The cold cozy weather… the changing color of the leaves…. yes! It is definitely autumn and I am smelling Christmas right around the corner! This brings back lovely memories of my first Christmas market in Germany a year ago. Oh how I wish I could go back every year for this lovely time in Deutschland. I remember smiling ear to ear and was giddy like a little kid enjoying this wonderful tradition which is uniquely celebrated in every village, town or province all over Europe. Thoughts of my first Christmas market brings me back to tempting aromas of sizzling Brätwurst, the scent of Glühwein (mulled wine) and stalls of goodies from gingerbread to freshly baked yuletide treats filling up the streets. Beautifully handcrafted decors and gifts are housed in decorated wooden stalls. All the while, choirs and brass-bands complement the atmosphere with wonderful sounds of the season.
German Christmas markets are known as Christkindlmarkts (Christ child markets) or Weihnachtsmarkts (Christmas, or Holy Night, markets), with the earliest market having been recorded as early as 1310 in Munich. Every market offer their own custom glühwein mug which I recommend getting as a souvenir. You only pay a little extra (usually the deposit) and you get to keep your Christmas mug. I usually ask to exchange my used mug with a newly cleaned one and the locals have always been so nice to oblige. Some little treats you can pair with the glühwein are the gebrannte mandeln (toasted candied almonds) and lebkuchen (a kind of gingerbread cookie). There is also the kinderpunsch for the kids and those who want to skip the alcohol. There are plenty of food items to choose from but always ask about the regional specialties! Locals and tourists alike flock the streets of the Christmas markets so be sure to plan ahead and if you plan on going to the popular markets, I recommend going on a weekday! One thing to note when planning a Christmas market tour around Europe is that travel during this time of the year can be rough as heavy snowfall could cause considerable traffic on roads and cause delays or cancellations in trains so do plan accordingly and be flexible with the unexpected weather so as not to ruin your trip!
Here are other lovely photos I have from my Christmas market experience.
The most famous and most traditional Christmas Market.
The Reiterlesmarkt of Rothenburg ob der Tauber
This charming little medieval town is my personal favorite as it transforms into a Winter Wonderland during the Holiday Season! It felt as if Santa Claus actually lived there! It’s your little Christmas village coming to life.
Set against the backdrop of the world’s largest preserved Roman church, I was in love with the charm of this little town.
Heidelberg Christmas Market
This picturesque old town is illuminated by Christmas lights during the Holiday Season. Their Christmas Market makes it even more beautiful having the Heidelberg Castle set the stage for a romantic view.
I love that no matter how cold the weather and how dull the skies, there is still an atmosphere of coziness and warmth that these markets provide. It’s a wonderful place to get together with families and friends and a beautiful way to cultivate good cheer and experience the German gemutlichkeit in this wonderful time of the year!