A world of tradition at German Christmas Markets
German Christmas Markets – Weihnachtsmarkt oder Christkindlmarkt
Introduction to the markets in Munich
We were introduced to our first Christmas Market in Munich in a haze of jet lag. Fortunately we eased into it by trawling one of the smaller Christmas Markets. We were surprised to still be upright considering we’d not slept properly for more than 36 hours. That first evening though was a taste of what we could expect most nights until Christmas Eve.
Usually I’m one for quiet places and open spaces but I’d looked forward to experiencing a Weihnachtsmarkt since we had planned this trip. I knew it would be packed with people, so I’d prepared myself for that. Some markets were densely packed though.
How do you choose the best Christmas market to go to?
We left the choice of Christmas markets to our son who resides in Germany. His friends and colleagues would usually arrange to meet each other for a drink and sometimes a light meal at one of the markets. We tagged along or were dragged along.
The markets entice you with their tempting aromas. It appealed to most if not all of my senses. It even released my not so deeply hidden inner child.
The atmosphere at the markets is filled with the essence of Christmas. It has nothing to do with the glühwein, eierpunsch or feuerzangenbowle that they sell. Hmm, maybe just a little bit.
A world of tradition at German Christmas Markets in Munich.
Christmas Markets are known for their tradition and a German one is definitely no exception.
It is an adventure wonderland - a place where children can fantasize. There are playgrounds where they can play. I’m not sure if it will tire out the kids, or if it hypes them up before bedtime. To calm them down, just slightly, you’ll be able to lure them with a promise of thousands of traditional wooden toys as well as classic electric or motorised toys. In my opinion though, I think it’s the dads (and mums) that would have the enjoyment of playing with some of those toys though.
The beautifully handcrafted ornaments, Christmas decorations, crafts and gifts are worth looking at. Some of them are exquisite in their detail.
If you happened to have left your warm winter woollies behind, there are scarves, beanies and house shoes or warm socks to ward off the winter chill.
If you’re tired of shopping, and your energy levels take a dive you can snack and drink at your leisure. You will always find bratwurst, beer and glühwein and a few other things to munch on. Stalls are overflowing in sweet & savoury treats such as Lebkuchen, Stollen, decorated biscuits and roasted or candied nuts.
Christmas markets don’t just consist of stalls to buy nick knacks. It’s also a place to socialize. Young and old gather together and have fun. It’s a family gathering filled with entertainment for the children, it’s a meeting point for the youth as well as young adults.
Traditional music is played on instruments, choirs sing, and you may even here some of the contemporary tunes too.
Whilst we meandered around the markets, I didn’t take many photos and some of these belong to my husband. I don’t know how other travel bloggers manage to get beautiful photographs with no-one in sight. There were throngs of people and it was often impossible to squeeze past them, let alone to get a good shot. Usually as well, when we arrived at the markets I was told to stay put at a convenient spot. ‘Stay there, Mom! We’ll find you.’ The rest of the family would rush off, buy drinks or food and I would be the X marking the spot for the others to return to. Occasionally I was relieved of my duties to browse around and buy a few things but I have a sneaky suspicion they didn’t want me to let me loose with a camera or play with the kiddies toys.
Some of the Christmas Markets we visited.
To be honest, I cannot tell you about each and every Christmas Market we went to. Some were huge, filled with people and others were just small areas that we walked past but still busy. It seems though that we saw most of the renowned markets.
1. Munich Christkindlmarkt Marienplatz
2. Christmas Village Emperor's Court, Munich Residenz
3. Chinesische Turm at Englischer Garten
4. Mittelaltermarkt – Medieval or Middle Ages Market
5. Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt – we took a day trip to Nuremberg and spent some time there.
Which is the best Christmas market? I couldn’t choose. They each have their own appeal and are worth a visit. If you ever get to Germany during Christmas, it’s worth visiting them but I doubt you will stop at just one.
A few short videos for you to enjoy