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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).