After the weirdness that was the Christmas market season last year, was super excited about this year, plus last year, I had Covid right when the markets started and by the time I could leave the house, Baden Württemburg had shut down their markets already.
* Ravenna Gorge
* Koblenz (see trip report about Koblenz)
* Frankfurt Höchst
My absolute favorite was Ravenna Gorge. Took a train there from Frankfurt and stayed overnight in Hinterzarten at a lovely hotel about a 10 min. walk from the station. A single room that included breakfast buffet was 67€. Good deal. https://iq-holiday.com/hinterzarten/hotel-zartenbach-b-b/MainMenu Also booked a torch walk for 35€ that began at 16:00, walked to the market, and included the entry fee of 6€ and the shuttle back to Hinterzarten. Something very unique and we laughed so much walking with our torches, being silly. The market itself is stunning, with the high train bridge lit up and the small market under the bridge. Only 40 stands, but all local, regional food, drink, and goods.
I enjoyed the Frankfurt market which has now spread out nicely, as well as the Mainz and Wiesbaden markets about equally. Good number of stands selling crafts, hand-made items and lots of delicious food and drink choices. All 3 are popular with people that live in the Rhein Main region.
The smaller markets of Koblenz and Büdingen were also enjoyable, though Koblenz was a 2-hour train ride which was a bit farther than what I wanted, but really wanted to go to their Christmas Garden, which was another high point this year. Well worth the trip there.
Büdigen is like Rothenburg, but all original, with massive stone walls and towers, 100s of half-timbered buildings, an 8 sided palace and the town does a beautiful, 5 day Christmas market. Lots of hand-made items and great food choices. Regional train from Frankfurt takes about 1 hour, with a switch in Gelnhausen.
Rüdesheim is a favorite of Americans stationed here in Wiesbaden. They call themselves an international Christmas market, but that seems to have really gone by the wayside. Lots of stands, but they were missing the international feel. Except for the Polish pottery, the Mongolian yurt, and carved wood from Jerusalem, everything else seemed to have been made in China? The saving grace here is the gondola ride and going to the Rhein Wein Welt for the wine tasting. There are some small, artisinal shops back in the former Asbach factory, but I think they are only open on the weekends. Lovely, items.
Idstein seemed a bit smaller this year, but still a beautiful town with lots of half-timbered houses and a Hexen Turm. If you go here, make sure to visit the Union church. One of the most unique churches I have seen. Lots of hand-made items here. They had no market the last 2 years.
Offenbach opened really early this year and is small, but it was fun to visit on the 14th of Nov. Mainly food and drink.
Frankfurt Höchst is usually a favorite, but for some reason they jammed the whole market into the space in front of the Justinus church and it was very overfull. Not enjoyable, which is a shame. They usually have a medieval section down in the moat of the schloss, but not this year. Maybe next year?
Gelnhausen also seemed a bit smaller this year, with maybe 20 stands and only a few of them were selling anything. The locals were pouring in by 17:00 though, cause there hadn't been a market here the last 2 years.
Frankfurt has other markets, Gibson Xmas, which is by the Alte Oper and just food and drink, City Christmas on top of a parking garage and again just food and drink, the Market in the City Forest by the Goethe Turm with small rides, a few stands for gifts, food and drink, and in the Thurn and Taxis Palace which just has food and drink.