Hamburg’s hottest Weihnachtsmarkt

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel rumblings, Travel tips & opinions
Santa Pauli's Xmas Mkt

Pickville at Santa Pauli's

Aside from the bright lights, pubs, clubs, bars and theatres of the Reeperbahn that I visit on every trip, I was introduced to something new in Hamburg this weekend: Santa Pauli’s Weihnachtsmarkt. (Christmas market)


OK, the posters outside were cheap and tacky, and there were one or two cabins with more “adult” items for sale, but other than that it is a great Christmas market, with all the traditional cabins as well as the food and drink that has long been associated with German Christmas Markets. But this one is open every evening until late with live bands each night, DJs, flowing gluhwein and cheeks-a-glowing!

Since the (more traditional) Christmas markets in Hamburg did not open until Monday, I spent Thursday, Friday, Saturday and – wait for it – Sunday evenings enjoying the mulled wine, listening to live music, and people watching.

What does a Christmas market mean to you?

This is what I believe and, I think, it applies to any true Christmas market in Germany. People are not there for Christmas shopping – the focus is on food, drink and entertainment! I spoke to over twenty visitors at the market and all of them were there to socialise – whether that meant grabbing a quick drink with colleagues after work or meeting friends and family. They were also there to soak up the atmosphere and get jiggy with the music! This is in stark comparison to those visitors I met in the Christmas markets in Manchester and Birmingham last year whose main focus was Christmas shopping and to get drunk on mulled wine.

Where is the Christmas spirit? Where are the people dancing in the Streets? Not because they are drunk, but because they are happy and are enjoying the music.

The crowd on Sunday night

Hans Albers is a well-known singer in Hamburg – his song “Auf der Reeperbahn nachts um halb eins” (On the Reeperbahn at half- past midnight), when played, is sung along to by anyone who has ever spent time in Hamburg – including myself! So apart from singing that old favourite the live music was great. A Bit on the Side [] (comprising Duncan “Howdy Dog” Townsend, Leo “Shotgun” Lazar and Jamie “The Jazz Snake” Carnwath) provided a wonderful mix of music which got people up and dancing. Dara McNamara, [] Pickville [] (the latter a true international group with members from Buenos Aires, Limerick, Santiago de Chile and Dublin!) had the crowds singing along and shouting for more. And all this for free!

Get your dancing shoes on CD-traveller readers, and get practicing before I return from my German trip next week because this is what Christmas markets should also be about!

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