One of the oldest and largest Christmas Markets in Germany, the Mannheim Christmas Market is one not to be missed.
Held annually in front of the water tower, the Mannheimer Weihnachtsmarkt features over 200 stalls selling a variety of traditional German Christmas goods, from handmade decorations to delicious food and drink.
Whether you’re looking for unique gifts or just wanting to soak up the festive atmosphere, the Mannheim Christmas Market is sure to get you into the holiday spirit.
Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the market.
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Why Visit the Mannheim Christmas Market?
It’s not as glamorous or well-known as other markets, but that just makes it even more appealing. It’s still a large market, with over 200 stalls, but you won’t find the huge crowds of tour groups that are present at some of the other Christmas Markets in Germany.
When is the Mannheim Christmas Market?
The Mannheim Christmas Market is held annually from the end of November until two days before Christmas. For 2023, the market will be open from November 27th to December 23rd, from 11 am to 9 pm daily.
Mannheim Christmas Market Locations
The main market is held in the centre of town, in front of the large water tower. The Wasserturm, water tower, is Mannheim’s well-known landmark and a perfect place to hold the Christmas Market.
Here you’ll find 200 decorated huts selling a range of traditional German Christmas goods, a Ferris wheel, plenty of delicious food and of course, a traditional Christmas pyramid.
In recent years, a second market has popped up in Kapuzinerplanken, only a few minutes walk from the main market.
This market is much smaller, but just as magical. Here you’ll find some craft stalls, as well as many stalls selling treats and hot food.
If you’re visiting with kids, they’ll be sure to love the Marchenwald, a special children’s Christmas market located on the Paradeplatz. This is the smallest market but definitely a must-see if you are travelling with young kids.
Just a few blocks from the market on Kapuzinerplanken, this market is fairy-tale themed. Characters and scenes from popular stories are displayed throughout the square and audio recordings of the stories play continuously.
There’s also a large talking tree, which is a favourite for young kids. There are also a few stalls selling goods, including warm drinks and several small warming areas for families or small groups.
How to Get to the Mannheim Christmas Markets?
The main Christmas market in Mannheim is located in front of the water tower in the heart of the city. It’s about a 10 minute walk from Hauptbahnhof, or the main station in Mannheim.
If you are arriving by car, there are several public parking garages around the water tower. A map can be found here.
The market on Kapuzinerplanken is about 7 minutes walk from the main market and the market on Paradeplatz is another 5 minutes walk along Kunststraße.
What to Eat at the Mannheim Christmas Market?
No visit to a German Christmas market is complete without trying some of the traditional food and drink.
At the Mannheim Christmas Market, you’ll find all of the classics, including bratwurst, roasted nuts, gingerbread and the traditional stollen. But you can find crêpes, waffles, potato pancakes, and cotton candy.
Of course, you have to start with a steaming mug of Glühwein, mulled wine. This is a must-have at any German Christmas market and you’ll find plenty of stalls selling it throughout the Mannheim market.
If you’re not a fan of mulled wine, you can also find hot chocolate and warm apple cider.
**When you purchase a mug of Glühwein, you’ll be charged a deposit, which you’ll get back when you return the mug. But you might just want to keep the mug as a special souvenir of your visit to the Christmas markets!
What to Buy at the Mannheim Christmas Market
In addition to the traditional food and drink, the Mannheim Christmas Market is also a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs. You’ll find plenty of stalls selling handmade goods, including wooden figures, jewelry, and lanterns or preserves, spices and jams.
The market is also a great place to pick up some unique Christmas decorations, such as candles, snow globes and stars.
Paper lighted stars are also a very traditional German Christmas decoration and you can find them throughout the market.
Tips for Visiting the Mannheim Christmas Market
Wear Warm Layers
Germany in December can be chilly and damp, so wearing layers is a good idea.
We didn’t see any snow while we were there but it rained almost every day. Except the ONE day that we took a break from visiting the Christmas Markets.
While glühwein will warm you up, it’s still a good idea to have a warm layer (not cotton) close to your skin and a waterproof jacket over top.
We love these base layers from Decathlon, as they’re inexpensive and super warm. And they even come in sizes small enough for my tiny boys!
While some places will accept credit cards, many will only accept cash, so be sure to have some on hand, just to be safe.
Wear Good Shoes
At most Christmas markets in Germany, you’ll be walking a fair bit.
Good walking shoes are a must, and it’s important to have warm – and waterproof – footwear so your feet don’t get cold!
Wool socks and warm mitts are also a good idea – from the girl who always has cold feet and hands. (Or pick up a warm pair of mitts from the market – they’re a great – and useful! – souvenir.)
Avoid Peak Times
The Mannheim Market isn’t as popular with tour groups but it can still be pretty busy during peak times. Evening is when the market comes alive and it will be quite busy.
I find it best to visit in the late afternoon and early evening, as you can wander and shop while it’s daylight, but then experience the market when it’s lit up as evening arrives.
Weekends will also be busy, especially the first weekend the market is open.
Know What Time the Sun Sets
As Germany is in the Northern Hemisphere, daylight hours are shorter in December, so plan your day accordingly.
The sun will set around 5pm in early December, and the daylight hours will get shorter throughout the month.
Where to Stay in Mannheim
Leonardo Hotel City Center
We stayed at the Leonardo Hotel City Center, which is located just a 7 minute walk from the main Mannheim Christmas Market.
It’s a great mid-range option and the perfect base for exploring the city.
And the smaller Christmas market on Kapuzinerplanken is held right in front of the hotel, which is festive to see at night from your room, if you have a street view.
The Leonardo Hotel City Center is only a short 5 minute walk to the Marchenwald, the children’s Christmas market and there is a park right behind the hotel, Lauergärten, with large wooden play area and climbing net.
There is also a pool and restaurant on site, or there are quite a few pizza and fast food options nearby.
Radisson Blu Hotel
This 4-star hotel is conveniently located in the heart of Mannheim, just metres from the Christmas Market. Underground parking is a plus for anyone who is driving, rooms are spacious and clean and the location makes it a great choice for families visiting Mannheim. Check out photos and amenities here.
Maritim Hotel Mannheim
For those looking for accommodations with a touch of character, this renaissance-style hotel is a good choice. Located a short walk from the train station and main Christmas market, Maritim Hotel Mannheim is conveniently located and makes for a great base to visit the Christmas Markets.
Other Christmas Markets Near Mannheim
Just 15 minutes by train from Mannheim is the fairytale town of Heidelberg. Set against the stunning backdrop of Heidelberg castle, it’s another of our favourite Christmas markets in Germany.
There are 5 different markets throughout the town, with stalls along the pedestrian/main street (Haupstrasse), an ice skating rink with a castle view and a kids market at Kornmarkt, where kids can take a train ride through the “winter woods”.
Final Thoughts: Mannheim Christmas Markets
The Mannheim Christmas market is a great option if you’re looking for a smaller, less crowded market. It’s also a great option if you’re travelling with kids, as there are plenty of activities and a fairy-tale market geared towards them.
While Mannheim may not be as popular as some of the other markets in Germany, it’s definitely worth a visit and one of our favourite Christmas Markets in Germany.
For more inspiration and ideas on visiting Christmas Markets, be sure to check out these posts:
- Stuttgart Christmas Market – A Great Christmas Market for Kids!
- 10 Christmas Markets in Germany in 2 weeks
- 9 Reasons to Visit the Quebec City Christmas Market
- Best Christmas Markets in Canada
- Ultimate Guide to Dusseldorf Christmas Market (2023)
- Best Christmas Markets in Prague 2023
- Best Christmas Markets in Vienna