Advent and Christmas Markets in Thuringia
At the end of November, Thuringia's festive Christmas markets open their doors and enchant hundreds of visitors every year. Throughout the decorated Old Quarters of Thuringia's towns and cities wafts the fragrance of sweet cakes, baked apples and mulled wine; huge pine trees blaze with light and wooden pyramids as tall as houses revolve gently against a picturesque backdrop. Festive music plays from church towers and town hall balconies.
The cathedral hill area in Thuringia's capital city of Erfurt provides a magnificent setting for the state's largest Christmas market.
Weimar, the town of Classicism, boasts great traditions - the first public Christmas tree in Germany stood here outside the house of J. Falk, who also wrote the German Christmas carol "O Du Fröhliche".
At Christmas markets held in historic settings in Erfurt, Weimar and many other Thuringian towns, visitors can enjoy mulled wine and many other delicacies.
Christmas dreams and the magic of a castle! Wartburg Castle near Eisenach, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where Luther translated the Bible, provides the setting for an historic Christmas market and attractive Christmas concerts.
The stories behind many Thuringian Christmas traditions are dramatic and fascinating. At the Lauscha Coloured Glass Works (in the Thuringian Forest) there were glassblowers who decorated their Christmas trees with glass shapes 160 years ago - out of pure necessity. Today these Christmas tree decorations are popular all over the world and can be purchased at many Christmas markets.
Popular Christmas markets at a glance:
167th Erfurt Christmas market
28th Nov. - 22nd Dec. 2017, Erfurt Cathedral Square
Mon-Wed 10 a.m.-8 p.m. | Thurs 10 a.m.-9 p.m. | Fri and Sat 10 a.m.-10 p.m. | Sun 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
The Erfurt Christmas market set against the imposing backdrop of the cathedral and St Severi Church is one of the most attractive in Germany and the largest in Thuringia. Traditional crafts and Thuringian specialities can be found here, together with a 12-metre tall traditional Christmas pyramid originating from the Erzgebirge mountains. Visitors can also walk or shop in the Old Quarter of Thuringia's capital around the cathedral square, which will be decorated for Christmas too. One popular destination is the "Merchants' Bridge" (Krämerbrücke) with its small boutiques, galleries and shops.
Historic Christmas market at Wartburg Castle
2nd/3rd Dec., 9th/10th Dec. and 16th/17th Dec. 2017, Eisenach
Sat and Sun 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Toll charge 5 € per person
At Wartburg Castle near Eisenach, you can experience the world of historic trade and almost forgotten crafts. Candlemakers, glassblowers, lantern makers, soap boilers and travelling merchants offer their wares in the castle courtyards, while minstrels play for your entertainment. An enchanting Christmas concert in the banqueting hall brings a magic day to its end.
Christmas market for every wish at Leuchtenburg Castle
9th/10th Dec. and 16th/17th Dec. 2017, Seitenroda near Kahla
Sat and Sun 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Admission incl. Porcelain Worlds exhibition € 5 per person
This small but enchanting Christmas market at medieval Leuchtenburg Castle high above the Saale Valley offers a range of unusual Christmas presents. Here you can write your wish on porcelain and throw it boldly down from the Bridge of Wishes - a German proverb says that "broken crockery brings you luck"! A visit to the Porcelain Worlds is also a must, where there are hands-on activities and lots of exhibits to see.
Christmas in Weimar
28th Nov.2017 -5th Jan. 2018, Weimar
Sun-Thur 11 a.m.-10 p.m. | Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Closed on 24th, 25th December 2017 and 1st January 2018
Weimar, the town of Classicism, is rich in traditions and when the fragrance of roasting almonds and "stollen" cake wafts through its streets, you can be sure that Christmas in Weimar has begun! Where visitors usually follow in Goethe's footsteps, there are now rows of small and tempting Christmas market stalls.
Tip: Winter land of Thuringia
There are few places where the romance of Christmas can be as fascinating as here, in the Thuringian Forest. The unique flair of the towns and cities and the nostalgia of old crafts enchant every year anew in the weeks before Christmas.
One highlight is undoubtedly the glassblowing town of Lauscha. Here in this small town in the middle of the Thuringian Forest, the Christmas tree bauble was invented almost 200 years ago and now hangs on Christmas trees all over the world. Sonneberg, the town of toys and formerly called "Father Christmas' workshop", is also always worth a visit during the pre-Christmas period. Traditional wooden toys, dolls and cuddly toys are still made here today and can be admired at the Christmas market held on the last two weekends before Christmas. One special regional event is the "Mountain Christmas" in Neuhaus am Rennweg, the highest town on the Rennsteig hiking trail.
Together with the numerous Christmas and Advent markets, the Thuringian Forest also offers a wide-ranging programme for winter sports enthusiasts and lovers of snow. On the heights of the Thuringian Schiefergebirge mountains, plenty of snow can often be found as early as mid-November.
Thuringia as a Christmas land
The Erfurt Christmas market is one of the loveliest in Germany and the largest in Thuringia. Erfurt's medievel old town centred on Domplatz (Catherdal Square) ist the perfekt setting for the specially atmospheric time of Advent.