Christmas tree in Ruhpolding under a blanket of snow

Christmas at Lake Chiemsee and in the Bavarian Alps

Meet up with friends and family at the Christmas markets

Visit one of the traditional Christmas markets in the Chiemgau-Area and enjoy the anticipation of Christmas against a wintry backdrop. Contemplation, customs and a special atmosphere await you at the region's Christmas markets.

The scent of mulled wine, roasted almonds and sausages is in the air. Choirs sing atmospheric songs, wind instruments play soft melodies. Market stalls invite you to stroll past: You will discover local handicrafts and learn more about regional specialties- and find many a Christmas present in the process.

Almost every municipality in the Chiemgau-Area has its own Christmas market. Special event locations offer extraordinary market experiences: on the Fraueninsel or in the romantic town centres

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Christmas market in Traunstein
© © Chiemgau Tourismus e.V.

Advent in the Chiemgau

The Christmas season is just around the corner and begins with the first Sunday in Advent in December. From this point on, cookies are baked, candles are lit and Christmas presents are bought.

What begins with the 1st Advent?

Advent comes from the Latin Adventus Domini and means arrival. It is the season in which Christians prepare for the birth of Jesus, i.e. for Christmas Eve. At the same time, the new church year begins with the first Advent, in the Catholic and Protestant tradition. The church year is not based on our calendar, but determines a specific sequence of Christian festivals such as Easter, Pentecost and many more.

Red Christmas balls in the restaurant of the Sonnenalm on the Winklmoosalm
© © Chiemgau Tourismus e.V.

Advent customs in the Chiemgau-Area


The Paradeisl, like the Advent calendar, is intended to prepare for the Christmas season. Traditionally, the Paradeisl consists of four red apples, which are connected with decorated sticks to form a triangular pyramid. A candle is lit every Sunday until the top candle at the top of the pyramid is lit on Christmas Eve.


"Let us be merry and cheerful and rejoice from the bottom of our hearts." Every year in the night from December 5th to 6th,St. Nicholas walks around the houses and presents the good children with little things. Back then, two historical figures merged into one Santa Claus. Firstly, Nicholas of Myra from the third century and Nicholas from Sion from the sixth century. The figure of St. Nicholas arose from the legend about the lives of the two men. Depending on the region, St. Nicholas is accompanied by a terrifying figure. The so-called "Kramperl".

A Percht during the rough nights
© © Chiemgau Tourismus e.V.

Perchten and Kramperl

There are Perchten runs in the so-called "Raunächte" (rough nights) between Christmas and New Year, in which the evil spirits of winter and the old year are supposed to be driven out. The eerie Perchten are said to bring health, luck and blessings to house and yard, fields and forests.

At nightfall, the Perchten gather. The run is led by the Schönperchten in a human-like wooden mask, who ensure loud drumming. This is followed by Frau Percht, the main character of the group. She is followed by the Schiachperchten ("schiach" means something like ugly), who with their long whips and loud bells can frighten some people. More information about Perchten Runs in our region

Gingerbread stand in the evening at the Traunstein Christmas market
© © Chiemgau Tourismus e.V.

Chiemgau specialties at Christmas time

In the Advent season you cannot escape the Christmas smells. The smell of vanilla, cinnamon or the scent of beeswax candles makes you want more. Every year the back marathon begins anew. Who has the most types of cookies or who is ready faster? You can start sweating there. Nevertheless, Bavarian specialties are simply part of Christmas. Like the "Kletznbrot", also known as Hutzenbrot. The Bavarian fruit bread is made from dried pears. Refining the bread with the dried pears was something very special for the poor population at that time. With growing prosperity, other dried fruits such as plums or raisins were added.

What else is there?

Snow-covered Lödensee in Ruhpolding
© © Chiemgau Tourismus e.V.

Winter experience

The Chiemgau-Area - a top destination even in winter

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Pärchen beim Langlaufen
© © Chiemgau Tourismus e.V.

Langlaufen im Chiemgau

Langlaufen im Chiemgau - Abenteuer für alle Winterliebhaber.

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View from the boat on the Fraueninsel
© © Chiemgau Tourismus e.V.

event calendar

Experience music, theater and customs, be active in sports with like-minded people or explore the area with locals.

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