Exciting Christmas Market Lineup!

| October 13, 2014

german christmas market candy and cookies

Okay, people…as I write about Christmas Markets for everyone else to enjoy, I can’t help but be excited about those we are going to visit this Christmas season. Here is the lineup of markets you’ll be seeing me write about in December!

1.We’re going to kick off the season in ESSLINGEN, where they host a unique medieval market. We’re talking tightrope, fairy tale characters on stilts, fire-eaters, a live nativity, and minstrels; not to mention a large children’s program that includes shooting bow and arrow, and Mouse Roulette—whatever that is!  This looks especially promising for kids.

2-3.  Next we’ll head to Schönsee, near the Czech border.  There, we’ll camp out in a spa hotel (hello!) while visiting nearby SCHLOSS GUTENECK’s weekend medieval market.  Craftsmen will demonstrate trades such as wood carving, torch making, lace making, glass painting, saddle construction, pottery, bread baking, blacksmith and more…and all outside of a Schloss!  This one should hold the interest of the whole family.  Sounds to me like Renn Faire meets Christmas!  Will we pop into the Christmas Market in the Czech city of PLZEN before checking into our hotel in Schönsee?  Yes Yes Yes!  There’s also a possibility of swinging through Bamberg on the way home…

4.  Our next market will be Holland’s very interesting-looking festivities in VALKENBURG.  They’ve got Santa, a twice-weekly parade, murals, Europe’s largest nativity sand sculpture (are there others?), music, a children’s program…and did I mention that parts of the market take place in caves?  I don’t know if one weekend be enough!

dieburg gluhwein circle 2012

Then my parents arrive to spend their second Christmas in the greatest place to spend Christmas, and we will take them to…

wiesbaden xmas market

5.  WIESBADEN: I plan to pop in after picking them up at the airport, just to give them their first taste of the 2014 Weihnachtsmarkt season and let them stretch those legs after such a long flight. Sequoia loved the giant ferris wheel at this Twinkling Star Market (Sternschunuppenmarkt) in 2012!german christmas market michelstadt german christmas market michelstadt

6.  Next up will be a day in MICHELSTADT and ERBACH, my favorite local markets, for a festive atmosphere with handcrafted statues throughout the city.

7. After they visit some colleagues near NÜRNBERG, we’ll head into the city’s well-known Christkindlesmarkt. My favorite attractions are the horse-drawn carriage and the separate children’s area. You know grandparents—they’ll love the children’s area, too!

german christmas market nurnbergYou can read more about our first visit to Nürnberg here, or check out my write-up about the market itself.

Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg, France

8. Enough with taking them to markets we’ve already seen!  Time to share in the excitement of the new! Next up will be the oldest Christmas market in France and one of the oldest in Europe: STRASBOURG. We have visited the Alsace on various occasions, but never at Christmas. I can’t wait to see its centuries-old Christkindelsmarik with Strasbourg’s traditional Fachwerk-lined streets and cathedral as a backdrop.

heidelberg castle

9. On the very day of Christmas Eve, we’ll head just an hour down the road to HEIDELBERG. Spread over five squares and down one of Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping streets, with the famous castle overlooking town, this promises to be another lovely market. Ice skating, an Advent calendar of artwork, music from the chapel, a petting manger, world-famous castle ruins…what more could a family ask for?

salzburg winter

10.  Christmas Markets in some larger cities run past Christmas into the New Year. A few days after the holiday, we will head to one of these cities, SALZBURG, Austria, where we will continue to enjoy the festive atmosphere of their Christkindlmarkt during our stay.

Meanwhile, throughout the season of Advent, we will pop into a few local markets as well, including two I have not yet visited:

aschaffenburg Johannesburg palace

ASCHAFFENBURG – To the backdrop of Johannesburg Palace, Aschaffenburg’s Weihnachtsmarkt offers alpine horns(!), giant nutcrackers and a life-sized wooden nativity scene, children’s rides, and local specialties. I’m looking forward to seeing the palace surrounded by the lights of Christmas one evening.

SELIGENSTADT – A town with a name meaning “Blessed city” of course hosts a Christmas market among its Fachwerk-lined streets. I’m looking forward to visiting their craft-filled stalls one evening. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to make it on the days when the former monastery will be open for what sounds like a nice market of local artisans.

Germany, Holland, France, Austria, and the Czech Republic—we’ll certainly be making the rounds this year! And I wouldn’t put it past me to head into a few others…

You know what?  I’ll bet I’m not the only one looking forward to them!

IMG_0955 german christmas market


How about you?  Which of your favorite Christmas Markets do you recommend?  I’m always looking for ideas for next Christmas!  And which market do you most look forward to reading about and checking out our photos?  




Category: Austria, Christmas Markets, Christmas Markets, FAMILY, Family Travel, featured, Festivals, France, Germany, In Germany A Broad blog, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Travel, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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