I know I know, it’s only October, we haven’t yet celebrated Halloween and I’m writing a travel article about Christmas. The thing is, it’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas markets in Europe. By the time you decide which one you are going to, book the flights, make the hotel reservations, it will be nearly Christmas!
No country does Christmas markets better than Germany, and one of the best is in Trier, Germany’s oldest city on the border with Luxembourg.
On my visit to Trier, I flew into Frankfurt-Hahn Airport and took a bus directly from there to Trier. The journey takes about an hour. Tickets are available from Flibco at very reasonable prices, but it really all depends on how far in advance that you book them. An alternative to flying into Frankfurt-Hahn is flying into Luxembourg where you can also catch Flibco buses on their way to Trier.
The beautiful city of Trier has a population of approximately 105 thousand people and it sits in a valley of low vine-covered hills about half way along the Moselle Valley. You can take local buses to the outskirts of the city, and as the bus climbs, you’ll get amazing views out over the valley and its vineyards.
This year will be the cities 34th Christmas market, and will be held from November 25th to December 22nd. The market takes place in the main square, the ‘Hauptmarkt’ in the shadow the magnificent and imposing Trier Cathedral, whose bells ringing out over the city only add to the magical ambiance of it all
Ninety-five wooden booths, all superbly decorated in the most festive manner are grouped together around the square, selling wonderful Christmas gifts of the highest quality. They sell excellent wooden toys, wooden Christmas decorations, ceramics, glass, jewelry, pottery, candles and much more.
The smells of Christmas; cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread, apple cider, and mulled wine are wafting in the air as you wander around. The mulled wine stalls are a must-visit, especially if it is freezing cold and snowing as it was when I was there. The perfect weather to make any visit to a Christmas market all the more special and atmospheric. The choice of food on offer is excellent, so don’t eat in your hotel or a restaurant before you go, there are too many delightful things on offer to tempt you as you shop. The traditional candy stalls with their wonderful array of sweets in the most vivid and enticing colors are a great attraction for children!
There is something exceptionally magical about this market. Its setting in a medieval city, and the buildings which surround the square help to give an enchanted feel to place. These traditional and charming half-timbered houses and buildings are fairy-tale like in their structure.
The best time to visit the market is after dark, when the entire scene is made magical by the thousands of twinkling lights, illuminating the stalls and the streets. If there is a blanket of snow on the ground, and covering the roofs of the stalls, then you will be right in the middle of the most perfect Christmas scene you could wish for!
Be sure to also visit the Trier Toy Museum in the Hauptmarkt, an enchanting place set in an old building with several floors of absolute treasure; planes, trains, cars, soldiers, dolls, teddy bears, all the wonderful reminders of childhood to delight both adults and children.
The city itself also offers great shopping. There are department stores, boutiques, specialist shops, and much more. There are great restaurants, too. One of my favourite is Stratos Schlabbergass, offering great food, service and a gorgeous cozy environment.
No visit to the city would be complete without visiting its significant monuments and buildings. A plaque in Trier’s main square reads: “Thirteen hundred years before Rome, Trier stood, may it stand on and enjoy eternal peace, amen.”
Remains from Roman times are dotted all over the city, from the magnificent Porta Nigra, which was the old Roman city gate, to the Roman Baths, the Constantine Basilica, the Cathedral of Trier, the Roman amphitheater, a second century Roman Bridge which spans the Moselle River, and many more.
Three or four days in Trier is the perfect amount of time to enjoy the Christmas market, the city, the shops and to take in all of the sights this lovely city has to offer.
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