Beginning in late November and celebrated through Advent, one can discover some of the most enchanting Christmas markets in Germany. They are filled with tempting aromas, festive music, glühwein, delicious regional specialties and beautifully decorated stalls offering handmade ornaments, candles and toys.
The world-famous Nuremberg Christkindelsmarkt in southern Germany boasts more than 400 years of tradition. One highlight of this Christmas Market is on opening day when the Christmas Angel arrives. The main market, with close to 200 stalls, is located in the old quarter of Nuremberg. It is known for its gingerbread creations, hot blueberry wine, sweets, smoked fish, Christmas ornaments and its “drie im Wickle,” three small bratwurst in a “brötchen” roll that in tastes bares a resemblance to breakfast sausages. Nuremberg Christmas Market has been the inspiration for many Christmas Markets including the Christkindlmarket in Chicago that began in 1996.
Known for its medieval setting, Rothenburg is one of the most romantic Christmas markets in Bavaria, despite its small size. As you pass through one of the old gates you come to notice that the city is surrounded by a medieval wall including 42 towers, lined with cobblestone streets and the beautiful houses that look more like a movie set. The Rothenburg “Reiterlesmarkt” was named after “riders” who were believed to be messengers from another world, bringing the souls of the dead in wintertime. The marketplace is lined with wooden stalls where you will find delicious sweets, brats, mulled wine and handcrafted treasures. Rothenburg is also the headquarters of Käthe Wohlfahrt, which means one can experience Christmas all year long.
The Weidener Weihnachtsmarkt is considered one of the oldest Christmas markets in Bavaria. Set against a pristine backdrop of the Old Town Hall, which during the holiday season is turned into a giant advents calendar, and beautifully restored Renaissance homes, visitors will enjoy the charming atmosphere. Although small in comparison to other markets, there are numerous artsy stores and restaurants offering international specialties that are worth the visit.
Regensburg’s Christkindlmarkt is considered to be one of the most beautiful in this well-preserved medieval city. The many stalls located around the Neupfarr Church, house delicious white, red and berry Glühwein, gingerbread, and “Regensburger Knackersemmel” (a crispy roll with roasted sausages, mustard, horseraddish, and dill pickles). Travel through the narrow streets and passageways and you will find many wonderful boutiques and additional smaller Christmas markets offering live entertainment.
Step off the S Bahn right into the middle of the Munich Christkindlmarkt located on the Marienplatz square in the very heart of the city. Just down the street is the Kripperlmarkt, one of Germany’s largest manger markets. If you are looking for a cosy atmosphere, head on over to the Rindermarkt located close by at the Sternenplatzl where you will be surrounded by traditional arts and crafts, homemade incense, “Feuerzangenbowle,” a flaming rum drink and fried sausages along with roasted nuts, potato pancakes and sweets. There is a large skating rink surrounded by a grandstand with warming huts, food and a festive atmosphere in the middle of the festival.
The magic of traditional German Weihnachtsmarkts is attracting more visitors every year. If you want a break from commercialism taking over the Christmas holiday, head to Germany where you will still find real traditions and romance. With so many Christmas Markets the difficult part is choosing which ones to visit. The best solution is to stay in a large city, close to the train station, and visit different Christmas markets in the area. Be sure to let us know which Christmas Markets you’d like us to visit next year by leaving it in the comments.