Iconic Nuremberg Christmas Market Cancelled Due to Corona

The world famous Christmas market in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg has been cancelled this year due to a rise in corona virus cases.


Even though Germany has so far faired quite well with the second wave of the corona virus compared to other European countries, the country nonetheless is dealing as well with a recent surge in COVID-19 infections.

With there being no end in sight of the pandemic, the authorities in the city of Nuremberg (Nürnberg in German) have just decided that the local Christmas market will not take place this year.

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The Nuremberg Christmas market is held annually, with stalls spread out over a few old town squares and streets. ©Paliparan

Christmas market

It is a major blow for those who had the slightest hopes to seek out some of the traditional Christmas atmosphere and some festive vibes on a trip through Germany.

Called the ‘Christkindlesmarkt’ in German (literally: Christ child market), the Christmas market in Nuremberg, Bavaria’s second largest city, is arguably the most famous of all German Christmas markets and certainly is one of its largest.

nuremberg christmas market corona
A handicraft stall at the Nuremberg Christmas market. ©Paliparan


Although there are well over 2,000 annual Christmas markets in almost any city or town of size in Germany, the one in Nuremberg attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world each year.

When I visited the market last year, I was surprised by the amount of people speaking in English, Spanish and Italian, as there seemed to be a large number of tourists making special weekend trips to Germany in the weeks prior to Christmas.

According to local media, the German Christmas markets draw 160 million visitors each year and bring in up to five billion euro in revenue.

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Santa Claus playing some songs at the Christmas market in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. ©Paliparan

Other Christmas markets

It is not known if other Christmas markets in the wider Franconia region in which Nuremberg is located, such as the famous market in the picturesque town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, will open this year.

Other cities which are often visited by foreign tourists for their Christmas markets such as Cologne, Dusseldorf, Aachen, Frankfurt, Dresden and Leipzig, still have to decide as well whether their markets will open this year.

Most German Christmas markets traditionally open in the first week of December and remain open until Christmas or even New Year’s Day.

They are popular among both locals and tourists for their small handicraft and candy stalls, as well as for traditional beverages and meals such as gluhwein (mulled wine), roasted chestnuts and sausages.

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Due to the large crowds which gather in evenings and at weekends, Christmas markets are deemed a corona risk. ©Paliparan
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The Christmas market in Rothenburg ob der Tauber ©Paliparan

Alternative Christmas markets

If most of the German Christmas markets would indeed remain closed, there might be alternatives found in other countries. In Austria, Vienna has a popular Christmas market with an absolutely huge ice rink.

The Czech capital of Prague is another city famous for its annual Christmas market, as are the French towns in the eastern region of Alsace-Lorraine (Elsass-Lothringen) such as Strassbourg, Metz and Colmar – all towns with historic German influences.

A personal favourite of mine can be found in the Transylvanian city of Sibiu in Romania, which hosts the country’s most beautiful Christmas market.

sibiu christmas market
The Christmas market in Sibiu, Romania. ©Paliparan

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Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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