Travelling during christmas makes it even more special
Travelling during christmas makes it even more special
This central European country is world famous for its Christmas postcard with cottages, castles as well as the aromas of traditional gingerbread. There, you can enjoy the ultimate Christmas experience in its fairy-tale villages and cities decorated with hundreds of lights, and more than 150 Christmas markets with the best of local cuisine, gifts and a contagious festive atmosphere; an unforgettable experience for families, friends and for a romantic getaway. Irresistible!
From its spectacular Christmas trees or “Weihnachtsbaum” to the traditional Advent calendar, “Adventskalender” dating back to the 19th century, in Germany traditions take to the streets during the four weeks leading up to Christmas Eve, and in each region with particular variations that are worth discovering.
Cologne: Christmas for Art Lovers
We Propose to start the tour in the oldest city of Germany, Cologne or “Köln” in German, a cosmopolitan city that at this time is dressed in lights which enhances its historical heritage. Bordered by the Rhine on one side and the bright pinnacle of its famous cathedral, Cologne is the ideal destination for lovers of culture and museums. In the square of the cathedral you can enjoy a classic Christmas card and just around the corner the main markets are set up, such as that of the square Roncalliplatz which receives more than four million visitors during the festive time. A few meters into the center, you can stay at the a&o Köln Dom, to rest and easily continue touring the city of Cologne, its markets, museums and beautiful streets.
Saint Nicholas is coming to Munich!
On December 6th, Germany celebrates a large, family-friendly party: Nikolastag or Saint Nicholas, which you can celebrate at the a&o Muenchen Hauptbahnhof, located in the heart of the city. This saint has given birth to Santa Claus, who strolls through the Christmas markets of Munich, such as the Christkindlmarkt of Marienplatz or the Viktualienmarkt, with its angels and many gifts for children who approaches him. At the chocolate stands, the Germans buy chocolates for themselves, chocolates that they give to their loved ones, and for the little ones to leave in their socks for Saint Nicholas to enjoy on the eve of Christmas day.
The Banquets starts early in Dresden
Dresden is the destination for those who enjoy the good food at the parties, tasting specialties full of flavour and spices. You can start your journey from the a&o Dresden Hauptbahnhof to the historic Striezelmarkt, the festive heart of the capital. This market, founded in 1434 under the reign of Prince Frederick II, is flanked by the Elbe River and by impressive nutcrackers, the largest in the world. Here you can taste the traditional cakes and stews, the delicious Gluhwein hot wine or brandy, which will give you warmth to enjoy the lights on the Christmas Mile, a mandatory stop that runs along the beautiful Prager Strasse.
Bremen, heading for the North Star
To the north, near Hamburg, Bremen is transformed into a traditional Christmas stamp that takes on another dimension thanks to the traditional Renaissance and Gothic architecture in the surroundings of the town hall. The Rathaus Platz is home to the best-known flea market in this German city. And nearby in Am Brill, on the Ansgarikirchho shopping boulevard, there is an ice rink full of charm. Ice skating is a very typical activity of this city, surrounded by rivers and lakes that freeze in winter, and in which areas are set up to practice this activity. And for a rest after all the activities, there is nothing better than to warm up in the a&o Bremen Hauptbahnhof, a short distance from the central station, the historic center and its town hall, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Dortmund, Christmas with a touch of football
This city is the destination for most football players: the local football club, the Borussia Dortmund, has encouraged this great hobby, which can be lived intensely in a visit to its stadium or the German Football Museum, that guards the history of the sport king of Germany. The center of the city is full of artisanal breweries, and its streets are filled with more than 300 stalls that form the market of the old market square, where stands a natural Christmas tree of 45 meters, decorated with thousands of lights, and a traditional merry-go-round for the little ones. Among its alleyways, the aroma will speak for itself: a gastronomic feast starring chocolate sweets, gingerbread cookies and spicy wine. It is the perfect destination for a family Christmas, which you can comfortably stay at the a&o Dortmund Hauptbahnhof, located in the city centre.
Stuttgart, the Christmas soundtrack
The city is filled with music thanks to the Advent concerts, which take place every day in the Old Palace and on the steps of the Town Hall. These open-air concerts fill the most traditional streets of Stuttgart and the stalls of the Weihnachtsmarkt, a market with more than 300 years of tradition, where you can buy Christmas decorations and gifts, or try some of the local specialties, such as the traditional fruit and nut bread (Hutzelbrot), spicy Christmas biscuits (Lebkuchen), varieties of Black Forest sausages and other dishes of the succulent Bavarian cuisine, accompanied by the essential wine brulé. In your stays at the a&o Stuttgart City you can rest after a day full of shopping and music, in its spacious rooms perfect for family travel.
Santa’s job in Hamburg
For a more active Christmas (without renouncing German traditions), nothing beats participating in a race dressed as Santa Claus, a picture that has become popular all over the world creating an annual date that nobody wants to miss. After a nap at the a&o Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, a few meters from the city centre, the runners can hydrate in the purest German style (with some local beer), the race moves through stages, touring the best known markets in Hamburg, such as the Town Hall square, which offers many options for buying gifts and ornaments; in the Gänsemarkt, which offers a musical and literary programme, Christmas services and choirs; in the Gerdhard Hauptmann square, decorated with a romantic carousel and a manger on a human scale; or be carried away to any corner of the city, where countless flea markets are set up.
The German capital is full of activity and plans in the winter: more than 70 flea markets are set up in the city, including the Gendarmenmarkt, one of the most famous in the country and where you can taste the typical Berlin cuisine such as the Currywurst (sliced sausage with curry sauce) or the delicious Eisbein (pickled pork knuckle accompanied with pea puree and sour cabbage), among other dishes.
If you are curious about other traditions that coincide with Christmas, visit the Hanukkah Market located at the Jewish Museum in Berlin, which offers a selection of crafts and food, among which kosher wine notably stands out. And if your stay is longer, you can celebrate New Year’s Eve under the fireworks at the Brandenburg Gate, very close to the a&o Berlin Mitte, where you can enjoy common design spaces for fun with your family or friends.
Maria José Morr