Are you planning a trip to Germany in December to visit one of the country’s magical Christmas Markets? Than find out why the beautiful Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market should be on your bucket list.
Travelling to Germany in December means you will have a hard time not to end up at one of the county’s famous Christmas Markets, even if you try.
Many of these Christmas Markets are century old and located in breathtakingly beautiful historic parts of the various cities, towns and villages.
If you come to Germany in December to visit a Christmas Market, places like the historic Nuremberg Christkindelmarket, Dresden’s Striezelmarkt (perhaps the oldest in Germany) or the Christmas Markets in Hamburg, Berlin and Leipzig are likely those on top of your list.
But further to these large, well-known markets, there are many smaller ones well worth putting on your bucket list. Especially those located in the historic medieval towns nestled somewhere in the German countryside are irresistible places to visit in December.
One of the smaller markets that was on my bucket list for quite a while was the cute Rothenburg ob der Tauber Reiterles Christmas Market.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is without doubt one of Germany’s – if not Europe’s – most magical medieval towns year-round. But visiting during the festive season is adding another notch or two to the truly enchanting feeling of this cute little town.
Festive decorations are spread across the whole historic town and the many little boutiques selling souvenirs, art and craft are filled to the brim with festive items whilst a dazzling scent of mulled wine and roast chestnuts and almonds so typical for a German Christmas is waving through the small alleys around the market square.
The Reiterles Christmas Market looks back at more than 500 years of history and seeing how the town continues to preserve its century old traditions, it’s no big surprise that even the Christmas Market has changed little from its beginnings.
It takes it rather unusual name from the mysterious figure of the ‘Rothenburger Reiterle’ a horseman who is said to come from another world, floating through the air during the winter and carrying the souls of the deceased with him. Once a figure that was feared, over time the appearance has given a positive message and is now seen as the carrier of good news.
The official opening of the annual Christmas Market which takes place on the Friday afternoon before the first Advent weekend (usually falling on the last weekend in November); and to this day it centres around the historic horseman ceremony.
The Reiterles Market is located around the large market square (Marktplatz) from where it is branching out a bit into adjacent streets, and it’s here where most of the action is taking place.
Several stalls are also found around St. Jacob’s Church including a lovely small children’s carrousel.
At the stalls, you can find everything from the traditional Christmas sweats, food and mulled wine to Christmas decorations, handmade ceramics, candles, jewellery and gadgets, table linens and handmade leather items.
Just in case you don’t find the right stuff at the stalls, the many small shops spread across the central part of the walled town are obviously in Christmas-mode too; and in addition to the art and craft souvenirs sold here all year round during the Christmas season also sell lots of additional Christmas and winter decorations.
Open all year round, the famous Käthe Wohlfart Christmas Shop extends into a veritable ‘Christmas Village’ during December’s Christmas Market. The store is hugely popular any time of the year but during December it’s actually hard to go in and browse the many items since the shop is so cramped you can barely move. Yet if you have never been there before, I’d recommend to plan an early morning visit to be able to see (and maybe buy) some of the lovely Christmas items the store has on offer.
Finally, make sure to seek out some of the small cafés around town. Here too mulled wine, hot apple cider or grogs are served along with a large range of traditional cakes.
It’s safe to say, the Rothenburg Christmas market thanks to the beautiful surroundings and the charm of the historic old town is one of the most beautiful across Germany and well worth to be on your bucket list!
Have you been to the Rothenburg ob der Tauber Reiterles Christmas Market yet? Let me know about your experience.