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Holy Hamburg: A time to feast and enjoy

Holy Hamburg: A time to feast and enjoy

This Monday, Hamburg officially kicked off the festive season as 16 Christmas markets across the city center opened their gates, inviting you to immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit. When it comes to Christmas markets, no other city in Germany offers such diversity: you can enjoy mulled wine, traditional gingerbread and sugar-roasted almonds at the nostalgic Christmas market on the Rathausmarkt square, explore oversized gingerbread houses at the redesigned Gänsemarkt square, treat yourself to a glass of champagne at the elegant market on the Alster Lake, party away at the Christmas market on the Reeperbahn or experience the gay-lesbian Winter Pride market in St Georg with cocktails and club music. Footage from these venues is available by clicking here, as well as #holyhamburg, providing you with a fabulous foretaste of Christmas in Hamburg.

The Advent season is the most beautiful time of the year – for each one of us and for many different reasons. Biscuits and chocolate for breakfast are totally acceptable, mulled wine lights up the hearts and minds, and a sea of light transforms monochrome landscapes into a sparkling winter wonderland. So why would anyone wish to escape to sunnier climes? In fact, it is much easier – and more heart-warming – to truly immerse yourself in the magic of the festive period.

Today marks the beginning of Hamburg’s Christmas market season, and as many as 16 markets in the city center alone provide plenty of opportunities to experience the festive period with all your senses. A visit to one of these markets will definitely put you in the Christmas mood, and besides you will be able to do your Christmas shopping almost in passing.

The heart of Hamburg’s Christmas season can be best discovered in the city center. Hamburg’s Rathausmarkt square, for instance, awaits you with a true fairy tale Christmas Market. Each year, millions of visitors are enchanted by the market’s beautiful illuminations, alluring scents and a thousand happy faces. All things traditional can be found here, with as many as 80 wooden huts offering arts and crafts, beeswax candles, homemade soap and much more. And you can’t help but smile when Santa Claus and his reindeer hover above the square against the backdrop of the illuminated town hall façade shouting “Ho Ho Ho” (27/11–23/12 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sat/Sun until 10 p.m.)

Just a few meters away from the Rathausmarkt and directly on the Alster Lake, tradition meets modernity. On the Jungfernstieg boulevard, the elegant tents of the Weisserzauber (“White Magic”) Christmas market exude a sophisticated, classic atmosphere in the very heart of Hamburg’s city center. Grab a mug of mulled wine, stroll along the banks of the Alster and simply take in the atmosphere. The beautiful white tents, a 20-metre Christmas tree adorned with more than 1,000 lights and the time-honored Alsterhaus department store with its festive decorations create a one-of-a-kind sparkling panorama (27/11–30/12 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri/Sat until 10 p.m.)

Just around the corner of Jungfernstieg, guests to the city will be able to enjoy a new kind of Christmas experience: on the Gänsemarkt square, an idyllic little village made up of gingerbread houses topped with icing invites visitors to indulge in seasonal treats (27/11–23/12 from 11:30 a.m. to 9 pm; food and drink stalls open until 11 p.m.).

A little less traditional and certainly very colorful and quaint, the Winter Pride market in the district of St Georg is Hamburg’s only gay/lesbian Christmas market and offers an area entirely free from Christmas carols. Instead, guests can enjoy club music from renowned off-scene DJs and, on each Sunday, live performances by singer-songwriters from the region (27/11–30/12 from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fri/Sat until midnight).

In the lively district of St. Pauli they simply couldn’t wait to get the party started, and thus the Santa Pauli Christmas market opened a week before all the other markets. Offering plenty of drinks and lots of fun, this market can also be seen as a nightlife venue and an after-work party and even includes a striptease show. What is more, visitors will have the opportunity to choose between countless tongue-in-cheek Christmas presents. For the first time this year, the Santa Pauli market also includes Santa’s Glühweinapotheke (“Santa’s mulled wine pharmacy”), where guests can create their very own red or white mulled wine mixtures (until 23/12, Mon–Wed 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Thur 4 p.m. to midnight, Fri/Sat 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sun 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.)

But beyond these treats for all your senses, it is the time spent with friends and family that makes the Yuletide season so special. After all, mulled wine is so much tastier when enjoyed in good company, any Christmas carol sounds so much nicer when sung by a choir, and gifting others is so much more rewarding than buying gifts for yourself. So, the real Christmas spirit can be found in the company of others.

This special cozy Christmas atmosphere can be experienced online and on the social web at #holyhamburg. The Holy Hamburg campaign combines pictures and videos from Hamburg’s Christmas markets as well as further information on all of the 16 markets in Hamburg’s city center. Plus, we have compiled a number of exciting Christmas deals for a pre-Christmas trip to Hamburg.

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