Hiking And Christmas Markets in Germany

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Let’s face it, fellow hikers: November is not the best month of the year for hiking

The weather is getting murkier by the day, the trees are shedding their leaves, the clouds barely seem to lift, and, worst of all, the days are getting seriously short. Which is not good news unless you happen to like hiking in the dark (and I still have to meet someone who does).

In many ways, December is even worse: there is more murk weather-wise with fewer leaves on the trees and even shorter days. But in Germany, it is also happens to be the best time for

Hiking and Christmas Markets

"Hiking and Christmas markets in Germany - scene in Rüdesheim in Rheinland-Pfalz Germany"

Christmas Market in Rüdesheim (Copyright: Rüdesheim Tourist AG)

But there is also one good thing: the gloomy and virtually abandoned towns and villages that greeted you at the end of your hiking day in November are now bedecked with lights, having miraculously morphed into fairytale landscapes of good cheer.The reason for this is simple:

 Christmas is a-coming!

"In your search for hiking and Christmas markets, get to Sinzig in Rheinland-Pfalz Germany"

… in Sinzig (Copyright: Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH)

Over the past ten years or so, the German Christmas Market has become nearly as universally ubiquitous as that other German Christmas export from a previous century, the Christmas tree.

There are now Christmas markets in Japan, Shanghai and South Africa, while the US alone hosts about two dozen major events including the Chicago Christkindlmarket, which counts over 300,000 visitors every year.

"For hiking and Christmas markets, go to Rudersheim in Rheinland-Pfalz Germany"

…. in Trier (Copyright: Tourist Information Trier)

But some things are best enjoyed in their natural habitat, and just as most beer drinkers would prefer to celebrate their Oktoberfest in Munich rather than in La Crosse, Wisconsin (home of the official Oktoberfest, USA), most Christmas lovers will prefer to sip their mulled wine in the historic surroundings of an old German market town, in the shadow of timber-framed houses and medieval Cathedrals.

"Christmas market scene in Cochem in Rheinland-Pfalz Germany"

… in Cochem (Copyright: Tourist-Information Ferienland Cochem)

Fortunately, there are a few of those places around, and many of them can be found along some of Germany’s most popular hiking trails – giving you the unique opportunity of going all the way with your German holiday experience: vineyards and castles by day, gingerbread and Christmas lights by night.

"Christmas market scene in Oberwesel in Rheinland-Pfalz Germany"

… Oberwesel (Copyright: Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH)

All of the following are near the Rhine and the Mosel, conveniently located directly at or very close to the Rheinsteig and the Eifelsteig, and can be visited between now and Christmas (closing down, in general, one or two days before).

"Christmas market scene in Mainz in Rheinland-Pfalz Germany"

… in Mainz (Source: Stadt Mainz, Amt für Öffentlichkeitsarbeit)

Do hiking and Christmas Markets in Germany appeal to you?

All photos have been graciously supplied by the Rheinland Pfalz Tourismus Gmbh

24 comments to Hiking And Christmas Markets in Germany

  • Bobbiejean

    Thanks! I will be sure to go there as well. We will be spending 2 days in Berlin as well. Very excited!

  • Hi Bobbiejean, it is still possible to hike in November – you just have to be realistic in what you can achieve (before it gets dark). Make inquiries when you are in Leipzig, asking your friends (or even the people at the tourism office) where THEY go for a Sunday walk. You will be surprised how effective that can be.

    I do not know the area all that well, but Dresden is near-by and always worth a visit. Before it was destroyed in WWII, Dresden was one of Europe’s most stunning cities, and a lot of money has been invested since German reunification to restore the Old Town to some of its old glory.

    Yeah, no Christmas markets indeed. A shame, in a way, but at least you will be spared having to elbow your way through densely packed crowds. (Dresden particularly can be a little stressful.) Hey, you gotta accentuate the positive!

    Have a great trip!

  • Bobbiejean

    Hi! I searched the phrase “Hiking Germany November” and your site came up. I will be visiting next month (Nov 14-21st) so since you do not recommend hiking because of the weather, what do you recommend? I will be around Leipzig area.
    I don’t think the Christmas markets will be open then. I should have waited until December to go.

  • emily

    Germany is very good in celebarting christmas. i love the christmas markets there.

  • kimberly

    i think Germany celebrates christmas very well. i have many friends in Germany who have told me this. i am waiting to celebrate christmas in Germany this year.

  • This is a MUST for next year. Thanks for the info. Very interesting.

  • It’s the “Moselle Wine Market” in Traben-Trarbach… the historic wine cellars invite visitors on an underground Christmas wine trip with an impressive atmosphere. It takes place each weekend from 3 December to 8 January and always worth a visit!

  • An underground Christmas market! Now, that’s something to experience. Why not share more details with us?

  • Germany offers really unique Christmas markets – where else can you find an underground Christmas market? And the predicted snow will make the atmosphere absolutely perfect!

  • I love Christmas Markets in Germany! Last year we did one in Calw (Black Forest) that actually started at the Christmas Market and lead to a henker site and a castle.

  • Megan, I could easily believe the Christmas market in Dresden was magical. The town itself is very charming. Thanks for dropping by.

  • Megan

    We went to Dresden last Christmas. All I can say is that it was pure magic. Our whole family was enchanted.

  • Yes, it’s actually very easy to import. Pre-Christmas in the US would be all the more pleasant, I’d say. Thanks for dropping by, Greg.

  • I was just in a few gorgeous Christmas markets in Hamburg over the weekend. Why don’t we have more of these things in the U.S.?

  • For those who still need to hike this is a great idea. December for me means the onset of cross-country and downhill skiing. Let’s bring on the snow.

  • Larissa

    I love Christmas markets!! so beautiful…..

  • Ah, yes, It’s never as good as when it’s done by those who “invented” it. Chicago has the biggest Christmas market in the US with visitors numbering 300 000+ yearly. But Nuremberg, the mother of all German Christmas markets, gets 2 million a year.

  • Love the German Christmas markets!
    Sadly, Canada misses the mark big time when it comes to Christmas festivities. We try, but its just not the same as warm gluhwein and Bratwurst!

  • They are worth a visit to Germany, Jeff. Come on over. And thanks for dropping by here.

  • How I long to visit the German Christkindlmarkts! Storybook villages come to life in your brilliant photography and really convey a sense of wonder and excitement amidst the colorful dazzling displays in the historic city squares.

  • Totally! I guess in a country where it really gets cold, gray and gloomy by November, the lights and the cheery atmosphere in the Christmas markets make the season less depressing. Have a mulled wine on me!

  • It’s official: Nobody does Christmas as well as Germany!

  • Hah! You beat me to it. I’ll be visiting it on Monday. But looking forward to your video of it.

  • Carnager

    I’ve been to the Weihnachtsmarkt in Münster today. Video will be at my website tomorrow (just look for day 513 if I’m not miscalculating, or just today’s date 11.26.11 that should also work.)
    I think you’ll enjoy the video which shows that particular Christmas Market quite extensive.
    Have a great weekend! =^^=

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