissons
The largest Winter wonderland in the Belgian capital is located at the city's former fish market - in addition to more than 100 chalet stalls and 'party pavillions', this is where you will find the 'Grand Roue' giant ferris wheel.

By the Marché aux Poissons you’ll find the Place Saint-Catherine market, with more wooden chalets - though the star attraction here is the beautiful nostalgic carousel and the light installations.
Around the corner is the Tour Noire market, which specializes in foods from around the world.

Saint Catherine is the logical name for this area's metro station, it is on lines 1 and 5, a two stop hop from Bruxelles-Central station.
If you will be heading to Bruxelles on a train which only calls at the city's main station, Bruxelles-Midi / Brussel Zuid, you can reach this area most easily by taking tram lines / routes 3 or 4 to the stop named De Brouckère.

In and around the Place de Brouckère

Within a 5 - 10 min walk of the above markets, you'll find this market which has two stand out features, the ice-rink and six covered “terasses”.
Two blocks over you will find the Place de la Monaie, which is you will find the state of the art festive attraction, The Dome.
De Brouckère metro station is only a one-stop hop on lines 1 and 5 from Bruxelles-Central station - but taking it avoids a 10-20 min walk and makes this area easier to find

At La Bourse
A 10 minute walk south of De Brouckère on the main boulevard in Brussels, you'll find the market at La Bourse, which is focused on shopping rather than food and drink.
You’ll find dozens of stalls in which artisans sell a variety of handmade gifts.
You can reach this area from Bruxelles-Midi by taking tram lines / routes 3 or 4 to the stop named Bourse.

If you opt to stay in the area around Bruxelles-Midi / Brussel Zuid station, so that you have easy access to and from the international trains, a route that can be taken is:

  • tram to Bourse
  • walk up the street to De Brouckère
  • go around to the Place Saint-Catherine
  • walk ahead to to the Marché aux Poissons.

By train to Bruxelles / Brussels

Brussels is a hub for international high speed trains hence Midi/Zuid station is directly served by

  • Eurostar trains to and from London,
  • Thalys trains to and from Amsterdam, Köln / Cologne, Rotterdam and Paris,
  • ICE trains to and from Frankfurt (Main) and Köln / Cologne,
  • TGV trains to and from multiple cities in France including Strasbourg - see below.

Though if you will be making a day trip into Bruxelles for the markets from another location in Belgium, there will be at last hourly fast IC trains to and from Bruxelles-Central / Brussel Centraal station.


The dominant station in Budapest used to be Keleti, but the trains between the Hungarian capital and the likes of Berlin, Bratislava, Dresden, Prague and Warsaw have been switched so that they now arrive at and depart from Nyugati station.
It happens to be in a nice part of town in an area which offers easy access to the city's most popular Christmas markets.

Most iconic of all is the fair located at Vörösmarty Tér (Vörösmarty square), wnich is around a 20 min walk from Nyugati, or you could take a two stop hop on Metro line M3 to the station named Deák Ferenc tér.

A little to the north, between Nyugati and Deák Ferenc tér you'll find the newer Christmas market, pictured above, which is located in the square in front of the the city's main cathedral, the St Stephen's Basilica.
Only a 15 - 20 minute walk from Nyugati the two stand out features of this market are its ice rink and illuminations, so it's best to head here after night fall.

The city also has two other large markets that are some distance from the city, which makes them popular locals, hence lower prices.
Though both can be easily accessed from Nyugati.
At Etele Square there is a market which is across the street from Kelenfold station, which is at the southern end of Metro line 4.
Another market with an ice rink is at the at the Fö square, find it from Nyugati by taking tram lines 4 or 6 to the stop named Margit híd, budai hídfő - then connect there for fairly frequent local trains on line H5 to the station named, Szentlélek tér.

By train to Budapest

Experiencing the festive activities in Budapest can easily be combined with exploring the Christmas markets in other cities, because Budapest-Nyugati station is at the southern end of a Berlin - Dresden - Prague - Bratislava - Budapest railway route, which is followed by daytime trains.
There are also night trains available from Berlin and Praha / Prague.
The Budapest Christmas markets can also be experienced as a day trip from Wien/Vienna, leave the train at Kelenfold station and take the metro to the station named Kálvin tér, connect there for line M3 trains to Deák Ferenc tér station,
Those trains from Vienna / Wien will also have travelled from Munich and from Salzburg.
For those who want to experience Alpine scenery and beautiful Christmas markets on the one adventure, there are also day and night trains to Budapest from Innsbruck - and from Zurich.

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Cologne / Köln

All of the main Christmas markets featured on this guide are within at most a 30 minute walk from a long-distance train station in each city, but in Cologne the main market is mere steps away.
The city's main station, Köln Hbf, is on one side of the largest square / plaza in Cologne and at it's south end is the magnificent cathedral - which forms the beautiful backdrop to one of the city's Christmas markets.
Image by Eremeev and downloaded from Wikimedia.

Though it is not the only market in the city centre, because in Cologne much of the city becomes a winter wonderland.

The Market of Angels

This market lives up to its name and it takes over the square in the city named, Neumarkt.
It can be accessed in five minutes from Köln Hbf on the U-Bahn; the trams which use tunnels to cross the city centre.
Köln Hbf has two U-Bahn stops, the stop named Dom/hbf is on the south side of the station, so is by the market in the cathedral square -and the Breslauer Platz stop, which is just to the north of the station, on the other side of the tracks used by the S-Bhan local trains.
From both of these stops, lines 16 and 18 go to Neumarkt.

Cologne Harbour Christmas Market

This newer market takes full advantage of its waterside location, which it shares with a Chocolate Museum!
If features snow-white pagoda tents, echoing ship sails, which sell high-quality goods and handicrafts, plus there are culinary delights from the region and all over the world.
Though what makes a visit here extra special is the opportunity to have a mulled wine or two on the deck of the triple-masted sailing ship.
It can be accessed from Köln Hbf by taking line U5 from the stop named 'Dom' to the stop named Huemarkt - from there it's a 10 minute walk.

Heinzels Winter Fairytale

Kid's will love this market, located in *the Alter Market, a 5 - 10 minute walk from the main station - though it covers a wide area, so its southern end is by the Huemarkt U-Bhan stop.
What sets it apart is that it's themed around the friendly household spirits of Köln, the 'Heinzelmännchen'.
It attracts skilled craftsmen from all over Europe, plus the ice rink on the Huemarkt is right by it.

So for those who don't mind a walk, you can head off on foot from Köln Hbf and spend an afternoon / evening exploring the three markets - cathedral square, the Winter Fairytale and the Harbour market!

By train to Cologne / Köln

Köln Hbf is one of Europe's international rail hubs - so in addition to high speed ICE trains to and from a swathe of German cities including Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, it aslo has international daytime trains from and to the likes of Amsterdam, Basel, Brussels, Luxembourg, Paris, Salzburg, Zurich and Vienna.
It also has night trains to and from Basel, Innsbruck, Munich, Vienna and Zurich.

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Dresden claims the oldest Christmas market in Germany, but that's not solely why it's such a popular festive destination.
Because Dresden is a city that's clearly decided that just the one market, no matter how old it is, isn't enough - hence the multiple markets in the city centre.

Dresden also has two large stations used by long-distance trains, Dresden Hbf to the south of the city centre - and Dreden-Neustdadt, to the north.
Though local S-Bahn and Regio trains call at station named Dresden-Mitte, which is within a 10 min walk of Dresden's old town area, where most of its Christmas Markets are located.


This is the market the claims the original German Christmas market honours, but despite that it aims to office its visitors more than the traditional chalets.
Hence daily entertainment, a huge arch of candles and... the world’s tallest Ore Mountain step pyramid!
Pictured above, the image is by SchiDD and was downloaded from Wikicommons.
The closest tram stop is 'Postplatz' which is linked to Dresden Hbf by train lines 8, 9 and 11 - and line 11 also goes to Dresden-Neustadt.

There is also a nearby traditional market in front of a palace, this market is also by an ice rink.

And if you take the tram to Postplatz, you can't miss seeing the market which takes over this square in the heart of the city. It's bars, restaurants and curling rink provide a more boisterous atmosphere than Dresden's other markets.

Winterlights of Dresden
Light shows and illuminations can give a Christmas market a wow factor and the market in Dresden, which offers this spectacle, is within a five minute walk of Dresden Hbf - the city's main station.

The traditional Christmas market at the Frauenkirche

The eight-meter-tall climbable pyramid, covered in handmade wooden figurines, is the main attraction of this small market.
Additional products like pottery, glassware and lace from the Vogtland region are sold the nearby street named, Münzgasse.
Take tram lines 8 and 9 from Dresden Hbf to Theaterplatz
Take tram line 3 from Dresden Neustadt to Synagogue.

The Stallhof Advent Festival
Within the walls of the Dresden Royal Palace, the traditional market focuses on products made by Guild craftsmen and craftswomen; and musicians and jugglers provide the entertainment.
Tale tram line 8 and 9 from Dresden Hbf to Theaterplatz, or walk from Dresden Mitte station.

The Augustus market
This market is to the north of those around Postplatz and it takes over the Hauptstraße area of the city, where the streets of the Baroque Quarter are decorated.
An historic ferris-wheel and carousel can also be found here.

By train to Dresden

Dresden is on one of Europe's greatest railway routes, so international trains call at the city as they make their way between Hamburg and Berlin to the north and Prague, Budapest and Vienna to the south.
So Dresden has trains to and from multiple other cities which host Christmas markets.
There are also direct ICE trains to Dresden from Frankfurt (Main) so Frankfurt with it's Christmas market, makes for a good place to stopover when heading to Dresden from London by train.


The Scottish capital is home to one of the most fabulously located railway stations of any European city.
The Princess Street Gardens are across the street from Edinburgh Waverley, so the Christmas market which is staged there has fabulously easy access by train.
In itself, the market probably doesn't justify choosing Edinburgh as a holiday destination, but it is another great reason for opting to stay there.

Munich / München

German cities tend to take the view that just the one Christmas market isn't enough and Munich / München is no exception!

Munich Christkindlmarkt in Marienplatz square
This traditional market, pictured above, is extra special thanks to its romantic backdrop of the neo-Gothic town hall on Marienplatz, it's also home to an exceptionally large Nativity scene.
Marienplatz station has frequent local S-Bahn trains, which travel in a tunnel under the city centre from both of the city's main railway stations, München Hbf and München Ost - if your train to the city calls at München Ost before going on to München Hbf, make the connection at München Ost.

Tollwood – the winter festival

The Theresienwiese is an area of the city within a 15 minute walk of München Hbf and it is where the city stages its Oktoberfest, but when it moves out, this modern take on the Christmas market moves in.
Along with its dramatic lights, it sets itself apart with an emphasis on organic foods and contemporary crafts.

The Haidhausen Christmas Market on Weissenburger Platz
This tranquil traditional market is centred around the lovely fountain at Weißenburger Platz and it is also to hand carved South Tyrolean Christmas Nativity scene.
There is also live music and entertainment aimed at children.
You can reach the market by taking an S-Bahn train to Rosenheimer Platz station from München Hbf and München Ost.

The Star fleet on Alte Utting
Munich is some distance from the coast, but this Christmas market is focused on a boat, which happens to have been heaved up to occupy an abandoned railway bridge!
Mulled wine and festive food can be purchased on board and other food stalls along with craft stalls occupy the surrounding streets.
From München Hbf take lines U1 or U2 to Sendlinger Tor and then connect there for lines U3 and U6 to Implerstraße station.

By train to Munich / München

München Hbf is a major hub of the entire European rail network.
Aside from direct ICE trains to and from other cities in Germany, including from Berlin and from Cologne / Köln, there are a mass of international services.
So there are direct trains to and from the likes of Amsterdam, Bologna, Budapest, Linz, Ljubljana, Paris, Salzburg, Venice, Vienna, Zagreb and Zurich.

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Prague / Praha

Traffic free squares surrounded by romantically, beautiful buildings can enhance any Christmas market, which is why Prague can be such a special festive destination.

Prague’s largest Christmas market can be found on the Staroměstské náměstí - pictured above, by Travis Wise from Bay Area, California and downloaded from Wikicommons.
Also pictured at the very top of the page, it's the city's main square, so the backdrop to this markets includes the iconic Astronomical Clock and Gothic Tyn Church.
In addition to the hundreds of stalls, it's also the location of an especially tall Christmas tree, which is lit up every day at dusk.
There are also nativity scenes, theater, and live music performances throughout the season.

The Staroměstské náměstí is a 20-25min walk from Praha hl.n./Hlavni Nadrazi station, the city's main station; so a simpler option is to take the Metro, though a change of train is required.
(1) First take the Metro line C one stop south (direction Haje) to Muzeum station - the opposite direction you'd take when walking, but it will make sense when you look at the metro map.
(2) Then transfer at Muzeum station to Metro line A (direction Nemocnice Motol) and leave that train at Staroměstská station.

Prague has two other main festive markets at Václavské námst avenue and a market centered on the square named Namesti Republiky.
At the southern end of Václavské námst avenue is the Wenceslas Square, which is also the location of the newly restored National Museum.
It is within a 10-15 minute walk of Praha hl.n./Hlavni Nadrazi station.

The Christmas market at Namesti Republiky is quieter than the market at Old Town Square.
It can be reached from Praha hl.n./Hlavni Nadrazi station on tram lines 15 and 26 and by tram line 6 from the city's other main station, Holesovice.

By train to Prague / Praha

Prague is on one of Europe's greatest railway routes, so international trains call at the city as they make their way between Hamburg and Berlin to the north - and Budapest and Vienna to the south.
So it has direct trains to and from other cities which are famous for their markets including Budapest and Dresden.
There are also direct international trains between Praha / Prague and a swathe of cities including Basel, Krakow, Linz, Munich, Warsaw and Zurich.

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Strasbourg is a city blessed with multiple scenic locations, and what makes the city a second to none location festive location in France, is that most of these special places host a Christmas market.
The main station in Strasbourg is on the western edge of the city centre.

The market at the Pl. Benjamin Zix is a 10 to 15 minute walk from station, but the trams provide easy access to the other markets.
Take lines / routes A and D to the stop named Langstross Grand'Rue for the markets at Place de la cathédrale and at the Palais Rohan and Place Saint Thomas.

Also take lines / routes A and D to the stop named Homme de Fer for the markets at Pl. du Temple Neuf and at Place Kléber.

From the stop just outside the railway station, tram line C goes t Broglie for the market at Place Broglie.

Image by Francois from Strasbourg and downloaded from Wikicommons.

By train to Strasbourg

Strasbourg has high speed trains to and from Paris, some of which also connect the city with the German rail hubs of Frankfurt (Main) and Stuttgart.
The are also daily direct trains to and from Lyon, Marseille and Munich.
Local trains also link Strasbourg to the Offenburg, which is a great base for exploring The Black Forest by train.


Simon Harper

I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.


This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.


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