The Christmas market in Karlsruhe is a fun event for families and children of all ages. It is spread out over a couple market squares and was rather crowded when we were there. Like all Christmas markets, there were plenty of stalls with potential gifts for sale, yummy foods to eat, and, of course, the hot mulled wine, Glühwein, to warm you up on those chilly market evenings. On the steps of the town hall a choir sang as we made our way to the other market square to see the highlight of the evening – Santa Claus would be flying over the market at 7:30 pm! At the second square, which was just as busy as the first one we visited, there were more children because the main attraction seemed to be the large ice skating rink that had been set up in the square. More stalls with shops, foods, and drink added to the enjoyment of the area.
Promptly at 7:30 pm, the announcer informed us that Santa was coming. We had seen his sleigh sitting on top of one of the nearby buildings and there was a just a simple wire going from the sleigh to a central metal tower in the square. I was curious how this would all work. But, with the help of the crowd, the announcer counted down to welcome Santa, who then flew over the market in his sleigh pulled by just four reindeer. Santa’s sleigh stopped and he told us the story of Rudolf before flying off towards that center pole with the sounds of Christmas music (at which time his sleigh went into reverse and he headed back to the building!). See my video of Santa flying away (both forwards and in reverse).
As with most Christmas markets in Germany, it is easy to have a good time in such a festive atmosphere.
The Karlsruhe Christmas market is open seven days a week from November 29 until December 23; the ice rink stays until the end of January.
After the market in Bretten, we headed to the medieval market in Durlach and this one was a real treat. They sold the usual hot drinks and snacks and they had a live band and people dressed and speaking German the way they did during the medieval times. We found some (to us) unusual things like these potato snacks that are unrolled on a stick and then deep fried. You eat them with the sauce of your choice: garlic, ketchup and another one that I can't remember.
Another unusual thing was a game of mouse roulette, where you bet which chamber the mouse will go in to win a small price. However, everyone who bet got a small thing (a jewel stone) - VT Roadquill bet and gave me his hehehehe.
After a night of Glühwein and good food, we headed towards the Christmas market in Bretten. The market there was smaller than the one in Karlsruhe but it was nice and cozy. In what seems to be the "center" of town, there was a big ice skating rink, a carrousel and lots of stalls selling Glühwein, Eierpunsch, food and crafts. My favorite part to see from this markets is the wooden figurines and ornaments with such bright colors.
They also had a small medieval market where 2 blacksmiths were creating something (didn't get around to see what it was). See a short video of the blackmiths at work here.
All the necessary shops for a good Xmas Market, with plenty of Gluhwien to go about. I was under the impression that people go to these to shop, but it is not about shopping it all. It is a great social event where you get to enjoy life with friends and family.
The Christmas market at Marktplatz was the 4th Christmas market I visited in Germany and it was very nice. All of the stalls were decorated very nicely and the merchandise in display was very appealing. This was also where we attendees to the 6th Glühwein meet met for our outings, and of course drinking Glühwein =)
This market had a carousel for the little ones, as well as Kinderpunsch which is Glühwein without alcohol.
The Christmas market in Karlsruhe usually opens during the week before the first Advent Sunday and lasts till Dec 23.
The main part is in Market square/Marktplatz but the market keeps growing into the surrounding streets.
In general, the market is all right, but - to be honest - not the one with the greatest flair of the whole country. If you're in the area it's worth a visit, but it's not worth crossing an ocean for.
Beware of the trams, especially after a couple of Glühweins.
The main Christmas Market is at the Marktplatz, but there are some other interesting sights nearby. On Friedrichsplatz for example, there are silhouette scenes of fairy tales. We saw it in daylight, I guess it also looks interesting if it's illuminated in the evening. Next to these silhouettes there are plates with information about the fairy tales, so if you don't know what a scene should represent or if you don't remember the story you can take a look!
Also on Friedrichtsplatz, there's an ice skating rink and an "animal pyramid" that resembles the one of the fairy tale about the Town Musicians of Bremen, only that it's having more "exotic" animals - an elephant, a zebra, a pig (okay, not that exotic..) and a penguin. Interesting...
The market gets much better in good company and something to warm you thru :) Also the place to buy all sorts of Christmas nick nacks and food.
This years market is from 29-11 t/m 23-12-2007 mo–sat: 10.00–21.00 uur
sun: 11.00–21.00 uur
The Christmas market is from 30 Nov until 23 Dec. It's not the biggest, but it's crowded like anywhere else in a big city and of course there is Gluehwein! The main bit is on Marktplatz. Opening times are Mo-Sat from 10 am till 9 pm and Sun from 11 am till 9 pm.
Some of the Gluehwein comes in really nice mugs with the name of the town and the year printed on. If you buy a Gluehwein you have to pay a deposit for the mug, so you can just keep it if you like. Natalie and I did that.