Christmas markets in Dessau and Magdeburg: fun for all ages

Magdeburg lighted houses

As a Christmas gift to you, our readers, we’re sharing the joy of Christmas markets in Germany. And what a joy those markets were!

Our Viking river cruise, “Christmas Along the Elbe,” altered its itinerary as cities closed markets unexpectedly due to an increase in the number of Covid cases. But even without the promised markets such as the one in Dresden, we were treated to four other locales brimming with talented craftsmen, smiling vendors, and fabulous food and wine. So we bring you our favorites from Dessau and Magdeburg.

Christmas is the day that holds all time together.

Alexandria Smith


Dessau’s market — although one of the smallest we saw — was packed even mid-day. The main reason? An appeal to all ages. With a ferris wheel, car tracks, and skating rink, Dessau welcomed adults as well as active youngsters who cared less about the shops but loved the rides. Yet the adults — tourists included — were drawn to little pop-up shops boasting Christmas goodies. We learned about German smokers (they burn incense and blow out the smoke!) and wooden cut-out scenes that cast a soft glow when placed in home windows. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Christmas market without food and drink. And so we sampled German sausages and sipped gluhwein (a mulled wine, of sorts) served in its own take-home mug. Dessau was truly a market for all.


At the night market in Magdeburg, guests were greeted by a show of falling snowflakes on the façade of Magdeburg Cathedral. And then welcomed to the shops and eateries inside.

Magdeburg church
Dancing snowflakes light up Magdeburg Cathedral.

After showing proof of vaccinations and picture ID (required at all German markets), we roamed the magical Magdeburg Night Market. A ferris wheel similar to the one in Dessau looked even more enticing here in Magdeburg as it lit up the night. Temporary Christmas shops against a backdrop of historical buildings became a not-soon-to-be-forgotten memory as anything lighted showed up beautifully. From little paper houses to German candle-lit scenes, Christmas markets after dark took on a whole new meaning.

Here’s hoping you’ve enjoyed our tour through two small but wondrous towns along the Elbe. We’ll share the magic of Hannover and Berlin markets in our next post.

Wishing all of you the happiest of holidays and the joy of a new year to come.

Until then, may the blessings of Christmas be with you all year long, no matter where you live.

Travel the world,

Rusha and Bert

43 thoughts on “Christmas markets in Dessau and Magdeburg: fun for all ages

  1. Forestwood

    I still treasure my Xmas market cup from Munich and I can still remember the taste of the gluhwein. Wonderful to see these markets as well via your photos.

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  4. Camelids

    Glad to see that the markets were open in some German towns, and hope you enjoyed Magdeburg. I went to Dessau only to see the Bauhaus-related sights, I don’t recall seeing much else but I know there’s an old marktplatz. Anyway, hope it was fun – and the rest of the journey of course.


    How wonderful, Rusha and Bert! We visited Dessau in the summer when we lived in Berlin, but seeing it transformed for the Christmas Market is a real treat! I remember the “Smokers” and always delighted in them as a kid. And Magdeburg looks charming. How was your experience traveling internationally? I know how much you two love a good cruise, and it looks like you found a great one with flexibility given the Covid climate.

    So sorry that I haven’t been around much lately. I nearly lost my youngest sister earlier this year and I’ve been helping with her recovery. I want to thank you and Bert for all you do for this blogging community – your posts are always positive and enthusiastic, wrapped in great writing! You’re always a joy to read. Wishing you all the very best in the New Year. ~Terri

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Your words mean so much to us. We have a long way to go to match your creativity and quality, but we love sharing what we’ve seen with four readers.
      So sorry to hear of your sister’s challenges, but she is fortunate to have you by her side.
      Please continue setting the gold standard for the blogging community. And may your new year bring good health and some happy surprises.

  6. Nancy Stanley

    This was a gift! Loved seeing the markets through your lens. So intrigued by the lighted paper houses. Thank you for sharing with all of us. ❤️🎄💚

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      We’ve had a wonderful Christmas, and we really did enjoy the markets in Germany. Now I know why Europeans look fondly toward the arrival of them each year. Here’s hoping there are many great hikes in your future. Happy New Year!

  7. Pat

    Wishing you many safe and happy travel experiences in the coming year – and the joy of revisiting past travels through your archive of photographs and posts.

  8. Pit

    I’v enever been to Christmas markets in the former GDR,, so thanks for taking me there.
    Marry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you, too,

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Hope you enjoy the play (You may have seen it, not sure). Bill told us you had tickets. I’m insanely jealous, but happy for you and Michael. Tell him that many people, us included, wish him a speedy recovery.

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