Germany's Christmas Markets

• 04 December 2009























One of these days I'm going to add some sweet, hand-carved, wooden ornaments from a German Christmas market to my collection of Kmart glass balls (to their credit they are from the cute Martha Stewart line). Right now nothing sounds better than donning a warm, winter coat and enjoying a bustling, holiday night market! In the meantime, I'll start planning my trip using this recent article in Bon Appetit as a reference point.

Have any of you experienced one of these Christmas night markets in Germany? Are they as wonderful as they appear to be?

37 comments:

  1. Stephanie, they are beautiful. I am from Germany myself, but live in London at the moment and miss them a lot at this time of the year.

    Especially famous are the Christmas markets in Nuremberg and Rothenburg o.d. Tauber in Bavaria. I personally love the atmosphere of the Heidelberg Christmas market with its pretty castle in the background. Very romantic!

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  2. I went to Berlin for Christmas 3 years ago, and went to the Christmas market 3 times. They are wonderful! The food is delicious, the crafts are beautiful and there is a lovely spirit of Christmas in the air. If you ever have the chance, go.

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  3. Weihnachtsmarkt is one of the things I miss most about Germany. Mulled wine and sauteed mushrooms with garlicky dip, potato pancakes....oh. My favorite market is the one in Aachen - a beautiful city any time of the year, but especially during the holiday season. Last year they tried to recreate this atmosphere here in Philly - but it's not quite the same...

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  4. Have you been to the market in Chicago? During December German vendors set up downtown--some of our friends who lived in Germany tell us it's very authentic.

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  5. I spent my growing up years as an Army Brat in Heidelberg (thanks for the shout out Monika). The Christmas Markets are magical! The food is delicious - my favorites are the hot candied almonds and of course the potato pancakes. The vendors are charming and there is so much Christmas in the air you can literally breathe it in!

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  6. I was at the Christkindlemarkt this morning! My husband and I dropped the two big kids off at school & went into Leeds for real hot pretzels (an exotic treat in England) & hot chocolate.

    I'd taken my little girl there on Tuesday evening with school friends as a birthday treat. It's so exiting for a bunch of six & seven year olds to be downtown amongst the hustle & lights.

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  7. Edit: "exiting" should read "exciting".

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  8. We lived in Prague for a year and I've been back 2 Christmases since. The christmas markets are an amazing experience.
    I can smell the mulled wine and roating nuts as I type.

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  9. My cousin lives in Heidelberg, and she says that Christmas is unbelievable there.

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  10. My in-laws lived in Brussels for 3 years and in that time they went to many German Christmas markets. They loved them so much that they now own a shop in TX that sells lots of German Christmas items! I have never been to one, but they say they are magical!

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  11. of course i'm partial to luxembourg, but german markets are great too. totally worth a trip some year. great food and fun products! you'd love it.

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  12. wow i would love to be in germany for the holidays one year - my heritage almost demands it! this is going on my xmas list for next year!!! thanks for passing along some holiday spirit!

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  13. Yes, they are just as beautiful as they look! I lived in Germany for a while and they are one of the things that I miss most.

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  14. And then some. I can smell the hot roasted nuts as I type...

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  15. I've had my eye on this market myself. It looks like a Christmas wonderland. Gorgeous.

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  16. Yes, these holiday markets are wonderful filled with many homemade goods and crafts. They are magic on a cold winters night! I love the potato pancakes served with applesauce. The wooden toys! Heaven!

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  17. Hmmm.... I'm feeling another travel scheme coming on! Let's talk!

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  18. I've never been, but it is now on my To Do list! My grandfather was German and I grew up around lovely little wooden treasures. I now buy similar treasures for my kids through http://thewoodenwagon.com/

    Check it out!

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  19. The kathe Wohlfagrt market in Rottenburg is such a fun holiday shop. There is also an online store.

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  20. These are AMAZING and I was just wishing that we were in Germany or Austria or Hungary (Prague also had a great market) this time of year to enjoy them.

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  21. Oh the wonderful memories of German Christmas Markets! Roasted chestnuts, grilled sausages in all varieties, and yes, potato pancakes, candied almonds and mulled wine. Beautifully decorated booths, christmas carols- if all this doesn't put you in the right mood, nothing will!
    The markets are great for strolling and just soaking up atmosphere, but also great for shopping. From handmade crafts to herbal teas, candles, mouthblown glass ornaments, you can find everything there! Everybody should be blessed enough to see at least one Christmas Market in their life time!

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  22. I lived in a tiny tiny town called Swäbisch Gmünd last fall. They set up a Christmas market that looks just like the one in your post picture. There are ornaments and hats and gloves for sale (and a nativity scene with the cutest live sheep!).

    Strasbourg France has a HUGE Christmas market too (Strasbourg use to be part of Germany a very long time ago so there is a ton of German food and architecture there). I would also highly recommend Strasbourg for their amazing Christmas lights, I have honestly never seen any so beautiful anywhere else in my life.

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  23. I would love to attend a German market someday--sounds like a wonderful lead-up to Christmas. The market in Chicago is great, and it's my understanding that many of the vendors are actually from Germany. We went every year before moving to San Francisco.

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  24. Akron has had a Christkindlemarkt for the past few years with our sister city in Germany sending over some of their lovely vendors. They even send over chefs, a marching band, etc. This year, unfortunately, things will be pared down a lot do to our city's suffering budget. We're disappointed but know the German vendors who have decided to come over on there own will be great appreciated!

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  25. It's official...I need to hit one of these Christmas markets...if not there, but in Chicago then?

    Lisa, I can't believe that Akron is now cool enough to have such a thing. Awesome.

    Chrissy, I too love Strasbourg. Gorgeous town. I'd love to see it lit up!

    Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions!

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  26. I never quite made it to a Christmas market, but I was able to see the setup of the Trier Christmas market one year. Just the setting up was amazing. They had enormous candle-powered wooden carousels. Amazing. And the pretzels were out of this world. Someday......

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  27. I just went to one the night before last. They are wonderful and magical. This year we got some delicious mini doughnuts, sampled different cheeses, a bratwurst, and chocolate covered mandarin orange slices. People had Christmas trees outside their windows on the side of their houses. Everything seems to be in lights and everybody's in a good mood.
    I have a question for you, living in France, did you ever go to any factory outlet stores? I'm interested in the Le Creuset line and Gien dishes. I also found a couple french tablecloths (in Mallorca) that are stain resistant--I would like to get some more if you know a good place in France.
    I'm looking for some fun (and economical) places to shop. Thanks!

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  28. Christmas in Germany sounds like a dream come true. I'd spend all my time in the markets, I think.

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  29. They are, we are lucky enough to live right here, in fact at the exact market in Ludwigsburg, mentioned in the article. You must come visit! baroquebabies

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  30. My husband and I visited Nuremburg last September. It wasn't even Christmas, but the market in the old marketplatz was so much fun and oozed romantic charm. Plus the brats and roasted almonds were fantastic. I can't imagine how wonderful it must be at Christmas.

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  31. Most of my Christmas ornaments were found during our visits to Rothenburg. Luckily, we had the tradition growing up of a new one every year, so as my years have added up, I have a nice little collection. Even apart from the Christmas markets, the charm (and amazing food!) of some of those German (walled*) cities is worth the experience. Go!

    *the night watchmen were always my favorite part.

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  32. We have beautiful Christmas markets here in Austria, too. Wonderful.

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  33. Eve, I haven't visited any outlets, although I've wanted to. Hopefully now that the renovation is complete, I'll be able to squeeze in something like that. My in-laws enjoyed ones about an hour and 15 minutes SE of Paris, but I don't know the name.

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  34. We've done Christmas in Europe the last 4 years.

    My favorite part of the market are the mugs of the mulled wine. People sip their warm drink in a mug which bears a holiday design, the year and the name of the market (Nuremberg, Rothenburg, Fraknfurt, etc they all have a different design which changes each year). You leave a deposit so you'll return the cup when you're done with your drink. Instead, I leave the 2 euros and keep the cup! My collection of Kristkindlmarkt mugs from all different towns and years is one of my most prized possessions and treasured memories.

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  35. Oh, they are one of my favorite taditions here in Austria. Meeting friends at the Christkindlmarkets and drinking mulled wine together. And the food is delicious, too. The roasted nuts, baked potatoes, pretzels, schmarrn,...! My favorite is the one in front of Schönbrunn Castle. The scenery is really unique.

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