The other night I made it out to the Christmas Market, which is scattered throughout the entire old city, for the first time.
If you are would like to do something fun with friends, this would be a great way to get out – literally… but don’t worry about the weather. Between the tents, large groups of people and Gluhwein (hot, spiced wine) and Lekuchen (gingerbread cookies) let a person keep warm in the otherwise rather bitter German winter’s coldness. Try a ‘punsch mit schuss’ (a hot punch with a shot of rum); deceptively drinkable!
It is a festive atmosphere to be sure, but not exactly ‘party’ atmosphere. Not very commercial, not too much Christmas music and neither is it especially over priced – Very nice!
But – and here is a big ‘but’… – watch out for the areas where the Christmas market is set up in the evenings, if you are not intending to join in: you will get stuck in a swamp of Christmas stuff… For instance, if you plan on getting from Bismarkplatz to Karlstor via the Hauptstrasse, or are in a hurry, you can forget it. The streets are full slowly meandering people paying attention to nothing in particular and everything. It’s best to either go for fun or avoid it all together – especially now that it has been extended to last several weeks, whereas the in past it had been only the several days leading up to Christmas day.