It’s Christmas time! I’m the first to admit that I hate winter, because I hate being cold. But there is something magical about European Christmas markets, and the mulled wine can make you forget how your fingers are about to fall off for at least an hour.
Last year, some friends rented a van and we all drove to Dresden for the day to see the Christmas market. Christmas markets in Poland just do not compare to the ones in Germany! The main markets in Dresden are very close together around the city center with all the pretty buildings and main tourist attractions. They sort of merge together as you walk past the beautiful architecture and grand buildings, all re-built after WWII. The Striezelmarkt is the most distinctive, with it’s giant ferris wheel. All of them are beautiful, but very crowded and a bit stressful.
Once you’ve seen the pretty parts, if you actually want to do some shopping, I recommend crossing the river over the Augustusbrüke (Augustus Bridge) and checking out the Augustusmarkt on the other side. It’s still pretty, but with much fewer tourists and actually possible to navigate without re-purposing your elbows as deadly weapons.
Find the Goldener Reiter statue (pictured below) on Google Maps and that will lead you straight there!
While you’re on that side of the river, be sure to walk over to the Kunsthofpassage, home of cute alleyways full of nice shops, overgrown brambles, and street art, in addition to the famous rain house. (The water runs through the pipes on the outside of the house, making beautiful melodies as you wonder why they hell you’re standing out here in the rain.)
Make sure you don’t forget to return your glühwein mug if you want to get your 3 euro deposit back, unless you want to keep the mug to treasure for rest of your life and remember that time your fingers were frozen solid drinking wine in an open-air market at -5˚C. (I personally kept my glass from Augustusmarkt, I liked the design so much.) Also if you need to make some extra money, sometimes people leave their mugs and forget to take them back, so you can cash in on their deposit. (Cha-ching!) (The złoty is really weak y’all. I do what I can.) And make sure to try stollen, Saxon Christmas bread with raisins and candied fruit and powdered sugar on top. Gotta pack on those carbs to keep yourself warm through the cold, cold winter!
Disclaimer: There are a ton more Christmas markets in Dresden, but these are just the the ones we saw last year. You can find a full list plus maps of all of them here!