Written on: 02/09/2009 by Frosteee (69 reviews written)
German-style Christmas markets have sprung up across the UK in the last few years, which is all good and well, but for the true Christmas market experience you have to make a trip to the fatherland! I've now been to several different Christmas markets in Germany and it's the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit.
Dusseldorf is only an hour's flight away and loads of airlines fly there or nearby. BA, Lufthansa/British Midland, and German budget carrier Air Berlin fly direct to the main airport which is only 20 mins taxi ride from the centre. Ryanair fly to a tiny airport miles away on the Dutch border - don't bother as you'll spend half your weekend on a bus full of cheapo tourists!
Dusseldorf's Christmas market normally starts on the first weekend of December and runs right up to Christmas. The market is actually a collection of smaller markets dotted around the city. The stalls sell a mixture of things like cute arts & crafts style gifts and Christmassy things like wooden decorations straight out of The Nutcracker and gingerbread men.
However most popular are the sausage, or wurst, sellers and the Gluehwein (mulled wine) stalls. The local Gluehwein is powerful enough to launch a rocket - so be warned!
Dusseldorf also has plenty to do when not enjoying the market. A great collection of shops, some excellent restaurants (try Bug in the Media Hafen area) lively night life with a pedestrianised street in the Old Town (Altstadt) that's known as 'the longest bar in Europe. Yes it is a little cheesy but good fun too.
Whilst Dusseldorf doesn't have the 'best' Christmas market - Munich's is more traditional and mainly in one place whilst Cologne (a short train ride from Dusseldorf) is also larger - I'd recommend Dusseldorf as a good first Christmas market experience particularly if you want a bit of nightlife on the side too.
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