The huge Christmas tree on Hamburg’s Binnenalster lake, sweet-smelling marzipan in front of the scenery of Lübeck’s brick walls or a warming punch in dreamy Lüneburg: the cities of the Hamburg metropolitan region are a visitor attraction for Christmas shopping full of atmosphere during the Advent season. And the many smaller “pearls” of the region make at least as much effort during Advent to enchant their guests with a festive atmosphere. Where is it worth taking a look behind the walls of monasteries, castles and palaces? Where is Advent in northern Germany especially atmospheric in courtyards, harbours and narrow alleys?

Places like New York, Vienna or Stockholm are often listed as classics for pre-Christmas shopping pleasure. But why not head to the north of Germany and let yourself be captivated by the magnificent shopping streets of the Hanseatic cities? Here, where trade with exquisite goods from all over the world is part of history, it becomes particularly festive, but also cosy, from the end of November. Surrounded by Christmas decorations, the scent of mulled punch and the festive ringing of bells, shopping in Hamburg becomes an event for the whole family.
One Hanseatic city further towards the Baltic Sea, in Lübeck, the Niederegger Marzipan headquarter, the arts and crafts market in the Holy Spirit Hospital or the Schabbelhaus attract visitors to take a pre-Christmas stroll through the city on the River Trave.


An atmosphere that, in its mixture of history and bustle, can be compared with Lüneburg, south of Hamburg – another magnet of the metropolitan region. Here, after a leisurely shopping spree through winding alleys with their restored half-timbered facades, people meet at the picturesque Stintfang. The fairy lights are reflected in the water of the Ilmenau while sipping hot punch on the riverside promenade.

But the anticipation of the festival also rises in the lesser-known places of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Inland, there is pre-Christmas flair to be experienced in historic vaults during this most beautiful time of the year, and the country’s coasts can also be wonderfully discovered in the winter months despite a fresh breeze. Grog, crackling candy and hot seabuckthorn juice ensure that the shopping trip always ends with warm hands.

Fairytale-like anticipation around Schwerin and Ludwigslust

The pre-Christmas season in Mecklenburg-Schwerin is more tranquil, the region to the east of Hamburg, with the royal seat of Schwerin and the baroque town of Ludwigslust is providing particularly magnificent and fairytale-like sceneries.


Baroque robes at the castle Christmas in Ludwigslust, proud horses and carriage rides at the Redefin State stud farm or the monastery Christmas market at the Cistercian nuns in Zarrentin will make children’s eyes light up and provide plenty of inspiration for buying presents. With Christmas music and all kinds of culinary temptations, guests browse through the products of regional manufactories, catered for with country-specific culinaries. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for even in this rich assortment: in Neustadt-Glewe you can make your own small gifts from wood, clay, wool or soapstone in a creative workshop behind medieval castle walls.

A fresh breeze: blowing through on Mecklenburg’s Baltic coast

From inland to the sea, or more precisely to the Baltic Sea: Mecklenburg’s coast is rough, fresh and originally beautiful in December. The wind clears the head and a hot chocolate warms the limbs and flatters the soul.

The former Hanseatic city of Wismar invites you to shop. Small, owner-managed shops and pubs from the “Wismar favourites” association guide you specifically to the highlights of the city. Advent markets, an open Sunday and the Seamen’s Christmas are organised under the motto “Christmas World Heritage Wismar”. They provide enough variety for a shopping tour through the historic town centre.

Those who love beaches and waves will be happy in Boltenhagen. The Baltic seaside resort attracts visitors with its historic central promenade from the 1920s. Time flies on the car-free promenade while strolling through shops and boutiques. With darkness falling, you can take another stroll along the new dune promenade, enjoy the winterly calm and end the day in one of the cafés with pastries and hot drinks.


Art and the magic of lights in Schleswig-Holstein

Art, culture and bargain shopping: Schleswig-Holstein in the north of the Metropolitan Region also offers a variety of shopping opportunities and festive Christmas magic. In addition to illuminated shopping malls in Neumünster (a real bargain paradise), head for “Kieken und Köpen” in the royal town of Glücksburg, to Dithmarschen or for an art and Advent stroll in Eutin.


The best way to round off a day of shopping in the by 50.000 lights festively illuminated city centre is to visit an exhibition. The Eutin Castle and the Ostholstein Museum are currently dedicated to the regional artists Louise M. Wagner (1875-1950) and Frauke Gloyer (born 1961).

Where so much sparkles, a few stars can’t be far away. They can be found in the royal town of Glücksburg with the Glückstädter Advent calendar and the Glücksstädter Sternentalers. In this campaign, all customers of participating shops and restaurants receive a ticket for every 25 euros of purchase value for the Sternentaler-lottery. If everyone doesn’t win a little bit here?

Christmas shopping in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region!

Photo Credit: Christian Ohde, Jörg Modrow, ralfbrunnereu,, TZ Wismar/Christoph Meyer, Gewerbe- und Tourismusverein Zarrentin und Umgebung e.V./Frank Hermann, H. Volster, Tourismusverband Mecklenburg-Schwerin/Christina Korr, Förderverein Schloss Ludwigslust e.V., Kurverwaltung Ostseebad Boltenhagen/Bernd Kühn, Freilichtmuseum Schwerin-Müß/Volker Janke, yorbiter, Anne Weise_fineart Fotografie, fokusweite/Eutin Tourismus, LTM, Oliver Franke