February 21, 2018

All I Want For My Birthday . . .

Reading through the posts here on European Travelista you can very easily pick up on how much I love Germany!  So this next statement will not come as a surprise to many readers.  One of the things at the very top of my Bucket List is to spend my birthday enjoying the Christmas Markets in Germany!

What is probably most amazing is that I haven’t made it yet.  I’m even amazed by this fact but it is sadly true, I have not been to a Christmas Market in Germany or any other foreign country.  Now that we are in the Christmas market “season”, I have once again been dreaming about my visit!

Erfurt Christmas Market Germany

Erfurt Christmas Market by Neumann, Barbara

I am lured by the quaint stalls all dressed up in holiday splendor and the smells of baked apples, cookies, and gluhwein!  Of course another draw is the seasonal festbier.  Besides food there are nutcrackers, Christmas ornaments, hand carved nativity sets, hand painted blown glass baubles, music and much, much more!  It all has been calling me for too many years.

There is one problem, with over 2,500 Christmas markets in Germany which ones should I visit?

Of course I’m always up for a trip to Munich where you can enjoy daily live alpine music as you wander the Marienplatz or Nuremburg would be awesome with its medieval atmosphere and wonderful bratwurst and roast almonds.  Cologne would be magical with the cathedral as the back drop but I really want to experience some of the markets in smaller villages too and since Christmas traditions vary by region traversing the country would be special!

German Christmas Market in the Harz

Christmas Market in the Harz by Goslar Marketing GmbH

A journey to the east brings you to the Christmas market at Dresden, home to the oldest Christmas market in Germany.  Dating back to 1434 this market is named after its famous cake or stollen.  Look for carved wood items, pottery, lace and gingerbread all made by locals! Or maybe a trip to Lauscha which is the birthplace of the glass ornaments that decorate so many of our trees.  If a ride through the snowy countryside in an historical carriage pulled by a steam engine on the Harz narrow-gauge railway would be appealing, then a visit to Wernigerode and its timber framed houses may be for you.

Lubeck Christmas Market View Germany

Lubeck Christmas Market View by Kruger, Norbert

For a more nautical theme, head north to the markets in Husum or Rostock.  Romantics will enjoy the market at Glucksberg Castle where a decorated bridge leads across the moat to the courtyard where you’ll be enchanted by the more than 70 stalls sitting near the Christmas tree.  By the way, the castle is open to visitors too!  Or visit Lubeck for the Iceworld Snow and Ice Sculpture festival.

Trier Germany Christmas Market

Trier Germany Christmas Market by Cowin, Andrew

Traveling west brings us to Schwalmstadt where you will find a Christmas market steeped in fairytales!  Schwalmstadt is where the Brothers Grimm wrote some of their stories, including “Little Red Riding Hood”.  Enjoy needlework from local artisans and local food specialties.  Lanterns and candles make the market at Broich Castle seem very medieval!  Enjoy storytellers as they wander town reenacting scenes from the Nativity while sipping wine and mead.  For a very international market, stop by Rudesheim am Rhein.  The market in the old quarter contains stalls from 12 countries who share their Christmas customs with visitors!

Ludwigsburg Germany Christmas Market

Ludwigsburg Christmas Market by Ludwigsburg/Neckar Stadtmarketing u. Touristik GmbH

Southern Germany is home to the Romantic Road and there are many villages near Rothenburg ob der Tauber that would be of interest.  Busy Rothenburg is one of my favorite villages and I would love to see it all lit up and decorated for Christmas!  Others villages that may be worth a visit include Prien with its Christmas market on an island in the middle of Lake Chiemsee!  A trip around Lake Constance on the Christmas ship would be equally amazing.  Also luring is Altotting with is celebration of Alpine Advent songs complete with alphorns!

Whew, too many Christmas markets for one trip or maybe even a lifetime!


What German Christmas markets can you recommend?

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  5. The only German Christmas market I’ve visited was in Munich a couple of years ago – there are several different markets there and I enjoyed the one in the courtyard of the residenz rather than the large and commercial one in Marienplatz – I believe the biggest markets in town are not always the most charming

  6. Kjell says:

    Mmm.. Glywine and bratwurst bring my thoughts back to Kieler-Brauerei for some reason. Never been there during x-mas, but judging from what I have seen opf the city they have a splendid x-mas market too. I made a mental note about Glucksberg Castle. Looks like the perfect place to visit.

  7. Sophia says:

    It will be a great birthday gift to you! :D, have you got it? If that, I think it must be the most unforgettable birthday!

  8. sabrina says:

    I LOVE Christmas markets! Beautiful shots and great round-up here. I usually end up in one of the Christmas markets in Cologne because it’s closest to home. The one in front of the cathedral is beautiful, but also usually packed with tourists; I try to go during the week. My sister took us to the one on Neumarkt yesterday and it was still packed since it was Saturday night, but not quite as bad and it was really beautiful with stars in the trees above the beautiful stalls. So much fun!

  9. 2,500 markets? Holy smokes!

  10. Debbie, this is my Christmas wish every year…to see them all!! You’ve really captured the magic and enchantment of Germany’s Christmas markets in your prose and pics!! Can I come with you on your birthday wish and you can come with me on my Christmas wish!!

  11. Sophie says:

    Vienna is my fave. Though walking through the same Christmas markets as the brothers Grimm would be very inspiring.

  12. robin says:

    That first picture is out of this world. I’ve been to a couple of very small markets but not to any of the really spectacular ones.

  13. Laurel says:

    I love Christmas Markets and have been to 15 this year already! The Ludwigsburg one is beautiful – it’s very romantic and I’ve seen more people kissing there than at any other Christmas market. I also love the medieval one in Esslingen. I also like the one at Hellbrunn Castle in Salzburg. I haven’t been to the one at Glucksberg Castle, but it looks beautiful as well. So many Christmas markets, so little time!

  14. jenjenk says:

    gosh. i just love how germany during christmas looks like you’ve stepped into disneyland!!!! *SIGH*

  15. Scott says:

    I am planning on being there next year for sure and I cannot wait! I feel like it would be best to mix in large markets and some small ones too. I would love to visit some potentially in the mountains perhaps.

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I agree Scott- a few of each would be great! I love the mountains and can only imagine how beautiful the villages are all dressed up for Christmas.

  16. marlys says:

    I’ve experienced many a German Christmas market and even been to the mother of all German Xmas markests in Nuremberg, which I must confess I retain a pleasant memory of. If you are new to German xmas markets and can only visit one, go to Nuremberg. If you want something unusual, go to the Mosel region, where I heard they had an underground xmas market. I intend to go to that one next year., fo sho.

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Marlys, Nuremberg is supposed to be great plus there is so much to do and see while there too! Love the Mosel region and the underground market is very intriguing 🙂

  17. These photos make me want to go there too!

  18. 2,500 Christmas Markets – Holy Sh!t! I had no idea.

  19. I been wanting to go to Christmas markets in Germany for a while now also. I think when I have the chance to do so, I might see if I can do like a Christmas marathon where I try to go to as many markets as I can in like 2 weeks XDD

  20. You’ve got two weeks left to see them – just do it!! Well?

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      You know John, I was wondering this same thing today! It is time but unfortunately not this year. . . already engaged.

  21. jade says:

    I think most christmas markets are pretty romantic- the lights, snuggling up, hot cider, carolers… love this time of year.

  22. Ohhh, beautiful and inspiring photos there, Debbie. 🙂 The Christmas markets are indeed very tempting.

  23. Of course, I would say : all of them! 🙂

    I’ve been to the ones in Heidelberg, München, Frankfurt am Main, Köln, Essen, Bielefeld, Hamburg, and Berlin, as well as the ones in Praha.

    Debbie, I think visiting all of them is a worthy goal!

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I think you’re right Henry! A full month traveling in Germany visiting the markets would be amazing.


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