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Christmas Holidays in Germany: what is closed, what is open?

Christmas Holidays in Germany: what is closed, what is open?

Feb 24th, 2015, 10:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 156
Christmas Holidays in Germany: what is closed, what is open?

Hello - I realize this may be viewed as a stupid question but I will ask it anyway. Our family spent the holidays in Rome in 2013-14 and found that many restaurants and cafes (also more than a few shops) were open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I won't go into why this may be happening per our tour guide but she felt it was a cultural shift.

In any case, we are considering a similar trip to Germany over Christmas and New Years for 2015. DH and I would arrive and do a Christmas market tour starting around the 18th as he worked there for 5 years and loved seeing the various markets in Rothenburg, Nuremberg, Munich, etc. Our sons would join us on Christmas Eve and stay through the 2nd of January with us.

I have a tentative itinerary sketched out but would like to know from those who either live in Munich or have visited over Christmas...what is open in terms of restaurants? If most everything is closed, I would start looking at apartments to rent with a kitchen. If places are open, I would tend to look at hotels. We aren't locked into Munich for the actual holiday 'day' but since the boys will be flying in, it would be better in my opinion to be staying near their arrival airport.

My initial itinerary options are flying into Frankfurt, doing the market tours and meeting the boys in Munich. Make our way to Fussen, Baden Baden and Heidelberg and flying out of Frankfurt. Or, flying into Munich, doing Rothenburg and Nuremberg as a little loop; back to Munich to meet the boys and making our way as above and flying out of Frankfurt

DH and I have weeks of vacation at our disposal...the kids don't. Any suggestions will be appreciated!
Iahawk is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,226
Well, most Christmas markets will close on the 22nd or 23rd and a very, very few will be open on the 24th, 25th, 26th or after. Small towns may have already had their markets earlier in Advent. Check the websites of the towns/cities you wanted to visit to find out the dates.

I would say 99.5% of restaurants will either be completely closed on Christmas eve or will close at 14:00. All stores will close at 14:00. Check individual museums and tourist attractions to see what their holiday hours are. Very few will be open on the 24th.

The 25th and 26th are official holidays and stores will be closed, but many restaurants do a booming business. Museums and tourist attractions may or may not be open, so it is best to check their websites. Biggest problem this year is that the 27th is a Sunday and that means stores are still closed. Germans go a bit nuts with shopping when a holiday is coming up, as they are afraid they will run out of food. Grocery stores will be a mad house those last couple of days before Christmas. Interesting phenomenon that I never get tired of watching each year.

New Years Eve, though not an official holiday will have all stores close at 14:00. Restaurants and museums may or may not be open. You will want a reservation for dinner if you want a nice dinner. Fireworks are legal the last 3 days of the year and the whole country explodes at midnight. A bit like a war zone. The 1st is an official holiday, and stores will be closed. Check museum and tourist attraction websites.

Public transportation on all of these days will be on a slower, holiday schedule.

Churches will have lots of musical concerts. Tollwood in Munich might be a good option. Nice hotels will have Christmas Eve dinners. Some tour companies will have tours on all of the holidays so that might be an interesting diversion, especially if you go on a themed tour.
Mainhattengirl is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 09:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,761
Hi Iahawk,

I live in Garmisch and can confirm that the Christmas market, all shops, and most restaurants will close around noon on 24 December and will stay closed through 25 and 26 December. Yes, you'll be able to go shopping again on Monday 28 December.

Hotels and hotel restaurants will be open, and some cafes may open for a few hours in the afternoon.

Yes, public transportation will run on their normal Sunday/holiday schedule, but it should be fine.

Have fun as you plan!

swandav2000 is online now  
Feb 25th, 2015, 07:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 156
Thank you for the info!
Iahawk is offline  
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