Did you know that Christmas markets date back to the Late Middle Ages? Initially, Christmas wasn’t the focus of these markets, but eventually, people started purchasing toys, wood carvings, baked goods, and other items as Christmas gifts. While today’s markets run for several weeks, during the Middle Ages they usually only took place over several days. The markets were a chance for local villagers to come together, trade food and crafts, and stock up for winter.

Christmas Market

Handcrafted items for sale at a German Christmas market

Poinsettia at Christmas Market

Beautifully handcrafted poinsettias at a German Christmas market.

According to Condé Nest Traveler, the oldest Christmas market is said to be from the city of Dresden in Germany and took place in 1434. Known as “Striezelmarkt”, the first event only lasted one day! Now there are over 1,400 markets in Germany, with most moderate-sized towns having at least one Christmas market. Larger cities, such as Berlin, boast over 60!

Christmas in Berlin

Christmas market in Berlin

Christmas Market in snow

Even the snow doesn’t stop people from enjoying this Christmas market in Nuremberg.

If you’re planning to join us on our December 2019 Christmastime in Alsace & Germany River Cruise, you’ll get to visit several Christmas markets including the Heidelberg Christmas Market in Germany. Imagine strolling through rows and rows of festive stalls filled with beautiful ornaments, delicious baked goods, and unique gifts against the romantic backdrop of Heidelberg Castle. The market is spread out over five unique locations and includes an open-air ice rink where you can skate under the stars to the accompaniment of Christmas music. What a wonderful way to make new memories with friends and loved ones!

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle at night


Gingerbread treats

If you’d like more information on Hurley World Travel’s Avalon Christmastime in Alsace and Germany River Cruise, please visit our website or contact Joe Hurley at joehurley@hurleytravel.net or 410-588-6938.