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Aim, Focus, Shoot - The HyPyC blog
Heidelberg Christmas Markets

The wonderful and magical Heidelberg Christmas Markets

I have seen photos and videos of European Christmas markets and have always thought they looked fantastic. England has some great markets, however I have always wanted to see a proper authentic European Christmas Market first hand. When looking for a destination, I considered many choices - Berlin and Salzburg were high up there. In the end I settled on Heidelberg - Something about this city appealed to me and it looked like the perfect place to see our first European Christmas market. We were not disappointed and I would highly recommend the Heidelberg Christmas Market to everyone - Everything about it met and exceeded our expectations and it was a memorable trip.

Personalised mugs and steins for sale I brought one of these actual steins to take home with me! Mouth-watering sweets and chocolate

Where can you find the Christmas markets?

Luckily enough, the Christmas markets are easy to find in Heidelberg. I did some research beforehand, but providing you know the general area they are located, you can't go wrong. The Christmas Markets are concentrated around 5 different squares in the old town centre of Heidelberg. All of these squares are located in close proximity to the Hauptstra├če street that runs pretty much the entire length of the old town - Find that street and you will find the markets! Below are the 5 main squares where the markets are located:

  • Bismarckplatz
  • Anatomiegarten
  • Universitatsplatz
  • Marktplatz
  • Kornmarkt

Starting from the Bismarckplatz which as at the start of the Hauptstra├če you can literally make your way down the street and visit each market square until you reach the final area of the Marktplatz and the Kornmarkt. Bismarckplatz had a variety of food stalls selling sweet, baked goods and fast food - This square is also the main drop off point for the trams and busses to is the perfect starting place.

Pancake stall at the Anatomiegarten market

The Anatomiegarten had several food stalls including the amazing place where we had our first currywurst and also a stall that sells beer steins. Next comes the Universitatsplatz which had a fantastic selection of craft stalls selling Christmas decorations and handmade goods. And finally you reach the main Marktplatz and Kornmarkt which are the largest markets and contain the most decoration and stalls. You can literally find everything here including roast chestnuts and the ice-skating rink.

hand carved wooden Christmas decorations One of the main decorations in the market square Another fantastic sweet and chocolate stall

Each square has its own charm and character, and different products and food for sale. I would recommend that you spend plenty of time at each area to fully appreciate the markets and see all of the fantastic decorations and lights.

What should you not miss out on trying?

During our time at the Christmas markets, we made a mental list of the things we wanted to try, and we nearly achieved them all. I would advise you to write down the things you don't want to miss out on - We wanted to try some roasted chestnuts, but forgot as we were too busy stuffing our face with everything else!

One of the many grills that sold Currywurst and Bratwurst, freshly cooked!

Currywurst - Wow! We never thought we would love this simple dish so much! Currywurst is a tradition in Germany and we tried it on our first morning in Heidelberg. Literally all the food stalls at the markets sold this snack and we had it several times during our stay. Currywurst is basically bratwurst with curry sauce and paprika. It tastes divine and depending on which stall you buy it from, the sauce will either be hot and spicy, or mellow with a stronger hint of tomato.

Amazing and addictive Currywurst!

Crepes - I love pancakes and I will eat them whenever I get the chance. Luckily for us, there were many food stalls selling crepes! It was fascinating to watch the pancakes being made and the choice of fillings were varied. We tried crepes on two different occasions - The first time I had just sugar, and Lauren had Nutella, and then the second time I had Kinder Bueno, and Lauren had Nutella again. For me the Bueno pancake was the best - There is nothing like a melted Bueno bar sandwiched in the middle of a light and tasty crepe!

Crepes filled with Nutella and drenched in sugar - Perfect!

Fried potatoes on a stick - This was something we had never come across before and it looked really bizarre. A stall in the main market was selling fried potato on a stick! The potato was deep fried, cut into slices and spiked through the stick to create one long reel of starchy goodness. You could choose what dip to have with your potato, and we chose tomato ketchup, they also sprinkled paprika over the finished item. The taste was absolutely delicious! In hindsight, we should have gone back for seconds or at least had one stick each!

What the hell is this delicious treat???!

Mulled Wine - Now we both absolutely hated Mulled Wine, but I wanted to include it as not everyone will share our tastes. Literally every stall sold mulled wine, and nearly every person walking through the markets had a mug! You could buy a small themed mug full of hot wine and if you choose too, you could keep the mug as a souvenir. There was just something about the wine that I didn't like - I think it was the vapour that you inhaled when taking a drink - It really hit the back of my throat and I just didn't enjoy it! Nonetheless, as a Christmas Market tradition, I would recommend having at least one mug to see what you think!

Bleugh, get this horrid drink away from me! (Isn't the mug pretty though?)

While these are the main foods and drink we wanted to try, don't miss out on the other delightful treat and snacks you can try! If you want, you could really make a pig of yourself, and infact we didn't have a proper meal on our first day as we simply ate market food!

A carousel in the central market A craft stall at the Kornmarkt Christmas decorations and the moon

What other things should you remember?

If you are visiting the Heidelberg Christmas markets for the first time, I would give you the following advice. Firstly, wrap up warm! At this time of year Heidelberg can be cold, and despite the wonderful warmth from the hot food stalls, this is only fleeting and you will soon be shivering again! Secondly, take your time! Don't rush, walk at a steady pace, take in the sights, try everything you want to and make the most of your time here - Its not a race. Finally, if you are into your photography, I would recommend taking a tripod - The best photos are undoubtedly of the stalls lit up at night. To maintain a decent ISO reading and to take crystal clear shots, a tripod will help greatly (even a small Gorillapod).

A truly memorable experience that helped my Christmas spirit

Heidelberg was simply amazing. The Christmas markets surpassed all our expectations. It was a pleasure to meander through the stalls, see the lights, sample the treats and take home a few souvenirs. We really felt the Christmas spirit was present here, and it was truly infectious.

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