Christmas in Germany

Old Apr 23rd, 2012, 11:03 AM
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Christmas in Germany

My mom, 4 siblings, and all our families are planning a trip to Germany in 2013. We are looking to go over Christmas break but do not even know where to start with our trip. We will likely spend 7 days in country. What areas have the best Christmas markets/activities. We will have children with us so it needs to be kid friendly. Any help on where to get started in our planning would be great. Thanks in advance!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2012, 11:19 AM
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Most tourists like the Christmas markets in Bavaria. munich has a several pretty nice ones and it will probably be the most easy to reach. Regensburg has a famous one on the Palace's premises, and Nuremburg got the biggest (and often overrun). Also any of the quaint smaller towns have their markets, some only on weekends. Kids are never a problem. People take them with them any day or time.

When planning your travel dates you should keep it mind that December 24-26 are pretty much a family thing, many sights closed, and Christmas markets end on Dec 24.
The most lively time with markets, concerts etc will be advent, the 4 weeks before Christmas.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2012, 12:11 PM
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The first thing, as cowboy says, it scheduling - the Christmas markets will be lively for the 4 weeks before Christmas but will close IME mid-morning on Christmas Eve. From then until December 26, everything is pretty quiet. So to enjoy the markets, you will want to arrive a few days before Christmas.

We went as a family a few years ago. We started in Munich a few days before Christmas. It was great to have that time in Munich - such a wonderful city.

Our hotel found us a place to have Christmas Eve dinner, as many restaurants are closed. After dinner was Midnight Mass at the Cathedral. On Christmas morning we picked up our rental car and drove into the Alps, arriving in Garmisch-Partenkirchen by lunchtime.

GP was not quiet at all, even on Christmas Day. Plenty to do and restaurants were open. Snow. Mountains. Pine trees. Picturesque village - actually we were in Partenkirchen, not technically Garmisch. Outdoor stands selling Gluwein. Perfect.

Plenty to do from GP in a few days - Zugspitze, Ludwig's castles, Wieskirche, Oberammergau.

I highly recommend Bavaria for your Christmas trip.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2012, 01:43 PM
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As Robertio says, the markets close sometime on Christmas eve and then almost everything closes down for Christmas day and the day after. The Christmas markets open at about our Thanksgiving (during Advent). If you are going on Christmas break our. Schools in Seattle dont get out till Friday the 21st. Assuming you flew out that day or the next and arrived in Germany the following day your time might be pretty short.

Where to go ... Munich, Rothenburg, Nuremburg, Salzburg are at the top of my list for Christmas in German. The castle area in the Alps would be great too. Fussen, Oberammergau, Garmish, Mittenwald, and Berchtesgaden should be on the list.

If you are in Salzburg on Christmas eve the Midnight Mass iat the Cathedral is very special with Wall to wall people, outstanding music and inspiring chuch bells to follow.
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Old Apr 24th, 2012, 02:13 AM
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Check the Christmas market schedules for the big cities. Many actually close a day or 2 before Christmas Eve.

Restaurants pretty much close down on the 24th completely. You will need dinner reservations at a hotel for this evening. On the 25th and 26th, the restaurants will be full and you may need reservations.

For small towns, they will often just be held on one weekend during Advent.

My favorite Christmas markets are in Idstein, Buedingen, Bad Homburg, Frankfurt Hoechst and Seligenstadt, though I do quite enjoy the party atmosphere at the one in downtown Frankfurt.
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Old Apr 24th, 2012, 04:38 AM
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We had a beautiful Bavarian Christmas a few years ago with our young girls. we started with a wander along some of the chocolate-box villages of the Romantic Road, highlights being Rothenberg with its Nightwatchman's Tour and three storey Wolfenkart Christmas shop, and Dinkelsbuhl and Fussen. Each village had its own Christmas market, which was so pretty and atmospheric. We stayed 23-27 December at Hotel Mueller at the base of the two castles, Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. We visited them on Christmas Day and Boxing Day (hotel organised tickets). The Mueller was excellent - great food, really friendly service, and gifts for everyone at the Christmas Eve Dinner. They also offered a shuttle to midnight mass on Christmas Eve, and a ride through the countryside on one-horse open sleigh! We took a cablecar ride up Mt Tegelberg and swam in the Royal Crystal salt spa baths to warm up. Although the weather was COLD it was truly the most memorable white Christmas for us. We all loved it.
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Old Apr 24th, 2012, 05:41 AM
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We went to Germany/Austria last Christmas. We visited Stuttgart. Rothenburg, Nürnburg, and Salzburg. Stuttgart was the best for children with a couple of rides - train, small ferris wheel. Rothenburg's market is very small. Click on my name and you can see my trip report.
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Old Apr 24th, 2012, 06:50 AM
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Christmas in Barvaria is the way to go, in my opinion. I am taking my extended family for a trip this year over Christmas. I wanted to encourage you, if you plan on staying in a smaller town (we are staying in Garmisch-Partenkirchen), to begin looking at hotels. With so many people, we had a hard time finding one hotel that would be able to accommodate all of us. Of course, if you stay in Munich or Salzburg -- both lovely towns any time of year, but especially this time of year -- your hotel search will be not be too difficult.
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