The Canaletto Market. A Christmas Market in Saxony

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.

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 everyone hopes that it won't happen again so soon. Cross fingers.

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.

Canaletto Market till 23.12.2014. Opening hours 11 am to 7pm.

This season I visited 24 Christmas Markets in Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, and in Lauenburg. Where is your favourite Christmas Market? Looking forward to hear from you.

From Berlin with love


  1. Anonymous22:24

    I can't believe you went t that many Christmas markets - that is so impressive!! Vienna and Munich Marienplatz were 2 of my favourites but they were my first markets in mainland Europe so I was even more blown away. Pirna looks lovely - so sad to hear those small businesses were out of action by the floods - good to hear they are slowly geting back on their feet now.

    1. Hi, one could spend years visiting all these lovely Christmas Markets in Germany and Austria. I am sure there are many more Chrismtas Markets like the cute one in Pirna, which I must have never heard of. I also very much love Covent Garden and the Christmas Decoration they put on every year ... lucky you.


Greetings stranger. I always try to be myself and to be a tourist as often as I can. I would love to get in contact with lots of hard travelling tourists who love to be out and about as much as I do. I am looking forward to all your comments. Thanks so much in advance.