While the holiday season is over, many of these events will be back in 2016. Find out more at the links and look in your local papers and town flyers and signs for date in the upcoming year.
It’s almost the Christmas season! In general, Christmas markets start at the beginning of or one week before Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas. This year, Advent starts on Sunday, November 29. Many of the larger markets will open their gates starting between November 20 and 23. Smaller markets and church bazaars are only held for one weekend or one day. These markets are only advertised locally by signs or in your local announcements that come in your newspapers. I’ve compiled a list of them, along with their general locations here.
- Bocket Missionsbasar: Nov 22 at 1400 at Burgerhaus “Alte Schule” Bocket
- Tüddern Adventbasar: Nov 22 at 1400 at zur Turnhalle
- Heinsberg Weihnachtsmarkt: Nov 23-Jan 3 at 1130-1930, on Hochstrasse
- Geilenkirchen Christmas Market: Nov 27-29 near Rathaus
- Haarener Weihnachtsmarkt: Nov 29 at Marktplatz 1100-1800
- Gangelt Nikolausmarkt: Nov 29 at 1000-1900 around village center
- Huckelhoven Christmas Market: Nov 28 – Dec 6 around Breteuilplatz, Rathauszuwegung, Rathaus and Hartlepooler Platz in Huckelhoven
- Süsterseel Weihnachtsmarkt: Dec 5 at Hübertusheim
- Waldfeucht Christmas market: Dec 6 at Ortskern
Larger city markets are also fun to visit. Many of these markets have their own dedicated websites, which I have linked to. Their sites will have information on parking, specific hours, closings and more, so check them out before heading to the markets. If you want to avoid large crowds, avoid weekends and evenings, if possible. If you show up when the market opens, you’ll have a good amount of time to browse before the crowds show up.
November 20 – December 23, Open Daily 1100-2100 (Sunday, Nov 22: 1800-2100)
A local favorite. Try the local Printen, gingerbread. I like the chocolate covered version. Here is the map of the main market. If you go by train, you will arrive on the right of this map, near the Dom (cathedral). There are also a few stands to the right and up from this map at Holzgraben and Kugelbrunnen.
If you want a variety of markets to choose from, head to Cologne. There are seven distinct markets throughout the city. If you don’t want to walk that far, there is a Christmas train that will take you to most of them for an 8 euro round trip ticket. The map below shows the locations of each market. If you go by train, you can start at the Markt am Dom, next to the cathedral. You can find out more about each market at this booklet, provided on the Cologne tourism website.
19 November – 23 December, Open Daily 1100-2000, Closed on 22 November
Instead of having separate big markets, Düsseldorf has smaller markets connected throughout the city. You can see where the majority of the stands are at the stars on this map. The tourism office also has a brochure showing more details on each market on their website.
November 27 – December 20, Fridays-Saturdays 1100-2100 and Sundays 1100-2000.
This lovely German village, with it’s half-timbered homes, is always nice to walk around. Their Christmas Market is only open on weekends, and due to it’s popularity, you will probably have to park further out of town and take a shuttle bus in.
November 13 – December 23, check their website for hours.
Two of the Valkenburg caves (sandstone mines) are turned into markets for the holidays. The Municipal and Velvet caves have separate entrances and entry fees. It costs 6 euro to enter one of the caves, there may be a combination ticket available when you go. I find the items are pretty much the same in both, and most are not things I would buy, but it’s nice to go into the caves while they are all lit up at least once while you are here. It is good for getting out of bad weather as the entire market is underground. The whole city also becomes a Christmas city, and there are weekly parades on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Find out more at their website.