Our family of 7 will be going to Europe this December - 4 in 20's and 3 in 50's (December 16-26). We're looking forward to visiting the Christmas markets but also seeing the sites in and around each area. The plan is everyone can do what they like in the day as everyone has different interests and meet up at the end of the day in the markets and for dinner. Travel is by train. One couple will have a car however from Strasbourg to Nuremburg or Munich. The original plan was 3 nights Strasbourg or Colmar, 3 nights Nuremburg (Friday to Monday) and 3 nights Salzburg. The younger group however really want to be in Munich some of the time - they want to get to enjoy beer halls and think Munich would have a more party-like atmosphere in the markets. 2 in 20's and 1 in 50's has been to Munich before. No one has visited Strasbourg area or Nuremburg ever. I think Salzburg needs to stay at 3 nights (Dec 23-26) so I would appreciate opinions on how I should adjust the schedule with Nuremburg & Munich - stay in one over the other for 3 days, split time 2 days and 1? Any other suggestions are welcome.
Hi Kathy, I can only comment on Salzburg, as I've never been to the others for the Christmas markets. We went in 2010 for the Christmas markets. I don't know if it's really "party like" atmosphere, but the holiday atmosphere in Salzburg was incredible. While we've been to Salzburg many times before, at this time of year it felt so different (in a very good way!). Like visiting for the very first time. I wouldn't cut any time from Salzburg. Paul
Two years ago our family started in Strasbourg. Great market and is the oldest market dating back to 1300s. Then trained to Rothenburg for a few days with a day trip to Nurnberg via train. Then went to Munich for Christmas eve/day and one son and wife went home from Munich. The rest of us went to Prague for New Years. From Munich you could go on to Salzburg. Rothenburg was nearly magical. The German market begin shutting down on mid PM of Christmas eve. And, amazingly, completely done by Christmas day. I agree that Munich would be a better place for Christmas since the beers halls are open and packed. Very festive atmosphere with lots of noise.
It hard to know what other people will like best. I can only talk about our experiences. Last year we visited the Munich and Salzburg in Christmas Market Season. In 2010 we visited Nuremberg's. We have visited all in earlier years as well. Salzburg is the most attractive town. We did not like it best but still very much. It was overwhelmed at this season. It was very pricey. My feeling: it was into fleecing tourists more. Just my opinion, I respect others. Nürnberg (Nuremberg) has a large market and a nice old town. The market is overwhelmed on the weekend but otherwise not too bad. I used to be stationed in Nürnberg and I am partial to my returns there. It is a living, modern city that shows off its age. The shopping district is quite extensive. München (Munich) is a large town that absorbs its tourists well. The largest market at Marienplatz is overrun during the evening. Visit there during the day. München has a great variety of markets. We visited a medieval market at Wittelsbach Platz, a nice community market at Haidhausen and the arts/crafts market at Schwabing. A local of München acted as our guide to Schwabing one evening and we had an especially good time there. Our hotel was located very near a good small market at Sendlinger Tor. I have not visited Tollwood (new-age market?) but some locals swear by it. Augustiner is my favorite beer so I did enjoy a couple in München. I agree with someone else that München would be a good place to spend Christmas for party-making. I have spend earlier Christmas's in both Salzburg and Nürnberg and you would not go wrong with either to my mind. Have a great time.
Thanks for everyone's comments. We have decided we will do 3 nights Strausbourg, 2 nights Nuremburg, 1 night Munich and end with 3 nights in Salzburg. It won't be long enough in Munich but it's the best compromise I can come up with and it's a bit shorter train ride the next day to Salzburg and I've been able to find fairly reasonable rates for accommodation in Salzburg luckily.