It’s Travel Tip Tuesday! This post is all about European Christmas Markets. I recently went to beautiful Heidelberg, Germany, to visit the Christmas Markets there, and I picked up a few tips along the way. Before you jet off on your own European Christmas Market adventure, check this list of things to know before you go!
1. Christmas Markets are FREE
While purchasing items at the Christmas Markets is not a free thing to do, going and enjoying them is! It’s impossible not to find yourself in the Christmas mood when you’re walking through happily-decorated stalls displaying toys, decorations, ornaments, and more! And Christmas comes alive when the scents of cookies, candy, warm beverages, chestnuts, and more collide!
2. Plan to Bring an Appetite
If you forgot your appetite, don’t worry! The scents mentioned above will find it for you! Whether you fancy something savory or sweet, you’ll find it at the market. Stay tuned this week for a very special What I Ate Wednesday to see what delicious foods you can get!
3. You Can Keep Your Collectible Mug
Every Christmas market has their own mug! When you order your cider, cocoa, or gluhwein (hot mulled wine), you can keep your mug to take home with you as a souvenir! If you choose to keep it, you can go to any Christmas Market stall in town and only pay for the beverage. You will turn in your mug for a fresh one each time you go back for another drink–how thoughtful!
4. Or You Can Return It
If you are pinched for cash or just not a mug collector (or you’re like my husband and me and you already have WAY too many mugs!), you can return your mug to get a couple of Euro back.
5. Christmas Markets are Open During the Day…
…but they are more magical at night! So if you’re an early-bird like me, and you like to shop without the crowds, plan to go earlier in the day. If you’re a night-owl or like to get the full experience with lights and loads of people, go at night! Want the best of both? Remember that the sun sets somewhere around 4:30pm in December, so take advantage of an early “nighttime.”
6. Cash Only!
Some stalls with more expensive items may choose to accept credit cards, but for the most part, the markets are cash-only. Make sure your debit card works before you go!
7. There May Be More than One Market in Town
Don’t stop at just one! Every square in town may have a different Christmas market, so branch out and explore! There were at least six markets within walking distance of my hotel in Heidelberg!
8. Bring an Extra Carry-on Bag
If you plan to buy gifts (for others or your self) at the Christmas Markets, do yourself a favor and bring an extra bag with you! I brought a roll-able, medium-sized duffle in my luggage and planned to pack my purse inside my regular carry-on backpack so that when I returned home I would have my “carry-on” (backpack) and “personal item” (duffle full of presents) on my return flights home.
Want more? Stay tuned for details about the Christmas Markets in Heidelberg, coming to the blog soon!