Canaletto Christmas Market in Saxony’s Pirna

Pirna, a small town in Germany between Dresden and Saxon Switzerland National Park, has a picturesque little Christmas Market. The 38.200 townspeople obviously put all their effort into turning the market square into a little magical Christmas heaven. The Market is named after the Italian painter Canaletto, famous for his large-scale paintings of Venice and also of Pirna. Every night during the Christmas Market his work gets projected on the facades of the baroque buildings. When looking at the massive Christmas tree, the colourful lights, and all these smiling faces of the people one wouldn't believe that Pirna was hit by the biggest drama only recently.

Travel Germany: The Canaletto Christmas Market in Saxony’s Pirna

In the summer of 2013 Pirna was heavily flooded

It is indeed a big plus for a town to sit right on the banks of the mighty Elbe, but not when the river can't hold its water anymore and flows into the unprotected cobbled lanes. Stores were flooded, and goods and interior heavily damaged by water, and when the water receded there was mud literally everywhere. A shop keeper at a bakery tells me they had to close for a year, and after reopening now hopes that it won't happen again so soon. Cross fingers.

Pirna and the Sonnenschein Castle

Go and visit Pirna, they have done an excellent job at rebuilding their town. To be precise, they rebuilt it again, after they only had just done so after the cold war ended. At the over 40 stalls you get everything from traditional Christmas decoration and toys, homemade soup to mulled wine. There is also a merry-go-round for the little ones. If you climb up to Sonnenschein Castle, the view over Pirna and its Christmas Market is simply fantastic. The castle used to be mental hospital from 1811 and became a Euthanasia Clinic of the Nazis. Fast forward to today, after detailed restoration works it opened its doors to visitors in 2012.

Information Canaletto Market Pirna

Market Square, Pirna, Germany. 27th November to 3oth December 2018. Monday to Wednesday from 11am to 7pm, Friday and Saturday 11am to 9pm, Thursday and Sunday 11am to 8pm. Closed 24th, 25th and 26th December.

Pirna view. Travel Germany The Canaletto Christmas Market in Saxony’s Pirna

Read Christmas Market Etiquette - How to Have a Merry Visit before you visit. If you are in the area, make plans to visit the Christmas markets in Berlin and Hamburg. Read: Travel Germany: 2018 guide to sweet and off the beaten path Christmas markets in Berlin and Travel Germany. Five fantastic Christmas Markets in Hamburg plus one off the beaten path – 2018.

If you find the time, go hiking in the nearby Swiss Saxony National Park. Read: Travel Germany - Visit the Saxon Switzerland National Park.

From Berlin with love

The article has been updated in November 2018 for accuracy.