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City Savvy Guide: Christmas Markets 2021

by City Savvy Luxembourg

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, put on your favorite sweater, 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, 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 Hint: Always check the dates, opening times and Covid restrictions (many markets are operating under the 2g Covid-check system). Most finish just before Christmas. Dress warmly, it’s usually cold, and you do not want to be sick for the holiday season!

Second 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 different concerts and activities for the whole family to enjoy! You can always find “fir Iessen a Gedrénks as s gesuergt” …sausages, raclette, bouneschlupp, gromperekichelcher, roasted almonds, candy floss and many other national and international treats in Luxembourg…nobody will go home hungry.

When: Christmas markets / Winterlights festival opens on November 19th. Christmas markets will usually last until December 24 and the Winterlights festival will continue on into the New Year until January 2nd. There is an Ice Rink located at 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.

[All entrance to the market is done under the covid-check regime.]

When: November 19th-December 24th

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 market has been going for more than forty years.

When: December 3rd-21st 

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 19th- December 22nd

Where: Place de l’Hôtel de Ville

Website

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Echternach 

Our lovely reader Jody McNamara 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 check this market out when the time comes!

When: December 10th-12th

Where: Echternach

Website

Germany 

Trier

Another traditional Christmas market, which is just down the road and has 90 festively decorated wooden huts. The Trier Market is on it’s 40th year this season.  The medieval Main Market comes alive and is set in front of the dramatic backdrop of Trier Cathedral. The market offers 90 attractively decorated booths with gifts and treats for the whole family! Just outside the cathedral, you will find very high quality Christmas ornaments at Käthe Wohlfahrt. These make gorgeous presents for friends and loved ones. The market entertainment changes daily, from puppet theater to tenors to singer songwriters, this market has it all!

When: November 19th -December 22nd 

Where: Hauptmarkt und Domfreihof

Website

Bernkastel-Kues

This is a CSL favorite! It is well worth the trip to visit the quaint town of Bernkastel-Kues in Germany at this time of year, it is only a mere hour’s drive from Luxembourg city. The Christmas market is one of the nicest in the region; and it is here that you can see the biggest advent calendar in Europe! Bring the family to the torch swimming with St. Nicholas on the first Saturday in December.

When: November 19th- December 19th 

Where: Bernkastel-Kues Old Town

Hint: 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

A 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. This market is about a 2-hour drive from Lux.  The quality of the items you can purchase there are worth the trip alone. Handblown glass, pottery- almost like an artisan trade venue. If you are up for a challenge, you can try to 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 19th 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

Cologne

“Christmas Avenue” is unlike any Christmas Market you’ve ever seen. Colorful market booths in pop art style, decorated with romantic elements and snow-white garlands, characterize the look of the market. 

When: All markets open from November 22nd- December 23rd (check links for different opening times)

Where: Next to the Cathedral of Cologne and in the Old Town

Website

France

Metz

This is one of our favourites for children because they offer fantastic rides, and the market is nicely separated in five main squares with 150 chalets. Running for more than 15 years, the Metz Christmas market, Lorraine, has become the second-largest Christmas market in France.

When: December 19th- December 30th

Where: In the city’s 5 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 such as gingerbread. 

Where: between Quartier de la Gare and Quartier St Sébastien

When: November 19th- January 2nd, 2022 (some sections closer earlier than others, so be sure to check the website)

Website

Paris

There are typically around 15-20 Christmas markets spread across the city during the holiday season. To find what you’re looking for, it’s best to check the website before heading out. As always, in Paris, there is something for everyone!

Where: Across the city

When: November 20th- January 2nd, 2022

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 26th-December 26th

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

Netherlands

Valkenburg

This year is the 22nd edition of the much discussed Christmas Market in the Cave. As you wind through the cave you can see mural paintings, sculptures, the unique 18th century chapel, over 50 market stalls with Christmas and gift items, ancient trades, and delicious food items!

In addition to the widely known Christmas markets in the Gemeentegrot and Fluweelengrot caverns, you can also visit the beautiful, 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 you can take the children to visit Santa’s Village.

Also don’t miss the Christmas in Fairytale Forest – “Sprookjesbos” The Fairy tale Forest is open on every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday in November and December, 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 12th – January 9th, 2022

Where: Lots of locations all over the Netherlands’ famous Christmas city

Website

Further afield

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

Christmasmarketsineurope.com

marches-noel.org

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