The first Christmas Market we ever visited was in Nuremberg, Germany, where they’ve been held for over 400 years. We’ve been hooked on winter cruising and Christmas markets ever since, and the Nuremberg Christmas Market was our introduction.
We’ve gone on five Viking cruises in the winter. Our first cold weather cruise (after two spring cruises on the Seine) was on the Main Canal and River from Nuremberg to Frankfurt in December 2015. Unfortunately, Viking no longer offers this itinerary, and their only cruise that visits Nuremberg is the two-week Grand European cruise.
Nuremberg Castle towers over the city. We began our city walking tour there before heading down the hill toward the city center.
Nuremberg is the home of Albrecht Dürer, the artist famous for his Young Hare watercolor painting. Near the museum devoted to Dürer is somewhat of a grotesque homage to this work in the form of a rabbit bursting from a crate.
More aligned with our artistic capabilities were the handmade Christmas elves we spotted on the stairs of a home within the castle walls. We’ve recreated these easy-to-make decorations for our home, too.
The city’s market square is covered with rows of stalls filled with Christmas decorations, gifts, and holiday foods. The market spills out into nearby side streets and a square filled with booths from Nuremberg’s sister cities. In Atlanta’s booth, instead of the usual Glühwein they were pouring Jack Daniels into coffee in the special market mugs.
Grilled sausages and hot mulled wine (Glühwein) are fixtures at German Christmas markets. While some cities serve up half-meter-long sausages on a long roll, Nuremberg is known for its finger-sized sausages where three of them fit nicely inside a roll, usually served with mustard. We spotted dessert versions of this treat in a nearby bakery window that also looked tempting. We walked around the neighborhood and shopped at a butcher shop with an amazing window display. They even had canned Nuremberg sausages for sale there.
Each day at noon the clock (Männleinlaufen) on the front of the Nuremberg Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche), which overlooks the market square, puts on a show with mechanical prince-electors parading out to pay homage to the Holy Roman Emperor.
The star attraction at the Nuremberg Christmas market is the Christkind, the symbol of the market. She’s a local youth who is elected to the role for a two-year term, and she’s received as something of a rock star at the market.
Back onboard the Viking Tor, the chef and the crew did their part on decorating the ship for Christmas with a variety of gingerbread houses.
I’ll be adding more posts from other European Christmas markets in the future, but in the meantime you can check out previous posts featuring Christmas markets and decorations from: