A Christmas Market Tour in Erfurt, Germany
‘Tis that time of year again! This is our third year living in Germany and two things always come to mind when this time rolls around year after year: Christmas Markets and glühwein (with rum, if feeling a bit a naughty!). We love this European tradition so much and we’re even happier to be able to live in a gorgeous city with some of the best Christmas Markets in Germany. In Erfurt, Christmas Markets come in all sizes, and here are a few of the most notable and some of our personal favorites.
* Writer’s note: glühwein = hot mulled wine
Domplatz, or translated into English as “Cathedral Square”, is where our very large cathedral sits and is also the main square of Erfurt. This is the largest and most famous Christmas Market in the city and also the most popular amongst tourists. It is frequently ranked as one of the top ten Christmas markets to visit in Germany and it definitely shows by the number of people that visit. During this time, Erfurt welcomes around 1 million tourists just for the Christmas Markets alone.
This is a beautiful market but very overcrowded on the weekends. It can be so overcrowded that most Erfurters don’t go there themselves. You can barely walk and enjoy the sights without being bumped into. It is also very commercialized and has several amusement-style rides such as a large Ferris wheel, bumper cars and carousel. Don’t come here expecting a quaint, quiet, romantic place.
That being said, it’s great to visit during the week when most of the crowds are gone and beautiful at night when the Cathedral is lit up. It’s very magical. There are countless food options and the stalls sell a variety of goods. It is easy to spend a lot of time here and you can’t beat the beautiful background.
The Luthermarkt is a new addition for 2017. 2017 is the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation, so this market sits rightfully behind his statue on Anger 1, a large shopping square. We have to say, this is one of our favorite Christmas Markets this year. It’s much smaller than Domplatz, so it’s not overrun by tourists and it never seems to be crowded either, which is a plus in our book! The glühwein is great, not too sweet, plus it’s reasonably priced. There are also a few food options: candied nuts, flammkuchen, and raclette. If you walk around outside this market, you will find a few smaller markets and stalls selling food, handicrafts, and glühwein.
Puffbohnen Markt translates to “Broad Bean Market.” (No, there are no beans sold at this market!) This type of bean was grown around Erfurt in the past. It was used to give energy to the farmers and wanderers as they traveled from place to place. People born in Erfurt, are referred to as Puffbohnen…we just call them Erfurters! This is a small and quaint market on Wenigemarkt, a small square surrounded by beautiful houses. Like most markets, there are several stalls selling glühwein and food. Here you can also buy handicrafts, such as sheepskin rugs, glassware, and much more. We like to go here during the week and soak up the atmosphere of the stunning buildings circling this market.
Mittelaltermarkt, or the Medieval Market In English, is located behind Domplatz on the other side of the cathedral. In previous years, this market was in Wenigemarkt (where Puffbohnen Markt is now). This market is exactly what you would expect from its name. It’s an old Medieval-themed market with the vendors wearing clothing from the Middle Ages, eerie music playing in the background, and the cathedral in the background. Visiting here will take you back to medieval times! Because it’s so close to Domplatz and the main market, it can also get very crowded on the weekends. However, it is a must see and fun experience. There is always a very lively atmosphere and the focus is mainly on food and drinks.
While it’s fun to visit to all the Christmas Markets Erfurt has to offer, there is still one place that year after year steals our hearts. This is by no means a market either; rather it’s a single stall next to a restaurant and below a small bed and breakfast. The address is Lange Brücke 53. It’s located a short distance away from Domplatz and many people walk by it. While many people pass by, not many people stop. It has a beautiful setting right next to a small bridge crossing a little river. The setting is stunning at night and is a great place to get into that Christmas spirit. It is also the cheapest place in town to buy a glühwein. This is not a must visit, but it’s our favorite, so we wanted to include it in our list.
There are many beautiful Christmas Markets throughout Germany and surrounding countries. They come in all sizes and are located in many unique locations. We prefer the small intimate markets, as we don’t care for the tourists (even though we are technically tourists ourselves!). We really just enjoy a beautiful setting, a good atmosphere, and a delicious (strong!) cup of glühwein.
What are your favorite Christmas Markets?