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4 unmissable Christmas markets in South Tyrol

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4 unmissable Christmas markets in South Tyrol

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The South Tyrol Christmas markets are certainly among the most beautiful and fascinating in Italy. Here you will find all the typical colors and scents of the month of December, the smell of cinnamon and mulled wine and plenty of ideas and handicrafts for your Christmas gifts. In this article we suggest 4 of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the area, which you can visit even on a weekend or day trip.

We love... Christmas Markets!

You may have guessed it by now: we are real Christmas market enthusiasts! And those of South Tyrol, certainly among the most beautiful and fascinating in Italy, could not be missing from our blog! In this region in north-eastern Italy, where the influence of Austrian culture and language is strong, you will find all the typical colors and scents of December, the smell of cinnamon and mulled wine, and plenty of ideas and handicraft products for your Christmas presents. All these characteristics certainly make them a must for lovers of the Christmas atmosphere. In this article we suggest 4 of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the area, which you can visit even on a weekend or day trip.

Where to stay

Although the markets suggested in this article are fairly close to each other, our advice is to stay in or near Bolzano. That way you can move around easily by car or public transportation and reach all the other markets in the area, with the added facilities of a large city center.

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Bolzano

Since the early 1990s, the Christmas market in Bolzano (Christkindlmarkt Bozen, in German) has enlivened the city every year between November and December. The heart of the event is Piazza Walther, in the city center and close to many of the city’s main attractions. Traditional wooden stands are set up here where good food and handicrafts take center stage. In 2023, the markets take place from 24 November to 6 January 2024 and can be visited from Monday to Thursday between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The food stands remain open beyond closing time. We also suggest that you take a stroll around the area to the Park Alcide Berloffa – near the main station – which is transformed into the ‘Christmas Park’ (“Parco di Natale” in italian) during the Christmas season. Here you will find more than 30 stands with artistic handicrafts and gastronomy. The center of Bolzano can easily be reached by train. For timetables, you can consult the website of Trenitalia, the Italian rail transport company. To reach the Bolzano markets by car, on the other hand, caution should be exercised. The historic center of Bolzano is not accessible to cars and is subject to an automatic control system with cameras. So we suggest that you find a parking solution among the many indicated at this link (in Italian and German only) and carefully follow the directions to the car parks, taking care not to drive through the video-monitored gates. At this link, however, you will find the official website of the Bolzano markets.

Merano

Fascinating and sophisticated, the Merano Christmas markets are not to be missed! The heart of the event is the Passirio Promenade (Passeggiata Lungo Passirio, in italiano), where wooden huts and exhibition stands are set up along both banks of the river. Our advice is to start your visit at Piazza Terme, which has been transformed into a magical winter wonderland. Here you will find dozens of christmas trees, an ice rink and the Sky Bar, where you can enjoy a hot drink with the best view of Christmas in Merano. Next, cross the bridge over the river and reach the real heart of the festivities, the Passirio Promenade. In 2023, the markets run from 24 November to 6 January 2024 and can be visited from Monday to Thursday between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The food stands remain open beyond closing time.
If you have some time left, we suggest you treat yourself to some well-deserved relaxation at the Merano Thermal Baths, a modern spa facility open all year round and which proposes theme evenings with midnight closing during the Christmas period. Here you will find all the information.
The city center of Merano can easily be reached by train from Bolzano. For timetables, you can consult the website of Trenitalia, the Italian rail transport company. By car, the center of Merano is not accessible. At this link (in Italian and German only) you will find the real-time city parking situation, which you can easily reach by carefully following the directions to the car parks.
Here (in Italian and German only), on the other hand, you will find the official website of the Merano Markets.

– Would you prefer to stay overnight in Merano to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere? Find your hotel on Booking.com

Brixen

Of the many Christmas markets in the small towns of South Tyrol, the one in Brixen is probably the most impressive to us. Set up in the heart of the small town center, with the magnificent Baroque façade of the cathedral behind it, this market has learned over the years how to offer its visitors an authentic Christmas atmosphere. The little wooden houses and stands offer incredible handmade nativity scenes, numerous handicrafts made of wood, ceramics or glass and, as a gastronomic offering, typical specialities from the Isarco Valley. Also not to be missed are the numerous concerts and musical performances throughout Advent that give the place an even more festive atmosphere. In 2023, the markets take place from 24 November to 6 January 2024 and can be visited from Monday to Thursday between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Here too, the food stands remain open beyond closing time. The official website of the event can be found here.
The center of Brixen can easily be reached by train from Bolzano. For timetables, you can consult the website of Trenitalia, the Italian rail transport company. For those arriving by car, on the other hand, we again suggest that you pay attention and follow the directions to the car parks you will find at the entrance to the city. A real-time system will show you the availability of parking spaces in the three main car parks: Priel car park, Rosslauf underground car park, Mitte underground car park (also known as Seeste car park).

– Would you prefer to stay overnight in Brixen to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere? Find your hotel on Booking.com
Booking.com
Booking.com

Glorenza

The last South Tyrol market we would like to suggest is a little more difficult to visit, as it only lasts for a weekend. But if you manage to organize yourself, we are sure you won’t regret it. Glorenza, still surrounded by the mighty medieval defensive walls, is the backdrop to an event that is really strongly felt by the local population, which makes it unforgettable! In addition to the classic products typical of all Christmas markets, here there are numerous natural products and a myriad of musicians and carolers who contribute in no small measure to creating a true Christmas atmosphere.
As you walk through the streets of the tiny old town to the main square, the heart of the festivities, we suggest you look up at the windows of the houses, which are also decorated and illuminated with themed designs such as candles, Christmas trees and holy images. In 2023, the markets take place on the weekend of 8-10 December and can be visited from 11 a.m. You can find the updated event programme here.
The center of Glorenza can be reached by public transport from Bolzano via a combination of train and bus. If you arrive by car, two large car parks are available here and here.

– Would you prefer to stay overnight in Glorenza to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere? Find your hotel on Booking.com

Tips

1

Did you know that the population in South Tyrol speaks both Italian and German (with a predominance of the latter)? Road signs, as well as posters, are often in both languages.

2

There are other equally fascinating Christmas markets in South Tyrol that we have not listed in this article because we have not (yet) had the pleasure of visiting them. If you are looking for ideas and alternatives, you can find a comprehensive overview at this link.

3

If you stay at one of the accommodation facilities in the region, you are entitled to a free South Tyrol Guest Pass, a guest card that allows free use of all public transport of the integrated transport system ‘Altoadigemobility‘. This will allow you to leave your car and travel free of charge on the main local and regional public transport. Ask for your card when you check in at the hotel! More information can be found at this link.

4

Are you planning a trip or weekend getaway here and have any doubts or questions? Let us know by leaving a comment below and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

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