There's disappointing, if not unexpected, news for fans of Nuremberg's famous Christkindlesmarkt, because it has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world-famous holiday season market is one of Germany’s oldest, and it attracts two million visitors annually. Nuremberg is Bavaria’s second-largest city and draws visitors all year-round, but especially during the spectacular Christmas market. The pre-Christmas event dates back to the mid-16th century, and the first mention in writing was made in 1628.

Golden glass and crystal Christmas ornaments on sale at Christmas market
The pre-Christmas event dates back to the mid-16th century © AnkNet/Getty Images

The Christkindlesmarkt is famous for its wooden stalls adorned with red-and-white striped cloths in the city’s main market square, filled with typical Nuremberg gingerbread, grilled sausages, mulled wine and arts and crafts. The market is opened each year by the "Christkind," and young Nuremberg women apply to be considered for this voluntary two-year post.

It was originally hoped that the four-week market could take place under different conditions, by holding it on four separate squares throughout the Old Town to ease the flow of visitors and create more space on the main market. Wider stall lanes were planned as well as a mask-wearing requirement and the installation of disinfection stands. However, Nuremberg mayor, Marcus König, has now announced that the market is not going ahead this year, due to the city's rising COVID-19 infection rates.

Gingerbread Christmas decorations at a Christmas market in Germany
The market is filled with culinary delights © sack/Getty Images

It has reluctantly concluded that going ahead with the event would send a wrong signal, in a country struggling to curb the virus. "This decision is not easy for us," says König. "The Christmas market with its great tradition belongs to Nuremberg. Nevertheless, we cannot justify an additional gathering of many thousands of people in the city center."

Other cities around Germany and in Europe have announced cancellations of Christmas markets - such as Berlin's famous Gendarmenmarkt - so check any up-to-date information concerning specific markets. 

You might also like:

8 Christmas traditions from around the world
Here's how Americans are planning to travel this holiday season
Ten delightfully different Christmas markets in Europe

Explore related stories

The Christmas markets at Nuremberg and Cologne are worth a visit.


Nuremburg vs Cologne: what's the best Christmas market in Germany?

Nov 17, 2023 • 6 min read