Curious about visiting the Christmas Markets of Europe? The most traditional Christmas market in Germany is the Nuremberg Christmas Market in the German state of Bavaria. This annual Christkindlesmarkt or Christ Child Market, started back in the middle ages. The magic of Christmas unfolds during Advent in the Hauptmarkt, the central square in Nuremberg’s old town. Locals and travelers from around the world converge on this holiday marketplace to drink Glühwein (hot mulled wine) and feast on regional specialty foods.
German Christmas Market crafts
If you are looking for handmade holiday gifts, here you will be rewarded with little plum or prune men, delightful nutcrackers or wooden, glass and flour made ornaments to hang on your Christmas tree or share with friends.
German Christmas Market foods
In addition to people watching, I loved tasting all of the unique foods of Germany and Bavaria. It goes without saying that giant pretzels abound, but have you heard of the famous Nuremberg sausage? I met Friedrich “Fritz” Stahlmann of Hax’n Liebermann who explained to me the significance of cooking these tasty pork sausage, the size of a pinkie finger, over a grill of charcoal. Top the Nuremberger sausage with mustard or sauerkraut swaddled in a crusty bun and you are in for a regional German treat. I couldn’t resist a scoop full of fresh roasted nuts coated in toffee and served in a brightly wrapped paper cone as I walked amongst the candy cane striped tents.
Children’s Christmas Market
While I am a parent of two young adults, I fondly remember the magic of seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child. One of the many things that I loved about the European Christmas Markets was the children or kinder as they are called in Germany. Make sure to visit the Kinderweihnacht with the many wooden toys, festive lights, merry-go-round carousel horses, miniature trains and more regional foods. I admire the Europeans sense of fashion. Both children and adults were dressed in festive, colorful clothing.
Finally, what’s a Christmas Market without horses? Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the cobblestone streets of Nuremberg, Germany. How did I get to Germany’s Nuremberg Christmas Market? I sailed with Viking River Cruises by way of the romantic Danube river. Nuremberg is situated on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine, Main and Danube canal. A Viking River Cruise takes all the guess work out of exploring Germany’s Christmas Markets.
Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Disclosure: thanks to the folks at Viking River Cruises for making this trip a reality. All opinions are my own.