German Christmas markets - where to go?

(16 Posts)
slightlyglitterpaned Thu 01-Oct-15 13:27:14

Now that DS is 3, DP has a hankering to take him to visit a Christmas market in Germany somewhere near Christmas. Think snow, mulled wine, pine trees, traditional romantic hand carved artisanal doodads and no plastic tat etc - I pointed out we have a German style Christmas market in our city but it's Not Proper. grin

So, where would be a good place to go for a long weekend that has a good Christmas market and ideally isn't too eyewateringly expensive? We can fly to Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt & Dusseldorf easily, but am not set on those cities if there's anywhere nicer.

Any suggestions?

MarySmilingAndHerBrassieres Thu 01-Oct-15 13:29:01

I loved Koln. There was also a medieval market around the Rhineland somewhere that was lovely.

I'm totally envious - I need my
Christmas wurst! grin

AppleBarrel Thu 01-Oct-15 13:59:23

Nuremberg is supposed to be particularly good for children - I think they have a whole market especially for children. (But most of the big cities will have things aimed at children - carousels, rides, ice skating etc.) Nuremberg is also the home of lebkuchen and the little mini Bratwurst sausages, and it's famous for toys; it would be my first choice I think.

Be warned that the markets in the big cities can get really busy at the weekend - especially later in the day.
The markets in small-large towns can be less of a crush, and still atmospheric and picturesque.

HeyMicky Thu 01-Oct-15 14:06:21

I'm going to Baden Baden this year. Xmas markets plus spas, wine and Black Forest cake

Not sure about any of the bigger cities, but last year we went to Aachen for a couple of days and really enjoyed it, but it is not massive. It is lovely though, wooden huts, a stage with bands playing carols, gluhwein, gingerbread, that sort of thing.
Because it's so close to the Dutch border we also went to the Maastricht Christmas market for one afternoon/evening, which is also quite small but lovely. At the Maastricht one they have an ice skating rink and children's rides as well as the stalls. Really enjoyed both!
We chose it because of a family connection though, so didn't really look anywhere else, so I'm not sure how it compares to other ones.

MountainDweller Thu 01-Oct-15 14:45:20

I used to live in Düsseldorf. In those days there were lots of smaller markets spread out around the town, rather than one big one, though it may have changed now. It's an easy city to get around on the tram, so not hard to see everything. The shops are also fabulous if you enjoy that! If you really want to max out on Christmas markets, you could actually fly to Düsseldorf, hire a car and go to Aachen and/or Koln (Cologne). Both are about an hour's drive (different directions) and both are lovely. Aachen, as pp said, is smaller and maybe more manageable but very busy at the weekend... Think shuffle-steps! Koln is also busy but because it's a bit more spread out the crowds didn't seem so bad. Probably better to go early December rather than later.

Igneococcus Thu 01-Oct-15 14:52:31

There is very little chance of snow during December anywhere in Germany. It's more likely to be cold and wet. In general i'd say the further south the better for snow. Munich, maybe, or Salzburg.

slightlyglitterpaned Thu 01-Oct-15 20:51:01

Thanks everyone! Wow, lots of good ideas. DP fancies the sound of Nuremberg, so will look into that, though he's not keen on massive elbow to elbow crowds so might aim to go midweek early December & be prepared to head somewhere smaller at the weekend. Thanks!

Igneococcus Thu 01-Oct-15 21:25:23

Nuremberg is very busy for the Christmas Market. There are lots of cute small towns in that area. I grew up just about an hour away, Wuerzburg, which is also nice (and is a wine growing area if you like wine). Bamberg is beautifully, never been to the market there though, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is not far away and Dinkelsbuehl is really pretty.

slightlyglitterpaned Fri 02-Oct-15 21:56:12

Igneococcus - thanks! Might look into staying a night or two at one of those then so DP can get a bit of time away from the crush.

justkeeponsmiling Fri 02-Oct-15 22:01:48

Bonn. It's beautiful and close to other lovely markets like Cologne and also close to a couple of medieval ones.
I just booked my flights - can't wait smile smile
Disclaimer - I'm from Bonn so I'm biased ;)

CMOTDibbler Fri 02-Oct-15 22:03:26

DS and I went to Dusseldorf last December. It wasn't massively busy, and there are a number of smaller markets spread out through the town. They have a skating rink which ds enjoyed too.

Couldashouldawoulda Mon 05-Oct-15 12:22:07

Loads of great ideas! I went to the Christmas market in Prague one year. It was lovely, cold, crisp and atmospheric. Not Germany, I realise! We were there in very early Dec and it wasn't too busy.

Ancienchateau Mon 12-Oct-15 12:52:49

Freiburg is really nice. So is Köln.

Fizrim Mon 12-Oct-15 12:55:13

Cologne/Koln was lovely when we went (and DH would love to take our DD there) but very busy and crowded in the evenings.

Twunk Mon 12-Oct-15 12:58:13

I have been to the Christmas markets in Cologne, Oberhausen and Aachen. Don't bother with Oberhausen - it's just a large market round a shopping centre! But Aachen is lovely as is Cologne. I am going to Aachen again this year.

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