It’s cold outside but that doesn’t seem to matter to the hundreds of people who are bundled up and clutching steaming cups of Gluehwein, the mulled wine that is the beverage of choice during the festivities. They’ve all come out to enjoy the Christkindlemarkt, or Christmas Market. Villages and cities throughout Germany have their own and despite the freezing temperatures, that doesn’t stop anyone from donning their favorite sweaters and coats and
Beverages of Choice
Anything hot has a special place here. For the adults, Gluehwein, or mulled wine, is the reigning king. You can also find something called Kinderpunsch a non alcoholic option for children and adults who don’t want alcohol. I personally favor the Gluehwein but I have also been known to order a hot chocolate or a cappuccino from one of the stall vendors.
Understanding the Pfand
When you buy your hot beverage, you might be surprised at the price. Chances are, it will be quite a deal more than what is advertised. Don’t worry, you aren’t getting scammed. You are getting charged what’s known as a pfand and I’ve experienced price hikes of up to 3 Euro before. Once you return the ceramic mug back from the stall that you got it from, you’ll get this surplus money back.
Markets in Small Villages
I’ve been to a few of these and while they don’t attract the large crowds that the cities do, they have a certain charm that some of the bigger ones don’t have. Seems like most of the village is out and about to enjoy some Gluehwein, socialize, and watch their community members sing or perform. The drawback is that these markets only run for just a few days (or maybe even less) so it is helpful to watch for signs or look in the paper so you can find some to go to.
Big City Kristkindlmaerkte
I find that the big cities have some great markets. For example, Nuremburg, Munich, and Frankfurt all have them. Since Munich is one of my cities, it is usually the one I end up going to. I find that even though it is a bigger market, it still has a certain charm to it. One of my favorite things about walking around certain Europeans in the winter is the roasted chestnuts. Though they aren’t officially part of the Munich Christmas market, I appreciate getting a bag as a snack as I’m walking around.
In order to really experience the Christmas markets in Germany, you should make every effort to visit at least one in a bigger city and one in a smaller town or village. That way, you can see both sides of the spectrum and enjoy both.