What to Know Before You Visit German Christmas Markets

Updated August 13, 2020.

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!

Need something covered in chocolate? Take your pick!

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!

I had the kid-friendly, alcohol-free beverage–way better tasting!
More here: What to Eat at the Heidelberg Christmas Market

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.”

So beautiful!
More here: Your Guide to Heidelberg’s Christmas Markets

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!

Don’t forget your Euros!
More here: Travel Saving and Money

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!

One of them had an ice skating rink!

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.

Stuffed full!
More here: How to Travel with Gifts

Want more? Stay tuned for details about the Christmas Markets in Heidelberg, coming to the blog soon!

Want more? Check out my Germany Page!

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5 responses to “What to Know Before You Visit German Christmas Markets”

  1. Wise thoughts. Thank You.

    This is in Helsinki:

    Christmas Markets 2 / Mercados navideños 2 / Marchés de Noël 2.

    Have a wonderful day!

    1. Thanks! You have a wonderful day, too!

  2. […] many, gluhwein is the only beverage to enjoy at a Christmas Market. Not for me! I enjoyed kinderpunsch (warm fruit juices and fruit tea), cranbeerypunsch, […]

  3. […] many, gluhwein is the only beverage to enjoy at a Christmas Market. Not for me! I enjoyed kinderpunsch (warm fruit juices and fruit tea), cranbeerypunsch, […]

  4. […] is the one thing I got every day! Most people go to German Christmas Markets for the gluhwein, but for me, it’s all about the kinderpunsch! Other […]

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