Christmas markets – and not just the classics
Nuremberg’s Christkindlmarkt and the Striezelmarkt in Dresden are the big names on the Christmas market scene, but there are many other Christmas markets in Germany that are well worth a visit. Here are just a few of them:
Lübeck – Historic Christmas Market
Lübeck marzipan is a popular Christmas treat, as indeed is this Hanseatic city’s Christmas market: the festive atmosphere of the market, set against the backdrop of the Gothic town hall, could have been taken straight from the pages of an old-fashioned children’s book. This magical world, with its tantalizing aromas of fir tree and almonds, even merited inclusion in Thomas Mann’s famous novel “Buddenbrooks”.
Chemnitz – The Erzgebirge World of Christmas
The emblem of the Chemnitz Christmas market is a twelve-metre high Christmas pyramid which symbolizes the traditional wood carving craft of the Erzgebirge, or Ore Mountains. Even today, no German Christmas is complete without a wooden Christmas pyramid, which are also the best-selling items at the more than 200 stalls clustered around Chemnitz town hall.
Video: Christmas Markets – a German Tradition
Wiesbaden – Twinkling Star Christmas Market
The Wiesbaden Twinkling Star Christmas Market on the city’s Schlossplatz is ablaze in the colours blue and gold, just like a starry night sky. The inspiration for the unique spectacle of lights and colours, with four blue and gold portals and illuminated lilies standing over ten metres tall, was the city’s coat of arms (which depicts three golden lilies on a blue background). Other highlights include the huge Christmas tree and the nativity scene with life-sized figures.
Ludwigsburg – Baroque Christmas Market
Ludwigsburg’s Christmas market boasts a good 170 stalls grouped around the Marktplatz in an arrangement modelled on a Baroque garden. This magical idyll is edged by Baroque arcades, while elegant angels – their glittering wings made up of thousands of tiny lights – bathe this former royal residence in Baden-Württemberg in a golden glow.
Munich – Winter Tollwood
Everything is just a little bit different at Munich’s alternative Tollwood winter festival in the city’s Olympiapark: the Glühwein is organic and the “Market of Ideas” uses fair-trade products to attract people keen to make the world a better place. Themed tents like the Weltsalon and the Theaterzelt offer programmes featuring everything from political debate to imaginative mask theatre.
“In winter it was nice going to the Christmas market, drinking mulled wine and going ice-skating with my friends. Thuringian sausage and onion flan tasted especially good there.”
“An especially atmospheric and well-known feature is Dresden’s Christmas Market, the Dresdner Striezelmarkt. This is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany and is held every year on the Old Market Square (Altmarkt).”