Rough Draft: European Christmas Markets
Due to the COVID quarantine, I am creating rough draft, “off the shelf” travel itineraries for when travel resumes normal operations so we do not waste any time getting out and exploring!
2020 has been a year. So many things have been put on hold and with the COVID vaccine working its magic on my immune system, I patiently wait for the all clear for Americans to travel freely. After a crappy end to 2019, I was really looking forward to a happier 2020 holiday season. Now it may be extreme, but I am already looking to 2021. I cannot think of a better plan than to immerse myself into the heart of the holidays – European Christmas Markets.
We have yet to experience the European Christmas Markets (we have seen them being set up in Bologna) but have heard the magic and the wonder. The bright lights, the decorated trees, the detailed stalls, the warm beverages, the sweet snacks, the hearty meals, the sounds of music and a romance language being spoken – need I say more? You know where you will find me next December, all are welcome to join.
Now there a hundreds of Christmas Markets throughout Europe – pick a town big or small and there will be a Christmas Market. Since there are so many to experience, I wanted to hop around instead of staying in one place. With so many combinations for an itinerary, my selection of stops may be completely different that the ones you are seeking out.
I built this itinerary around Strasbourg, France. Google an image – its like a fairy tale and apparently it is only enhanced for Christmas time. Knowing that this would 100% be added as a stop, I looked to Germany for additional destinations along the way. After some research, I added Stuttgart and Nuremberg – all are easily accessible by train. Depending on what flights look like next year, I will either fly into Frankfurt or Munich – which ever is cheapest, most direct, and offers best time options. I will add a day or two in either one of those places but not focus on those for my primary source of Christmas Market joy. I am also tempted to add a pit stop in Barcelona to grab a Caga Tió for the way home (do yourself a favor and Google this if you don’t know what Caga Tió is).
Now let’s take those three stops in a bit more detail. Obviously there will be lots of time dedicated to exploring the multiple Christmas Markets in each town
- Strasbourg, France – Gorgeous architecture with reliable French cooking so there is a lot to see and eat. Strasbourg also is said to have one of the best Christmas Markets in France – there are ten in total throughout the town with one of them dating all the way back to 1570. Day trip of interest will be visiting Alsace wine region! There are several companies that offer structured excursions from Strasbourg or you can do a self guided tour if you have a car.
- Stuttgart, Germany – I haven’t been able to find a lot about Stuttgart but what I have found has all highlighted their Christmas Market. Plus, you can’t get to Strasbourg by train without stopping in Stuttgart so this is an easy Christmas Market to add to the journey. There are over 300 stalls and a giant Advent calendar – the windows of a building are the numbers! If feasible, I would also over to squeeze in a visit to the Black Forest.
- Nuremberg, Germany – Kevin was very excited when I mentioned this location for our Christmas Market hopping. He has a very extensive book collection of which World War II history takes up a bit of shelf space. Nuremberg is oozing with World War II history so I can see us allocating a bit of time on the trip to this destination. Additionally, this spot had one of the best German Christmas Markets, dating back to 1530!
There really are endless options on how to structure your Christmas Market extravaganza. Even with this rough draft, you can easily reverse the route or add more destinations along the way – there is no shortage of Christmas here.
|Day 0||Afternoon||Arrive in Strasbourg|
|Day 1||Morning||Explore Strasbourg|
– Barrage Vauban
– Ponts Couverts
– Cathedrale Notre
|Day 2||Morning||Day trip – Alsace Wine Tasting|
|Afternoon||Day trip – Alsace Wine Tasting|
|Day 3||Morning||Day trip – Black Forest|
|Afternoon||Day trip – Black Forest|
|Evening||Arrive in StuttgartChristmas Markets|
|Day 4||Morning||Explore Stuttgart|
|Day 5||Morning||Arrive in Nuremberg|
|Afternoon||Explore Nuremberg – south of Pegnitz River|
– Memorium Nuremberg Trials
– Fountains and bridges
|Day 6||Morning||Explore Nuremberg|
– Rally Grounds
|Afternoon||Explore Nuremberg – north of Pegnitz River|
– Fountains and bridges
– Historischer Kunstbunker
The food options seem endless with access to these Christmas Markets! I will be using this blog post by Helene-in-Between to study all the goodies to enjoy.
If you have been to European Christmas Markets before, let me know what I missed and what your favorites are!