is always a festive time of year, and Europeans take this holiday
spirit to the max. All over the continent, numerous markets
sprout up in city centers selling all manner of handmade crafts and
ornaments. These markets transform historic city squares into
twilight magical winter wonderlands.
Christmas markets offer visitors a cornucopia of tasty treats.
At every market you will find typical winter festival fare to include
Bratwurst sausages, pork steak sandwiches (Schweinesteak), Flammkuchen
(a pizza crust topped with cream cheese, bacon, and onions), and the
delightfully warm Glühwein, a spicy mulled wine. For travelers
with a sweet tooth, vendors at these Christmas markets also sell big
bags of candy, spiced cookies (Lebkuchen), glazed nuts, caramel
apples, cotton candy, and
Wherever you choose to go, you can be sure of rediscovering that the
Advent season is much more than the organizational nightmare and
shopping binge that it can so easily become. Rather, it's a time
of togetherness, a time of peace and reflection, and a time to enjoy
the simple pleasures of life such as the company of friends and
Heidelberg's tiny Christmas Market
is located in its University Square, Kornmarkt, and the area between
the Holy Ghost Church and City Hall. The illuminated castle
towering above the downtown area serves as a beautiful backdrop for
this cozy setting.
Munich's Christmas Market is spread
out across town in small clusters of stalls. Food and drink
items unique to this market include white sausages (weisswurst), pork
knuckles (Schweinshaxe) and a bevy of beers: Cloudy Hefeweizens, dark
Bocksbiers, pale Helles beers.
The world's best known Christmas
Market, the Christkindlesmarkt, dates back to 14th Century. This
centrally located market features rows and rows of stalls in the
square in front of the Church of Our Lady. Nürnburg
chefs claim to have the best Lebkuchen spiced cookies, and the best
The Stuttgart Market is the undisputed champion in terms of size, with
hundreds of Christmas stalls crammed between the downtown Schlossplatz
and Markplatz. Vendors in Stuttgart go through a lot of trouble
decorating their stands (there are prizes for the best decorated
stand), a tradition which goes back 300 years. Unique
specialties of this market include Spätzle,
thick hand made noodles usually served with a cheese sauce, and
Schupfnudeln, potato patties served with applesauce.
Ulm features a small market in the shadow the the
magnificent Ulm Cathedral.
more information on Christmas Markets around Germany,