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Frankfurt Christmas Market 2023

Hello and Happy Holidays 2022.
My wife and I are thinking of going to Frankfurt in December 2023 for the Christmas Markets and I need recommendations from the group.

  1. We will be flying non-stop from St. Louis to Frankfurt Lufthansa. Is there enough to do outside of the Christmas Markets to fill up 7-8 days?
  2. If we did 2 cities, should the 2nd city be Paris and then fly home from Paris?
  3. Any other recommendations on what to do in the Frankfurt area?

Thanks,
Billl

Posted by
23464 posts

What about starting in Munich? Great markets. Hit Strasbourg on the way to Paris. But the market will close starting around noon on Christmas eve.

Posted by
3992 posts

Lufthansa just introduced a nonstop flight from St. Louis to Frankfurt in 2022 so it seems like a perfect time to visit Christmas markets. I might fly into Frankfurt and concentrate on the smaller cities and town’s nearby markets. Ms Jo on this website has a lot of good ideas for the best ones. Another strategy would be to split your 7-8 days between 2 areas and visit the nearby markets from two bases. If you do a 2 base approach it might be good to train to your first, distant city and stay 2-4 days then take the train back to Frankfurt for more area markets for a few days to catch your flight back home.

Posted by
12 posts

Why Frankfurt, new non-stop Lufthansa services between STL and Frankfurt, but we are in our planning stages, we just want a great Christmas Market experience in 2023.
Thanks,
Bill

Posted by
2381 posts

Frankfurt can certainly be a starting point for your trip, but I wouldn’t consider it a place to base for Christmas markets.

You might consider taking the train to Cologne, then on to Baden-Baden, then to the Strasbourg/Colmar area, then on to Paris.

Is your total trip 8 days (7 nights)? That will impact how many places you see. If so, I would skip Paris. You can take the train/bus from Strasbourg back to Frankfurt for your return flight.

Posted by
5129 posts

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/christmas-markets-switzerland-france-germany-2019

Perhaps my Trip Report 2019 will offer some ideas.
I agree, Mrs Jo here on the Forum is a great resource , and I incorporated some of her suggestions into our magical trip. I'd stay away from Paris, because of all the French labor strikes ( see my report ). iMHO, must see markets are in

Stuttgart ( and neighboring Esslingen) ,
Rothenburg ( the markets are small, but the town is magical),
and Strasbourg ( with adjacent Colmar,) France.

Markets I haven't seen but keep getting spectacular reviews are in Salzburg, Vienna, and Regensburg. Oh, how my mind wanders....

Can you could fly into Zurich, visit some of the Swiss cities, and out of Frankfurt?
Mrs. Jo knows most of the small markets outside of Frankfurt , but we ran out of time to visit them. Perhaps you can find her reviews here with a Search.
I'm so jealous, you'll have a wonderful time!

Posted by
557 posts

I just completed a trip to the Germany Christmas markets, via Frankfurt n/s on Lufthansa. I echo what others have said about Frankfurt. You could spend your first and last night there and see the markets in Frankfurt and Mainz plus a few sights in Frankfurt during the day but there is not much more to do than that. From there I would recommend going South to Nuremberg as home base to see markets in Regensburg, Bamberg, Rothenberg and/or Wurzburg. That is what we just did. I am already planning a return trip via Frankfurt n/s on Lufthansa but next time I will go North home basing in Cologne and see the markets in Aachen, Dusseldorf,
Bonn and Essen. If you look on all the websites that rank the markets, most of those cities are on them and all are within an hour of the home base.

Posted by
9037 posts

Frankfurt itself has plenty to see besides the Christmas market. Only Berlin has more museums and there are so many historical sites here that Rick has chosen NOT to include in his guide books, that many people believe there is nothing here but skyscrapers. Why he wants to present Frankfurt this way, instead of featuring the extensive history and the many historical sites and medieval churches is a mystery.

Anyway, using Frankfurt as a hub to visit lots of other towns and their Christmas markets is wise. Easy access to the many trains, using regional or local transport tickets from www.rmv.de They have expanded the Christmas market here and with the 200 decorated stands, it is really photogenic and offers something for everyone. It is also one of the oldest, going back to 1393. There are smaller markets that are just food and drink at the Thurn & Taxis palace, Gibson City Xmas by the Alte Oper, and the City Alm Xmas on top of a parking garage, Paradis Platz in Sachsenhausen and a bit larger one in the City Forest at the Goethe Turm that also has handmade items and some rides for the kids.

My recommendations for markets to visit when using Frankfurt as a hub: Mainz, Limburg, Wiesbaden, Marburg, Seligenstadt, Michelstadt, Rüdesheim, Fulda, Heidelberg, Worms. Depending on the weekend you are here because some markets are only one weekend - Büdingen, Idstein, Hessen Park. A bit farther away and with possibly a hotel change - Koblenz, Ravenna Gorge (stay in Hinterzarten and go on the torch walk in the evening and shuttle back to the town after the market.)

Central hotels in Frankfurt - Motel One is the top location, but the Hilton, Ruby, Moxy, and Flemings are good too.

The Winter Lights in the Palmengarten have just begun and that is a great way to spend an evening if you are marketed-out. There is the Christmas Garden at the stadium, but after going to the one in Koblenz (see my trip report) I am now spoiled, as that one tops anything else.

Posted by
4921 posts

I am in Frankfurt now, my last full day of a 7 night Christmas Markets trip using Frankfurt as a base.

I was going to wait until I was back to write up my trip report, but have started it now to answer a few of your questions. And I'll add to it after I'm home.

Posted by
6793 posts

"If we did 2 cities, should the 2nd city be Paris and then fly home from Paris?"

With 7-8 days, it makes sense to split your time up with stays in two separate cities. Which ones? It depends partly on your interests.

"Is there enough to do outside of the Christmas Markets to fill up 7-8 days?"

Winter weather in northern Europe doesn't lend itself to long periods of time outdoors, so your "outdoor time" will probably be dedicated to the Christmas markets alone. I suggest that you study up on your base-town options carefully, looking for things you'd like to see/do INDOORS. Sample ideas for multi-night stays:

Car enthusiasts for example might want some time in or near STUTTGART (already mentioned by Pat; Porsche, Mercedes museums.) Nearby towns that might also be interesting include the lovely town of Esslingen (10 minutes away by regional train, medieval Christmas market) and underrated Ulm (1 hr. from Stuttgart by regional train, daily Christmas market, world's tallest church, more.)

MAINZ, already mentioned by Charles and Jo, and my personal favorite as a base town near FRA airport, sports some unique museums (like the Gutenberg Museum, which addresses the history of printing, or the Antique Shipbuilding Museum) as well as a bevy of cool churches (including St. Martin's Dom, the Stephanskirche w/ Chagall windows, and the Augustinerkirche, on the pedestrianized Augustinerstraße, in Mainz' charming old town sector.) Nearby towns and Christmas markets include Rüdesheim, Koblenz, Worms, Frankfurt, and Speyer (whose Christmas market remains open AFTER Christmas and into the New Year.) All these destinations/markets are reachable by train on day outings from Mainz, a major rail hub for the Rhine Valley and only 25 minutes from FRA airport by direct regional train.

KOBLENZ: My last visit to the Christmas Market here was disappointing but that was many years ago; Jo and others have been very enthusiastic about the current version, and Koblenz, 1.5 hrs from FRA airport by direct regional train, could be a good Rhine Valley base town for visiting COLOGNE (Cologne Cathedral, WW II history, Chocolate Museum and other museums, home of Kölsch beer) as well as Mainz and Rüdesheim. From there, the Ancient Roman city of TRIER would also be reachable on a direct train trip through the Mosel River Valley in short order. Also near Koblenz: Marksburg Castle (open for tours year-round) in the town of Braubach (10 minutes by train from Koblenz.)

Posted by
457 posts

Returned 10 days ago from a 12-day Christmas market trip ... at the start of the trip did several markets north and east of Frankfurt including Cologne, Aachen, Duisburg, Essen, Dortmund, Dusseldorf and Koblenz (plus the Cologne and Aachen Cathedrals, and the Ehrenbreitstein fortress in Koblenz) ... towards the end, did several around the Stuttgart area including Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg, Esslingen and Karlsruhe ... both areas could easily fill up a 7 day trip ... if you wanted to add France, after Aachen it's a short train ride to Strasbourg and Colmar.

Posted by
545 posts

Stuttgart is a great option because its market is good--mainly because they actually have different wineries selling their own Glühwein rather than the stock stuff you get at a lot of markets. Nearby Ludwigsburg has a Baroque market, while Esslingen is supposed to be good as well. And of course Colmar and Strasbourg are right there.

If you wish to venture further afield, I would actually recommend Strobl - St. Wolfgang - St. Gilgen near Salzburg. They will spoil you for pretty much any other market experience, and the Austrian Alps are breathtaking as a backdrop. Travel between them by ferry on a mountain lake.

Posted by
148 posts

I just returned from a Christmas Market river cruise on the Rhine-Main-Danube canal. Lots of fun and really relaxing. Two cruise companies I’ve used are Uniworld (Frankfurt to Nuremberg) and Gate 1 (Frankfurt to Regensberg.) Both go in the opposite direction also. You get a mixture of large city markets and smaller town’s markets. I have taken a few days in Paris as an after trip, and frankly it is a let down after the German markets.

Posted by
556 posts

@Ms. Jo

Thanks for the info about Frankfurt. I did not even know that Frankfurt has so much to offer. Hardly remeber that anyboby I've been talking to about a city trip in Germany ever mentioned Frankfurt. I have it on my agenda becasue I want to take photos of the skyscrapers and some other great architecture.

Seems as if the Frankfurt tourist office somehow hiding its treasures. But nothing surprises me anymore when we are talking about cities and their Marketing. Stopped wondering as well why Munich is keeping up its old-fashioned beer yodel image :-)

Now I will take a deep dive into Frankfurt and extend my focus of course.