It’s That Time Of Year For Christmas Markets! 🎄

There is some debate as to when the first Christmas market was held. Some say the Christmas market’s roots stretch back to Vienna in 1296 when Duke Albrecht I authorised 14 day fairs in the month of December. Despite the timing of these festivities, the fairs were not directly connected to Christmas and did not appear to be religious in nature.

However, it was Dresden’s Striezelmarkt, first held in 1434, which is widely considered to be the first Christmas market. The word Striezelmarkt comes from Strüzel or Stroczel, a type of cake sold at the market with dried fruit and nuts, now known as Stollen or Christstollen.

Most markets run in the four weeks leading up to Christmas, from late November to late December. Some even continue up until New Year. The most common starting date is the Friday before Advent Sunday which, in 2023, is the 24th November.

We are currently working our way south through Germany visiting Christmas markets as we go. Our first market was on Sunday in Aachen. Aachen’s Christmas festivities take place on the historic Münsterplatz, overlooked by the city’s majestic and historically significant cathedral, the final resting place of Charlemagne. There are about 120 wooden kiosks here, selling everything from mulled wine to handmade wooden toys, and a festive carousel for children.

The markets are renowned for their Glühwein, a mulled wine served in a small cup that can be purchased as a momento. Glühwein quite literally means ‘Glow wine’, the word traces its origins in the German speaking world back hundreds of years, when hot irons were used to heat the wine.

Last night we visited Rüdesheim, one of the newer markets on the scene. Only a few decades old, the Christmas Market of Nations lives up to its name by inviting 16 nations, (or thereabouts), from around the globe to present products, specialities and customs from their respective countries. It’s set in the historic old quarter of Rüdesheim against an ensemble of the old town’s finest traditional buildings and near the banks of the Rhine.

Do you have a favourite Christmas Market that you have visited or perhaps one that you plan to visit?

:christmas_tree: :snowman: :snowflake:


@Samox24 we were in Aachen & Rudesheim in April on our river cruise! Love Rudesheim old town, great backdrop for Christmas markets. Enjoy.

Thanks @Crookie it’s beautiful here :blush:

We went to the opening of the Béziers Christmas Market/Light Festival last weekend and it was very nice!
While most of the other cities in South of France are waiting until December 2, Béziers kicked it off a week early. We enjoyed some Vin Chaud (Mulled wine), raclette potatoes, and a Christmas beer before working our way through the crowds to take in the beautiful lights. There was also a fountain show to music and some live music too.
It was VERY crowded so we got out of there pretty quickly and enjoyed some of the other lights that are up throughout the town before having some gourmet burgers near the cathedral.

Looking forward to seeing Athens Christmas Markets next month!


Beautiful photos @CoolCatAunt - thank you for sharing :blush:

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We have 2 weeks completely pet free to do the Christmas markets. Started in Budapest, with chimney cake and langos. 3 days of sun! Oh and a very expensive coffee in “the most beautiful cafe in the world” (their words) - New York Cafe. Then arrived to snow in Vienna. Now in Prague and disappointed that the markets here don’t really kick off until the 2nd December! Lots of snow though so keeping warm with plenty of gluwien. Next stop Berlin…


Hi @Shannon It looks lovely and thank you for sharing your beautiful photos. Perhaps if you have a photo of the coffee and/or the cafe you could share here

Enjoy Berlin! :blush::snowman::christmas_tree:

@Samox24 that’s awesome! We were pet sitting in Aachen in September. Beautiful city. We loved it!
Dan & Nan


Hi @Danandnan it was our first visit to Aachen and we loved it! Aachen old town is so pretty :slightly_smiling_face:

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Berlin yesterday evening at Gendarmenmarkt.

Will hopefully hit another couple today, need any excuse for more gluwein as it is a tad chilly :cloud_with_snow::snowman_with_snow:


We visited Nürnberg Christkindlesmarkt last week which is known for its bratwurst and lebkuchen. It is probably the most famous of all the Christmas markets in Germany. There are nearly 200 vendors selling handmade crafts, everything from scented candles to local jams to wool clothing and hand carved figurines. There are many local snacks for sale too including Nürnberger rostbratwurst and lebkuchen (gingerbread), both of which originate here. We also had snow whilst we were there too! :snowflake:

@Maggie8K I think you might like the teapot tree decoration :christmas_tree::blush:


Love German Christmas markets.

Funny memory: I once found a shrink-wrapped German sausage in a suitcase pocket maybe two years after a trip there. It was a pocket I hadn’t used over many trips after Germany. The sausage still looked fine, but of course I didn’t eat it, LOL. I’d unknowingly carried that sausage all over the U.S. and to various countries.

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We visited Stuttgart Christmas Market recently. The Stuttgart Christmas Market is not only one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the whole of Europe but also one of the oldest. It was officially mentioned for the first time in 1692 but its roots however stretch back further in time.

The traders’ wares still include traditional flea market articles but the range of goods in the approximately 300 stalls has become far more diverse: the range of wares includes wooden toys, crib figurines, arts and crafts, jewellery, sweet delights and culinary delicacies from all over the world. But the supporting program also has a lot to offer. There are daily live concerts, a large children’s fairyland with nostalgic carousels, a real mini steam locomotive to ride on and many hands-on activities such as the children’s bakery as well as the mini antique market on Schillerplatz which all make the Stuttgart Christmas market special.


oh wow, you are so very lucky a sniffer dog didn’t find the sausage before you did. At the very least your passport could have been flagged with ‘failure to declare’.

I’m both jealous and happy for you! Have you been to Prague? Recently got a tip from a Brit travelling in Costa Rica that if I prefer smaller cities I should visit Prague, and stay at the Art Deco Hotel? (I think that’s the name)

I’ve been in airports where sniffer dogs are the norm and I’ve never been stopped. But the dogs apparently are trained for different specialties. Like an explosives dog or drug dog or cash dog doesn’t usually stop people with food. At least not in videos I’ve seen on Facebook, where they show customs and border patrol workings in various countries.

They don’t seem to hassle travelers with a low quantity of forbidden food, like a forgotten item, even when they find it — they usually just confiscate it and warn them. It’s probably pretty common. By contrast, there are people who try to smuggle a bunch of forbidden foods. And those folks often are fined and that goes on their record.

Prague is magical. Highly recommend.

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Yes the airport beagles and other dogs aren’t usually sniffing for food. Was making light of the situation.

Should have written - good thing you weren’t lucky #13 and pulled aside for a thorough random search. Most searches aren’t thorough enough to remove every single item from your bags so they likely would not have found your forgotten sausage.

More intended as a lucky you as I’ve had friends receive a ‘failed to declare’ flag on their passports for ‘forgotten’ food. I think it really depends on the mood of the border & security agents.

Pearson Airport in Toronto used to have the grumpiest security personnel but was there a couple weeks ago and they were really friendly.

Once had a tide pen confiscated with no explanation - tried to get an explanation; after she pocketed it instead of putting it in the bin, and was told by her supervisor he would be happy to help me miss my flight. Fingers crossed all the crusty agents took retirement packages during Covid.

Luckily, I’ve encountered professional, even friendly, agents even when my stuff has been searched.

I think it helps, because I stay relaxed the whole time, since I know they’re just doing their jobs and I leave myself a lot of time to get through security.

I just had my bag searched on my current sit — U.S. to Scotland. I asked the agent what set it off, so I’d avoid that in the future. She said it was my mini tube of wet wipes and that it would be good to put it in with my toiletries next time. She was perfectly friendly.

I’ve seen some folks get into it with agents. So not worth it to me.

Definitely agree with staying calm…and quiet. Let them do their jobs - its your/my safety they’re looking out for!

I asked the same way as you ‘what ingredient makes my Tide pen confiscated so I can buy something different next time’ and got a bad attitude instead of an actual response.

Had a security door stopper in my carry on for my outbound flight that caused a search. They didn’t know what it was, I explained it and pulled up the listing from Lee Valley and handed them my phone. One of the female agents is looking to buy one.