Germany Christmas markets - why you should go now!Wednesday, December 17, 2014
One of the best things about living and travelling in Europe during the Christmas season are the Christmas markets that pop up in most cities, towns and villages spreading Christmas cheer and 'jollyment'. The twinkling lights and festive smells make me swoon - think warm gingerbread mixed with mulled wine and a dash of cinnamon.
My country of choice to visit at this time of year is Germany, hands down. For me nothing beats a traditional bratwurst wrapped in a crusty bun, sipping on a steaming mug of glühwein and indulging in some long overdue gossip with my friends while cheery Christmas tunes play on... ahhhh.
- The mulled wine, aka glühwein.
In Germany glühwein is served in festive ceramic mugs, and almost every stall at a Christmas Market will be sporting a different design. These are a great Christmas souvenir if you want to keep a few and forfeit the two Euro mug deposit. Glühwein is also served in a variety of ways - red and white, with rum, amaretto or melted sugar... oh yes... Christmas heaven.
- The crowds of happy, jolly people, children included.
People are happy at Christmas markets! Everywhere you look you'll see people stamping their feet to keep warm while engaging in happy conversation and enjoying delicious food without a care in the world to how healthy it is/the number of calories. Taste is the most important thing at a German Christmas market.
- Did I mention the Christmas Market food?
Bratwurst, Currywurst, Thüringer Bratwurst, ½ Meter Bratwurst, Stollen (German Christmas cake), Lebkuchen (German gingerbread), roasted sugary nuts, chocolate dipped fruit, raclette (often served with bacon), sauerkraut with bacon, potato pancakes... the list goes on...
- The beautiful traditional wooden toys and decorations.
Every year I pick up a few more decorations for my tree. I love the beauty and simplicity of wooden decorations - often painted red or white. Classic!
- Lebkuchenherzen (gingerbread hearts) - declarations of love everywhere!!
Lebkuchenherzen are very popular at the Christmas Markets. They hang in big bunches from ribbons and carry cute sayings written in icing in the centres. Traditionally Germans give Lebkuchenherzen to friends or lovers to express their feelings.
So have I convinced you to jump on the next plane to Germany, or maybe somewhere else in Europe? If you're keen to get going, but not sure which Christmas market to visit read on...
- Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt - one of Germany's most famous and traditional Christmas Markets. About 180 wooden stalls decorated with red-and-white cloth have given the Nuremburg Christmas Market its name of 'Little Town from Wood and Cloth'. Just beautiful.
- Vienna Christmas Markets - famous for being the best city to visit for Christmas in Austria the Christmas Markets here date back to the Middle Ages when in 1298 Albrecht I granted Vienna's citizens the privilege of holding a December Market or 'Krippenmarkt"'.
- Cologne Christmas Markets - there are seven Christmas Markets in total in Cologne, and you can easily fill an entire long weekend in this charming German city. My favourite of the seven is the Angels Christmas Market that sparkles with it's unique 'stars at night' theme.
- Prague Christmas Markets - there are several Christmas Markets in Prague, but the biggest and best is in the centre of the city at Staromestské námestí (Old Town Square). Here you'll find traditional Czech food such as barbecued pork, Czech muffins, beer, mulled wine and mead. Oh my!
- Ludwigsburg Christmas Market - if you're looking for a slightly smaller and more local Christmas Market that still has all the trimmings then I highly recommend stopping off at Ludwigsburg (just 20 minutes by train from Stuttgart). This is my favourite Christmas market of them all, it's so easy to feel at home here.