or Christkindlmärkte, are a
centuries-old holiday tradition in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. They offer
locals and visitors alike the chance to shop for decorations at open-air stalls
in the heart of the city while noshing on foods that range from sausages to
Christmas cookies to hot spiced Glühwein.
One of Germany's most celebrated
Christmas markets is the annual Reiterlesmarkt in
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a walled
medieval city of 12,000 along Upper Bavaria's Romantic Road. From the end of
November until just before Christmas, the market--which dates back to the 15th
century and is one of the oldest in Germany--attracts thousands of visitors who
come for the magical atmosphere of shopping amid patrician buildings that date
back to the Middle Ages.
During the Reiterlesmarkt,
the city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber offers special Christmas events such as
puppet shows, outdoor brass-band concerts, guided tourchlight walks outside the city walls, an
organ concert and trumpet gala in St. Jacob's Church, and a concert of the local
youth orchestra in the Reichstadthalle. Religious services take place in the St.
Jacob's Church (Lutheran) and the St. John's Church (Catholic) on Sundays and on
December 24, 25, 26, 31, and January 1.
Christmas all year
If you can't make it to Rothenburg
ob der Tauber for the Reiterlesmarkt, fear not: You can visit the
Deutsches Weihnachtsmuseum, or
German Christmas Museum, throughout the year. The museum, which opened in 2000,
is operated by Käthe Wohlfahrt, an
international chain of year-round Christmas shops whose flagship "Christmas
Village" store is located just off Rothenburg's Marktplatz.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Our 8-page article has sightseeing tips, hotel recommendations, and links to
local tourist resources.
Learn how Rothenburg's Christmas market got its name.