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Christmas Markets in Germany 😊

  • 18-10-2014 5:01pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 18 ✭✭✭ RobbieLUKE


    Hey guys,

    I recently booked a trip to Cologne in Germany for this coming December 2014, to see the Christmas markets! My original plan was to go to Nuremburg, but after I got a really cheap flight deal with Ryanair to cologne, I figured it would probably be very similar.

    I wanted to ask, has anyone ever been to these German Christmas markets ? And if so, what are they like?, and more importantly, how expensive are they?

    I'm going for five days, and I wanna have a good figure on how much money I should bring?

    Any help would be really appreciated!

    Thanks in advance 😊


Comments

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 5,575 AlanS181824


    I can't help but I'm actually in a similar position as yourself.

    Going to Berlin in November to see the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Markets) I know they're going to be great I just want to know has anyone been?

    What're they like?


  • Registered Users Posts: 18 ✭✭✭ RobbieLUKE


    Ah cool, I've been to berlin, but haven't been during Christmas! I've also watched a couple of youtube videos, it really looks great! I'm big into German nutcrackers, the incense smoking Santa's, and the typical German ginger bread, which can all be found at these markets... I'm sure you'll have a great time! But what I would advise is, if you have both the time and money, you should get the train to Nuremburg, apparently this is supposed to be the king of all the markets!

    Yeah, if any1 has any info on these markets though, would be great...as mentioned in my original post, what I really want to know is the cost of the markets, just a rough idea, like for food, toys, nutcrackers etc


  • Registered Users Posts: 119 ✭✭ spur


    Hi, been to both.

    Cologne I did on a day trip from Dusseldorf and if I was back around that area again I'd stay in Cologne. We didn't see everything, but what we did see looked fabulous.
    Berlin is a great city. I've been there at markets and at other times. The one negative I had for Berlin and markets is the amount of travelling we did between markets - in smaller towns/cities we tend to meander around and end up at the next market - in Berlin you did need to get the S-Bahn/U-Bahn. We seemed to be more tired at the end of each day that year in Berlin.
    I haven't been to Nuremberg - but we're going this year!! We're going to Munich, but spending one night in Nuremberg first. Really looking forward to it as been promising myself I'll get there with years.
    How much to spend is like how long is a piece of string.........
    We tend to have a lot of gluhwein. I think you pay about €5-€6 for one, but that's has a deposit (pfand) on the cup - if you give them back the cup, you get that back. I think the gluhwein works out about €3-€4 each in the end. You can add shots to it and they cary between €1a and €1:50. We have a rule - my OH can choose 1 mug to bring back!!!! Some markets have different mugs at every stand, some have one mug for a whole market. If it's your first time at a market, don't just keep the first mug you see and then end up with 5 or 6 by the end (been there, done that!!!!) We don't tend to eat a lot of food at the markets, but would stop somewhere to get lunch. Again depends on what you have. They do these fabulous pizza-bread things - I can't remember the name of them right now, but they're like a pizza base with something spread on top of them - I think they're just gorgeous and if I can find them, that's my lunch!! You spend about €5 on things like this. There is loads of food around at the stalls - and it all smells fabulous. So food and drink comes down to what you want to have - I don't drink beer and I actually can't place beer being on sale in the markets, but I'm sure it must be!! The Germans love their beer.
    What makes the real difference to what you spend is what you buy and it's very hard to resist. We've been there a number of years now and in the first 3 or 4 years we brought back loads - all of which we use every year. In later years we decided on something we wanted and just brought that back - our last big purchase there was a crib - yes I know you can get them here, but their cribs are lovely - and they have so much extra to make them unique. Another year we decided to bring back a pyramid and we love it and light it up every night of Christmas. In the first years we brought back things like night light holders - which were hand-painted or some cheaper ones which were painted plastic - the painting in them is fabulous. We brought back a number of smoker-men over the years. There are the "ordinary" ones which are Santas, Reindeer, Snowmen etc and are wooden ones which break in middle for the incense - we have lots of these and would use them. But you also find kind of specialised stands for these and they have other ones which aren't necessarily Christmas ones - that was our "project" one year and we now have them out all year round. Cost-wise, these were about €20-€25 with the smaller wooden ones being €6 or so. The crib was €90 which included the stable itself, the figures and a little light - you can get these in every range and you can add as many figures on as you like. The pyramid was €50 - but they come in a massive range of sizes and price. There are loads of other bits and pieces and you can buy as much or as little as you want.
    We tend to take €600-€700 in cash for 4-5 days. And this does us fine. Because it's euro if you don't spend it, just bring it back home!
    If you are going to do day-trips factor that into your costs. The German rail system is fabulous, but it can be expensive. There are passes you can get which make it substantially cheaper, but there are some restrictions on using these. The bahn.de site is pretty good to give you an idea of what it would cost to go somewhere. We also found staff at railway stations to be very helpful.

    have a great trip and enjoy it - it's a fabulous experience!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 18 ✭✭✭ RobbieLUKE


    Hi spur, thanks for the reply...

    After reading your post, you've gotten me very excited about this trip! Basically, I'm 22, and when I was younger my dad worked for a German company, and at Christmas, they would send him to Nuremburg on business, and when he got back, he would always be filled with gifts for us from the markets, and ever since then, I always wanted to visit! I just love these German unique handcrafts and chocolates etc! Finally, after all these years, ill get too see this for myself!

    As mentioned in my previous post, I am a little upset, that I wont be getting to see Nuremburg, but based on what you just said, Cologne actually seems brilliant! I know exactly what you mean about Berlin by the way, massive city so, I can only imagine!

    So, at the moment, I have my flights and accommodation payed for, and I have 600 quid in total stashed away for this trip, but I'm probably going to make another 4 to 5 hundred from my part time job until then, so I'm hoping to have at least a grand! A lot of friends have said to me though, I'm mad to even consider bringing 600 quid for the five days, too them, its way too much!

    What I'm really interested in buying at these markets are: 1/2 smoker men, 1/2 nutcrackers, and maybe a mug or two with some German gingerbread, that's basically it! I just love these nutcrackers and smoker men, my room is filled with them, all of which I've ordered from the net throughout the year (erzgebirge palace.com) .. I must say, they are expensive on that site, so that's why I was wondering, are the prices any different at these markets!

    So, yeah I dunno, based on what I've told you, do you reckon, 600 quid will be plenty for the five days ill be there for, as mentioned, ill probably make a lil more through my part time job, but just what my friends are telling me, 600 euros alone to them, is just silly for the sake of 5 days!


  • Registered Users Posts: 205 ✭✭ random_guy


    Remember that you need to put everything that you buy in your suitcase to bring home at the end of the trip and a lot of the handmade stuff can be delicate to say the least and you don't want to be stuffing them into overhead lockers.

    Also, €1000 seems really excessive? You're going for 5 days? You're not going to spend every day at the Christmas market? I don't think any of them are that big.
    Why not use some of the money to book a train over to Nürnberg for a night? I imagine it's about a 3.5 hour trip and maybe €40 each way if you book in advance. (Personally I'd recommend Regensburg).
    As was said above, the Dbahn website is the way to go.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 18 ✭✭✭ RobbieLUKE


    Yeah, I know 1000 quid is definitely excessive, but you know, everytime I go on any kind of trip, I always like 2 have more than I need! I'm not saying I will use all of that, in fact, I don't think ill even spend the 600 personally, but as I said, when you go away, its just a comfort knowing that you have it there you know!

    Yeah, going to Nuremburg for a night has something I've looked in to via the bahn website, if I remember right, it came up to like 88 quid or something return.. But see I don't want to use any of that money that I've saved at the moment, I want to have at the very least 600 quid for this trip, so I don't know, perhaps in like 2/3 weeks when I make another 2 to 3 hundred, ill go back on the bahn website and have a look again!

    I also remember seeing that the cheapest fare was to a place called bonn, as its very near to cologne, so that could also be an idea..

    Have you been to Nuremburg yourself? And if so, would you recommend it ?


  • Registered Users Posts: 205 ✭✭ random_guy


    RobbieLUKE wrote: »
    Yeah, I know 1000 quid is definitely excessive, but you know, everytime I go on any kind of trip, I always like 2 have more than I need! I'm not saying I will use all of that, in fact, I don't think ill even spend the 600 personally, but as I said, when you go away, its just a comfort knowing that you have it there you know!

    Yeah, going to Nuremburg for a night has something I've looked in to via the bahn website, if I remember right, it came up to like 88 quid or something return.. But see I don't want to use any of that money that I've saved at the moment, I want to have at the very least 600 quid for this trip, so I don't know, perhaps in like 2/3 weeks when I make another 2 to 3 hundred, ill go back on the bahn website and have a look again!

    I also remember seeing that the cheapest fare was to a place called bonn, as its very near to cologne, so that could also be an idea..

    Have you been to Nuremburg yourself? And if so, would you recommend it ?

    You can also look at the long distance busses?
    my experience so far with them is very good. I imagine €20 each way although with a longer drive. Coffee machine, toilets, wifi, sockets and loads of leg space make it very attractive. It's always good to make sure you know where your're leaving from. ZOB is the central bus station, sometimes it might be the airport or a random Park and Ride tram stop.

    Do Köln and Bonn not share an airport? I'm almost sure that's the case but I've never used it.

    Nürnberg I've been to, and it's well worth a visit. Outskirts of the town are a bit crap looking but the city centre/castle is very nice. It's not so big either so you can get around it quite easily. If you're there then a trip to the Dokumentationszentrum should be on your list of things to see.

    I've stayed in these hotels before if you want to avoid hostels: http://www.meistereck.com/de/
    They're a few minutes from the Bahnhof and no distance from the city, comfortable and clean.


  • Registered Users Posts: 119 ✭✭ spur


    It's a different type of break and you probably will spend more in the 5 days that you would on another 5 day holiday - that's been our experience anyway. I think you would have plenty in €600 - but remember that your bank card will work over there and they use euro - so whatever extra you make between now and then put into the bank and if you need it, it's there and if you don't - it's a bonus!
    The point on bringing everything home in your suitcase is a very valid one! Packing is usually a nightmare for us on the last night - we always have something either delicate or awkward!
    If you love smokermen so much, you'll find it so hard to stick to 1 or 2 - best thing is to browse around first and then pick out your favourites. They are all kinds there and all kinds of price ranges. We haven't ever bought nut crackers, but they do look fantastic and we often pick them up to admire. The ginger cookies are gorgeous - one of the wonderful things about the markets is the smell - a mixture of lots of food, gluhwein and pine.
    That seems good value for a trip to Nuremberg. It is nice to see somewhere else for one of the days. Give yourself plenty of time there - one thing we've noticed is some of the markets are absolutely beautiful later in the evening when all the lights come on - the atmosphere changes very much - from good to good - just different!! We've gotten snow there a few years and it makes it extra atmospheric.
    I'm sure your father will have told - but dress warmly - or at least have layers with you. We've been there when we can't get enough layers on us and we've been there when a jacket over one layer is more than enough.
    In my post yesterday I mentioned a pizza bread thing that I couldn't remember name of - well it's flammkuchen. Well worth sampling if you come across it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 393 ✭✭ derb12


    I can't help but I'm actually in a similar position as yourself.

    Going to Berlin in November to see the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Markets) I know they're going to be great I just want to know has anyone been?

    What're they like?

    Hi Alan, I hope you're travelling late November - I don't think that markets start till around the 24th or so. It's not like here where everything turns christmassy as soon as halloween is over (or even before).
    Viel Spass!


  • Registered Users Posts: 119 ✭✭ spur


    I can't help but I'm actually in a similar position as yourself.

    Going to Berlin in November to see the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Markets) I know they're going to be great I just want to know has anyone been?

    What're they like?

    Berlin is quite big and the markets are in locations that require you to travel between them on public transport. We were in Berlin after being to markets in smaller towns/cities and were unprepared for this (although we'd been to Berlin before)
    In hindsight, my advice would be to get out a map of Berlin and a list of the markets that are on/you want to see and plan out your days accordingly.

    We went to Potsdam for a piece of one day and it was lovely there - it was a weekday and very quiet.

    Enjoy!


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 5,575 AlanS181824


    derb12 wrote: »
    Hi Alan, I hope you're travelling late November - I don't think that markets start till around the 24th or so. It's not like here where everything turns christmassy as soon as halloween is over (or even before).
    Viel Spass!

    Yup, 22 November departure, one of the trips booked is to see the opening if the markets and I'm super excited for it!


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