For Thanksgiving break 2016 my friend and I ventured out to Germany for the Christmas Markets. We specifically opted for Nuremberg, which plays host to one of the most famous Christmas Markets and on the Friday of Thanksgiving break was the opening night of the Christmas Market, with a special opening ceremony. We also ended up exploring the Christmas Market in Dusseldorf and I also ventured to Dortmund to witness the world’s tallest Christmas Tree. I highly recommend the German Christmas Markets, they truly are quite magical, the best one of the three we went to was indeed the Nuremberg one. It had the best food, the best drinks, and the best variety of snacks and gifts to buy, but I think the medieval Bavarian setting made it slightly more magical. I ended up spending 4 days in Germany.
Nuremberg itself actually has a lot of things to do. It was once the headquarters of Nazi Germany and the Third Reich, it has a medieval castle, a Toy Museum (which by the way is amazing), the justice palace where the famous Nuremberg Trials took place and lots more.
We flew into Frankfurt and then took the German Rail direct to Nuremberg, it was a quick 2 hour ride. Following this we flew from Nuremberg to Dusseldorf and then I took the train from Dusseldorf to Dortmund. Within the cities we either walked or took the metro/tram. German transportation is extremely easy and affordable.
- Thursday morning arrival in Frankfurt following a redeye flight from Atlanta.
- German Rail from Frankfurt airport to Nuremberg.
- Walked from Nuremberg station to our hotel, The Gideon Hotel. It was comfortable and clean and located close enough to the action but far enough that it wasnt noisy. However there are many other hotel options in Nuremberg that I think offer a more unique and local stay.
- Took the subway to the Palace of Justice to see Courtroom 600 (where the Nuremberg Trials took place) as well as a very informative exhibit on the Nuremberg Trial and the International Military Tribunal.
- Took the subway back to downtown, walked across the river to visit the Toy Museum, which is very well worth a visit. It chronicles the history of toy and child’s play and ties it in with toy manufacturing’s role in war and Nazi Germany. Nuremberg is a center for toy manufacturing and has played a crucial role in toy history. The museum is incredible and fun for all ages.
- Evening snack at Bratwursthausle, for some delicious brats and sauerkraut, and German dark beer.
- Dinner at Albrecht-Durer-Stube, for some delicious local food, the restaurant attracts a good mix of locals and tourists and is very warm and friendly.
- Walked the streets, stopped for some Mulled-Wine, a German Christmas Market staple, as well as some other sweets along the way.
- Next morning, took the tram to the Nazi Document Center, a museum housed in the incomplete Nazi Third Reich Congress Hall, but the only best kept example of Third Reich architecture. This is really worth your time, it chronicles the rise and fall of Nazism and Nazi Germany, but does it in an unbiased and almost apologetic way. There are many aspects of Nazi history that most people dont usually think about or remember or even learn about, but the exhibits in no way demonize or glorify anyone or anything. Yes, it includes everything else that we have come to know and assocaite with the Third Reich. And no, it did not omit the Holocaust. It was also interesting to see what could have been had Hitler completed his vision for the Third Reich capital complex.
- Took the bus to Nuremberg Castle, a nice medieval castle overlooking the entire city. The 600 foot well is worth checking out.
- On Friday, the Christmas Market (Christkindlesmarkt) officially started, we spent the late afternoon wandering the market, eating Curry Wurst, Brat Wurst, Mulled-wine, Mulled-Rum, Chocolates, Latkes, Ginger-breads, and Christmas Shopping.
- Opening ceremony for the Nuremberg Christmas Market by the main Cathedral. A very beautiful and magical experience.
- Spent the rest of the night checking out more of the market and had some amazing Skewered pork shoulder with onions served with currywurst sauce and curry powder.
- Returned to hotel for early departure next morning.
- After resting at the Hotel NH Dusseldorf Nord, we spent the evening and night at the Dusseldorf Christmas Market which unlike Nuremberg, which occupies one main square, occupies lots of small squares across the downtown area. Again had lots of great food and beverages including German Absinthe.
- The day I took a train out to Dortmund to see the world’s tallest Christmas tree at around 143 feet tall. Had some more Christmas market food, including a few things I only found in Dortmund, including Smoked Eel, which was delicious.
- Returned to Dusseldorf for a good night’s rest before a noon departure back to Atlanta.
Below are photos: