Christmas Markets

Oct 21st, 2009, 11:12 AM
Original Poster
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Posts: 43
Christmas Markets

I am trying to decide on Christmas markets in Germany, Austria.
I read a review recently that listed a few different markets.
Largest : Nuremburg - not for the feint of heart
Best Overall Experience: Schonbrunn Palace/Vienna - Elegent backdrop: med. sized market
Most Romantic and Most Unique Handmade Items: Regensburg
Best Overall Quality: Salzburg
Passau : not too exciting
Heidlberg: same
Cologne: same
Now, obviously, this is from one person's trip.
Does anyone else have markets they have enjoyed ?
I have read much about Munich's.
I also wondered about Bamburg
Thanks for anyone elses opinion... just trying to decide where to go.

Also... whether to go by river boat or stay in 1 or 2 places and day trip.
That would depend on the markets. I think.
marsig is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 11:33 AM
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I have been to Munich and liked it very much. I have also been to the one in Vienna in front of the town hall and really liked it alot. I went to a couple of them in Salzburg on both sides of the river and thought they were ok.
I am going back this year to Munich and also Prague and Budapest so I am hoping they have good ones too.
But IMO they all have mostly the same items so after a couple different markets you will feel like you have seen it all.
MarthaT is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 12:46 PM
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You might take a look at this website as it has the locations of many smaller markets that might be held in castles, etc. I know the website is in German, but once you see a town that looks promising, try going to the towns website. I think the Christmas market in Buedingen is very traditional, using lanterns and torches and it is held in the moat that surrounds the castle which I think was built in the 1400's and never destroyed. Pretty cool atmosphere.

Mainhattengirl is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 12:47 PM
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I've been to many and there is not one that i did not love - absolutely love - the hot spiced wine, the ambience of locals gathering together - the nickknacks and crafts for sale

Frankfurt was the biggest i've seen - in the Romerplatz.

But i do not think you can go wrong
Palenque is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 12:58 PM
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I agree with Palenque, you can't go wrong! I enjoyed Munich and Nuremberg very much. Just don't go to Nur. on the weekend. There is an international section up behind the market in N that has items from Poland, CZ and others. Very interesting and lower prices. I enjoyed Salz. too but mostly for the location - all over the historic dist. Haven't been to Bamberg. Wasn't impressed with Heidelberg. But go where it is convenient and you will have a ball. And, if you are into that sort of thing, start a collection of the gluhwein mugs. I love to look at mine. Each market will have it's own design. Enjoy! CJ
CarolJean is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 01:22 PM
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I have been to Berlin, Baden Baden and Strasbourg. I will be in Munich this December.

Baden Baden was quite small, Berlin had several markets and Strasbourg was in a wonderful setting but it was the atmosphere in all of them that I loved. They all had tack, food, music, Christmas decorations and the all important gluhwein.

I loved them all which is why I am returning to Germany this December.

Agree with the others - you can't go wrong
cambe is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 01:54 PM
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For me Christmas Markets are much the same. It is most important for us to visit a town that we will enjoy and take the market with its atmosphere as an added bonus.

We lived in Nürnberg over a couple Advent seasons and it is a very nice to town to visit. It is not our favorite.

When we visited Würzburg last year, it had both an artist market in the town hall and a medieval market in the castle, in addition to the Christmas Market. We thought that made for nice variety. I love Würzburg in any case.

Rothenburg was not so overwhelmed with tourist in Advent Season as it normally is in the summer. Many of the tourist shops carry Christmas items that are a cut above those found in the stalls. It probably made for a best shopping experience. It is beautiful in any case.

Bamberg was beautiful during Advent last year. We even got a little snow. The Christmas Market was only adequate. Bamberg was still much worth the visit.

Regards, Gary
Gary_Mc is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 03:44 PM
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We have done several Christmas markets cruises, and my favorite town is Regensburg. The Medieval market there is special, and there are some smaller markets in addition to the one in the main square.

If you are planning on a Christmas markets cruise, you better book soon. A number of the best dates are already sold out on some of the more popular cruise lines.
lilla is offline  
Oct 21st, 2009, 03:55 PM
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Gary_Mc, I have not been, but my Son is starting a new craft hut in the Wurzburg Fair this Xmas. It is good to know that it is a good location. He also has a couple in Aachen, one in Duisburg, and one in Oberhausen. He has had one in Cologne in the past, but that fell through this year.

I have not been to any of them, as his every waking moment form September through Xmas is spent getting ready, and working the fairs. Someday I will go and just watch from the sidelines.

nukesafe is online now  
Oct 22nd, 2009, 08:11 AM
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Your decisions should be based on what you enjoy, not not the market itself. Do you like crowds? Will you be bored if there aren't too many stalls? Are you looking for a particular treat? Do you want more than one market in the same city? Do you want to experience just a few markets or many?

Like the others, I have been to many Xmas markets, big and small. Some are better than others, but they all have their own personality.

I suggest picking a city, or part of the country you are interested in and make that your "home." From that location, do day trips to other places and stay long enough to enjoy the market.

Or, if you know you are a "big city" person or a "small town" person, build your trip based on that.

Whatever you choose, you won't be disappointed.
wanderfrau is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 08:01 PM
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Thank you all for your insights.
Yes... it is getting late to book a trip.
But, we will see what is available.
That will help with the decision
DH isn't totally sold on it yet.
marsig is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 03:51 AM
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"DH isn't totally sold on it yet."

I am usually the one that gets more excited and earlier about our trips to Germany. I plan them and that gets me fired up. My wife will go along reluctantly as I buy the plane tickets. It is closer to the departure that she begins to get enthused. Then she will start letting me know that she really wants to visit this place or that.

Find whatever rings your husbands bell in travel. Make sure to plan some stops around that.

Regards, Gary
Gary_Mc is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 04:04 AM
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Nürnberg "not for the faint of heart?" Why? That person who told you probably visited on a Saturday, when all the big markets will be horribly crowded and are best avoided. Otherwise, Nürnberg is one of the most traditional and most special among Germany's markets. Visit on a weekday, though.

I am astonished that no one has mentioned Dresden and the Ore Mountains so far.

What does your husband like about travel? Any special interests? Finding a destination that has something he likes and a great Christmas market might do the trick...
quokka is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 08:28 AM
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I usually bribe my husband with food and drink -- lots of local specialties to choose from at Christmas markets. And, if he doesn't want to stand outside in the cold, there's always someplace nearby with a warm fire inside.

And, don't forget to do some standard sightseeing, too.
wanderfrau is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 10:54 AM
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I completely agree with quokka! I wouldn't miss Nurnberg (or for that matter, Dresden and the Ore Mts.) I do understand that they are out of the way for some trips. On of my favorite places the last time I went was Annaberg-Bucholz. There is a very small church there with an almost life-size creche carved out of wood. I don't remember when they were carved but they are truly amazing. The cathedral is also quite something. Wherever you go you will have a great time.
CarolJean is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 11:14 AM
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I've been to a few Christmas Markets in Germany, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands. I agree most of the merchandise is the same. I don't care to visit the markets for the merchandise that is being sold, but rather for the atmosphere, food, drink, etc. Regardless, you really can't go wrong which ever place you choose to visit. I'm sure your husband will enjoy the experience too if he hasn't been to European Christmas Markets. Do not make the Christmas Markets the focus of your holiday either, you'll have a great time in Europe in December.
justshootme is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 01:09 PM
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CarolJean, I cannot help but chuckle - Annaberg-Buchholz is on my schedule for this year's pre-Christmas trip with 'base camp' in Dresden...
quokka is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 03:56 PM
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Congratulations, quokka! I am envious. I would love to spend more time in Annaberg. The small church, I think, is called the Miner's church. It stayed open all hours and when the miners came home from the mines, they would stop in before going home.

We went to Germany in Sept. and I wanted to return to Annaberg with my husband but we decided to ride trains and didn't go to that area. Maybe another year... Have a great trip. CJ
CarolJean is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 01:48 AM
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I envy myself, LOL. This is my pre-Christmas gift to myself. It is my 6th visit to Dresden, a short one, only 5 nights/4 full days, and I still have an endless list of places to see in that area. That is the fault of Ingo who keeps telling about new places all the time ;-)
I plan to visit some of the towns in the Ore Mountains (and their Christmas markets) this time: Freiberg, Seiffen, and Annaberg for the miners' parade. Dresden itself and its markets again, of course, I especially loved the 'medieval' market in the Stallburg. Let's see what else, I have not yet decided. If there is a region in Germany that deserves being called "Christmas country" it is this.
quokka is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 06:35 AM
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Bamberg also has a walking route of nativity scenes.
Paul1950 is offline  

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