If you fancy a European trip in your motorhome this winter why not combine it with a bit of Christmas shopping! Liz King introduces the wonders of Christmas markets in Germany.
Sleigh bells are ringing around Christmas markets this winter, where the air is thick with the seasonal scents of pine, cinnamon, vanilla and ginger.
Top of our list of places to visit this year are the Christmas markets of Germany, where fairytale castles perch on hilltops in the Middle Rhine Valley, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The first German Christmas Markets are said to date from the 15th century with written documentation showing that Dresden had a market in 1434. Originally called St Nicholas Markets, the markets are now more widely known as Christkindlmarkt. Today, all the markets offer seasonal and local gastronomic delights, opportunities to shop for unusual gifts as well as a Yuletide atmosphere. Some offer ice rinks, firework displays and live entertainment.
In Rüdesheim from November 21 to December 23 the pretty town is transformed and has a special ambience. More than 120 stands from 12 nations offer their goods, specialities and customs in one of the finest market atmospheres, in the historical Rüdesheim Old Town. There are concerts, plays, precessions and weekend events with mass appeal.
Highlight of the festivities: the Thomas Night on 21 December with traditional customs and stories, illuminations and tricks.
There is also Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Cabinet museum, a bizarre collection dedicated to all mechanical musical instruments.
Cochem is an historical, medieval old town with narrow streets and twisting alleys on the Moselle has a lovely castle which is lit at night. The Christmas market is festively decorated with wooden stalls. The highlight of the Christmas period is the “Castle Christmas” at the town’s 1000 year old Reichsburg Castle, where actors retell the story of the birth of Jesus to an audience of both young and old. A Christmas Eve programme in the Capuchin monastery is an unforgettable experience.
On 18 November the season of traditional Christmas markets will once again be opened in Trier, Mainz, Koblenz, Kaiserslautern, Speyer and Worms, six historical cities located between the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Five of these cities are included in the best 15 of Germany’s oldest cities, thus looking back on a truly rich history. It’s hard not to be enthralled by the magic of the cities lying between the Rhine and the Moselle.
There is something on offer to suit every taste, from impressive choir and trumpet concerts to Christmas card printing in the famous Gutenberg Museum printing shop and romantic carriage rides, fireworks displays and guided Christmas theme tours. The mulled wine produced by local winemakers is a heart warming warm treat.
Wherever you go, we recommend warm clothes and sensible footwear as many of the streets are cobbled and the markets run on into the chilly evenings.
And don’t forget to check your motorhome insurance policy to ensure you have cover for your European trip. Caravan Guard’s motorhome insurance has optional cover to travel around Europe for up to eight months in the year.
Happy Christmas everyone!