Merano, known for its spa resorts and art nouveau architecture, comes alive in a special way during Christmas.
The Merano Christmas Market attracts visitors with its variety of traditional Italian crafts and delicious South Tyrolean treats.
In this article, I’ll provide essential details like confirmed 2023 dates, opening times, and locations and highlight local specialties to look out for.
The combination of South Tyrolean tradition with Mediterranean flair gives Merano a distinctive Christmas atmosphere.
Here, the surroundings add to the festive mood, with snow-capped mountains providing a scenic backdrop to the twinkling city lights.
Merano Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas market in Merano is situated in a picturesque setting, featuring the magnificent spa promenade, the historic Piazza della Renna and the modern Piazza delle Terme, all framed by snow-covered mountains.
One notable feature is the murmur of the Passer River accompanying visitors as they stroll along the spa promenade.
Over 80 booths populate these areas, providing a selection of local products such as apple strudel, cheese and handmade crafts.
Adding to the charm are several unique attractions like an ice-skating rink, large heated Christmas tree balls for cosy seating known as Alessi balls, a living nativity scene, and a children’s carousel.
The culinary offerings include traditional mulled wine, hot apple juices, and a variety of hearty foods like sausages with sauerkraut, goulash soup, and dumplings.
All items sold at the market are locally produced or handmade, emphasising the regional character of this special event.
Just a few steps away, you’ll find Merano’s historic old town, which is richly decorated for the holiday season and provides an excellent setting for Christmas shopping.
Dates and Location
Merano Christmas Market dates: 24th November 2023 to 6th January 2024.
Location: Piazza della Renna and Piazza delle Terme.
Artisan stalls: Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 7pm. Friday to Sunday: 10am to 8pm.
Food stalls: Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 9pm. Friday to Sunday: 10am to 10:30pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights: No announced switch on date.
Ice skating: Yes, at Piazza Terme.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: South Tyrolean traditions, picturesque spa promenade, ice-skating, living nativity, Passer River ambience.
Specialities: Vinschgau bread; apple strudel; speck; schlutzkrapfen; canederli; pfefferlebkuchen; Tyrolean dumplings; marillenknödel.
Where to stay: Boutique Hotel Imperial Art is a popular hotel, located 3 minutes from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Merano Christmas Market
Staying near the Piazza della Renna or Piazza delle Terme puts you within walking distance of the Merano Christmas Market. The areas around these squares are well-connected, allowing easy access to local attractions and amenities.
I recommend Boutique Hotel Imperial Art as a popular choice due to its proximity to the Christmas market and convenient location.
To expand your options and make the most of the Christmas period in Italy, I recommend you read my Italy Christmas Market 2023 guide, which provides essential details on various markets including opening times, locations, and local specialties.
Location of Merano Christmas Market
Christmas in Merano
Christmas Specialties in Merano
Glühmix: A local twist on traditional mulled wine, Glühmix is a blend of hot apple juice, wine, and spices. It’s often enjoyed to keep warm while browsing the stalls. The addition of apples reflects the South Tyrol region’s famous apple orchards.
Goulash Soup: This hearty soup, often found at Merano Christmas Market, is influenced by neighbouring Austria. It combines beef, potatoes, and a rich blend of spices, perfect for a chilly evening.
Apple Strudel: South Tyrol is known for its apples, and they feature prominently in the local apple strudel. Layers of thin pastry encase a filling of spiced apples, making it a comforting winter treat.
Dumplings: Another South Tyrolean speciality, these dumplings come in both savoury and sweet varieties. Typically made from bread, milk, and eggs, they can be filled with everything from spinach to apricots.
Local Cheese and Bacon: Enjoy some of the region’s finest smoked bacon and locally produced cheeses. They are often served in small portions and make for a quick and satisfying snack.
Sausages with Sauerkraut: An import from Germany and Austria is a common sight. Paired with tangy sauerkraut, they offer a taste of the broader Alpine region.
Limoncello: Though it originates from Southern Italy, limoncello is popular throughout the country. You can sample this sweet lemon liqueur in Merano, often served chilled.
Roasted Chestnuts: Available at many Italian Christmas markets, these are especially popular in Merano, thanks to the region’s abundant chestnut groves. They’re roasted on-site and served in paper cones.
Handmade Candies and Chocolates: Look for stalls featuring artisan sweets, often made with Alpine ingredients like local milk and honey. It’s a fine treat to take home or enjoy on the spot.
Sweet Doughnuts: These fried treats are similar to the doughnuts found in other Christmas markets but often feature a filling of local fruit preserves or cream.
Vinschgau bread: A dense and flavourful bread originating from the Vinschgau valley. While often paired with hearty toppings, it stands out with its unique combination of wheat and rye, occasionally punctuated with fennel seeds.
Schlutzkrapfen: Half-moon-shaped pasta pockets that often contain a spinach and ricotta filling. Originating from South Tyrol, they are akin to ravioli but carry their own regional twist.
Pfefferlebkuchen: These are spiced biscuits similar to gingerbread. Infused with a mix of spices, they are a treat you’ll find in many Christmas markets, but Merano adds its own flair.
Marillenknödel: Apricot dumplings wrapped in a soft dough and boiled. Afterwards, they are rolled in breadcrumbs and sugar, making for a sweet and fruity treat.
Zelten: A fruity bread made with dried figs, nuts, and candied fruit. It’s a dense but sweet delight traditionally eaten during the festive season.
Glühwein: Warm mulled wine infused with spices like cloves, star anise, and cinnamon. While it’s popular across many European Christmas markets, the local wines of Merano lend a unique taste.
Christmas Gifts and Stocking Fillers
Hand-carved wooden ornaments: Merano takes pride in its woodworking heritage. Local artisans craft intricate decorations for Christmas trees and home displays, often showcasing alpine motifs or scenes from South Tyrolean folklore.
South Tyrolean wool products: The region is known for its high-quality wool. At the market, you’ll find mittens, hats, and scarves made from locally sourced wool, ensuring warmth during the chilly winter months.
Lanterns and candles: Local craftsmen create exquisite lanterns, often incorporating alpine designs. Not only do these serve a functional purpose during the dark winter nights, but they also add a touch of South Tyrolean charm to any space.
Merano glassware: Merano has a tradition of glassblowing. Here, you can pick up delicate hand-blown glass ornaments, vases, and decorative items that reflect the region’s craftsmanship.
Local wines: South Tyrol, where Merano is located, is a prominent wine-producing region. Bottles from local vineyards make for a sophisticated gift or keepsake, reflecting the area’s unique terroir.
Linen products: Linen textiles, including tablecloths, napkins, and clothing items, exhibit the fine textile craftsmanship of Merano. Their durability and timeless designs make them a cherished gift.
Traditional music boxes: A nod to the region’s musical heritage, these boxes play melodies that evoke the spirit of the Alps. Crafted with precision, they are both an auditory and visual delight.
Ornate Christmas baubles: While baubles are common across many Christmas markets, Merano’s versions often incorporate distinct regional patterns, making them stand out on any Christmas tree.
Felt crafts: From decorations to practical items like coasters, felt crafts are lightweight and embody Merano’s textile tradition. Their vibrant colours and patterns brighten up any festive setting.
Things to Do in Winter
For a comprehensive winter itinerary and updates on the latest events in the city, I suggest visiting Merano Tourism, the city’s official website. For example, this 4-day itinerary in Merano lists some interesting things to do.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Here are a few insights on how to travel more responsibly in Merano at Christmas:
Eco-friendly accommodation: Merano has a selection of hotels committed to sustainability. By choosing accommodations that rely on renewable energy sources and implementing eco-friendly practices, you directly support a more sustainable tourism industry in the city.
Mindful market dining: While the allure of Merano’s Christmas market delicacies is undeniable, being conscious of food waste is crucial. Try to order portion sizes you can finish, share larger dishes with friends or family, and consider carrying a reusable container for potential leftovers.
Ethical consumption: Merano’s markets brim with tempting gifts and souvenirs. Yet, buying only what you genuinely need or will use is essential. Opt for handcrafted, local products over mass-produced items, as they typically have a smaller carbon footprint and support local artisans.
Sustainable diets: Merano, with its rich agricultural traditions, offers numerous organic and locally sourced food options. Prioritise these choices when dining, as they typically have a reduced environmental impact and bolster the local economy.
Sustainable transport: The town of Merano is well-suited for walking or cycling, even during winter months. By using these modes of transport or opting for public transportation when necessary, you reduce your carbon footprint and get to experience the city from a unique perspective.
Merano Christmas Market 2023 dates are confirmed from 24th November to 6th January 2024.
The Christmas market is situated in the heart of Merano, in Piazza della Renna and Piazza delle Terme.
Merano Christmas Market opening times are as follows. Artisan stalls: Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 7pm. Friday to Sunday: 10am to 8pm. Food stalls: Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 9pm. Friday to Sunday: 10am to 10:30pm.
Merano experiences chilly winters with occasional snowfall. However, its thermal springs keep certain areas warmer, creating a unique and pleasant atmosphere.
Absolutely. Merano boasts indoor attractions beyond the outdoor market, such as the Merano Thermal Baths and the Women’s Museum, perfect for understanding the region’s history and culture.
If you want to leave a Merano Xmas Market review, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Merano, Italy. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.