Every town or city in Germany has their own Christmas Market (or Weihnachtsmarkt) in the run up to Christmas. Because of this there’s no shortage of places to go if you want to visit a Christmas Market. But the Nuremberg Christmas Market (or Christkindlesmarkt for the official name) is really head and shoulders above the rest. Read on to hear why the Nuremberg Christmas Market should be top of your list to visit!
Once I’ve convinced you to come, plan your visit to the Nuremberg Christmas Market with my comprehensive guide.
1: If you want to visit a Christmas Market, go to a REAL one
There’s no shortage of Christmas Markets held in cities and towns across the world now. But what can’t be created overnight is a sense of history and local culture. The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg has been held in the same place since at least 1628 making it nearly 400 years old. The Nuremberg Christmas Market has history running through its veins…!
2: Buy one-of-a-kind Products
Because the Nuremberg Christmas Market has been operating for so long, you’ll find traditional products you won’t find anywhere else. A good example of this are the “Zwetschgenmännla“. These are figuirines made out of, yes, zwetschgen (plums, or in the dried form here, prunes). These have been sold at the market for generations, and are a great example of the sort of quirky products you’ll find at the Nuremberg Christmas Market.
3: Buy from local family businesses
You won’t find plastic gimmicks or mass-produced products at the Nuremberg Christmas Market. You also won’t find sellers who just treat this as another stop on a long sales trip round Europe. Those wanting to operate a stand must adhere to strict criteria that exist to preserve the spirit of the market. This means virtually all stallholders are local families, with many operating here for generations. The products you’ll find will often be made by them themselves, and almost certainly within the city or surrounding area
4: The amazing location of the Nuremberg Christmas Market in the Hauptmarkt
The Nuremberg Hauptmarkt (Main Market) has been the hub of the city for centuries. This role continues today, with the Nuremberg Christmas Market taking place right in front of the Frauenkirche. Most roads in the Nuremberg Altstadt (old town) lead to the Hauptmarkt, and the atmosphere during the market is second to none. The Christkindlesmarkt really is the heart of Nuremberg
5: The amazing local foods at the Nuremberg Christmas Market
Nuremberg doesn’t just have a Christmas Market, it has its own foods too! Everything you eat at the Christkindlesmarkt will have been brewed, baked, or manufactured in the city. All of these products come with a long history and culture associated with them. For example, the Nuremberg Sausage is said to have been invented so it was small enough to pass through a keyhole in the gates of the city! Just some of the specialities you will want to try are:
- Nürnberger Lebkuchen (Nuremberg Gingerbread – a huge variety of tasty baked gingerbreads=
- Nürnberger Bratwürste (Nuremberg Sausages – traditionally served three in a bun))
- Nürnberger Früchtebrot (Nuremberg Fruit Bread)
6: As much Glühwein as you can drink
Glühwein is also a speciality of the Nuremberg region. There are countless stands to try it at, and there are many varities to sample. Heidelbeer Glühwein (blueberry) is a particular speciality, and in every case it’ll be served in a special mug. You can keep these and take them home if you wish (and don’t mind losing the deposit!). There’s also a very special and strong variety of glüwein on offer called “Feuerzangenbowle”. This is essentially rum soaked sugar which is set on fire and melted into mulled wine!
7: The Historic Nürnberg Altstadt
The Nuremberg Christmas Market in the Hauptmarkt is right at the centre of the Altstadt (old town). You can spend hours exploring the historic streets and buildings of the old town. Almost completely destoyed during WWII, many of the most important buildings were reconstructed to leave a fascinating mix of old and new. The main shopping streets are lit up with beautiful christmas lights in the season too
8: The Kaiserburg and other side-trips
The symbol and dominating memory of Nuremberg is without doubt the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle). Sitting high on a rock outcrop above the city, from here you have an amazing view over the rooftops of the city. At Christmas many gather to take sunset pictures by the resident Christmas tree!
Elsewhere in Nuremberg you have a number of opportunities to visit museums or historical buildings. The Documentation Centre situated in the partially built Congress Hall gives you an insight into the rise of the Third Reich, and the darker side of Nuremberg’s history. In bad weather, you can visit the caves and vaults situated under the Kaiserburg.
9: Reliving your childhood at the Kinderweihnacht
This part of the Nuremberg Christmas Market is especially for the kids! The small fairground rides are beautifully lit-up, and there are lots nativity scenes to view. There are lots of stalls here selling childrens toys so it’s great for gift buying too. The childrens market is found in Hans-Sachs Platz, and so it’s a welcome respite if the main market is crowded
10: Fränkisches Essen (Franconian Food)
After a long day of shopping at the Nuremberg Christmas Market, you’ll need a good filling meal. Franconian food is hearty and rich, and a “Schäufele” (pork shoulder) is a speciality served with dumplings which will definitely fill you up! There are many local breweries with excellent beers which you can sample alongside this too