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Christmas Markets 2021...... what cities?

Thinking of planning a Christmas market trip this winter.....considering flying into Frankfurt Market and training to Nuremberg Market and Strasbourg Market and then back home.....giving it 10 days from leaving to flying home....need advice from those that have been. We want to try and get back home before Christmas. We figure those 3 would give us a good taste before we feel like we have seen enough. I know there are many more to see but for our 10 days we thought we should concentrate on Germany and we have heard so many great things about Strasbourg. Thank you!

Posted by
241 posts

I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Christmas Markets will be open this year. I go about every other year, leaving on the Friday after Thanksgiving. So I’m there during the first few days of openings. This year, I will add Cologne to my list - supposed to have 5 different markets. I spend around 10 days and take the train.

In the past here are some of my choices, flying into Frankfurt and out of Munich.

Rudesheim am Rhein - usually 3 nights with one or two day trips, one to Wiesbaden (if you like thermal spas they have one) and another day to Mainz which had more handmade stuff than other places.
Train to Strasbourg and be ready to fall in love. Beautiful decorations up and down the sidewalks. The cathedral is lit up and is beautiful. Smaller markets selling things like Alsatian cookies, pate. Colmar is near by train and has smaller markets disbursed through the city. The villages beyond are accessible by bus and are like stepping into a fairly tale.
Train to Augsburg for one night - nothing particularly special about the huts/food/Gluwein but it’s one of the oldest markets in Germany.
Munich is always bustling and I have a favorite chocolate shop nearby and a favorite Gluwein stand that will add rum soaked raisins for extra. If time allows, I’ll take the train to Salzburg not so much for the market but the ambiance in winter and a piece of cake at Cafe Tomaselli established in 1500.

Well now I’m excited! Let me know if I can help.

Posted by
7885 posts

While in Frankfurt, go out to the Christmas Market in the City Forest, for something unique. Head to Mainz and Wiesbaden, which you can do on the same day. Perhaps a visit to Rüdesheim. Rather than Nuremberg, which is super crowded and overhyped, head to Stuttgart which has one of the best large city Christmas markets in Germany. From Strausberg, perhaps a day trip to Colmar? Munich for me was just average, nothing set it apart.

This year is going to be very different if they even have the markets, with them very spread out through the city, restricted entry, etc. Not sure I would plan a visit for this year.

Posted by
412 posts

I preferred Salzburg's Christmas market over that of Nuremberg and Munich. Also enjoyed the Rudesheim market.

Posted by
1281 posts

We do really enjoy the Christmas Markets but there is much sameness about them. I would suggest you pick towns that you want to visit and make the Christmas Markets the frosting on the cake.

I agree with Jo that Nürnberg is normally very crowded in Advent Season, detracting from the town. There is an interesting craft area near the train station but that is very confined and I wonder if it will be open if the coronavirus is not well in check. If you choose Stuttgart over Nürnberg (I would), check to see if the medieval market at nearby Esslingen is open this year. It is something a bit different in an attractive small town.

I will put in a plug for Würzburg. It is medium size town a short ride from Frankfurt with a nice market. It also has a beautiful "Residenz" and a castle (Marienberg Festung) to visit. Rothenburg is a quick train ride away for day trip. Very scenic Bamberg is also a short day trip. I am prejudiced as this is my favorite area of Germany.

Jo often has a thread mentioning small town markets near Frankfurt. We tend to like a mix of small town Christmas Markets with one of two large cities.

We liked Munich, Salzburg and especially Regensburg Christmas Markets but for us the distance from Frankfurt in a 10 day trip might not be worth it. If you fly open jaws Frankfurt-Munich. Regensburg is our favorite single Christmas Market stop. It has both a "Romantic Christmas Market" (https://www.wm-tut.de/start-page) and a regular market. Plus the city is wonder.

We have our fingers crossed about 2021 but suspect that 2022 will be our next Weihnachtsmärkte visit.

Posted by
4694 posts

If you want to experience the markets at their best, to be on the safe side, I would plan the trip for 2022.

Posted by
562 posts

Made our decision on a push from a great airline fee......we will fly into Frankfurt in December, train to Nuremberg, Regensberg, enjoy those markets.....then train to Strasbourg, maybe see Colmar and then back to Frankfurt 10 days later to fly home.....its a bucket list item for both of us so we are delighted to see it in our future.....hopefully Covid will be on the wane by then and I am hoping the markets may not be too crowded this year and some folks are waiting until 2022......we are not getting any younger and decided to book this now to hopefully see it materialize.....thank you so much for your input! If anyone has been to these markets would appreciate lodging ideas, etc that you enjoyed. Thank you!

Posted by
1 posts

I have been to Nuremberg, Strasbourg, Frankfurt, Munich, Colmar, Vienna, Innsbruck and Salzburg. I was going every year and moving around by train but obviously 2020 didn't happen. I just love the atmosphere and the decorations. Strasbourg blew my mind -- it's gorgeous for christmas. I have a plane ticket to Stuttgart for December and just hope they don't cancel everything again. Doesn't feel like Christmas without markets.

Posted by
27 posts

I found a great deal on airfare & hotel (fully refundable and generous cancellation policies) back in February, that we booked our trip to Berlin for Christmas right then and there. Feeling pretty confident that we'll be going. I'm monitoring the Christmas Markets websites for updates. TBH, even if they're not a go or scaled back, it'll be nice to be back in Germany--we lived there years ago, but oddly enough, never made it to Berlin.

Posted by
910 posts

I've also taken the plunge and bought tickets for December to France. We'll be going to Strasbourg, Colmar, etc., for the markets as well. Let's ALL keep our fingers and toes crossed that this year goes forward with double the enthusiasm to make up for last year!

Posted by
5642 posts

`From our Christmas markets trip in 2019:

In Nürnberg, we loved the inexpensive family-run PrivatHotel Probst very near the train station, wonderful breakfasts.

In Strasbourg we stayed in Residence Hôteliere Louise -- quite a walk from the market areas, student-apartment style room with kitchenette and free laundry room downstairs (this was our second time there); clean but minimal at a good price; breakfast not worth the extra cost when you have your own kitchen facilities.

In Frankfurt we used Fleming's Express Hotel right across the street from train station, nice breakfast buffet and came with a transit pass for Frankfurt trams. Formerly an Intercity, so business-style.

Ours was a longer trip, so we also visited Stuttgart, Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Berlin.. Would have daytripped to Colmar from Strasbourg but there was a French rail strike.

Posted by
562 posts

Thank you friends….this is so helpful! I do want to ask if anyone has taken the train from Regensberg to Strasbourg……its a long ride but we want to see Strasbourg on this trip…….thanks again!

Posted by
25594 posts

That's quite a long journey.

No, that's not a combination of cities that I have ever contemplated. Changes in Nuremberg and Karlsruhe. Those changes will be quite short unless you want to (or are forced to) drag the day out.

I've spent time in all those cities, just not linked. I've several times gone Nuremberg - Regensburg and/or v.v.

The slightly slower route is a bit tougher - Regensburg - Munich - Mannheim - Offenburg - Strasbourg. The 2 last connections are very short.

What do you want to know about the actual train ride?

Posted by
5 posts

We went to Dresden in 2019. It was our first Christmas market trip. Delightful midsized city with much to see and few Americans. There were several nice markets. Consider it.

Posted by
1 posts

We too are planning a Christmas Markets trip this Dec. We're flying into Zurich and then plan to train to Strassburgh, Nurenburg, and Salzburg and do day trips from these cities. We're trying to decide if we want to add 3-4 days in Cologne, go someplace else, or add a day or 2 to the places already on our agenda. We're planning to spend 3-4 days in each place, so adding an additional day isn't a problem. And I know we can do day trips to interesting places from all these cities. Just wondering, since Cologne is furthest north and a pretty big city, is it worth 3 days? We have read that the Christmas markets there are many and large. Any suggestions?

Posted by
44 posts

I have been on Christmas Market cruises 5 times and Cologne is one of my favorite places with 3 markets I have been to multiple times. My favorite is the Elf market around the old city hall, then the main market around the cathedral (and their stage where groups preform, and the Angel Market near the main shopping streets. The mugs are great too!

Posted by
146 posts

Anyone interested in a smaller manageable Fair might look up Esslingen, near Stuttgart. It has a Medieval Fair with all sorts of tents, acts and costumes, as well as old town centre wine stores and hat shops (my favourite). A river runs through it, and there are all sorts of bars, restaurants and cafes to discover. Even a children's book museum. If they are on this year, Esslingen is worth the short train ride from "Stuagut". It is fun in the summer too. Given the Covid numbers, it might be easier to stay in Germany and do Stuttgart and Esslingen, not Strasbourg, this year. Just saying. I still love Rothenburg in its Reiterlesmarkt period, but very crowded and may not be held if Bavaria has already cancelled Oktoberfest.

Posted by
2096 posts

@humancap1: If you are planning a four country trip this December, make sure to follow the rules on who is allowed to cross the borders and for what reasons.

Posted by
8 posts

Replying to Badger: Can you please suggest a site where we can check on the border restrictions in place crossing from Germany into France, Italy or Switzerland via car or train? Still hoping for a trip later this Fall, but it's looking less likely as time goes on.

Posted by
134 posts

I would be cautious about planning rail in the near future; while the flooded regions are north of your intended route, the DB has said rail service may be disrupted for years. It may very well be fine, but I would be cautious if that is a concern.