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3 German Christmas Markets Not to Miss

By - December 20, 2016 (Updated: December 14, 2016)

3 German Christmas Markets you don't want to missAdi shares her top 3 German Christmas Markets not to miss plus a bonus market in France and where to buy your Christmas tree in Stuttgart.

 There is no doubt I love Christmas more than any other holiday. Living in Germany means the Christmas season is filled with gorgeous Christmas markets, twinkling lights, mulled wine and sweet treats in many German cities, large and small.

If last year our primary goal was the larger Christmas Markets in Europe, this year we concentrated on the quaint smaller towns, making the Christmas market season that much more attractive.

1. Tübingen Weihnachtsmarkt

1. Tübingen Weihnachtsmarkt is one of the top Christmas Markets in Germany

Tübingen Weihnachtsmarkt is one of the top Christmas Markets in Germany

If you are looking for one of the best Christmas Markets in Germany, Tübingen Weihnachtsmarkt is the right place for you. Always on the third weekend of Advent, the university town of Tübingen hosts a colourful, and distinctive Christmas market. Over three days, hundreds of decorated Christmas stalls merge with the half-timbered scenery of the historical old town.

Weihnachtsmarkt Tübingen is open on Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm and on Sundays from 11 am to 7 pm.

Take a ride on the historic carousel at Tübingen Weihnachtsmarkt

Take a ride on the historic carousel at Tübingen Weihnachtsmarkt

Here, visitors discover attractions such as the colourful historical children’s carousel, a children’s program, as well as numerous musicians and choirs. You’ll smell the aromas of mulled wine, children’s punch, spices, and roasted almonds as well as the smell of roasted meats. Need a special homemade, authentic, German present? More than likely you will find it here. Almost nothing is made in China here.

Tübingen Christmas Market is fun for the whole family

Tübingen Christmas Market is fun for the whole family

Because it only takes place during a single weekend expect it to be crowded. However, the market is spread over the entire old town centre (from the lower town, over the Krumme Brücke and Kornhausstraße to the Marktplatz, over the Holzmarkt to the Neckargasse, Neue Straße and round by the Nonnenhaus) so the flow of people moves rather smoothly.

Tübingen Christmas Market Tips

  • Carry cash as none of the booths accept
  • If you have small children, consider baby-wearing or big strollers. Little umbrella strollers won’t cut it in the crowd, and the kids will be engulfed by the people around them.

2. Rothenburg (ob der Tauber) Reiterlesmarkt

Rothenburg (ob der Tauber) Reiterlesmarkt is one of the pretty settings in Germany

Rothenburg (ob der Tauber) Reiterlesmarkt is one of the pretty settings in Germany

Because this past summer we visited Rothenburg, Germany I was dead set on visiting again in winter, to experience its famous Christmas market, Rothenburg Reiterlesmarkt,  and get the best out of a German Christmas tradition.

Held between Nov 25th and Dec 23rd (in 2017 it will start on Dec 1st), a visit is a must during the Advent period. Every year, the medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is transformed into a winter’s fairy tale. Since the 15th-century, Advent festivities have been paired with a fantastic Christmas market. This market can look back on over 500 years of living history that has hardly changed since its origins.

Rothenburg Reiterlesmarkt is filled with handmade gifts for the holidays

Rothenburg Reiterlesmarkt is filled with handmade gifts for the holidays

During the day, it can feel a little overwhelming with people. However, since many of them arrive with tour buses which later leave, wait for the evening to be left in the company of locals. The market is small, contained in front of the city hall, but the whole centre sparkles with lights.

Some of the best shopping for authentic, wooden, handmade treasures are found at this market and the surrounding stores. The storefronts are decked with lights and evergreen ornaments making everything seem like you’re living in a winter wonderland. The only way this setting would be any better is if it were snowing.

Rothenburg's Christmas Market is one of the best in Europe

Rothenburg’s Christmas Market is one of the best in Europe

To keep body and soul together, treat yourself to a glass of mulled wine and satisfy your hunger with a grilled sausage, or freshly roasted chestnuts and finish with a famous Rothenburg Snowball.

3. Weihnachtsmarkt Schwäbisch Hall

Weihnachtsmarkt Schwäbisch Hall by day and night

Weihnachtsmarkt Schwäbisch Hall by day and night

My favourite of all the Christmas markets in Germany this year has been Schwäbisch Hall Weihnachtsmarkt, in a small university town in the north part of the Baden-Württemberg.

The market runs November 24th until December 21st and is held in the market square, in front of the impressive St. Michael’s Church.

Schwäbisch Hall Weihnachtsmarkt is a colourful feast for the senses

Schwäbisch Hall Weihnachtsmarkt is a colourful feast for the senses

The little Christmas chalets in Schwäbich Hall hide some of the best merchandise I’ve seen at Christmas markets in Europe. Everything on sale is made by hand here by candle makers, woodcarvers, sculptors. You’ll also find metalwork, enamels, ceramics, calligraphy tools, wooden toys and knits.

Another plus at this German market was the ease with which we were able to move around. It was busy but not overwhelming. There are no lines at the food and drinks booths and plenty of tables to enjoy the food.

Don't forget the tasty German Christmas Market food!

Don’t forget the tasty German Christmas Market food!

Schwäbisch Hall Christmas Market Tips

  • Carry cash as stated before. None of the booths accept There are several banks right next to the market if you need to top up your wallets.
  • You must try the Schwäbisch Hall pork sandwiches – some of the best pork meat in Germany – as well as visit the smoked salmon booth for some delicious baked potatoes with salmon. Yum!

Bonus: Colmar Christmas Market, France

Who can resist the charm of Colmar at Christmastime?

Who can resist the charm of Colmar at Christmastime?

Colmar is a town in the Alsace region of northeastern France, near the border with Germany. The city is on the Alsace Wine Route, and local vineyards specialise in Riesling and Gewürztraminer wines.

Because its old town has narrow cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered medieval and early Renaissance buildings, you can imagine why I wanted to explore the Christmas market, Marché de Noel Colmar. The atmosphere and the short drive from Stuttgart, make Colmar a beautiful and easy choice. The Christmas market in Colmar opens Nov 24th and lasts until Dec 30th.

Colmar's Christmas Market is an easy trip from Stuttgart, Germany

Colmar’s Christmas Market is an easy trip from Stuttgart, Germany

A succession of bright decorations leads tourists to discover the five traditional Christmas markets in the heart of the historic centre of old Colmar. They are interconnected by lights subtly drawn in the alleys of the city. 1150 computer-driven light sources, using a fibre optic cable network, are skillfully distributed throughout the town and put on an original light show, which varies in intensity and colour. Colmar was the first town in France to undertake an operation of such magnitude.

Colmar is beautiful by day and night with its colourful illuminations

Colmar is beautiful by day and night with its colourful illuminations

Intimate and friendly, the five Christmas markets of Colmar house 170 exhibitors during the six weeks of market time. Chalets are harmoniously arranged to allow the tourists to visit the markets and enjoy the striking historical centre. Out of the five markets my favourite were the market of local products, the market dedicated to arts and crafts and antiques, and the market of Petite Venice, dedicated to children. Our kids loved the last one the most for the obvious reasons.

Kids will love having their own market in Colmar, France

Kids will love having their own market in Colmar, France

This magical setting and warm atmosphere give Colmar an unrivalled feeling of wellbeing making it one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe.

Colmar Marché de Noel Tips

  • The market is very busy, consider baby wearing if travelling with small children.
  • Carry cash.
  • Try the Flammkuchen in baguette form. I was fighting with my kids for bites of these delicious and extra cheesy meals.
An Alsaitian treat - flammkuchen

An Alsatian treat – flammkuchen

Bonus: Where to get a beautiful Christmas in the Stuttgart area

I cannot write about Christmas markets and not give you a hot tip about where to get a gorgeous Christmas tree if you live in the Stuttgart area.

Mittelmühle in Adelberg is a 500-year-old former mill run by Harald and Sabine Müller, who devote their time to raising the best Nordic trees. We have been going to their farm every winter in the past several years and got to know Harald, who speaks perfect English. Listening to him talk about the Christmas tree farm I realised how much he loves what he does.

Mittelmühle in Adelberg, Germany is the best place to buy your Christmas tree and decorations

Mittelmühle in Adelberg, Germany is the best place to buy your Christmas tree and decorations

While Harald’s time is filled with the science of growing the trees, his wife, Sabine, who is a certified interior designer makes sure the interior of the Christmas exhibit is perfect. She chooses every piece with care, making the Christmas display beautiful and sophisticated.

Besides the two of them and a few more staff members, they also have the help of a flock of trusted English sheep bred to remove the grass between the trees without eating the trees themselves. Harald skipped no detail in making his business a successful one. This is why people come from near and far to get one of his beautiful trees.

Sheep as the ultimate eco-friendly lawn mowers!

Sheep as the ultimate eco-friendly lawn mowers!

Another thing I love about this farm is everything is done to respect the environment. Once a tree is cut, another replaces it immediately.

Mittelmühle doesn’t just sell trees. It also hosts an Advent celebration with workshops teaching visitors to make their own Advent wreaths as well as traditional candle making. The entire time you are visiting, a mulled wine station warms your hands and soul with delicious and hot mulled wine, for a small donation.  The GPS address for the tree farm is Mittelmühle 1, 73099 Adelberg.

A perfect Christmas tree just for us

A perfect Christmas tree just for us

There are so many reasons why I love Christmas in Germany. Part of it is due to spending time with my family at the different European Christmas markets, enjoying the beautiful settings of medieval towns covered in lights, the good food and mulled wine – it all makes my mind, body, and soul happy.

Visit as many of the German Christmas Markets as you can as you can never say ‘if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all’. Each market is unique in its own way.

Adi shares her top 3 German Christmas Markets not to miss plus a bonus market in France and where to buy your Christmas tree in Stuttgart.

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Cheeseweb would like to thank Mittelmühle for hosting Adi and her family. As always, all opinions remain those of our writers’ alone. 

I live in Germany with my husband and two children. I have a big passion for travel and photography. I am most happy when I travel, when I discover new cultures, see new places and try new foods. We have travelled to more than thirty countries and almost two hundred cities. See some of the photos taken during our adventures at Life in A Suitcase and follow on Google+.
@Colmar_tourisme thank you for retweeting! Colmar is gorgeous always but even better at Christmas. We love to visit. - 3 months ago

7 comments

  1. Comment by Ticker Eats The World

    Ticker Eats The World Reply December 21, 2016 at 04:04

    I can’t help but read this with an air of melancholy considering what has happened in Berlin. Germany is such a beautiful country and I spent 4 of my best years of life studying there in the late 90s.

    Their Christmas markets are amazing and I’ve had first hand experience of them. Here’s the surprising part about your post though; Rothenburg is my absolute favourite place in Germany and I’ve been there quite a few times and love it! And while I never visited Schäbisch Hall, I lived in another nearby university town of Schwäbisch Gmünd

    Beautiful post and full of memories for me

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison Reply December 21, 2016 at 14:47

      I agree completely and we actually debated if we should still run this article yesterday. But the truth is, these sorts of incidents can happen anywhere and we can’t lock ourselves away and hide from them. The Christmas Markets are one of the best things about this time of year in Europe and we can’t let fear and terror win by not participating.

    • Comment by Adriana Yampey

      Adriana Yampey Reply December 21, 2016 at 15:02

      Thank you!
      We lived a total of 7 years in Germany and are still here for a few years. I admit I am always sharp-eyed while in a crowd. I am afraid, but I also want to live not just survive. So we go out and have fun while also being alert. Schwäbisch Gmünd is also on my list to visit, it’s just south of S. Hall.

  2. Comment by Brooke

    Brooke Reply December 21, 2016 at 10:53

    These look so fabulous! I love European Christmas markets but have yet to make it to Germany for, what I have heard and seen must be the best! A goal of mine in a few years is to do 2 weeks in Germany and Romania, with a few Christmas market visits in each country.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison Reply December 21, 2016 at 14:48

      The German markets are fantastic but be sure to add Belgium to your list as well. There are some spectacular markets… and also chocolate 🙂

    • Comment by Adriana Yampey

      Adriana Yampey Reply December 21, 2016 at 15:05

      That sounds like a great plan. The German markets are amazing, most big cities, and most smaller towns have one. In Romania, the market in Timisoara is by far the best. Other cities such as Bucharest, Brasov, and Sibiu have beautifully decorated centers but not sure about a market.

  3. Comment by Jessica The Dining Traveler

    Jessica The Dining Traveler Reply December 26, 2016 at 03:49

    This post made me feel nostalgic of Christmas in Europe. I lived in Stuttgart for a year and enjoyed going to the markets not only in the city center but all the lovely small towns which surround it.

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