Explore DE: Christmas markets with traditional charm

The Explore DE series takes you on a journey through Germany: this time, we visit Christmas markets in romantic settings featuring historical half-timbered buildings.

dpa/Uwe Gerig - Quedlinburg

Unique: Stade (Lower Saxony)

Old wharfs, ships, cranes and warehouses – the City of Stade is strongly marked by its maritime heritage. The cautious restoration of the old town has preserved the splendid setting in which the annual Christmas Market takes place. St Lucia, the Swedish queen of lights, has announced her visit, and Father Christmas has his own house in Stade, the historical wooden crane at the Fish Market. www.stade-tourismus.de/de/weihnachtsmarkt

Fabulous: Goslar (Lower Saxony)

The historical roots of the Imperial City of Goslar can be traced back to the 10th century. Framed by the half-timbered houses of the Market Square, lovingly decorated wooden huts invite visitors to take a stroll through the Christmas Market. The real crowd puller, however, is the Christmas Forest: surrounded by 50 large conifer trees festooned with Christmas lights, this fairy-tale forest makes not only the hearts of children beat a little faster. www.weihnachtswald.de

Cosy: Quedlinburg (Saxony-Anhalt)

Approximately 2,000 half-timbered houses from eight centuries make the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Quedlinburg one of Germany’s most extensive monuments. Advent in den Höfen is a Christmas Market event that offers an exciting look behind the venerable walls of the town: roughly 20 private courtyards in Quedlinburg open their gates during Advent and offer small treasures that were specially collected or made for the days before Christmas. www.adventsstadt.de/html/Advent_in_den_Hoefen.htm

Sparkling: Michelstadt (Hesse)

The Wine Cellars in the centre of Michelstadt were first mentioned in official documents of 741 and are considered the germ cell of the town. It is still possible to admire the romantic atmosphere of the old town’s half-timbered buildings thanks to extensive restoration measures. A special magic lies over the town during Advent, when the lights on some 100 stands bring a sparkle to the Christmas Market around the world-famous late Gothic half-timbered Town Hall, which dates from the year 1484. www.michelstaedter-weihnachtsmarkt.de

Romantic: Bad Wimpfen (Baden-Württemberg)

Visitors to this spa resort on the river Neckar in the Rural District of Heilbronn enthuse about its many half-timbered buildings dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The climax of the year is the Old German Christmas Market with its romantic, medieval atmosphere. The Blue Tower, the Red Tower, the town silhouette and several old half-timbered houses around the market then shine in the festive glow of the fairy lights. www.weihnachtsmarkt-badwimpfen.de

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