Anna, en route

Christmas markets in Germany: My Christmas market tour

by Anna

Rothenburg ob der Tauber in december 2010
Rothenburg ob der Tauber in december 2010

With Christmas markets opening tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to share my Christmas market tour here with you. In the great, cold and snowy winter weather of December 2010 my host family from the US, my parents my brother and I went on a tour through Germany. Our mission: See some of the most wonderful Christmas markets the country has to offer. Here is our itinerary:

Kaufungen: Stiftsweihnacht
This one weekend market was a tip from my college friend who grew up in Kaufungen. Night started to fall when we got there and silently it began snowing. It was picture perfect. The market is partly outdoors and partly covered around Stiftskirche (convent church). Very romantic!

We did not go to Hamburg for a particular market, there are just so many. And good ones! The market on Rathausmarkt is divided into aisles: toy alley, nibble alley and craftsmen alley. Jungfernstieg market is romantic with its great view on the Alster. A highlight are the markets inside the Scandinavian churches, the weekend they are open they are packed.

Bad Salzuflen
Crafty, traditional and fun for kids. This small but spectacular market has a sort of living nativity scene: There are horses, donkeys and sheep in a stable. Do I need to say more?

While it is supposed to be THE Christmas market we were disappointed with it. Too commercial for my taste.

Frankfurt am Main
A surprise in my eyes! Frankfurt was on the list because we had to pick up my host siblings at the airport. And then this market: lots to see, cute things to buy, a lot of variety and a very Christmassy atmosphere. If you’re changing planes in Frankfurt and have about four hours to spare: Go! Even better: make plans to stay for a night or two.

Michelstadt im Odenwald (Dec 2010)
Michelstadt im Odenwald (Dec 2010)

We are getting to the favorites here! Small, crafty, delicious and some snow – that’s my perfect Christmas market and that’s what describes Michelstadt’s Christmas dream best. Giant black and white caroler figures, half-timbered houses and the booths framing the narrow pedestrian streets. Open Wednesday to Sunday. Also: a big hand for the food at the hotel Drei Hasen!

If you love Michelstadt you’ll like its neighboring town, too. This Christmas market takes place around the castle, framed by half-timbered houses and the church. The market is open Friday to Sunday. A novelty his year seems to be a new walk-in nativity scene. If you go let me know how it is!

Rothenburg ob der Tauber
If you made me choose a favorite Christmas town I would pick Rothenburg. We arrived to lots of snow, temperatures sub zero and a fairytale market. But what did the trick for me was our tour with a night watch man. The guy had been featured on TV – not without reason. Still we had to abandon the tour before the end: we were literally freezing on the spot.

Let’s talk castles and romance some more. Blowing snow greeted us on the gates of the Thurn and Taxis castle. The market surrounded by the castle was cute, there was food you would not get at any given Christmas market and I liked the atmosphere as well as the organization of the booths. Just such a snow flurry!

This was one of my all-time favorites trips! All the markets were either recommended to us by friends, are long time favorites or suggestions from a series of leaflets by the lottery association (yes indeed). There are some markets that I would have loved to visit on this trip that did not make it onto the itinerary:

Advent season in the courtyards. Pretty half-timbered houses open their courtyards and display their vision of Christmas. Need I say more? Been there, would love to ga again.

Bedburg-Alt Kaster
Christmassy crafts in people’s living rooms and yards. This market that always takes place on the first Sunday of advent has been on my list for three years now. One day I’ll make it there!

Bergwerk Kleinenbremen
A Christmas market underground. Sounds pretty strange and exciting. Especially when it is freezing above, underground the temperature stays mild. Sadly no market this year. Anyone want to join me to go there next year..?

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