I believe, like most, that summer is the best time to travel to Europe. But, if I had to pick the second best time, it would be during the Christmas holidays.
Germany truly comes alive for the holiday season. Every city across the country has a Weinachtsmarkt (Christmas Market), which often start at the end of November and continue until Christmas Eve. Some cities’ markets continue into January. These are wonderful for travelers to visit because they tend to be located in the aldstadt (old town) near the cities main cathedral. That means while hitting up some siteseeing, you can also get in a visit to the market.
The markets are filled with vendors of all types; food, drink, treats, and crafts. Some have kiddy rides and big rides like ferris wheels. What I like is the variety of traditional German foods all in one place. You can get wursts, pretzels, fish sandwiches, stuffed potatoes, potato pancakes, crepes, strudels, and much more. The Weinachsmarkt is known as a place for friends to gather for the hot alcoholic drinks like Gluwein and other drinks like cocoa, egg nog, and punch as well.
Besides traditional food, I also love checking out the traditional Christmas crafts. You can find ornaments, ceramic Christmas villages, and woodcrafts.
While visiting a historic site or beach is a must see while on vacation, it most likely won’t get you in touch with the locals. Learning about other cultures is one of the highlights of travelling abroad. One of the ways to really connect with culture and natives of a country is to take part in their celebrations.
I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit multiple Christmas markets and not only see how the Germans celebrate this time of year, but how different regions of the country celebrate as well!