Countdown to Christmas: A market and thermal springs in Aachen
The Aachen market, named among Europe's top Christmas markets by European Best Destinations, takes over several streets in the lovely old town. Vendors selling high-end leather wares, silver jewelry, antiques and musical instruments are concentrated in the Holzgraben pedestrian zone, and sweet snacks can be purchased at the Kugelbrunnen fountain. The remainder of the market is a mix of vendors selling merchandise at different price points, as well as treats, substantial meals and hot mulled wine. Santa stops in for photo ops several days per week, and the Chapel of St. Nicholas has a program of concerts and services. Look closely to discover 40 nativity scenes located around the old town.
Christmas market dates: Nov. 18-Dec. 23, 2016
Location: Markt, Katschhof and Münsterplatz squares, Holzgraben pedestrian zone and Kugelbrunnen fountain
Helpful hints: If you are not staying overnight in Aachen, park in one of four Park & Ride lots: Westfriedhof (Vaalser Straße), Waldfriedhof (Monschauer Straße), Tivoli parking garage (Krefelder Straße), or the lot at Jülicher Straße/Berliner Ring. Buses arrive every 5 to 20 minutes. Up to five people can ride on one 5-euro P&R ticket. These tickets are available on the bus, except at Tivoli, where the garage entrance ticket doubles as your P&R ticket).
USAG-Kaiserslautern Family & MWR Outdoor Recreation has bus trips to Aachen Dec. 10 and 23, 2016.
Beyond the market: Tour the stunning mosaic-tiled Aachen Cathedral, where Charlemagne is buried. Escape the stress of the season in Aachen’s liquid gold — hot springs chock-full of 18 minerals — with a trip to Carolus Thermen.
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.