Christmas in Dresden and surroundings: Our tips

The cultural highlights for the Advent and Christmas season

Enjoy a ride in a horse carriage around Moritzburg castle. Image: Sylvio Dittrich

If you like Christmas, you will love Dresden. For festive hours in Advent and on Christmas days, Dresden also attracts 2023 with many events. The streets are decorated, seductive scents waft around, fairy tales and music put us in the mood: Christmas is coming soon!

Christmas in Dresden – that is pure festive atmosphere! No less than nine very different Christmas markets turn the Elbe metropolis into a glittering Christmas metropolis throughout December. Wherever you look: Everywhere you look, people are feasting, browsing and laughing. No wonder, the Christmas treats taste extra delicious in the baroque ambience of the state capital. So watch out: Here are our cultural tips for a peaceful Christmas season 2023.

Welcome to the Dresden Striezelmarkt

You can see it from a long: the world’s largest stepped pyramid from the Erzgebirge. It is almost 15 meters high and is located in the middle of the Dresden Striezelmarkt – and it is only one highlight among many at the largest and most famous Christmas market in Dresden. Also impressive are exquisite products of Saxon craftsmanship: Lausitzer blue printed fabrics, Herrnhuter stars, original Dresden Christmas stollen and wooden art from the Erzgebirge.

Located in the heart of the city, Germany’s oldest Christmas market opens its doors for the 589th time this year. Visitors flock from all over the world to feast and marvel between the Kulturpalast and the Kreuzkirche. Be part of it this year!

Opening hours: 29.11. – 24.12.2023, daily 10 – 21 h, 24.12.: 10 – 14 h

A must for all christmas fans: Weihnachtsfans: The Dresden Striezelmarkt. Image: (DML-BY)

Dresden’s Christmas mile has even more to offer

Advent in Dresden is a holiday full of discoveries. Although the Striezelmarkt is the most famous Christmas market here, it is only one stop on Dresden’s Christmas Mile. It stretches from Dresden’s main train station along Prager Straße, Alt- and Neumarkt to the other side of the Elbe.

Dresden Christmas markets at a glance

For example, the Dresden Winter Lights, the Christmas market along the shopping street, offer a special attraction: amid the festively decorated booths and twinkling lights, children and the young at heart can ice skate.

Where: Prager Straße, When: 30.11. – 23.12.2023

The Christmas Market at the Dresden Frauenkirche unfolds romantic Christmas flair in the festively illuminated Münzgasse. Traditional crafts and culinary specialties make the hearts of visitors beat faster.

Where: Münzgasse, When: 29.11. – 24.12.2023

Just a few steps away, you will find the Advent at the Neumarkt, where craftsmen and traders bring the time between 1830 and 1920 to life. Not only at Christmas, but also on New Year’s Eve, things are especially quiet and contemplative here: firecrackers and fireworks are prohibited on the entire grounds in front of the Frauenkirche.

Where: Neumarkt, When: Nov. 30 – Dec. 23, 2023, and Dec. 27 – Jan. 7, 2024.

Within sight of the Frauenkirche, on the piazza at the Residenzschloss, the Romantic Christmas Market at Dresden Castle spreads the flair of the late 19th century. Lovingly designed stalls await you with unique gift ideas. A nostalgic children’s carousel will delight the little visitors.

Where: Piazza at the Residenzschloss, When: 30.11. – 24.12.2023

Jugglers, storytellers and stilt walkers cavort at the Medieval Christmas Market in the Stable Yard of the Residenzschloss. Marvel at how unique products are created under the hands of industrious craftsmen using tools and materials from the late Middle Ages. You can buy traditionally made goods at the stalls. After Christmas, on Christmas Day, the scenery changes, because the twelve nights of incense are celebrated in the stable yard in a particularly magical way. Incense is in the air. Fortune tellers and fantastic creatures tempt visitors to risk a glimpse into the future. The festival ends with Epiphany.

Where: Dresden Stallhof, When: 27 -30 Dec. 2023 and 02 – 06 Jan. 2024

Brand new: The new Finnish Christmas market Finn Village Dresden is located on Postplatz, on the edge of Dresden’s Old Town. On icy days, flaming salmon cooked on an open fire and spicy glögi provide visitors with the necessary warmth. Numerous stalls entice visitors with unique Christmas gifts.

Where: Dresdner Postplatz, When: 30.11. – 31.12.

On the other side of the Elbe, at the Golden Rider and along the main street greets the Augustusmarkt, Dresden’s international Christmas market. It combines regional tradition with international Christmas culture. The Blue Tree with its glowing icicles is an eye-catcher and visitor magnet.

On New Year’s Eve, things really get going here! DJs play along the 500-meter-long promenade. Until two o’clock in the morning, the stalls will provide you with food and drinks, and the colorfully illuminated Ferris wheel will spin all night long. A pleasant surprise this year: At midnight, the well-known, beautiful New Year’s Eve fireworks will be set off again at Augustusbrücke – for the first time in many years and donated by Augustusmarkt.

Where: Hauptstraße between Neustädter Markt and Albertplatz, When: 29.11.2023 – 07.01.2024, (closed on 24. – 26.12.2023 and 01.01.2024)

You can enjoy a particularly romantic atmosphere at the “Elbhangfest Christmas Market“. Located at the foot of the Elbe slope in Dresden-Loschwitz, close to the Blue Wonder, you can enjoy a pre-Christmas stroll between historic half-timbered houses and winding alleys. Here you can admire the products of regional artists and craftswomen – and maybe grab a Christmas gift or two. Delicious stollen and background music make a visit to the Christmas market a special experience.

Where: Körnerplatz, Dresden-Loschwitz, When: 02.12. – 17.12.2023 All Christmas markets and dates at:

Advent in Dresden amazes with cultural delights

In addition to Christmas markets, numerous concerts, exhibitions and festivals in Dresden and the surrounding area shorten the wait for Christmas. Carried melodies, exciting stories and cherished traditions are guaranteed to get you in the right mood for Christmas. These are our tips for the Advent season in Dresden.

Stollen Festival

Every year on the Saturday before the second Advent, the Dresden Christstollen is celebrated with a big parade and hundreds of stollen bakers. The joyous celebration of the Stollen Festival, with a street parade and lots of delicious stollen to sample, takes place this year on December 9th.

Christmas with the Dresden Kreuzchor

If you want to experience the famous Dresdner Kreuzchor this year, you should definitely go to the Dresdner Kreuzkirche at Christmas time. In addition to the Christmas carol evenings on December 09 and 10, 2023, this year’s Christmas Oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach is, of course, a real highlight. The three-part oratorio will be performed by the Kreuzchor, soloists and the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra from Dec. 15 to 17, 2023 (cantatas 1-3) and on Jan. 13, 2024 (cantatas 4-6).

Great Advent Concert in the Rudolf Harbig Stadium

In the Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion you will experience a varied Advent concert on 21.12.2023, among others with top soloists and the Dresdner Kreuzchor, the Dresdner Kapellknaben, the children’s choir of the Staatsoperette and the Oh-TÖ – The musical company.

Enchanting winter walks in Pillnitz Palace Park and at Wackerbarth Palace

The former estate of Augustus the Strong, Pillnitz Palace & Park, is once again transformed into a magical winter wonderland. Just in time for the Christmas season, the Christmas Garden Dresden invites you on a sparkling winter walk. From 16.11.2023 to 14.01.2024, guests young and old can let themselves be captured by the Christmas atmosphere in the castle park. An approximately two-kilometer-long circular path with impressive illuminations invites visitors to marvel and discover.

Also a must: a romantic evening at Wackerbarth Castle, the first adventure winery in Europe. From November to February, the baroque grounds and vineyards are transformed every evening into a veritable sea of thousands and thousands of lights. Music, good wine and other culinary temptations are not to be missed at the winter event “Wine & Light”.

Illuminated “Christmas Garden”, Pillnitz Palace and Park, Image: Daniel Clarke

Experience Dresden from the water: Winter boat trips on the Elbe River

Not on foot, but quite comfortably on the ship it goes over the Elbe on the experience journeys with the white fleet. The trip leads from Terrassenufer to Blasewitz, to Pillnitz and back to the starting point.

From 27.11. to 20.12.2023, you can take part in the approximately 90-minute castle tour on the historic paddle steamer twice a day, Tuesdays to Saturdays. If you feel like it, you can sweeten your trip on board with Christmas stollen and mulled wine.

On Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 29.11.2023 to 04.01.2024, a decorated saloon ship departs for the evening trip to the Christmas Garden from 5 p.m. each day. The ticket price includes a 3-course menu and admission to the Christmas Garden.

From 28.11. to 30.12.23, Tuesdays to Thursdays (except on 26.12.), and additionally on 05. to 13.01.2024, it goes in each case from 18:30 clock with the festively decorated salon ship on a winter light trip to Pillnitz and back. The Christmas 3-course menu is accompanied live by a pianist.

"Weiße Flotte" offers three different types of citycruises in December. Image: Weiße Flotte Sachsen GmbH
“Weiße Flotte” offers three different types of citycruises in December. Image: Weiße Flotte Sachsen GmbH

Enjoy the New Year and the winter in a fairytale and cinematic way

Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella

At Moritzburg Castle, the original filming location of the Christmas classic “Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella,” the winter exhibition will open again from Nov. 22, 2023, to Feb. 25, 2024, with background stories about the film and the making of the fairy tale. Also on view are original costumes, recreated film scenes, multimedia productions and, of course, the original film at selected times.

New Year’s Eve Concerts of the Staatskapelle Dresden

Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst | Piano: Igor Levit

When: 09.12.2023 – 14.01.2024, Where: Staatskapelle Dresden

The Saxonian Orchestra Dresden is one of the world’s leading orchestras. Photo: Matthias Creutziger

Elbe Venetian Carnival: Lust – Passion – Joie de Vivre

For over 400 years there have been close cultural ties between Venice and Dresden. Augustus the Strong even wanted to architecturally transform his residence into a Saxon Venice, with the Elbe as Canale Grande. Above all, the Venetian Carnival exerted a great fascination, combining Italian joie de vivre and courtly elegance. The Elbe Venetian Carnival was first celebrated in Dresden 350 years ago and continued to be so for many decades. Now this idea is being revived and you are cordially invited to immerse yourself in a baroque attitude to life, with your own robe and mask if you wish.

Where: Historic Old Town, When: 09 – 10.02.2024

Great emotions and soulful sounds in Semperoper, Frauenkirche and beyond

Dresden Winter at the concert square Weißer Hirsch

From 17.11.2023 to 25.02.2024, the concert square Weißer Hirsch will once again be transformed into a magical winter wonderland. Rustic log cabins, a varied program of events and the most romantic ice rink in Dresden await you. Dive into the winter wonderland with family, friends or colleagues. The square is surrounded by the Dresdner Heide, Dresden’s city forest, which is one of the largest in Germany.

A Baumkuchen is baked fresh at the Dresden Winterzauber
Dresden Winter at square Weißer Hirsch is a perfect spot to witness romantic christmas atmosphere. Image: Anke Wolten-Thom,

Advent with Harmonic Brass

The Munich brass ensemble “Harmonic Brass” is famous worldwide for its large, elegant brass sound. For “Christmas Brass Music”, the ensemble sets the mood for the Advent season with festive sounds.

When: 04.12.2023 Where: Frauenkirche Dresden

Boys’ Choir of Tölz

The “Alpine Christmas” of the famous boys’ choir is a round of well-known tunes and songs, a soundtrack of the Advent season between contemplation and jubilation.

When: 06.12.2023 Where: Frauenkirche Dresden

Swan Lake

Choreographer Johan Inger interprets the fantastic tale around the motif of the famous Swan Maiden on the basis of Tchaikovsky’s music.

When: 09.12.2023 – 14.01.2024 Where: Semperoper

26th Dresden Christmas Circus

The Dresden Christmas Circus is as much a part of Dresden as the Striezelmarkt. For the 26th time, it reaches its impressive and magnificent tent city on the Volksfestplatz on Pieschener Allee opposite the Ostragehege. What visitors can expect? The best manege show of the year in the state capital. World class and excellent Christmas ambience in all tents. Great live entertainment for the whole family. And much more!

When: 14.12.2023 – 07.01.2024 Where: Ostragehege Folk Festival Square Dresden

Italian Christmas

Italian Christmas music of the Baroque period – that means swaying shepherd music, exuberant dancing anticipation, tone garlands and contemplative melodies. It is music that is able to capture the Christmas spirit in a special way. Look forward to arrangements by Arcangelo Corelli, Francesco Manfreini and others.

When: 23.12.2023 Where: Frauenkirche Dresden

Hansel and Gretel

Katharina Thalbach’s production takes children and adults alike on a musical journey into the world of fairy tales, at the end of which lies the downfall of the witch’s kingdom and thus the victory of good.

When: 29 – 31.12.2023 Where: Semper Opera

Tristan and Isolde

Chief conductor Christian Thielemann shapes a moving evening of opera from Richard Wagner’s legendary composition about the legendary love potion and with the help of Marco Arturo Marelli’s visually stunning staging.

When: 21, 25, 28.01. and 03.02.2024 Where: Semperoper

Dresden winter highlights

For more information and events, check out our Christmas brochure this year!