in Germany during November and December means enjoying
the festive Christmas Markets that are a feature of the holidays.
The markets are great for gift shopping and for experiencing regional
mulled wines and other culinary specialties.
Traditional music and special holiday events are often scheduled to add to the wonder of the Christmas season at these historic markets. Many of the town squares have been hosting markets for Christmas shopping since the Middle Ages! The items for sale and the prices may be modern, but you'll find that the feeling of holiday cheer hasn't changed.
Check out information and locations on some of the most popular Christmas Markets in Germany...
Aachen Christmas Market Location: In front of the Aachen Town Hall
The Aachen Christmas Market began as the "Printen Market" held around the Elisa Fountain. As more visitors flocked to the stands, drawn by the world renowned Aachener Printen and other Christmas cakes and biscuits, "Domino Stones", gingerbread, "Spekulatius" and marzipan bread, the fair was moved to the Town Hall. Kids love the carousel. The Glühwein, mulled wine traditionally served to warm the cold evenings, is a major attraction for the adults. Shopping is fun with a wide selection of traditional holiday goods as well as fine art pieces to choose from.
Augsburg Christmas Market Location: In front of the Renaissance Town Hall
Once a week, during Advent, the windows of Augsburg's Renaissance Town Hall are thrown open and come alive with living "angels" heralding the season. The beautiful angels must be able to play Christmas music while "flying." That's just one element of Augsburg's Christmas celebration. Another: a medieval square filled with decorative booths, and a huge pyramid complete with freely flowing Glühwein perhaps the most festive Christmas Market display in Bavaria.
Bremen Christmas market Locations: Market Square and Schlachte Promenade
Scents of freshly roasted almonds, cinnamon, gingerbread and mulled wine are in the air. Music sounds from choirs and trumpets. It's Bremen's Christmas Market complete with nativity plays and softly lit homes and streets that add to the magic. Stroll through the narrow alleys and historic streets and enjoy the feasting and shopping.
Cologne (Köln) Christmas markets Locations: Neumarkt, Dom Platz and other locations
The oldest Christmas market in Cologne is held at Neumarkt, in the city center. The cathedral square, Dom Platz, hosts another bright collection of stalls filled with foods and fabulous shopping. Altermarkt, the quaint old section of town near the Rhine, was rebuilt with care to look exactly like the medieval town that was destroyed in bombings. It holds both the Christmas market and a wonderful chance for sightseeing and picture taking. At the Deutzer Freiheit near St. Heribert Church you'll find an art and antique market complete with costumed storytellers on the weekends for the little ones and organ recitals at the church. There's also a floating market set up on board MS Wappen von Mainz to let you experience the river while you shop!
Erfurt Location: Cathedral Square Enjoy sightseeing and shopping at Erfurt's Christmas market. The Gothic Cathedral, where Martin Luther was ordained, and the giant Ferris Wheel that provides a wonderful view of the festivities are the boundaries of the Cathedral Square Market. There are smaller markets scattered through the town, but none as lovely. Stately homes and half-timbered buildings charm visitors to this fantasy setting. Discover one of Germany's loveliest Christmas markets, and enjoy more than 1,250 years of history that have been kept alive in Erfurt in all their original beauty.
Freiburg Location: Rathausplatz, Franziskanergasse
If the scent of the hot chestnuts, bacon sauerkraut, potato noodles, Black Forest ham and mulled wine are not enough to drawn you to the Freiburg Christmas Market, perhaps the roast sausages and gingerbread spices will do the trick. Under golden lights, stalls with foods and drink mix together with traditional arts and crafts. Glass blowers, woodcarvers, candle makers and other artists showcase their skills and sell their handiwork. You'll find hand painted wooden toys, one of a kind jewelry, traditional puppets, pottery, Christmas tree decorations... and a life-size nativity scene.
Heidelberg Christmas market 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. daily Locations: Kornmarkt, Marktplatz, Universitätsplatz, Anatomiegarten and Bismarckplatz The Castle at Heidelberg gained fame for student sword duels during the middle ages but the blades you'll see this Advent season will be on ice skates. From November 28, 2007 till January 6, 2008, skate at the foot of the famous castle between 10 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. daily and enjoy the view as well as the Glühwein and seasonal, regional foods surrounding the rink. The scents of chestnuts, sugar almonds, cinnamon and mulled wine fill the lanes, as the castle lights glow over the roofs of the Old Town. Take advantage of wonderful gift ideas, with food and attractions for all ages.
Koblenz Christmas market Monday-Friday: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sunday and Holidays: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Location: Zentral Platz, Liebfrauenkirche and Münzplatz
The City of Koblenz sits at the historic spot where the Rhine and Mosel Rivers meet. During Advent, the city puts on it's best to welcome all to the feast. At the Christmas markets you'll find more than 100 wooden stalls overflowing local food specialties and wines. There are arts and crafts, jewelry and enough gift articles to fill all your stockings. Every afternoon St. Nicholas makes an appearance bringing small gifts for the children. A toboggan snow slide, carriage rides, organ recitals, choirs of carolers and the life-size manger scene promises a good time for both children and adults.
Lübeck Location: Throughout Old Town
The smell of punch and gingerbread, craftsmen with their craft stands have lined up, and the Christmas trees have been decorated. This is "Lübecker Weihnacht", Christmas in Lübeck, where visitors experience one the most enchanting Christmas-Towns in the North of Germany. Visit the world-famous Christmas market in the venerable Hospital of the Holy Spirit (Heiligen-Geist Hospital). This historical crafts market is unique. Of course there is a lot more to see: the Christmas markets on the town hall square, along the Breite Straße, in the St. Petri church and the Christmas fairy tale market for children next to the St. Mary's Church (Marienkirche).
Münster (Munich) Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Münster is the perfect place to visit during this festive time of year. The buildings and narrow streets are beautifully decorated. Wreaths adorn the arcades on the Prinzipalmarkt. The city's cultural, historical, artistic and architectural treasures mingle with the tastes, sights, sounds and scents of five different traditional Christmas markets.
Trier Christmas Market
Trier's Christmas Market filled with decorations, wooden toys, candles, hand-blown or engraved glassware, gift articles, ceramics and much more, is framed by a backdrop of famous ruins and monuments. Roman emperors, bishops, electoral princes and dynamic citizens have added to the history here. Bratwurst sausages, potato pancakes, sweets, hot tea and mulled wine as well as brass concerts, choirs and puppet performances add to the pleasure of a visit here... and St. Nicolas will delight the children.
Wiesbaden 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily
The Schlossplatz is the setting for the Sternschnuppermarkt, the "Twinkling Stars" Wiesbaden Christmas Market. Four gates decorated with stars grant entrance to the fairy-tale scenery. The stands are uniformly colored blue and gold and contain treasures of local handicrafts. Nostalgic carousels as well as a children's train brightens the eyes of children and adults. The festively decorated Christmas tree looms 75 feet overhead. The manger, which displays the Christmas story with life-size wooden figures, is especially worth seeing, as is the wood carver at his work. There’s also an entertaining side program with choirs, plays, concerts and story telling.