Christmas is approaching fast and in case you haven’t made any travel plans yet, why not head for Germany. The country is world famous for her abundance of Christmas markets from North to South and East to West. Many of which are well known and popular which also means they are brimming with visitors.
As I am always on the look- out for the unusual and lesser known places and attractions, I would like to introduce you to the lovely German region of Rhineland-Palatinate and three extraordinary Christmas markets you have probably never heard of. It’s time to get acquainted and to enjoy like the locals.
Christmas market underground in Traben-Trabach
Traben Trarbach, the twin towns located on either side of the river Mosel, is famous for its fine Riesling wine production. In fact in the 19th and 20th century it was the second most important center for wine trade in Europe, all of which was shipped along the river. These huge amounts of wine needed to be stored somewhere and that is why there are more than 30 wine cellars below the city. These cellars are the venue for a Christmas Market of a very special kind: The Underground Christmas Market.
Open from 27th of November to 3rd January 2016, you can enjoy this extraordinary treat in not only one but four different cellars:
Weingut Axel Emert
Each one has a different atmosphere and emphasis but what all have in common is a great variety of stalls, foods, local art and craft products and the magically illuminated ambience of a Christmas Market where you don’t wrap up to protect from the cold as you do at ‘normal’ Christmas markets, but take off your coat and sit down to a glass of Gluehwein (mulled wine) or to stroll from one enticing post to the next.
Many other attractions go along with the underground experience, such as theatre performances, shows and activities on the ice skating ring.
Where to stay:
Why not stay in the Hotel Moselschloesschen? You are directly in one of the underground Christmas markets in a historic hotel which once belonged to a wine makers family. Rooms are in different buildings on the river Mosel and you can also enjoy health fitness and beauty treatments.
All is lights in Cochem
Cochem, another lovely town on the shores of the river Mosel celebrates the advent of Christmas above ground and also up in the air.
The theme is light, stars and magic , beginning with the majestic, illuminated Reichsburg which dominates the town and where a special richly decorated little train will go up on 12th and 13th of December.
On Endertplatz, you will find the Adventszauberzelt, a tent where you can treat yourself to all the tasty local specialties like red wine egg punch, mullet wine with an extra dose of cinnamon, Christmas Stollen and much more. All accompanied by music and live entertainment.
In Germany, St. Nikolas comes to the kids on 6th of December and fills their stocking with little treats if they have been good, it no they might find coal or even a switch. Meet him with your kids on 5th and 6th December in the Adventszauberzelt and find out what’s in store for them. Adults might also get a little treat!
28th and 29th of November is dedicated to the medieval arts and craftsmen who demonstrate their skills and sell their wares along the river embankment. A great opportunity to get these special Christmas presents for your loved ones. Add to this nativity scenes and plays, historical timber framed houses in the center of town and decorated shops and you will have yet another extraordinary Christmas Market experience in Germany.
Where to stay:
A good choice is the family run superior 3 star hotel Parkhotel Cochem. Just 10 minutes walk from the town center on the Mosel promenada the hotel features a large garden.
Santa comes in Landau
Did you know that Santa Claus was actually ‘born’ in Landau? The cartoonist Thomas Nast from Landau immigrated to the US and became famous introducing the figure of Santa Claus there.
Small wonder then, that the Landau Christmas market from 24th November to 18th December is dedicated to its famous son.
Center of all activities is the Rathausplatz and the Landau Christmas Market is characterized by arts and crafts. More than 32 artists showcase their work in two big pavilions and in many stalls outside. You can get things here you won’t find anywhere else, wood carvings, artistic handmade candles, adornments for your Christmas tree and much more and you can also see first hand how these little works of art are made.
Landau’s market is a paradise for kids too. For the duration from 24th November to 18th December, every day at 2pm, the little ones can attend Heaven’s Bakery and under instructions and supervision can make their own cakes, sweets and biscuits. And then they can hop on the merry go round.
The name Parkhotel is very common in Germany, so stay in the Parkhotel Landau. Close to the Ostpark, a short walk from the town center and the Judendstilfesthalle, the hotel features a wonderful beauty-health- and fitness center.
Come to Rhineland-Palatinate for a pre-Christmas experience of a different kind.
Images courtsey of Rhineland-Palatinate Tourism Office.