Munich Tales 2018: The city’s stellar airport should be a festive place to say goodbye to Christmas in Germany.


That’s right. The airport, where we’ll be on Christmas Eve as the way back home begins.

Munich Airport’s Christmas Market Has 2 Ice Rinks and Almost 500 Real Trees, by Katherine Lagrave (Conde Nast Traveler)

Strap on some ice skates and sip some Glühwein on your next layover.

Nobody does Christmas quite like Germany, and as it turns out, nobody does holiday airport shopping quite like Germany either. On November 17, Munich Airport opened its 44-stall Christmas market amid nearly 500 (real) pine trees in the covered space between its airport terminals, meaning travelers facing a long layover can now do more than just flip through the latest Der Spiegel in Germany’s version of Hudson News.

It’s not just local handicrafts and seasonal treats like Glühwein, sweet roasted almonds, bratwurst, and Rahmfleckerl, a flatbread-like dish with cream, bacon, and chopped chives. The centerpiece of the market is a 50-foot tall Christmas tree decorated with 5,000 lights and 3,000 bulbs—but the main attraction is a big (especially for an airport) skating rink with free entry; visitors can rent skates for a “small” fee …

… The market, in its 20th year, isn’t the only notable thing about Munich Airport: It was ranked Europe’s first five-star airport by Skytrax in 2017, the best airport in Europe for the eleventh time in 13 years, and the sixth-best airport worldwide in the World Airport Awards 2018, with the second-best terminal in the world. In addition to its seasonal Winterlicher Zauberlandschaft (that’s Winter Wonderland, to you), the airport also has Europe’s largest roofed-in beer garden, a dedicated kids’ center, and an alpine-themed restaurant where you can dine in a gondola from a real ski lift.

As we return home, a closing overview of Christmas in Germany, courtesy of Deutsche Welle.

10 things you should know before celebrating Christmas in Germany

Stock your pantry and keep your fire extinguisher handy. Here are 10 things you should know ahead of Christmas in Germany.

10. It’s not over until the … children sing

Christmas begins with Advent in late November and the holiday itself lasts three whole days, so it’s only fitting that Christmas gradually come to a close in Germany. Officially, it’s not over until Epiphany, or Three Kings’ Day, on January 6. Typically, children dress like the Three Wise Men who visited Jesus in the manger, according to the Bible, and go door to door singing traditional songs.