Medieval Shows & a World Record at Gotha Christmas Market, Germany

water colour frame Gotha Christmas market

It’s by far not the most impressive Christmas market in Germany but if you are in the federal state of Thuringia, you might want to see the biggest candle arch.

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Medieval Shows & a World Record at Gotha Christmas Market, Germany

Key dates

Gotha Christmas market opening times:

  • Main market: 25 November to 30 December 2019 (one of the few Christmas markets open after Christmas Eve)
  • Hours: 11am to 8pm (Sun-Thu), 11am to 9pm (Fri-Sat)
  • Castle market: 2 to 7 January 2020
  • Hours: 11am to 8pm (Tues-Thu, Sun), 11am to 10pm (Fri-Sat)

Gotha Christmas market location:

  • Market adress: Hauptmarkt 3-43, 99867 Gotha
  • Palace address: Address: Schlossplatz 1, 99867 Gotha

Entrance to both: free
Main website (in German)


Where is Gotha?

Gotha is located in the west of Thuringia, the centermost state of Germany. It’s the fifth biggest town of the state and boasts a grand, early Baroque palace overlooking the historic town center.

It lies between Erfurt (the capital) and Eisenach (which is famous for Martin Luther and the devils mark in the Castle of Eisenach).

What makes Gotha’s Christmas Market special?

The Christmas market of Gotha is rather small, to be honest. It’s very much concentrated around the historic pink townhall and you can get all cozy around the market stalls.

However, it has one record breaking feature: You can enter the world’s largest accessible candle arch (Schwibbogen)! Typically they are just decoration for your window sill and originate from the Ore mountain region of Germany.

The arch measures 13x5x8 meters (43x16x26 feet) and features a hot beverage bar. There’s also a large, green Christmas pyramid in the front.

On top of the food and crafts huts, you have the opportunity of doing some spins at the newly added ice rink, provided by Duparrés EISWELT Gotha.  

Every day at 6pm, the giant Christmas calendar gets opened and a voucher is raffled off. (Do you have your German Christmas calendar yet? It’s a great gift, too.)

Gotha's pyramid and candle arch
Gotha’s pyramid and candle arch

Where is the Gotha Xmas Market?

From the Castle you can start your descent down into the town center towards the square Neumarkt. On the weekends, the market sprawls out onto both Buttermarkt and oberer Hauptmarkt as well.

As is typical for a German Christmas market, you will find a tall live fir tree with Christmas decoration in the midst of all the holiday bustle.


Medieval Insights at the Gotha Castle Christmas Market

The second Xmas market in Gotha is located in the Palace and features two new winter markets. One that runs throughout the Christmas season and one in the first week of January. This way you have a better chance of visiting this charming location at one of the most magical times of the year.

What is there to see? Inside the courtyard, which is lined by the palace’s iconic archways, Christmas huts are set up around a giant Christmas tree, selling local goods, handcrafted items and produce, such as hand-blown glassware or locally exclusive confectionary.

Check the event schedule for what’s happening at the market stage as there are dance groups and choirs scheduled to perform live. On 22 December at 4:30pm, the band M&Ms will play, for instance. (The official site is in German but you can scroll down for the calendar here.) You can also get active at the 15×30 meter (49×98 feet) ice rink.

What’s extra special here is that the market is supposed to be a living history class with vendors dressed up in historic outfits. The German Order of Knights even sets up interactive tents with armor and medieval fashion.

My Gotha Christmas Market Review

If you’re in the region, check out the Christmas markets in Gotha on weekend evenings. During weekdays, it’s rather unassuming and super quiet as the city isn’t that busy.

I was rather underwhelmed when I visited during the day. And with the Castle Christmas market now being reopened, lasting longer and free on top of it all, Gotha in December is definitely worth a short trip.


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