A German Christmas Market Experience

by William Wellman / Dec 14, 2012 /

Germany is known by most people for a few culturally biased things. Beer, pretzels, cuckoo clocks, and those glorified knee-length overalls known as Lederhosen. And most importantly, the German Christmas Markets.

German Christmas Market

About the German Christmas Markets

The German Christmas markets are perhaps the single largest tourist attraction in Germany. As such, they’re primarily focused on the attention they’ll get from tourists, but that doesn’t make them any less fun. The German Christmas Markets, or Christkindlesmarkts, are a festive, fun, and inexpensive way to celebrate the holidays.

German Christmas Market

Food at the German Christmas Markets

The markets have a variety of inexpensive food. One is the sausage-like Bratwurst, complete with fresh-baked biscuit. These Bratwursts are extremely popular in the markets, especially when paired with a mug full of Christmas Punch. Look out for the stands where they offer this tasty drink! You can usually either keep the exclusive mugs, or return them for a profit. There are also a wide variety of available candies and treats; ranging from the everyday individually wrapped candies to delicacies like popcorn, cotton candy, and most importantly of all, the delicious almond nuts dipped in caramelized sugar known as Mandeln.

German Christmas Market

What do they sell at a German Christmas Market?

The German Christmas Markets generally consist of large wooden booths, each selling food, drink, or merchandise. Winter clothing such as gloves, hats, coats, and scarves can be found in plentiful supply, with all sorts of styles and fashions. Christmas ornaments may be the most commonly sold item in the entire Christmas Market. If one catches your eye, pick it up! You can also expect to see lots of decorative items such as candles and glass sculptures.

German Christmas Market

Music at the German Christmas Market

In the Christkindlesmarkts, it’s not uncommon to see musicians or local bands performing on the streets. They always appreciate the people who stop and listen for a minute or two. Often, the only payment they receive for the entertainment is whatever coins or small bills are tossed into the hat or instrument case set in front of the performance... don’t be afraid to throw in a Euro or two! These bands or performers range wildly in variety from place to place, sometimes defying expectations. One Christkindlesmarkt I went to had two tribal African horn-players playing in a gazebo... 

German Christmas Market Music

Activities at the German Christmas Market

The Christkindlesmarkts are often home to special activities that can only be found at a specific Christmas Market, making every market special and unique. I would recommend taking the time to visit one of the larger Christkindlesmarkts such as the ones at Nuremburg or Vienna, as they are usually a lot more impressive, and will overall give you a better travelling experience.

You might even consider taking several days to explore the larger markets; but be prepared... you may return with more trinkets, ornaments, and clothing items than you had bargained for!

German Christmas Markets

Should I go to a German Christmas Market?

Overall, I think the German Christmas Markets are a great way to spend the holidays. If you happen to have one in your area of Germany, go! But it’s most certainly worth it to go to the largest market in your vicinity. Some of the smaller markets are extremely touristy, and have the minimal selection of merchandise and food. Frankly, they’re not very good for your photo-taking needs, either. The German Christmas Markets never get old. Whether this is your first time, or your twenty-first, I hope you have a great time at the markets! 

 

 

 

 

William Wellman is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program

All photos courtesy and copyright William Wellman

 

 

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