Even without Christmas markets, these German towns will shine

Photo by Marina Khrapova via Unsplash
Photo by Marina Khrapova via Unsplash

Even without Christmas markets, these German towns will shine

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

It was tough news to hear, but we’ve accepted the fact that the Christmas markets that make Germany so merry and bright cannot take place this year. While those evergreen-bedecked booths selling souvenirs, tasty snacks and mulled wine will be sorely missed, one thing we don’t have to forgo entirely is the stunning sight of the Christmas decor. Many cities will still be decorating their historic city centers with the usual assortment of lights and baubles, providing visitors with stunning backdrops for their selfies and shopping, as well as a wistful reminder of the atmosphere we so treasure this time of year.

We’ve pulled together a list of a few cities that still plan to light their lights and trim their trees. Don’t see your favorite city mentioned? That doesn’t necessarily mean the branches will be bare. In some cases, information was lacking at the time of this writing; also, try as we might, we weren’t able to check the status of the upwards of 1,500 Christmas markets that would otherwise sparkle throughout the land.

Aachen: According to an article on the website of broadcaster WDR, Christmas decorations and festive lighting will bring holiday flair to the area next to the town hall and cathedral.

Bamberg: This charming UNESCO-listed town is famous for the nativity scenes that are set up in its churches and public spaces and displayed well into January. So far, there is no indication that these won’t be making their usual appearance.

Cologne: The city’s businesspeople have assured the public that the center will be festively decorated for Christmas.

Dresden: Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk reports that a 120-year-old spruce tree has already been set up and decorated at the Altmarkt in front of the Frauenkirche.

Frankfurt: A beautiful tree imported from Austria will bedazzle visitors to the picturesque Römerberg Square, the starting point to Frankfurt’s newly restored Old Town. 

Fürth: Just a few miles northwest of Nuremberg, this city will set up 20 decorated trees and hang festive winter lights.

Heidelberg: According to an article in the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, “Christmas market to-go” will be set up on Neckarmünzplatz Dec. 5–6. Heidelberg Marketing, in cooperation with the tradespeople who typically sell their goods at the Christmas market, will offer a gift package consisting of one 2020 Christmas market mug, a second, non-dated mug, a bottle of mulled wine from the Weingut Adam Müller, a bag of candied almonds and a portion of gingerbread. The package goes for just under 20 Euros, and proceeds go in part to support the market vendors. From Dec. 6, the sets will be sold at the Galeria Kaufhof, as well as some Rewe supermarkets.

Leipzig: Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk reports that a nearly 70-foot tall Christmas tree has already been set up in the market square.

Mechernich: Burg Satzvey is still hoping to be able to stage its annual Middle Ages Christmas Market and living Nativity scene on Advent weekends in December; time will tell if they can see it through. If not, there’s still hope for its “Winter Fairy Tales” weekends scheduled for Jan. 30–31 and Feb. 6–7. 

Munich: A huge Christmas tree bedecked with 3,000 glittering lights will take its usual spot in front of the city’s town hall.

Nuremberg: Erlebnis Nürnberg reports that as of Nov. 2, the usual Christmas illuminations are being strung up throughout the Old Town, and two Christmas trees will stand in front of the Frauenkirche.

Saarbrücken: The Christkindl-Markt website assures us that the city center will be decorated and illuminated this year, too.

St. Wendel: According to the city’s official website, a large, lit-up tree will take its usual place in front of the Basilika, and the Christmas pyramid will be built as well.

Stuttgart: The city marketing website states that two large illuminated Christmas trees will be set up in the Market and Palace squares.

Weiden: New this year is the “Weidener Kripperlweg,“ a path through the pedestrian zone that passes by nativity scenes from around the world. The displays will be set up in the windows of participating businesses, as well as some empty shops.

Wiesbaden: Even without its famed “Twinkling Star” Christmas market, the spa town will still sparkle. In front of the town hall, an 80-foot-high Christmas tree covered in 30,000 blinking LED lights greets shoppers, and right next to it, a nativity scene reminds us of the story of Christ’s humble birth.

Note: Please bear in mind that the English-language information on official city websites isn’t always as up-to-date as it is on German language versions. Use of the Google-translation tool for texts written in German is recommended to ensure you’re seeing the latest information.

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