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    Christmas Markets

    Explore different Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets originate in Germany and date to the Late Middle Ages. Traditionally held in the town square, the market offers food, drink and seasonal items for sale from open-air stalls, accompanied by traditional singing and dancing.
Traditional foods are offered such as Gebrannte Mandeln (candied, toasted almonds), traditional Christmas cookies such as Lebkuchen and Magenbrot (both forms of soft gingerbread), Printen (hard gingerbread), Christstollen (Stollen), a sort of bread with candied fruit.

Tour 5: Combine two great cities (Düsseldorf & Cologne)

Cosy, themed markets scattered along the streets of Germany's fashion capital, complete with twinkling lights, a big ice rink, a giant ferris wheel overlooking the Rhine, and yes, a Lindt chocolate store that's liberal with free samples. Düsseldorf is a pretty big city, but there are seven main Christmas Markets all located in the city center, near the Altstadt (Old Town) area.

  • The Engelchen-Markt (little angel's market) in Heinrich-Heine-Platz is solid proof that great things come in small packages (and that there is no such thing as too much gold or sparkles).
  • Set along the scenic backdrop of Düsseldorf's Rathaus (City Hall), the Handwerker-Markt (craft fair) in Marktplatz is like a curtesy little Christmas village, complete with a tall glittering tree and red Christmas huts selling all sorts of handicrafts.
  • While walking between those two markets, you'll find a variety of cute Christmas stalls scattered along Flinger Straße. With a picture-perfect backdrop of the Old Town's colorful facades, the stalls themselves are painted like Düsseldorf burgher houses which is irritatingly cute!
  • Along the way, you'll also encounter a big Christmas pyramid selling mulled wine. While here, keep an eye on the peculiar figures rotating around, who don't look at all like traditional Christmas figures. The spinning figurines in this pyramid are actually important Düsseldorf public figures.
  • Branded as the "fairytale market" with huts topped with characters from the Grimm's Brother fairytales is the market at Schadowplatz.
  • Another nice market you should visit is at Schadowplatz and yet another one along one of Düsseldorf's main shopping streets. The Schadow-Markt is a nice addition to your Düsseldorf shopping adventure. Why not supplement your shopping at big-box retailers like Karstadt with some lovely Christmas market stall?
  • With a scenic location overlooking Hofgarten, the Kö-Bogen-Markt is a must, especially if you have young ones in tow. Alongside pretty wooden huts selling the usual goods, there's a special childrens' activity tent. If you're on the hunt for live music as well, the Lichterhimmel at this market is where a variety of live musical performances will take place throughout the season.

Seven Christmas Markets can be found in the city center of Cologne as well. Each has its own special atmosphere and its own program.

  • In the city's heart the "Christmas Market at Cologne Cathedral" awaits its visitors in front of the historic backdrop of the Cathedral with a tremendous Christmas tree and lots of light chains stretching over the Christmas huts like a woven net with the Christmas tree as the center point. On the stage in the center of this market there are several live music performances.
  • Not far away, located on the squares "Alter Markt" and "Heumarkt", the "Heinzels Winter Fairytale" (Brownie Market) attracts with a spectacular ice rink.
  • Directly located on the Rhine, next to the chocolate museum, the "Harbor Christmas Market" excudes a maritime flair.
  • In the center of the larger shopping areas, the "Market of Angels" presents itself on the square "Neumarkt" under a magnificently shining star-spattered sky.
  • Quite near on "Rudolfplatz", young and old enjoy the spirit of the "Village of St. Nicholas".
  • Nearby, between "Rudolfplatz" and "Schaafenstrasse", everyone is welcome to experience the heavenly ambiance of Cologne's new gay and lesbian Christmas Market "Heavenue".
  • On the edge of the popular "Belgien Quarter" people meet on the cozy "Christmas Market at Stadtgarten" within Cologne's oldest park.
Tour 10: Nuremberg & Rothenburg

This tour will take you to two of the most popular Christmas Markets, which have a rich history.

Short historical background on Nuremberg Christmas Market:

Nuremberg's Christmas Market is one of Germany's oldest Christmas fairs and dates back to the mid 16th century and was first mentioned in writing in 1628.
In the beginning almost all Nuremberg craftsmen were reprensented on the market. Towards the end of the 19th century the Christmas Market became less important until it was revived in the 1930s. During WWII no Christmas Market was held in Nuremberg.
In 1948 the Christmas Market was reestablished in the Old Town, which had been completely destroyed.
Head dramaturg at the Nuremberg Theatre, Friedrich Broeger, initiated a new tradtition by writing a prologue for the Nuremberg Christkind which has been recited ever since. From 1948 - 1968 actresses used to perform as the Christkind. As of 1969, the tradition changed: Every two years a young Nuremberg woman between the age of 16-19 years is elected as Christkind for a two-year period.

Top 5 things to do at the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt!

1) Enjoy local specialties such as the Nuremberg sausages and the famous Nuremberg gingerbread
“3 im Weggla” = 3 in a roll to go. Enjoy it! (saussages)
The famous “Lebkuchen” (gingerbread) is baked for more than 600 years in Nuremberg. At the Christmas Market you’ll find them in every size and with different coatings like chocolate, sugar or even strawberry!

2) Join a stagecoach tour
Each visitor excitedly turn to look when the yellow stagecoach with the horses and the coachmen passes by. Experience a nostalgic trip around the festive city sitting cozily in the coach, passing by the sights of Nuremberg and listening to the Christmas songs the coachman plays on his trumpet…

3) Meet the Nuremberg Christkind
With its blond locks, the big crown and the golden dress, it’s the symbol and most important representative of the Nuremberg Christmas Market! Every week from Tuesday to Friday the Christkind visits the Christkindlesmarkt daily at 3 pm.

4) Have a look at the funny Prune Men
They come along as piano players, waiters, football player and many more- the handmade Nuremberg Prune Men, made from dried prunes and figs. A great souvenir

5) Let the hot mulled wine warm you
When it’s cold outside, a hot mulled wine will warm you again after your stroll around the Market. It comes along in a beautiful mug, which is designed especially for every year. It’ll be the perfect souvenir for you kitchen cupboard at home.

Short historical background on Rothenburg's Christmas Market:

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, located on the Romantic Road in Bavaria, is known for its medieval setting since it is a walled in city, which has been largely untouched for hundreds of years. Unlike Nuremberg it was not serverly destroyed in WWII. Long story short, the city was saved from destruction since the Allies offered the mayor the opportunity to surrender peacefully (against Hitler's wishes), in order to preserve the town's beauty and historical significance. They mayor agreed.
Ever since the 15th century it's medieval stage is home to the annual Christmas Market which is named "Reiterlesmarkt" after a local Teutonic legend. According to lore, which reaches back to pre-Christian times, a messenger on horseback from another world floated through the skies in wintertime with the souls of the dead. As Christianity swept through Europe, the figure of the horrid rider developed from a wild man into a loving, gentle man who brought gifts to all people on earth.

Top 5 things to do at the Rotenburg Christmasmarkt!

1) Try the local specialty called Schneeball (snow ball)
It is made from stripes of sweet dough fried and covered with powedered sugar or chocolate.

2) Meet the Rothenburger Reiterle
Rothenburg horseman gave his name to the market.

3) Visit the Christmas Museum (Kaethe Wohlfahrt Museum)
Rothenburg is know as the Christmas city since here you can shop for Christmas decorations throughout the year. At the museum you can also learn all about the 400-year-old tradition of installing a fir tree in a room at home. Among farming families, it was once common to nail small trees to the ceiling and hang biscuits and fruit from them. But if you were caught chopping down a tree in the forest and only took the treetop, you could face a hefty fine and even end up in jail.
Marvel at the 200 year old larger-than-life Christmas wooden pyramids/carousels with different levels and depictions of Christian motifs. These pyramids used to be made by local miners, who would craft the wood after work. The pyramids served as a substitute for a Christmas tree.
The shop accepts VAT forms and electronic decorations also come with voltage options.

4) Don't miss the Christmas village
The world-famous Christmas village is located right next to the Käthe Wohlfahrtshau. Käthe Wohlfahrt stands for genuine German traditional Christmas decorations.

5) Let the hot mulled wine warm you
When it’s cold outside, a hot mulled wine will warm you again after your stroll around the Market. It comes along in a beautiful mug, which is designed especially for every year. It’ll be the perfect souvenir for you kitchen cupboard at home.

Tour 14: Christmas Markets in Essen & Bochum

We will start our tour with the international Christmas Market in Essen! The Essen Christmas Market is known for its glittering city center covered in thousands of golden fairy lights, its diversity in festive stalls, offering over 250 different stands with porducts from over 20 different counties, making it one of the largest Christmas Markets in Germany! It has won several awards for its diversity and beauty.

Spread throughout the city center you will find five Christmas markets under a sea of twinkling lights.
The heart of the Essen Christmas Market is located at the beautiful Kennedyplatz, which you will easily be able to identify by the golden gllittering lights draping over the stalls that will draw you in like a moth to a Christmassy flame.

There is also a Medieval themed Christmas Market. This section of the Christmas market will transport you back to medieval times, with sellers dressed the part, and an offering of fun souvenirs such as leather coin pouches, wooden treasure chests, and all the medieval weaponry your knightly heart might desire.
Today, Essen remains an under-the-radar Christmas market destination for most international tourists and is one of the most underrated Christmas Markets in Germany!

In the afternoon we will depart towards the Christmas Market in Bochum.
Bochum also has many nice shops and restaurants. You should definitely check out the ‘Bermuda-Dreieck’. This Bermuda Triangle is an area with several nice restaurants, cafes and bars. Naehrstoff-Reichm, located at Trankgasse 3, is a superfood bistro. They serve healthy lunches and dinner. All their bowls are high in nutrients, so they contain more vitamins and fiber than your average lunch! All their dishes are vegetarian and most of them are vegan.

The Bochum Christmas Market has over 200 stalls set up in the city center. They sell food, Gluehwein (mulled wine), presents and Christmas decorations. The market is spread out over the city center on consists of six sections. All can easily be reached by foot. The main market square also has a beautiful tall structure of a German Christmas Pyramid.

Bochum also puts up several light statues during the Christmas period. From fairytale figures form the Brothers Grimm to typical Christmas statues like reindeers. The tall light statues make a great background for selfies or a group picture.

There is also a Medieval part on the Christmas Market where you can play games from that time and eat food inspired by the foot eaten then.

The most unique thing about the Christmas Market in Bochum is the ‘Flying Santa Claus’. Every day at 5 and 7pm Santa Claus will get in this sleigh and try to fly over the Christmas Market. He needs some help from Rudolph and a Christmas angel, but after that he’ll fly over the markt. It’s spectacular and will amaze not only children but adults too. You can watch the flying Santa on the main market square called Dr. Ruer Platz.

Tour 16: Christmas Market in Valkenburg (Netherlands)

Come with us to Valkenburg!
From the middle of November until early January Christmas Town Valkenburg opens its gates to visitors. Visit this amazing Christmas destination and enjoy Valkenburg's enchanting underground caves. Hundreds of stalls, thousands of lights, impressive sand sculptures and metre-long miniature villages make the underground experience unsurpassed. Christmas Town Valkenburg has been nominated for European Best Christmas Market 2020!

These trips are not currently available. Check back for the next available trip!

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Tour 5
10 Dec 2022 cancelled
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03 Dec 2022 confirmed
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17 Dec 2022
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19 Nov 2022

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PricesAdultChild (3-12)
Tour 3

€89 (3-12)

Tour 5

€89 (3-12)

Tour 10

€131 (3-12)

Tour 14

€89 (3-12)

Tour 16

€122 (3-12)

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Air Force Active Duty or Air Reserve Component personnel or enlisted member without a spouse are eligible. A member is allowed to bring one guest (and one guest only) that is also entitled to the discounted rate. This guest has no restrictions, and could be a civilian, a retiree, or even active duty in another branch of the military.

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Allows all Air Force assigned service members returning from deployments or dependent-restricted assignments and their family members to participate in FSS recreational activities. Eligible family members may participate while the member is gone and upon their service member's return. Members who have deployed in support of an active operation and are on a dependent-restricted assignment, and their dependents, are eligible for this initiative. The deployed service member and their family are eligible upon receiving official orders during the deployment and up to 1 year after the service member returns to the home station.
Deployed Affected Personnel is also allowed to bring one guest (and one guest only) that will be entitled to the discounted rate. No restrictions on the type of guest.
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