Discover the magic of Christmas markets this season and explore traditional open-air stalls, decorated streets and typical delicacies such as gingerbread, roasted almonds and hot mulled wine. From the end of November until Christmas Eve Germanwings will take you to some of the most famous Christmas markets, such as the ‘Striezelmarkt’ in Dresden or the ‘Christkindlesmarkt’ in Nuremberg.
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East of Freiburg, the ‘Höllentalbahn’ railway crosses the 40-metre-high Ravenna viaduct across the wild and romantic Ravenna gorge. Underneath the stone viaduct, it smells, looks and sounds Christmassy. Regional products from the Black Forest, unusual gift ideas and the finest craftsmanship can be discovered at the more than 40 huts.
The illumination of the viaduct, the fairy-tale trails in the Ravenna gorge and children’s carriage rides with a team of ten white goats are the particular attractions of this Christmas market.
The Christmas market is open during all four weekends of Advent on Saturdays from 3 to 9 p.m. and Sundays from midday to 7 p.m. as well as on Friday, 13 December from 3 to 9 p.m.
Visit it and be captivated by the special flair of this Christmas market!
From 25 November to 31 December it’s that time of year again: colourful strings of lights, fir trees and the scent of roasting almonds captivate visitors to Hamburg’s Christmas markets. Ten markets with different themes, such as the historic Christmas market at the town hall, the fairy-tale ships at Jungfernstieg or the Christmas market ‘Santa Pauli’ on the Reeperbahn invite you to take a stroll or enjoy a tasty mulled wine.
Some Christmas markets are even open up to New Year’s Day so you can enjoy the festive atmosphere in Hamburg’s city centre even after Christmas has been and gone.
The Hanseatic city also stages the ‘Hamburg Christmas Parade’ on every Saturday in Advent. The colourful and cheerful procession through the city centre is an experience for the whole family. Three times a day – at 11.30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. – Father Christmases, elves, reindeer and festive floats wend their way through from Mönckebergstrasse to Jungfernstieg.
Christmas markets – here, they awaken childhood memories and make you look forward to the coming festivities. Discover Christmas magic in Baden-Württemberg: Baroque sparkle in Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart, an impressive atmosphere in front of the highest church tower in the world in Ulm or romantic hours in Baden-Baden, surrounded by the Black Forest mountains. A wonderful destination, the royal Christmas market, the world’s biggest Advent calendar and 100 international top chocolatiers attract visitors from near and far.
The royal Christmas market on the ‘Hohenzollern’ mountain in the Swabian Alps has established itself as one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany thanks to its impressive location and picturesque appearance. Experience, discover and enjoy the Christmas market on the mountain in the first and second week of Advent 2013. The world’s largest Advent calendar and magical attraction during the Advent season is ‘Gengenbach Town Hall’ in the Black Forest. From 30 November to 23 December, 24 fantastic motifs transform the classic facade of the town hall (each day’s window is opened at 6 p.m.)
Culinary highlights include ‘ChocolART’, Germany’s largest chocolate festival. In addition to 100 top chocolatiers from around the world, the festival attracts more than 300,000 chocolate lovers to Tübingen, just half an hour south of Stuttgart.
... and Christmas is already within reach.
Berlin is lit up by a festive and colourful glow at Advent. Around 60 Christmas markets all over the city are ideal for walking around and browsing. Visitors can really get into that festive spirit thanks to Christmas delicacies, cosy charm and original gift ideas and beautiful handmade items. Whether small, tranquil and fairy tale-like or trendy and urban – there is something here for everyone.
The magic atmosphere on the romantic Gendarmenmarkt square with craftspeople and their amazingly skilled offerings has a tranquil and traditional feel. The nostalgic Christmas market at the ‘Opernpalais’ nearby awakens the spirit of the season. The market at the Schloss Charlottenburg palace also adds to the magical atmosphere of the holiday season. A classic is the market in the old city Spandau Altstadt, Berlin’s biggest Christmas market.
You can experience sledging, ice skating and Bavarian curling in a city atmosphere at the ‘Brilliant Xmas Season’ in the Sony Centre and at the ‘Winterwelt’ on Potsdamer Platz. And Berlin also of course has special and original markets, such as the Scandinavian Lucia market with its jacket heating.
You can find an overview of Berlin Christmas markets on visitBerlin.de
Christmas as it was 100 years ago
‘Christmas as it was 100 years ago’ is the motto of the Spreewald Christmas event, which will take place this year on 7 and 8 December. Getting there is a unique experience as visitors ride from market to market on a large punt. At the boat landing place ‘Großer Spreewaldhafen’ in Lübbenau, visitors can enjoy a maritime Christmas market with Spreewald captains, smoked fish and grog. Wrapped in blankets and warmed by mulled wine, visitors then travel by punt across the wintry river to the open-air museum in Lehde. During special gnome boat trips that are offered for the crossing, one or two gnomes sit in the boat and tell Christmas stories and legends or recite poems.
On arrival in Lehde, visitors experience Christmas preparations as they would have been over 100 years ago. In the courtyards and illuminated rooms, you can watch the ‘residents’ spinning, stripping feathers, and baking and making gifts. Typical regional dishes are, of course, also on offer, as well as hot drinks and stands showcasing beautiful handiwork.
Punts are also available for the return journey. If you prefer to go back on foot, then you can take part in a festive torchlight walk.
Prices and tickets available at www.spreewaldweihnacht.de
Brussels is inspiring – and not just at Christmas!
Belgium’s capital city Brussels shows off its pretty side at Christmas. The highlight of the so-called ‘Plaisirs d’Hiver’ is the Christmas market from 29 November 2013 to 5 January 2014 and the large ice rink in the old town, as well as the light installation on the ‘Grand Place’, the central market square with its splendid town hall.
Light garlands above the alleyways of the old town provide a special atmosphere, while cosy cafes entice visitors with hot chocolate and Belgian waffles. The city’s numerous chocolatiers present their Christmas praline creations. You can look forward to Christmas delicacies and excellent attractions in Brussels.
Christmas aside, Europe’s capital Brussels is the perfect destination for a weekend break at any time. After all, Brussels has much more to offer than just dry politics. In addition to apples, chocolate pralines and beer, there are lots of culinary and cultural surprises that are best discovered over the course of a weekend.
Whether it is a stroll across the ‘Grand Place’ or in the ‘Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert’, discovering the sights, such as the ‘Atomium’ and the ‘Manneken Pis’, or the numerous museums such as the Magritte Museum – the special atmosphere in the Belgian city quickly draws all who visit it under its spell.
Immerse yourself in the picturesque world of the Carinthian Advent. At the glittering and sparkling ‘Kap 4613’ – the floating winter and Christmas terrace in Millstatt on lake ‘Millstätter See’ – it smells of wood, pine needles, spicy mulled wine and Advent pastries. The warming fireplaces give the place a cosy and romantic atmosphere. Everything your heart desires can be found here.
During Advent, Villach presents itself as a city of light – full of magic, companionship and surprises. In and around the town’s main church ‘St. Jakob’, you can enjoy punch and roast apples every day, as well as see authentic craftsmanship. When darkness falls and the lights are switched on, you will be captivated by traditional Christmas carols and sonorous Advent concerts.
The ‘Christkindlmarkt’ in Klagenfurt on lake ‘Wörthersee’ is simply a fairy tale. Take a romantic stroll through the old town and whet your appetite for Christmas with handmade Christmas jewellery, Advent pastries and numerous stands with mulled wine and snacks. In Velden, the wintry bank of lake ‘Wörthersee’ is resplendent with angels and stars. On three days during Advent, visitors to the traditional market ‘Petzen-Christkindlmarkt’, Austria’s highest Advent market, can get into the Christmas spirit in amongst snowy mountain peaks.
When the eight Christmas markets in Cologne city centre open their doors from 25 November to 23 December 2013, millions of visitors from around the world will head to the metropolis on the Rhine.
Every Christmas market is unique and has its own theme. The Christmas market by the cathedral can be found under a sparkling starlit tent in front of the beautiful historic backdrop. The rustic Christmas market ‘Heimat der Heinzel’, Cologne’s largest and most traditional Christmas market, is located in the heart of the old town. The fairy-tale Christmas market on the Rudolfplatz in front of the historic backdrop of the medieval ‘Hahnentorburg’ castle is well worth a stroll around. Just a few metres away, you’ll encounter the gay and lesbian Christmas Avenue. Allow yourself to be captivated by the ‘Markt der Engel’, or ‘Angel’s Market’, on the Neumarkt. Under the motto ‘Cologne Alpine Magic’, the Mediapark is transformed into an Austrian winter fairy tale. The maritime ‘Harbour’ Christmas market is located in front of the Chocolate Museum, while the Christmas market in the ‘Stadtgarten’ can be found in the middle of the hip Belgian quarter.
With the world’s largest Christmas crib trail, festive Christmas events, atmospheric Advent ship cruises and lots of shopping opportunities, this cathedral city is always a popular destination at Christmas.
Cologne looks forward to your visit and wishes you lots of fun on your Christmas trip around the city!
Welcome to the Christmas capital that is Dresden. Enjoy a special festive atmosphere in the historic heart of the city’s splendid old town. The ‘Dresdner Striezelmarkt’ not only glitters and sparkles, but this is actually its 579th year, making it Germany’s oldest Christmas market. Wooden craftsmanship from the ‘Erzgebirge’ mountains, Lusatian blue printed fabrics, ‘Herrnhut’ stars, original Dresden ‘Christstollen’ fruit cake: everything is completely authentic here.
Dresden doesn’t just have one Christmas market – in December the entire city centre is transformed into a Christmas mile. A seemingly never-ending chain of lights links ten different Christmas markets together. From the medieval-inspired market to hut-related magic with an après-ski feel, it has everything. The mile stretches from the ‘Frauenkirche’ church all the way over to the other side of the Elbe river with the ‘Neustädter’ Advent in the baroque quarter.
Tips: The ‘Elbhangfest’ Christmas market on Körnerplatz with its half-timbered romantic buildings or Advent carol-singing with the ‘Kreuzchor’ choir in the ‘Frauenkirche’ and ‘Kreuzkirche’ churches.
Extra tip: the Moritzburg baroque castle – and the fairy-tale cult film Believe in Three Hazelnuts exhibition.
A comforting atmosphere, magical lights and enticing scents – lovers of Advent will love the Lower Saxony state capital of Hanover. Whether in the historic old town, on the ‘Lister Meile’, one of the most popular shopping streets in Hanover, or right in front of the main station – the whole city centre smells of Christmas.
After a long day shopping for presents in Hanover’s beautifully illuminated city centre, you can enjoy tasty delicacies such as lard pastries, roast apples, bratwurst and freshly grilled salmon. The best way to refresh body and soul during the cold months of the year is with a glass of mulled wine, punch or a cup of hot chocolate. For little ones, the best thing about Christmas markets is a visit from Father Christmas. There’s lots to discover and enjoy in the crafting corners and at the Punch and Judy shows, while the skilled craftspeople will encourage you to have a go yourself, enabling you to make all your own presents or get some individual gift ideas. Festive musical enjoyment is provided by the ‘Turmbläser’ musicians and the trombone and children’s choirs.
Discover the individual Christmas markets in the Hanover region.
Leipzig Christmas market has a history that dates back to the year 1458. Thanks to its unique cultural and culinary offerings in the midst of the historic old town and its 250 stands, it is one of the largest and most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany.
Whether a cultural stage with an extensive Christmas programme, a Finnish village with typical Finnish delicacies, the historical Christmas market ‘Alt Leipzig’, traditional model railway exhibitions or chats with Father Christmas – children and adults alike will love this market. Tasty delicacies such as ‘Pulsnitzer Lebkuchen’, freshly baked pretzels, mulled wine or the popular ‘Feuerzangenbowle’ (red wine punch) will entice you to take a break and enjoy a snack.
The Christmas jewellery from the ‘Erzgebirge’ mountains and the large selection of toys, ceramics and spices are particularly popular. Don’t forget to listen to the traditional trombone players performing on the balcony of the ‘Altes Rathaus’. The world-famous ‘Thomanerchor’ choir performs concerts in the ‘Thomaskirche’ church during Advent.
The Nuremberg ‘Christkindlesmarkt’ is one of the oldest and possibly the most famous Christmas market in the world. In the wooden huts of the ‘Little towns of wood and cloth’ market, traditional, often handcrafted, Christmas jewellery and sweet treats are offered. The old town is bathed in the light of a thousand lamps until Christmas Eve and infused with the seductive scent of mulled wine, ‘Lebkuchen’ and bratwurst.
Children’s eyes are guaranteed to light up when families make a trip to the HansSachs-Platz. There, close to the ‘Christkindlmarkt’, the ‘Children’s Christmas’ will make your little ones’ hearts leap. An amazing illuminated steam-driven carousel, a steam-driven big wheel and steam railway provide exciting rides within this small square. The Nuremberg ‘Children’s Christmas’ also invites children to take part and sometimes even the baby Jesus pays a personal visit.
However, it’s not just the ‘Christkindlmarkt’, ‘Children’s Christmas’, light procession, churches and displays that give Nuremberg its Christmas charm, but also the leisurely strolls through the festive streets and alleyways that reveal that the Christmas spirit is everywhere, making old and young alike look forward to the coming festive season. At the end of your visit, a journey through the Christmassy old town in the historic mail carriage is a must.
Advent is one of the most beautiful times of all in Salzburg. When the baroque buildings of the UNESCO World Heritage city are shrouded in white, they provide an almost fairy-tale-like backdrop for residents and guests alike. The alleyways and squares of the old town entice visitors to stroll around, while the famous Christmas markets and Advent musical performances spread a special Christmas cheer across the whole city.
The Salzburg’s ‘Christkindlmarkt’ has a 500-year history and attracts around one million visitors from around the world every year. With over 90 events, the ‘Christkindlmarkt’ offers a versatile fringe programme from crib displays and ‘Perchten’ processions, an old Alpine custom, to choir and dance performances by Salzburg cultural groups.
A host of musical events make Advent in Salzburg sound particularly good. The best-known event is probably the Salzburg Advent Singing in the ‘Großes Festspielhaus’, an event that has already invoked the spirit of Christmas in over 1.6 million visitors.
Experience Advent in Salzburg! You can find all the information you need and affordable packages here »
Kempten Christmas Market
Friday, 29 Nov. to Sunday, 22 Dec. 2013
Flying angels and festive cheer
A short trip: Kempten Christmas market’s around 70 huts form a village within the town. Here, you are surrounded by festive cheer – right in the centre of the historical old town. You can warm your hands with hot chestnuts or punch, and browse for nativity figurines, candles or wooden toys at the stalls. Or simply listen to the choirs and bands, perhaps taking a look at the Christmas fountain at the same time.
In the illuminated cabinets, modern interpretations of biblical scenes are shown off to advantage. Beyond all the romance of the nativity, they tell the story evoked by the celebration of Christmas: the angel’s message to Mary, the birth of Jesus, the flight into Egypt.
A new door opens each day in the house-high Advent calendar on the neoclassical Zumsteinhaus. Santa Claus shortens the wait for children with little presents. They can send off their greatest wishes at the Christmas post office. Time passes as if in a dream on the Christmas carousel. And in the bakehouse, apples, nuts and almond kernels sweeten the stroll through the Christmas market.
Sunday to Thursday: 12 noon to 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 12 noon to 9 p.m.
Christmas lights glitter everywhere, there is a smell of cinnamon, vanilla, bratwurst and mulled wine in the air and Christmas music can be heard from every square. The festively decorated city centre – with its medieval ‘Altes Schloss’ castle, the towers of the ‘Stiftskirche’ church and the grand baroque ‘Neues Schloss’ castle – forms the beautiful backdrop for the Stuttgart Christmas market.
The approximately 280 beautifully decorated stands are unique. Whether Father Christmas with a bushy beard, angels or amazing winter landscapes – in Stuttgart, it is the lovingly decorated wooden roofs of the huts that are particularly eye-catching. With more than 300 years of tradition behind it and an attractive range of Christmas items on offer, the Stuttgart ‘Christmas Market’ is one of the most magnificent in Europe.
The Zurich ‘Christkindlmarkt’ in the station hall of Zurich station will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. Ever since it was founded, gifts and culinary delicacies have been offered at the 150 stands that make up the largest indoor Christmas market in Europe. The special highlight, the 15-metre-high Christmas tree decorated with sparkling Swarovski crystals, will also dominate the centre of the station hall again this year, captivating visitors with its elegant and glittering appearance.
If you prefer an original as opposed to traditional market, you shouldn’t miss the ‘Heiligen Bimbam!’ in the two creative quarters Kreis 4 and Zurich-West. Around 50 shops from each quarter invite you to spend an enjoyable time browsing for gifts at chic designer stands complete with local creations: take a look at ‘Plaza Klub’ not far from the vibrant Langstrasse from 6 to 8 December and the ‘Maag Halle’ in the trendy quarter of Zurich-West from 20 to 22 December. Shops, bars and cafes transform the whole quarter into a Christmas paradise with special promotions throughout the weekend.
From the end of November onwards, strings of lights and decorations bathe the alleyways and antique buildings of Zurich’s old town in golden Christmas lights. The unique light installation ‘Lucy’ provides a colourful sky of stars over the Bahnhofstrasse. Almost 12,000 crystals with red, blue and white LED bulbs vary in brightness, creating mesmerising lighting effects.