Visiting a Christmas Market has been on my bucket list for years now. Although there are some scattered throughout Canada, Europe is truly the place to experience one. While in Germany last year, I visited between Christmas in New Years. I thought I had missed this bundle of holiday cheer by mere days, but you could imagine how ecstatic I was to find out that there’s one German Christmas Market that runs past December 25th. Once I discovered the Kassel Weihnachtsmarkt… there was no way I was going to miss it!
Why Visit the Kassel Weihnachtsmarkt?
Kassel is the capital of Germany’s Fairytale Route, a 600km long trail that runs from Bremen to Hanau. Along this route, you’ll find stops focused on Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the two brothers who brought you the Brothers Grimm fairytales. As a tribute, the Kassel Christmas Market selects one of the tales as the market’s theme each year. While the fairy tale aspect started in 1975, the Kassel Weihnachtsmarkt is over 200 years old with the first occurring in 1767!
When I attended in 2016, the theme was Little Snow White which as you can guess, is the tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Throughout the stalls of Königsplatz and Friedrichsplatz you’d find odes to the story, along with the world’s tallest fairy tale pyramid! What’s the theme for this year? You’ll have to visit their web page to find out! (Be warned though, the site is in German. Google will translate the page for you)
Scattered throughout the middle of Kassel you’ll find a variety of shops and activities. Catch a ride on the Reindeer Railway or die Rentiereisenbahn which is a big hit with the little ones. Or do a little Christmas and souvenir shopping as you wander through Rumpelstiltskin Alley, Little Red Riding Hood’s Path, and more. The adorable names from the Brothers Grimm tales add another level of charm to this German Christmas Market! Honestly, the hardest part will be not taking one of everything home with you. From locally sourced honey to handmade jewellery, you’ll find something for everyone on your Christmas list. Although I’d highly suggest taking home a dinkelkissen which translates to spelt pillow. It’s a cushion filled with seeds that can be heated in the microwave like a heating pad – and perfect for staying warm in the winter!
Be sure to come hungry as you take in the sights and smells of the market. There is plenty of delicious food to indulge in, to the point that it can be overwhelming! Don’t worry though, I’ve done lots of taste testing to help you out. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! If you’re not the most adventurous, a kartoffelpuffer is a good place to start. Think of it as a huge hash brown with a hint of seasoning. Are you a cheese lover? Then you must try some raclette with all the fixings. Who can resist potatoes, pickled onion, gurkens and more covered in melted cheese?! My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Lastly, even if you’re not a fan of mushrooms, you must try the Champignons mit Knoblauchsoße – sautéed mushrooms in a garlic cream sauce. It’s honestly to die for, especially if you’re a lover of garlic. Although you’ll want to make sure that everyone you’re travelling with has some… you’ll have some serious garlic breath!
With all these savoury treats, you’ll need something to quench your thirst. A German Christmas Market staple, a glass of mulled wine or glühwein will wet your palette and warm you from the inside out. While traditional glühwein is a red wine with cloves, cinnamon, orange peel and more, it comes in a variety of flavours. Raspberry, white wine apple cinnamon, cherry and more! I tried my fair share and I have to say the cherry (kirsch in German) is my favourite. Although be warned – it’s SO sour you’ll be puckering as if you shoved a whole bag of sour patch kids in your mouth! If you’re not a wine drinker – never fear! There is also an adult hot chocolate you can sip on. Something to note is that you’ll have to pay a deposit for your glasses, but you’ll get it back if you return them… I say if because we still have ours to this day for our homemade glühwein!
Insider Tip: If you’d like to learn more about the history of the town as well as the Kassel Weihnachtsmarkt, there are guided walking tours which you can sign up for. Although these are in German – I’m unsure if any are in English. If you have a larger group, you could possibly book a private tour which could accommodate the language barrier. Click here for more information.
Have you visited a Christmas Market? What’s your favourite thing about them? Are you ready to enjoy some Christmas cheer? I guarantee the Kassel Weihnachtsmarkt will get you in the holiday spirit! Start planning your trip using the links below.
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