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City Savvy Guide: Christmas Markets 2019

by City Savvy Luxembourg

The list is out! We dare you to find a more comprehensive Christmas Market List! We double dare you. We’ve consulted the Christmas oracles and given you hints to make your experience that much better!

The air is cool and many European squares are already full of those famous market stalls! Christmas really is just around the corner. Time to light the fires, turn on the Christmas music, wrap up warm and experience the joy that is the Kreschtmaart (Christmas Market). It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

If you haven’t experienced the Christmas Markets in Luxembourg and its surrounds you are in for a real treat. Christmas sounds, glühwein, rides on the ferris wheel and a lovely atmosphere will certainly get you in the mood for this festive season.

Our first CSL hint: Always check the dates and opening times. Most finish just before Christmas. Dress warmly! It’s cold and damp!

Second CSL hint: Think about your style of travel and goals: large crowds or drives might not be your thing, but Strasbourg is rather phenomenal and worth the drive. Each is unique so grab a mug of something warm and plan your itinerary.

Third CSL Tip: Sometimes you’ll find that the Christmas markets in smaller towns, villages and communes in Lux are directed more to the locals…(obviously). It doesn’t mean you’re not welcome to join as you will be included in the fun, they just might not have quite the excitement you might be looking for.

Luxembourg

Luxembourg City Centre

The most well known and visited Christmas markets in Luxembourg are the ones in the city centre. There are actually 4 different Christmas Markets in the centre, plus lots of concerts and activities. And as always in Luxembourg “fir Iessen a Gedrénks as s gesuergt” …sausages, raclette, bouneschlupp, gromperekichelcher, roasted almonds, candy floss and many other national and international treats…nobody will go home hungry.

When: Christmas markets / Winterlights festival opened on November 21st. Christmas markets will usually last until December 24 and the Winterlights festival until January 5th. There is an Ice Rink in Place Guillaume II and not to be missed is the Procession of St. Nicholas in the beginning of December. There are concerts, shopping, all things Christmas in our charmed City can be found on the VDL website.
Where: Across Luxembourg City
Website

Differdange

The oldest Christmas market in the country! A wonderful local Christmas market with a unique atmosphere – an ice skating rink for the little ones, glühwein for the older ones and all kinds of delicious food for the hungry ones. Set in the centre of Differdange, this is the oldest Christmas market in the country and has been going for more than forty years.

When: December 6th-22nd 2019
Where: City centre, Place du Marché
Website

Esch-sur-Alzette

The Christmas market in Esch sur Alzette is an opportunity to recapture the magic of the Christmas season with all its traditions: many exhibitors, artisans, food lovers and attractions await kids and grown-ups on the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, as well as a Santa Claus Parade through the streets of Esch.

When: November 15th- December 22nd 2019
Where: Place de l’Hôtel de Ville
More information on their website

Dudelange

The Christmas market in Dudelange is a Medieval themed Christmas market with typical chalets, Christmas gifts, fires shows and daily concerts on the Christmas stage and animation in the medieval village.

When:  December 6th -15th
Where: Place de l’Hôtel de Ville
Website

IMG_1200Photo credit: luxpin/flickr (file)

Reader tip:

Our lovely reader Jody Mc Namara suggests a trip to the “fabulous Echternach Christmas market”. She loves the medieval location, the food and donkey rides for kids. Thank you Jody for this great tip; we will definitely pay 

When: December 13th-15th
Where: Echternach
Website

Germany 

Trier

Another beautiful, traditional Christmas market which is just down the road and has 90 festively decorated wooden huts. In it’s 40th year, it’s medieval Main Market comes alive and is set in front of the dramatic backdrop of Trier Cathedral, the 90 attractively decorated booths offer treats for the whole family. The entertainment chances daily from puppet theater to tenors to singer songwriters.

When: November 22nd-December 22nd 2019
Where: Hauptmarkt und Domfreihof
Hints:
1- We recommend taking the train from Munsbach, (8 euros return).
2-Just outside the cathedral, you will find very high quality Christmas ornaments at Käthe Wohlfahrt. These make gorgeous presents or even a fab collection.
Website

Bernkastel-Kues

This is a CSL favourite! It is well worth the trip to visit the quaint town of Bernkastel-Kues in Germany at this time of year –  a mere good hour’s drive from Luxembourg city. The Christmas market is one of the nicest in the region; you can see the biggest advent calendar in Europe and don’t miss the torch swimming with St. Nicholas  on the first Saturday in December.

When: November 22nd- December 22nd 2019 (ATTENTION: Christmas market will be closed on Silent Sunday-November 24th). Monday – Thursday 11am – 6pm, Friday and Sunday 11am – 7pm, Saturday 11am – 9pm
Where: Bernkastel-Kues Old Town
Hint: Slow to get started go after 12 pm. The parking is rather terrible on the weekends but if you park over the bridge to Kues, there is a lot near a supermarket. There is also a bus that tours all the little markets in nearby towns.
Website

Aachen

Very beautiful city and one of the largest markets so be sure to orient yourself once you get there in order to avoid a frantic search for your forgotten parked car. Around 2 hour drive from Lux. There is one main section where most of the food is, but the cathedral makes it absolutely worth a visit. The quality of the items you can purchase there are worth the trip alone. Handblown glass, pottery- almost like an artisan trade venue. You can hit four markets in a day (Cologne, Aachen, Monschau, and Bonn). Aachen Christmas market regularly makes the top 10 best Christmas markets in Europe.

When: November 22nd until December 23rd
Where: Markt, Katschhof, Münsterplatz, Holzgraben, Kugelbrunnen
Hint: Buy the liquor that they are famous for as it makes a lovely present. You can oddly only buy it at the bakery and you will see a line out the door but wow, is it worth it! The gingerbread is also quite famous.
Website

Saarbrücken

The city isn’t the prettiest, but the market is a bit larger/longer than Trier and has a pedestrian area. There are some fun shops as well as the market.

When: November 25th- December 23rd 
Where: Hauptmarkt (map)
Hint: The Bus, (one hour, ten minutes) from the Lux Gare can take you but you have to reserve your return time. A bargain at 16 Euros return.
Website

Monshau

Half timbered houses, a beautiful mill that was untouched by WWII which gives you the feeling of going back in time. There is a very cute market. Quintessentially Christmas in Europe. Quaint. “It’s a good one.” 2hr+ drive. Extrodinarely charming especially if there is snow. Cobblestone streets. There is parking. Famous for its mustard and actually really nice any time of year. Can combine Monshau with Aachen.

When: Weekends Only November 22nd to December 22nd
Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 9pm/Sundays from 11am to 8pm.  Closed on November 24th
Hint: Buy a famous mustard. Good if you combine with Aachen market. If it snows, you will feel you are in a Charles Dickens book.
Website

Nuremberg

One of the most famous. While it is a bit far, if you get a chance, this is a magical market packed with charm and a quintessential European city. It rivals Munich and great debate ensues as to which is better!

When:  November 29th- December 24th
Where: Hauptmarkt (map)
Hint: Go on a week day. Pedestrian streets make it the star of Christmas markets.
Website

Stuttgart

One of the biggest and oldest markets in Europe.

When: November 27th-December 23rd (late openings and city shopping November 27th & December 14th)
Where: Schlossplatz, Schillerplatz and Marktplatz
Website

Cologne

One of the pricier markets and quite spread out so not our fav, HOWEVER: “Christmas Avenue” is unlike any Christmas Market you’ve ever seen. Cologne’s gay and lesbian Christmas market. Colorful market booths in pop art style, decorated with romantic elements and snow-white garlands, characterize the look of the market. This year, the Christmas market returns with a completely new concept, with a new name and a new look. Naturally this market is in Cologne- Germany’s gay and lesbian capital and you better believe there will be entertainment nightly. 

When: All markets open from November 25th- December 23rd (check links for different opening times)
Where: Next to the Cathedral of Cologne and in the Old Town
Cathedral Market and Old Town Market

Munich

Lots of heavy drinking so this is the market for our party animals. No big surprise as it is the home of Octoberfest! If you want to party, we suggest you leave the kids at home and head here to drink up the great atmosphere! In Marienplatz,you will find the magical Christmas village in the Residenz or the medieval market on Wittelsbacherplatz

When: November 27- December 24th
Where: Marienplatz
Website

Sainkt Wendell

Only an hour and a half drive, we’ve heard they do a nativity play with ACTUAL CAMELS! We also heard it is a weird little one that is fun to try. We didn’t believe it so we checked their site and were sold at the following: every afternoon, the Three Wise Men’s train of camels makes its way through the town accompanied by musicians and fire eaters. On arrival at the beautifully decorated stable, actors in brightly coloured costumes perform the story of Mary and Joseph. This is going to make our holiday season!!!

When: December 7th- 15th
Where: Based around the town hall, cathedral and in the pedestrian precinct
Website

Heidelberg

A beautiful city any time of year. The castle is lit up at night which will give you a gorgeous Instagram feed. It’s been suggested that you should go to Heidelberg during day then head to Wiesbaden which has a really nicely illuminated market at night.

When: November 25th-December 22nd

Heidelberg Christmas Market
Sunday-Friday 11am to 9pm
Saturday from 10am-10pm

Heidelberg “Winterwaeldchen” (winter woods) at Kornmarkt
November 25th – January 2020
Closed Christmas Eve

Heidelberg Christmas on Ice at the Karlsplatz
Daily 10am to 10pm until 6 January 2020
Closed on Christmas Eve.

Hint: We’ve heard the quality of the goods in near the castle is better than the one at the bottom end of the town.
Website

Wiesbaden

This ‘Twinkling Stars’ market is a perfect market to hit around 5 pm. It has quite a great ornament selection. People tend to flock to the larger markets but the smaller ones give you more time to walk, talk to the vendors and get a feel for Christmas.

When: November 26th- December 23rd
Website

Rüdesheim am Rhein

(Around a 2 hour drive). Located in the heart of grape vines, there is a cable car that goes up into the mountain and is a very pretty area. They are known for a brandy. Some people rubbish it for being touristy but it is a real miss mash of stalls. This year, the 26th edition of the market, will include more than 20 nations from six continents that will bring and offer
their goods, specials, customs and celebrations of the season.
Hint: If you have kids, look into the little steam train.

When: November 21st- December 23rd
Website

Belgium

Durbuy

When: November 29th-January 5th( 2020)
Where: Centre Ville, Place aux Foires /Parc Roi Baudouin 6940 Durbuy
Website

France

Metz

This is one of our favourites for children because they offer fantastic rides and the market is nicely separated in six main squares for a more kid friendly vibe. Opened for more than 15 years, the Metz Christmas market, Lorraine has become the second largest Christmas market in France.

When
: November 20th- December 29th (ice skating until January 5th)
Where: In the city’s 6 main squares
For a detailed list with locations and opening hours please have a look at the website mentioned below.
Website

Nancy

Located in the magnificent Charles III square, between the covered market and the San Sebastian shopping center, more than sixty stalls are full of gift ideas, surprises and, of course, seasonal delicacies, gingerbread and more. This year Japan is the guest of honor and several stands will offer Japanese products.

Where: between Quartier de la Gare and Quartier St Sébastien
When: November 22nd- December 29th
Website

Strasbourg

This one has been around for a while. The first Christmas market in Strasbourg was held in 1570 which makes it the oldest in Europe and you will feel like you are going back in time. With over 300 stalls and 12 locations, you will understand why this one is on the Christmas Market Bucket List.

When: November 22nd-December 24th
Where:
Grande-Île (city center) and all over the city centre
Hint: You can now go on the TGV in an hour and a quarter.
Website

Colmar

This is quite a beautiful market which offers a nice covered food market and is easily traversed by foot. Wandering around is a charming experience and it is great for kids. They also offer a shuttle service to smaller towns with markets throughout. The towns are small so parking can be a premium and quite expensive.

When: November 22nd- December 29th
Hint: Make use of the shuttle to  “village hop” easily. Hotels are expensive in Strasbourg and Colmar (some book out seven months ahead), so Freiburg  might be a good alternative for lodging.
Website

Netherlands

Valkenburg

This year is the 22nd edition of the much discussed Christmas Market in the Cave. A visit to the Christmas Market in the Velvet Cave is more than decorations with over 50 stalls alone. As you wind through the cave you can see mural paintings, sculptures, the unique 18th century chapel, market stalls with Christmas and gift items, ancient trades and yummy food.

In addition to the widely known Christmas markets in the Gemeentegrot and Fluweelengrot caverns, you can also visit the beautifull, more than a hundred, small Christmas villages (miniatures) in Christmas miniature villages MergelRijk. Not only are the caves below Valkenburg bedecked in festive decorations, above ground is Santa’s Village.

Also don’t miss the Christmas in Fairytale Forest – “Sprookjesbos” The Fairytale Forest is open from 10am until 6pm on every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday in November and December, and every day during the Christmas holiday, with the exception of the 25th of December and the 1st of January. (Entrance € 9,50 from 2 years – including 1 hot chocolate or glühwein p.p.).

When: November 15th- January 5th (2020)
Where: Lots of locations all over Netherlands’ famous Christmas city
Website

Further afield

If you’ve got the Christmas Market bug and want to venture even further afield then these websites have some more details. If you have a favourite that you feel needs to make our list, by all means, let us know!
Christmasmarkets.com
marches-noel.org

If you have a favourite Christmas market we haven’t mentioned, let us know and we’ll add it to the list!

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2 comments

David Brantley 6th September 2019 - 4:12 pm

Great article, we are looking forward to visiting Luxembourg City in December for the first time. I would point out that one of the cities you mentioned Redesheim should actually be Rüdesheim or more specifically Rüdesheim am Rhein.

Reply
Amanda Roberts 9th September 2019 - 11:54 am

Hi David, thanks for the correction! Enjoy Luxembourg!!

Reply

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