German Christmas Markets 2016

Christmas Markets in Germany – 2016

During the 4-5 weeks prior to Christmas, Christmas markets pop up in most German cities, both big and small. These markets are simultaneously individually unique and ubiquitously similar. Each market contains vendors whose goods can only be found at that particular market. Many of these goods are regional in nature, including local foodstuffs, toy makers, tree ornaments, and locally-made clothing. The individual nature of these markets, however, disappears after having visited more than a couple of them. In each market visitors can buy bratwursts, potato pancakes, gingerbread, mulled wine, and roasted nuts. But don’t let the markets’ similarities deter you from visiting them. Each market’s unique vendors emerge as the main attractions in each city.

During our recent 15-day trip to Germany and Austria, we visited the following markets: Frankfurt am Main, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Stuttgart, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Nuremberg, Bayreuth, Munich, and Salzburg. While the larger cities had multiple markets spread out in various parts of the city (Cologne had 6 different markets), the smaller cities’ markets were concentrated in the city square and the surrounding streets. On the opening night of each market, the city usually puts on some sort of holiday show, whether it be musical, historical, or religious in nature.

The most important tip we can offer regarding these markets, aside from wearing very comfortable shoes, is to go during the day if you want to purchase things because the market will rapidly become crowded as the city’s inhabitants get off work and make their way to the market every night. We also noticed that nighttime prices for food items were higher than their daytime counterparts. Vendors frequently raise their prices for roasted nuts, bratwursts, and beverages after nightfall. Thus, going earlier not only allows you the opportunity to browse the stalls without a large, chaotic crowd, but can save you some money in the process.

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Author: TTG Michael