City Savvy Guide: Christmas Markets 2017

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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!

We’ve seen snowflakes in the forecast and the markets are starting this week! 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 will be open on November 22, 2017 until January 7, 2018. Christmas markets will usually last until Christmas and the Winterlights festival until the 23rd of December. There is an Ice Rink in Place Guillaume II and not to be missed is the Procession of St. Nicholas on Dec 3rd. There are concerts, shopping, all things Christmas in our charmed City can be found at: Winterlights Website
Where: Place D’Armes, Place de Paris, Place de la Constitution (“Gëlle Fra”), Puits rouge (at the intersection of Grand Rue and Rue Génistre)
Website

Differdange

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 one has been going for more than forty years.

When: From 08th of December, 2017 and ends on the 23rd of December, 2017
Where: City centre, Place du Marché
Website

Esch-sur-Alzette

Maybe  you made it to the grand opening this past weekend on the 18th of November. If you didn’t, fear not, you have until the 23rd of December to enjoy the fun.

When: The Esch Christmas market opens on 18th November 2017 and lasts until the 23rd December 2017 with a closing party at 4 pm featuring Happysound. Every day 34 chalets and attractions await you, plus free entertainment from Thursday to Sunday evening at their covered stage.

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: 8th of December to 17th December 2017 (5pm to 8pm)
Where: Place de l’Hôtel de Ville
Website

IMG_1200Photo credit: luxpin/flickr (file)

Germany 

Trier

Another beautiful, traditional Christmas market which is just down the road and has 95 festively decorated wooden huts. The official opening ceremony is at 5 pm on November 28th with “Ensemble from Trier Theater,” Brass in the Cathedral gallery. In it’s 38th year, it’s medieval Main Market comes alive and is set in front of the dramatic backdrop of Trier
Cathedral, the 95 attractively decorated booths offer treats for the whole family. The entertainment chances daily from puppet theater to tenors to singer songwriters.

When: 28th November until 22 December 2017.
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 there is a special St.Nicholas hike (12/7 – 10.30am, starting point Marktplatz). Don’t miss the torch swimming with St. Nicholas on 12/6 (arrival of the torch swimmers at 6pm next to the Mosel river bridge – no participation possible).

When: 24th November until 23rd December 2017 (ATTENTION: Christmas market will be closed on Silent Sunday-25th November 2017). Monday – Thursdays 11am – 7pm, Friday and Saturday 11am – 9pm, Sunday 11am – 8pm
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 the offer of quality items is one of the largest 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).

When: 24th November until 23 December 2017, daily 11am – 9pm (except Sunday 25 November from 6pm – 9pm, Saturday 17 December from 11am – 10pm and Wednesday 23 December 11am – 8pm)
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: 27th November until 23rd December, daily 11 am to 9pm, Friday and Saturday, 11am to 10 pm
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.

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 Auchen.

When: Weekends Only: 24.11.2017 – 25.11.2017, Friday and Saturday: 11am to 9pm. Sunday 11am to 8pm.  Closed on 26th of November.  The following weekends in December are open: 01.12.2017 – 03.12.2017, 08.12.2017 – 10.12.2017, 15.12.2017 – 17.12.2017
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

Nürnberg

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:  Opening ceremony at 5:30pm on December 1st. 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Sunday:10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Christmas Eve: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
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: 29th  November until 23 December 2017, daily 10am to 9pm, Friday and Saturday: 10am to 10pm. Sundays, from 11am to 9pm. On the opening day, 29th of November, the market is open from 5pm to 9pm . On 16th of December, the market is open for late night shopping so special hours of 10am to 10:30pm
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. Its pink and purple chalets will be set up in the gay and lesbian “Bermuda Triangle” between Schaafenstraße und Pilgrimstraße from the 21 November until the 23 December. Not the standard items will be for sale. Pink Nutcrackers? Chocolate Penis Lolly Pops? Naturally this market is in Cologne- Germany’s gay and lesbian capital and you better believe there will be entertainment nightly. 

When: Christmas market next to the Cathedral: 27 November until 23 December 2017 Old Town Christmas market: 17 November until 23 December 2017 (ice rink and chalets on “Heumarkt” open from 23 November until 6th of January 2018, except Christmas Eve and Day), daily from 11am to 10pm, Saturday from 10am to 10pm.
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: 27th of November to 24th of December 2017
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: Only nine days: 09.12.2017 – 17.12.2017* Saturday – Sunday, 9 days:  Mon – Thu 11am – 8pm
Fri – Sun 11am – 21pm
Where
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: 27th of November to the 22nd December 2017

Heidelberg Christmas Market
Sun-Fri 11am to 9pm
Sat 11am to 11pm

Heidelberg “Winterwaeldchen” (winter woods) at Kornmarkt
27th November to the 1st of January 2018
Closed Christmas Eve

Heidelberg Christmas on Ice at the Karlsplatz
Daily 10am to 10pm until 07 Jan 2017
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: Opens 28 November until the 23 December 2017
Monday – Thursday 10:30am to 9pm
Friday and Saturday 10:30am to 9.30pm
Sunday 12am to 9pm
Website

Redesheim

(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.
Hint: If you have kids, look into the little steam train.

Belgium

Durbuy

When: 24th of November 2017 to 7th of January 2018.
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. There is also the Frozen Fairyland ice sculptures but be sure to dress the littles extra warm because it is actually in a freezer.  Opened for more than 15 years, the Metz Christmas market, Lorraine has become the second largest Christmas market in France.

When
: 18 November to the 30th of December 2017. For a detailed list with locations and opening hours please have a look at the website mentioned below.
Website

Nancy

Where: between Quartier de la Gare and Quartier St Sébastien
When: 24th November until 30th of December 2017 (check website for times)
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: 24th of November until 30th of December 2017
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: 24th of November until 30th of December 2017
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 is the much discussed Christmas Market in the Cave. This twentieth edition of the Christmas Market is renewed and extended this year. 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.

When: 17 November 2017 until 23rd December 2017
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

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City Savvy

With the style of a glossy, the substance of a journal and the eye of an event planner – we have it all. For your one-stop guide to living in Luxembourg, visit www.citysavvyluxembourg.com

8 COMMENTS

  1. […] And it’s this time of the year again – the annual Christmas markets are here. For a month, the main square of the capital will be covered with small wooden huts, selling candles, toys, decorations, sweets, as well as typical drinks such as Glühwäin (hot wine) and typical foods like the Thüringer, Mettwurscht (Luxembourgish sausages ) or Gromperekichelcher (potato pancakes). This year you will find a special Alsatian village at the Place de la Constitution Market. And for the little ones there will be a magical carousel, fishing Christmas balls, winter playground and a magical train. They can also enjoy the “Chahut”, a two-story carousel decorated for the occasion and the big ball Santa Claus where thy can have their picture taken with Santa (again at the Place de la Constitution Market). Plus, from 4 to 14 December kids can enjoy various activities in the ‘ Chalet d’histoires’ (Place de la Constitution) and ice skating rink (6 Dec – 1 Feb) at place Guillaume-II. And finally if you are wondering are there any other Christmas markets in and around Luxembourg you can refer to YLC Christmas Markets Guide! […]

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