Countdown to Christmas: Cozy castle markets in Germany
The Christmas season in Germany wouldn’t be complete without visiting a Christmas market or two located on the grounds of a beautiful, historic castle or palace. Whether you seek a romantic destination or a family event with festivities for the kids, we’ve covered both at some exceptional castle locations. Some of these markets are open for a month, and some for only a weekend. So mark your calendar now and plan to attend a few of these castle Weihnachtsmärkte.
Burg Ronneburg, Ronneburg
Dec. 3-4, 10-11
A wonderful example of a medieval Christmas market is Burg Ronneburg, open the first three weekends of Advent from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Young men in armor, damsels in period costumes, the sounds of metalwork and smells of mead fill the courtyard during the market. In the castle’s wine cellar, mulled wine, homemade black beer and peasant dishes are prepared and waiting to be sampled. Courtyard fare includes spiced cakes, waffles, coffee, Flammkuchen and roasted venison. Children will find delight with St. Nikolaus and the old-fashioned candy maker. Handcrafted items from glass blowers, potters, basket weavers, spinners, gold and silversmiths, wood turners and carvers, leather makers, wool dyers and herbalists will be available. Don’t miss the live nativity scene performance (with animals) daily at 5 p.m. Trumpeters, minstrels and harpists will also perform. Normal castle entrance fees apply, and free parking is available nearby.
Neuleiningen (near Grünstadt)
During the first two weekends of Advent, this small village at the foot of a castle transforms into a beautiful, romantic Christmas market. Your loved ones will enjoy gifts of homemade cookies, jams, liqueurs, chocolates, soaps, herbal pillows and more. Because the entire village is the market, all local cuisine is prepared there. Look for culinary specialties including sausages, bean soup, and oysters prepared over an open flame, as well as champagne, mulled wine and other delicious treats.
Wartburg Castle, Eisenach
Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18
Another castle well worth the drive is Wartburg of Eisenach in eastern Germany. This 11th century maintained fortress was once the refuge of Martin Luther, iconic reformer of the Protestant Christian church. Today the UNESCO World Heritage site transforms into a Christmas market during Advent. See Luther’s former quarters and shop for homemade candles, handmade jewelry and mouthblown glassware. Also travel a little further east on A5 for Erfurt’s exceptional Christmas market – considered one of the best markets in Germany.
Schloss Hohenzollern, Hechingen
If you don’t mind the drive, you’ll love this enchanting castle market. South of Stuttgart in the heart of the Black Forest is Schloss Hohenzollern, the ancestral seat of the Prussian Royal Family. Hailed as one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany, the Royal Christmas Market is known for its romantic atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy the castle’s beauty and history while shopping in the courtyard of the castle and its ramparts. There is an entry fee of 10 euros for visitors 17 and over and includes parking and shuttle bus service. The market is open Friday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Check back tomorrow to find out which European Christmas markets will be featured next as we continue our Countdown to Christmas!
Read more about Europe's holiday season in the Stripes European Christmas Markets & Shopping Guide.