Germany is known for its Christmas markets. Each city and town organises one (or more) Christmas market in the festive season. We travelled to Dortmund (a city in the “Bundesland” or federated state North Rhine-Westphalia) in the northwestern part of Germany to check out how they celebrate the days before Christmas.
Christmas markets in Germany are known for its mulled wine (called “Glühwein”), sausage (like “Bratwurst”), potato pancakes (“Reibekuchen”), and many other local dishes. It all depends where in Germany you’re going to for a Christmas market.
One thing they all have in common is the crowd and the fun… Especially as Christmas nears, the Christmas markets in Germany are packed with people, withstanding the winter cold and enjoying the festive season outdoors. We really love this German tradition, so this time we went to Dortmund.
Travelling to Dortmund
When going to Christmas markets in Germany, it’s best to travel by train… Or plane. Don’t go by car as the alcoholic drinks like mulled wine are too yummy not to drink them. So instead of having to decide who’s the designated driver, travel by train.
And it’s so easy in Germany… The railway system is excellent. Simply go to the German railway company Bahn’s English website and select where you want to go to. As soon as you’ve entered your route, it gives you the cheapest options to get there. It also shows you the special tickets for group travel, making it even cheaper to get to these Christmas markets in Germany with your mates.
First impression of the Christmas markets in Dortmund
The first impression of Dortmund is that of a small city. The railway station’s platforms look shabby and old but as soon as you enter the railway station’s hall it looks much better.
From Dortmund central station (“Hauptbahnhof”) you walk to the city centre in literally a few minutes. Simply follow the crowd. The first Christmas market we encountered was a small one, around 10 wooden sheds selling food, drinks, and nick nacks, close to two famous German major geeks stores: Saturn and Conrad.
Perfect place to start the German Christmas market tour: “Glühwein und Reibekuchen bitte” (mulled wine and potato pancakes, please). And then to let our inner geek out in these electronics stores.
Ever tasted a ½ metre sausage (“Bratwurst”)
After this lovely small Christmas market, it’s time to head over to the big Christmas market in Dortmund. The one at the Alter Markt (old market square), consisting of 300 stalls around the biggest Christmas tree in the world (so they say).
One thing you notice straight away is that they eat a lot of sausages in Dortmund. Many stalls sell all kind of Bratwurst, Krakauer, Curry Wurst, and all kind of yummy sausages. And it’s home of the half metre Bratwurst (that’s almost 20 inches, dear American readers), a incredible delicious and yet too-big-for-your-bun Bratwurst.
Photos of the Christmas markets in Dortmund
No more talking, it’s time for more photos of the Christmas markets in Dortmund.
Note: This blog post was posted between 2010 and 2015 when we were called DIY-OE. As we’re still happy with the quality, it was published again on our new blog Travel.Geek.NZ.