Hairpin Letter Press promo

I visited an all-inclusive German Christmas market by Berlin's beautiful Oberbaum bridge — see inside


  • German-style Christmas markets crop up all over the world this time of year.
  • A market in Berlin offers all-you-can-eat food and drink after you pay an entry fee.
  • Insider’s Steffen Bosse visited to see if it was worth the entrance fee.

This is an edited, translated version of an article that originally appeared on December 5, 2022.

For me, a visit to a Christmas market is an essential part of the festive season.

Whether with family, friends, or colleagues, a Christmas market and a few glasses of mulled wine always hit the spot.

But the high prices you usually find in these markets don’t look particularly appealing in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.

The space has a capacity of 750 people.

The space has a capacity of 750 people.

Weihnachten an der Spree



All-inclusive Christmas markets may offer a cost-effective alternative. They charge a fixed-entry fee, but you’re then able to eat and drink as much as you like inside.

I visited the “Weihnachten an der Spree,” or Christmas on the Spree, all-inclusive Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, to see if it was worth it.

The market was all about the food and drinks.

The market was all about the food and drinks.

Weihnachten an der Spree



I arrived at around 6:30 p.m.

I arrived at the market, which is right by the famous Oberbaumbrücke, or Oberbaum bridge, to the sound of Mariah Carey blaring through the speakers, and I was immediately pleased to see there were no long queues for stalls.

It was a pleasant change, especially from my hometown of Braunschweig, near Hanover in north central Germany, where there’s usually a single line slowly filing its way through the narrow streets.

It was extremely cold next to the river Spree.

It was extremely cold next to the river Spree.

Weihnachten an der Spree



I was told that about 450 people were already there and that the space had a capacity of 750.

Entry cost between 26.15 to 41.90 euros, including booking fees, for adults, or around $27 to $44.

The price differs depending on when you arrive. After 5 p.m., it’s 41.90 euros, after 6:30 p.m., it’s 35.10 euros, and it drops to 26.15 euros after 8 p.m., until the market closes at 10 p.m.

The market was all about the food and drinks

I missed stalls selling knickknacks and decorations.

I missed stalls selling knickknacks and decorations.

Weihnachten an der Spree



Other than a few games, including curling and “Nageln,” a game in which players compete to hammer nails into a wooden block, the market was made up of food and mulled-wine stalls.

So if, like me, you like to stroll through Christmas markets and look at stalls full of handcrafted objects, decorations, and other knickknacks, you’ll be disappointed.

Curling was one of the few games on offer at the market.

Curling was one of the few games on offer at the market.

Weihnachten an der Spree



Nevertheless, all the classic German Christmas-market foods were on offer. There were bratwurst, pork-neck steaks, sautéed mushrooms, “Spätzle” with goulash, potato soup, smoked salmon, crêpes, and waffles with cherries.

You could also get roasted almonds, chili, pulled-pork burgers, and more.

The food was delicious, but the portions were definitely smaller than at other markets.

The food was delicious, but the portions were definitely smaller than at other markets.

Weihnachten an der Spree



The portions were definitely smaller than in a standard Christmas market, but there’s no limit to the number of portions you can have.

One major plus was that there were no long queues, and the service was quick because there was no need to pay.

I started with cheese Spätzle with mushrooms, and it got me right into the Christmas spirit.

Spätzle with mushrooms.

Spätzle with mushrooms.

Business Insider



While the food was delicious, standing around in sub-zero temperatures with the wind from the Spree blowing through the stalls was pretty unpleasant. Most people were huddled around in small groups close to heaters and fire barrels.

Speaking with other people at the market, I found that quite a few had come on work trips that their companies had expensed.

A Christmas party on the Spree with as much food and mulled wine as possible sounds pretty smart to me.

Mulled wine, which is called Glühwein in German.

Mulled wine, which is called Glühwein in German.

Weihnachten an der Spree



And most others didn’t seem too bothered about whether they ended up saving more than if they’d gone to a traditional Christmas market.

I don’t think it works for regular visitors

The area was a bit too small and there wasn’t enough variety for regular visitors — though the Spree and the Oberbaumbrücke made for a beautiful backdrop. But I think it definitely works for a work Christmas party.

Berlin's Oberbaumbrücke behind the market.

Berlin’s Oberbaumbrücke behind the market.

Weihnachten an der Spree



After a crêpe and a glass of mulled wine, I left the all-inclusive market to go to the Lucia Christmas Market in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district — a more traditional, free-to-enter market where you pay for food, drink, and anything you buy from the stalls — to see how the prices compared there.

The mulled wine cost four euros, as did a bratwurst. A pork neck steak was 4.50 euros, or about $4.75; and a waffle with berries was 6.50 euros, or about $6.86.

So for the price of entry at the all-inclusive market, you could get around eight mulled wines, a bratwurst, and a waffle with cherries at the market in Prenzlauer Berg. Or you could just drink 10 mulled wines.

But I never go to a Christmas market to try and eat as much as possible, and I’ve never felt the need to drink 10 mulled wines there either.

The organizers at Spreespeicher Event Location certainly put a lot of effort into the design of the market, and the food was delicious. But without that wonderful mixture of food, drinks, knickknacks, and carnival rides, I thought it was missing a key aspect of classic Christmas markets.



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top