It is cold and dark. Tiny snowflakes are falling gently. From an ancient brick tower, I can hear Silent Night played by a children’s brass orchestra, the sound floating across the medieval square. In between the small wooden huts ,there are crowds of people talking and laughing, sipping on warm gluhwein or eating bratwurst.
Everyone seems to know each other.
That is my first visit to an authentic German Christmas market, and I am in love! Christmas will never be the same again, without an annual visit to the markets.
The markets range from really tiny, like the first one that I went to, in the medieval town of Kronach in upper Bavaria, to really big, like the one in Nuremberg, which is one of Germany’s largest. There, you can walk from town square to town square and the market continues throughout the city.
Almost every town has their own version of the market. One of my favourites is in the town of Bamberg. This has been the starting place of my Christmas market journey every year. Bamberg is a town in northern Bavaria, a comfortable drive from Frankfurt airport, even after a transatlantic flight.
The visit begins with warm gluehwein of course and a walk around to the market to see all that is being offered. As dark settles in, crowds of Bambergers join in for the festivities. It is loud and busy, but intimate at the same time, surrounded by the medieval and renaissance buildings of the town. Bamberg’s City Hall is built in the middle of the river Regnitz with bridges connecting it to each side of the town. It is magical to stand in the dark on the bridge, looking at the twinkling lights and the swirling water. And after the gluehwein and visit to the market, it is time to find a restaurant. It is always very busy, and we are often squeezed in, sharing a table with happy Germans. That in itself is also an adventure, to chat and laugh and drink a stein of beer in medieval surroundings. It is a great start to the Christmas season!
When you are ready to experience your German Christmas adventure, we would be honoured to design it for you.