7 unusual Christmas markets

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

Today's Countdown to Christmas is sponsored by: 

The endless stream of Christmas markets in not only Germany but also the surrounding areas can get overwhelming. The traditional Glühwein and trimmed trees are delightful the first couple of times around, but become redundant the more markets you attend. Find something fresh and new this year at these seven unusual Christmas markets. From a sky-high bridge to an underground haven, you’re sure to find something that suits your individual tastes at one of these holiday gatherings.

1) An Angelic Performance

The Augsburg Christmas Market is one of the oldest in Germany, dating back to the 15th century. This market features The Angel Performance (Engelsspiel), where 24 angels appear every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m., transforming the City Hall facade into a massive advent calendar. Beautiful music can be heard while the angels appear in the windows, playing a variety of instruments and singing heavenly tunes. The market is open Nov. 26 from 6 p.m. - 10 p.m., Sunday - Thursday from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Friday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 9:30 p.m., Dec. 23 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Dec. 24 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Special hours on Nov. 30 for Christmas shopping night from 10 a.m. to midnight.

2) One Gorgeous Market

The Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market is tucked in the Black Forest surrounded by cliffs, under the 131 foot high Devil’s Valley Railway bridge. This village of small wooden huts is home to around 40 stalls stocked with regional products, unique gifts and fine handmade crafts. With the illuminated bridge framing the market, it’s a picture perfect, intimate location. The Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 30 - Dec. 23. Fridays the market is open from 3 - 9 p.m., Saturdays from 2 - 9 p.m. and Sundays 1 - 8 p.m. Entrance fees are 3 euros for adults (17 and older) on Fridays and 4 euros on Saturdays and Sundays. On-site parking for cars is only available to those who have pre-booked online.

3) The Floating Market

The port city of Emden is home to the Engelkemarkt, a special Christmas market that takes place not only on land, but also on ships! Emden takes Christmas to a whole new level by removing the traditional winding cobblestone streets of the market and adding water to create a floating paradise. With lit up masts and sails, it’s an absolute wonder to behold. Market goers can wander onto the ships and marvel at their dedication to bringing holiday cheer and merriment, despite the chill in the salty air. The 2018 market is open from Nov. 26 to Dec. 23 and Dec. 27 to 31. Visitors are welcome from 11 a.m. to approximately 8 p.m. daily and from 11 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. on Dec. 31.

4) An Island Oasis

The Frauenchiemsee Christmas Market is a one of a kind market located on an island surrounded by the perfectly clear waters of Lake Chiemsee and the magnificent Bavarian Alps. With such a picture-perfect backdrop, an incredibly romantic winter wonderland emerges. This Christmas haven will have you merrily humming holiday favorites like “Silent Night” and “Let It Snow” before you leave. The Frauenchiemsee Christmas market is from Nov. 30 – Dec. 2 and Dec. 7 – 9. It is open on Friday from 2 - 7 p.m. and Saturday - Sunday from noon - 7 p.m. Getting to Frauenchiemsee is easy with regular ferries from Prien at Lake Chiemsee. With just one ticket you can go from the train station in Prien to the Prien/Stock harbor and get on a ferry to the market. If you arrive by car, there are parking areas near the train station or at the harbor.

5) A Wine Lovers Paradise

The Mosel Wine and Christmas Market in the underworld of Traben-Trarbach is celebrated in a dimly lit network of historical wine cellars. This market is particularly wonderful because the aroma of mulled wine, roasted almonds and fir sprigs dances through the warm subterranean air. Hidden beneath the streets of the town you’ll find stalls with high quality items, culinary specialties and all the wine products you could possibly imagine. The market is open Nov. 23 - Dec. 16 and Dec. 20 - Jan. 1 from Friday - Sunday, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Dec. 31 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Closed on Nov. 25 and Dec. 24 - 25.

6) For Grown-Ups Only

The Santa Pauli Christmas Market in Hamburg is for, ahem, a sexier (but not vulgar) adult crowd. This market focuses on “blurring the boundaries between conventional Christmas tradition and the frivolous love of life.” Here you’ll find a strip tent and a drink called the “nutcracker.” If that doesn’t indicate the general mood, I’m not sure what will. This erotic market is in full swing from Nov. 19 - Dec. 23. Opening hours are Mondays - Wednesdays from 4 - 11 p.m., Thursdays from 4 p.m. to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays from 1 p.m. - 1 a.m. and Sundays from 1 - 11 p.m. The market is located in the vicinity of the Schmidt Theater and admission is free.

7) Medieval Magic

The Christmas Market in Bochum takes you back in time to the 15th century. Here you’ll find craftsmen, traders, minstrels and buffoons, all dressed in period-specific costumes. The world’s smallest Ferris wheel is housed here amongst the old fashioned stalls. Everyday the region’s only flying Santa will appear in a reindeer drawn sleigh overhead between 5 - 7 p.m. near Pauluskirche in the heart of the city. The market is open from Nov. 22 - Dec. 23 from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Are your interests peaked? Hit up any one of these unusual markets for an out of the ordinary Christmas experience. Find your new favorite Christmas market this year and rave to your friends about all of the unusual things you saw during the 2018 holiday season.

Come back tomorrow for the next day of our Countdown to Christmas! 

Today's Countdown to Christmas is sponsored by: 

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