One of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets stretches from Frankfurt’s Hauptwache all the way to the Main riverbank. A giant Christmas tree decorates the market square with its historical half-timbered houses and the old town hall. Trinkets and handicrafts make great souvenirs and make sure to try the local specialities, such as the Bethmännchen Christmas cookies with marzipan and almonds and hot apple wine.
Hanau is not only the home of Brothers Grimm but also brags Hesse’s largest Advent calendar celebrating its most famous figures. The traditional Christmas market spreads a festive flair with typical culinary sweets and treats, beautifully decorated wooden huts and nostalgic amusement rides for kids. In the Advent season, the façade of the old town hall is transformed into an oversized Advent calendar with each window holding a Grimm’s fairytale motif.
Every year, the 1000-year-old Cathedral in Mainz creates a spectacular backdrop for the city’s traditional Christmas market. More than 100 vendors set up shop in the wooden huts, decorated with garlands and fairy lights to sell their handcrafted goods, toys, souvenirs and yummy foods. The wood-carved pyramid at the entrance is a real eye-catcher, but it’s also worth venturing out into the alleys of the old town to browse the nicely decorated shops and boutiques.
If you have a thing for cute and quaint German villages with half-timbered houses and snow-decked roofs, the Michelstadt Christmas market is a great place to see to soak up some Christmassy flair. It’s an hour drive south of Frankfurt and known for its significant wooden Christmas figures that decorate the town during the Advent season. Sculptors, carvers and other artists showcase their work, and the culinary menu includes some specialities as well, for example, blood sausage pralines and potato cake.
During the Advent season, locals flock to the large square between the Wiesbaden town hall and the palace for the festive artisans’ market. Four gates decorated in blue and gold, and the city arms, open up to the cosy Christmas market. Vendors in rustic huts sell all kinds of arts, crafts and delicious foods. If you’re looking for more wintery entertainment, the ‘ESWE-Eiszeit’ with its ice rink is just around the corner.
The Christmas market in Aschaffenburg is an event for all ages. A merry-go-round and a Ferris wheel entertain the young, while the older crowd enjoys the cultural programme of Christmas choirs and other musical acts. Oversized nutcrackers and a huge Christmas pyramid flank the market, and the huts and stalls offer a wide range of international and local products from toys and souvenirs to Christmas tree ornaments and beeswax candles.
In the Christmas season, the downtown district of Darmstadt is illuminated by thousands of lights. Classic Christmas snacks and drinks along the lines of gingerbread and mulled wine are available, as are handmade crafts. Vendors from Darmstadt’s international partner cities also bring Hungarian flatbread, Swiss cheese and Latvian arts and crafts to the table. If you’re in town on the first Friday of December, you can join the late-night shopping event with fire shows and ice sculptures.