Christmas Market trip in Germany--2021

Old Dec 19th, 2020, 08:14 AM
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Christmas Market trip in Germany--2021

Planning waaaay ahead for next year for fun and boredom prevention this year. After watching a Zoom session on Christmas markets with our granddaughters (12 year old twins who got very excited about the markets), I've started planning a 3 generation trip to Nuremberg for 2021 to keep me occupied. I would appreciate review of my ideas by those of you who know the area and have been to markets there.

We will only have 6 nights in country. Think it best to headquarter out of Nuremburg since we can get easy flights there from our respective bases and would prefer not to spend time changing hotels. So... here's where I'm looking for help.

*Which markets to definitely go to and which to put on the chopping block
We have some knowledge of what markets are like at 3 of the places I'm looking at--Nuremburg, Augsburg and Munich, so I'm good with those. While we've been to all of the other cities on my list, we've not been to their Christmas markets so I would really appreciate assessments of markets in Rothenburg, Wurzberg, Bamberg, Bayreuth, Coburg, Schweinfurt, Ansbach, Schwabisch Hall, Erlangen, Fuerth and Regensberg--and others in the general vicinity of these that you think might be better than those I'm considering so far.

*Whether we can combine some markets and do 2 in a day
For instance--maybe add Ansbach to our day in Rothenburg, combine Bamberg with Wurzburg, do side trip to Coburg from Bamberg if we do it separately from Wurzburg, etc. Our travel would all be by train, so somewhat less flexible than if we were driving. I've checked and see that the connections are doable in some instances but would appreciate some first hand guidance on whether it's reasonable to do or if having more than a single destination in one day will just make the whole thing too hectic with a gang of 6 persons.

*Where we might be able to go on a short boat trip
The Zoom session we watched was touting river boat cruises to see the markets. While I'm not interested in that (and some such cruises don't even permit passengers under 18) I'm thinking it might be fun to do a short vicinity cruise one day or evening if they are available. Has anyone ever taken such a cruise/boat ride at this time of year? Is it just too cold? Or might it be a fun add on to a city? Especially interested to know if anyone has ever taken/seen such cruises out of Nuremburg.

*Any other suggestions/guidance/warnings for a 3 generation trip for 6 people for 6 days to markets in the selected area.
Thanks for any help you can give. (Did I mention that I tend to be overly ambitious when planning how much we can accomplish in a day/in a single trip so I'd especially like to hear any guidance on whether my ideas seem like we'd be over-extended.)
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Old Dec 19th, 2020, 05:14 PM
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Hi Julie, I think I can be of limited help here - having done boat trips on the Rhine at that time of year it can be very blah because of the wind, cold and lack of vegetation. I would probably rethink that one pending weather during your trip. I have been to a lot of markets and additionally I have done a Christmas market trip across Germany (Hamburg - Lüneburg - Wismar - Schwerin - Hildesheim - Hameln - Münster - Düsseldorf - Aachen). It was quite interesting and I enjoyed seeing where the regional specialities began and ended. One thing I will put forward for you to consider is that we travelled in a year where there was no snow before the end of January. We had a car but it easily could have gone pear-shaped if the weather had turned on us, so your strategy of staying in one area with Nürnberg as your hub is quite good, but you might consider basing your destinations on how hard it is to get there by train. Of the markets you mention, I have only been to Nürnberg so it is hard to comment on potential choices (in fact I simply don't know that part of Germany all that well, but I have been to Regensburg (oldest sausage restaurant in the world), Rothenburg, Würzburg, Bamberg). I will also mention that I find Rothenburg quite polarising - it is an intact walled city, but it is also very heavily touristed and consequently quite expensive, and incidentally very hard to get to by train. Nearby Dinkelsbühl might be a consideration if you have a car, it has many of the same features but less hype. You will probably get a lot of commentary here; it's a bit controversial about Rothenburg because it has its admirers. On the other hand, one thing in Rothenburg which is really unique is the Käthe Wohlfahrt store (also in Rüdesheim), which sells nothing but Christmas decorations. That is a big drawcard at this time, even if the markets are also selling handmade wooden and straw decorations. So, some things for you to think about, sorry I can't help you more with your Bavarian itinerary.

Lavandula
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Old Dec 20th, 2020, 02:41 AM
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Lavandula, thank you so much for your reply. Very helpful. The info on the boat trip is especially useful and a possible trip-saver. No use, having
kids return saying "and then we went on this cold, icky boat ride with nothing much to see." We will definitely be traveling by train. I'll check out Dinkelsbuhl as an alternative to Regensberg. A childhood friend has the last name of Dinkel and comes from there so that would be an interesting connection.
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Old Dec 20th, 2020, 07:47 AM
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We've been visiting Germany at Christmas for many years. We always travel by train and have visited many of the markets on your list including Munich, Augsburg, Regensburg, Nurnburg, Bamberg, and Rothenburg...plus some.

Regarding the comment above regarding Käthe Wohlfahrt stores - they can be found many places, including Nurnburg and Bamberg, so no need to go to Rothenburg specifically for that, unless you want to see her family home from behind a gate.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is kitschy and overrun with tourists, but I still like it. I've been many times over many years and can spend three nights there at a time and not run out of things to see and do. To me, Rothenburg is best enjoyed in the evenings after the tourist buses and day trippers have gone, so your plan to visit as a day trip from Nurnburg might leave you disappointed. It will take you at least 1:35 to get there by train from Nurnburg and then 1:35 back and because the markets don't even open until around 10 am (you'll want to double check this), I think you'd be hard pressed to combine it with a second day trip elsewhere.

Regensburg is about an hour's train ride from Nurnburg and Bamberg under an hour, so both easy to do from a Nurnburg base. I think both are worthwhile but I'd give a slight nod to Bamberg as it's old town is such an interesting place to visit and just wander about. You can easily spend a full day in Bamberg and then return to Nurnburg for the markets after dark, but again, I think you'd be hard pressed to combine Bamberg with yet another city.


I have several Christmas Market trip reports posted here on Fodors, which may, or may not help.

Last edited by Melnq8; Dec 20th, 2020 at 07:52 AM.
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Old Dec 20th, 2020, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by JulieVikmanis View Post
A childhood friend has the last name of Dinkel and comes from there so that would be an interesting connection.
'Dinkel' means spelt (the grain) and 'Bühl' is the old regional word for a hill (also in "Kitzbühel", which Is a hill where there are deer), so likely your friend has a grain-growing heritage or lived near where they grew grain.

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Old Dec 21st, 2020, 03:40 AM
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Melnq8, very helpful info. Thanks so much. And I will indeed check out your trip reports on markets. Excited to be able to do more research.

lavandula, I will pass the info about Dinkelsbuhl on to my friend. Thanks.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2020, 10:56 AM
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Rothenburg‘s market is small and not worth going to as a market. As a regular place to visit, it is worth it to me. I did not find it crowded at Christmas 2012.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2020, 12:51 PM
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I just ran across this photo of Rothenburg's Christmas market from 2013. This is the main market area, but the market extends down side streets as well.


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Old Dec 23rd, 2020, 12:55 PM
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And some photos from my visit in 2019.



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Old Dec 24th, 2020, 03:16 AM
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bigtyke and melnq8 thank you both so much. Your pix and info tell me that Rothenburg is definitely one we can cut from our already packed plan. While the town itself is cute (we were there once long ago) the more difficult transport to get there is definitely something we can avoid without feeling too bad about missing it. Fodors is always so helpful. Thanks for making it so. And Happy Holidays to you both.
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Old Dec 24th, 2020, 04:18 PM
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https://www.hotelvictoria.de/en/index.html We loved this hotel. We stayed very close to the Marienplatz last year but were not crazy about our boutique-style matchbox room. We are going to stay closer to Viktualienmarkt's next trip. I loved going for drinks at Eataly when I needed a change from beer. There were great little markets all over Munich, not just the main squares. I was disappointed in the size of Garmisch's markets but they had the best merchandise. Does that make sense? Many things were handmade and beautiful. I am looking at them this year and loving the memories.
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Old Dec 25th, 2020, 03:18 AM
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Macross, thanks so much for the hotel rec. It looks terrific and perfectly situated for us, and with quite reasonable rates as well--especially nice when we will be getting 3 rooms.

I certainly agree about loving the memories of past Christmas markets. I think we'd go every year if we could--at least I would. Not quite so sure about DH.
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Old Dec 28th, 2020, 11:34 AM
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I see that most Christmas markets seem to close on Dec. 23. Is anyone aware of markets that continue for a day or two after Christmas?
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Old Dec 28th, 2020, 02:14 PM
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The markets in Munich usually close around 2 pm Christmas Eve. I think the same holds true for Rothenburg, but I may be wrong. Markets in small towns sometimes only run a couple of weekends during the season.

I spent Christmas 2019 in Salzburg and hope to do the same in 2021. Their markets stayed open until Dec 26 and Salzburg was a good place to be on Christmas because quite a lot stayed open. The Christmases I've spent in Germany found us without a whole lot to do on Christmas Day, although we're easily entertained so didn't have a problem.
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