Nothing gets you into the holiday spirit in Europe like a Christmas market.

These markets, which originated in Germany, can now be found in many cities throughout Europe. I really enjoy Christmas markets and have been to several over the years. I’ll be sharing some of my Christmas
market pilgrimages for the 12 Days of Christmas Markets.

While most Christmas markets have a bit of rustic charm, there’s no denying the buzz that comes from being in such a lively, urban setting like Berlin. The city has more than sixty markets that are as varied and diverse as its neighborhoods.

Kids of all ages will want to experience WinterMagic at Potsdamer Platz, which, in addition to the typical Christmas market fare, features lots of lights, music, an outdoor ice skating rink and Europe’s largest toboggan run.

Also at Potsdamer Platz is the Christmas market at Sony Centre, and next door, Legoland Discovery Center.

Families will also enjoy theWeihnachtsZauber on Gendermenmarkt, situated between the Deutschen and Franzozichen Dome in one of Berlin’s most beautiful squares.

Small and intimate, this market also features an extensive daily performance program of choirs, dance ensembles, acrobats and theater.

There is a nominal fee for Gendermenmarkt, however, children up to age 12 are free.

There is also a Hanukkah market in the glass courtyard of the Jewish Museum. The Hanukkah market offers Jewish specialties from all over the world, as well as special events, live concerts and a small exhibition detailing historical background of the Jewish festival and the rituals associated with it.

Most Christmas markets start the last week of November and run until a few days after Christmas. Be sure to check the Visit Berlin website for exact dates and times.