Visiting Dresden Striezelmarkt – Oldest Christmas Market in Germany

Striezelmarkt is by far the most popular and famous Christmas Market in Dresden, but did you know it’s also the oldest in Germany and most likely the world?!

Dating back to 1434 (!), Striezelmarkt takes place in Dresden’s Altmarkt Central Square and it’s one of my favorite Christmas Markets in Europe (and I’ve visited quite a lot of them).

In fact, I liked it so much that I went to it twice, in two separate years. So here’s what to expect when visiting Dresden’s Striezelmarkt.

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Striezelmarkt Christmas Market in Dresden Germany

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When does the Dresden Striezelmarkt take place this year?

Like most of the Christmas Markets in Germany, the Striezelmarkt also takes place during Advent time which usually stretches from the end of November until Christmas Eve.

❄ Dresden Striezelmarkt Christmas Market 2024 ❄

In 2024, Striezelmarkt starts on 27th November and ends on 24th December. The Christmas market is open every day during this time frame, from 10.00 AM until 9.00 PM, except for the opening day when it’s open from 4 to 9 PM and Christmas Eve when it’s open from 10 AM to 2 PM.

Dresden Striezelmarkt Christmas Market

Things to know about Dresden’s Striezelmarkt Christmas Market

01. Dresden’s Striezelmarkt is regarded as one of the best Christmas Markets in the country. This speaks volumes if you consider the fact that these types of fairs actually originated in Germany. Not to mention that Striezelmarkt is the oldest one.

02. It has the tallest Christmas Pyramid in the world (14.61-metre-high).

Christmas Pyramid

03. At Striezelmarkt you’ll find the best decorated hut and many of them have mechanical figurines on their rooftops that constantly move.

Now I have also seen a few of these at the Nurenberg Christmas Markets, but not nearly as many or as cute as the ones at Striezelmarkt.

decorations at Dresden Striezelmarkt

04. There are different mug designs each year. This is not something particular to Striezelmarkt as it happens to most Christmas Markets nowadays, especially those in German-speaking countries.

PRO TIP: One of my favorite things to do when visiting a new Christmas Market is to keep the current mug as a souvenir.

When you first get a drink, they’ll ask for a cash deposit for the mug (usually it’s around 5 euros at most fairs; at Striezelmarkt it was 4.5 euros).

Drinking mulled wine at Dresden Striezelmarkt Christmas Market in Germany

If you return it, they’ll give you back that money, but if you don’t the deposit then acts as payment for the mug.

Depending on the market you’re visiting, the mug might have the year etched on its side or bottom, so check for that because sometimes they pour the drinks in older mugs that they still have around.

While I usually go for the latest design, I also got some older ones on occasion, simply because they were too cute.

05. There’s a small historic Ferris wheel that you can ride. It looks adorable.

Dresden historic Ferris wheel

06. Many stands sell a wide variety of carved wooden ornaments, a tradition dating back to the area’s mining history.

Dresden is the largest city near the Ore Mountains where silver and tin were discovered at the beginning of the 11th century, which led to an influx of miners. However, due to the German Peasants’ War and foreign competition, many lost their jobs.

To make a living, the miners turned to woodcarving, adding both mining symbols and religious elements to their designs, which are still seen in the Christmas ornaments sold today at the Striezelmarkt.

Dresden Striezelmarkt

07. If you visit with your little ones, you should know that there are a variety of attractions for kids (puppet theater, train ride, merry-go-round, crafting workshops, etc) though some might be challenging to do if they don’t know the language.

08. Some stalls accept credit cards, but I’d still recommend you have cash with you.

Me at Dresden Striezelmarkt

What to eat and drink at Dresden Striezelmarkt

The most obvious and popular choices are eating sausages (look for things ending in wurst) and drinking mulled wine (called gluhwein in German) which is not only delicious but will also keep you warm as you walk around the stalls.

But there are other options too like Prague grilled ham (Prager grillschinken), goulash with cabbage (gulasch & kohl), savory fried potato pancakes (kartoffelpuffer), stuffed bread (Dresdner handbrot), roasted chestnuts (maroni), etc.

For drinks, there’s punch (punsch), hot cocoa (kakao), different types of schnapps and other alcoholic drinks, egg punch (eierpunsch – a bit similar to eggnog), and the more pelicular mulled beer (glühbier) which I didn’t try because.. well it’s warm beer!

In the sweets department, we have gingerbread (pfefferkuchen), German snowball pastry (schneeball), candied almonds (gebrannte mandeln), and the traditional Christmas fruitcake called Christstollen, to name just a few.

costume group at Stollenfest

Dresden Stollen Festival (Stollenfest)

Each year, numerous bakers and pastry makers unite to bake a massive Christstollen, which is subsequently paraded through Dresden’s old town in a wagon, sliced up, and offered to visitors for purchase.

The festival is usually celebrated on the Saturday before the second Advent and the route is not always identical to one taken during the previous year, though it should always pass through the Georgentor.

Stollenfest fanfare/marching band

The destination of the parade, which aside from the Giant Stollen wagon, also consists of other festival floats, people dressed in historical costumes, fanfare, and marching bands, is the Striezelmarkt Christmas Market.

❄ Dresden Stollen Festival (Stollenfest) 2024 ❄

In 2024, Stollenfest will take place on the 7th of December.

Stay overnight or opt for a Dresden day trip?

As someone who’s done both, I’d recommend you spend one or a few nights in Dresden, especially if it’s your first time. This way you’ll also be able to visit the city and enjoy some time at the other Christmas Markets in the city.

I stayed at Leonardo Hotel Dresden Altstadt which is about 15 minutes on foot to Dresden Zwinger and 20 to Altmarkt. The rooms were nice and clean and there’s a huge parking lot right near the hotel where you can leave your car if you have one (price: 12 euros/24 hours).

My room at Leonardo Hotel Dresden Altstadt
Our room at Leonardo Hotel Dresden Altstadt

The hotel is also 5 minutes away from Dresden Bahnhof Mitte, but note that this is a regional station, not the central station of the city, so if you’re arriving by train check if it stops here.

But if that’s too far for you and you want to be in the middle of all the fun, then I’d recommend a hotel bordering the Altmarkt Square like Star G Hotel Premium Dresden Altmarkt or NH Collection Dresden Altmarkt.

On the other hand, if you want to hit more than one Christmas Market, you can stay in Prague, visit the fairs there, and take a day trip by train or bus (Flixbus is a cheap option) to Dresden.

You’ll have just enough time to visit Striezelmarkt and walk around the historic city center.


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