Why you should visit Germany this Christmas

For those looking to have an authentic experience that really makes you feel like you’re in the Christmas spirit, head over to LutherCountry in eastern Germany to sip Glühwein (mulled wine), partake in a piece of Stollen (traditional German cake with fried fruit), listen to carolers, and purchase wooden toys while taking in the smells of cinnamon and pine.

Erfurt, Thuringia Christmas Market

Here you will find over 200 wooden stalls sitting in the Domplatz, with an intimidating cathedral guarding the square. Don’t be afraid to enter the building, however, as the crypt beneath houses the 24 Advent scenes and a floral tableaux created by locals. Outside in the square, the big draw is the nativity scene, which includes 14 almost life-size figures that have been carved by hand, a large wooden pyramid, and a Christmas tree that towers at 80 feet. At night, the entire scene is lit up by candles.

November 23, 2011- Devember 22, 2011

LutherstadtWittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt Christmas Market

History buffs will love the half-timbered homes, small courtyards, and Christmas stalls, as well as the church where Martin Luther once preached. Popular Christmas items include roasted almonds, mulled wine, toys, and holiday decorations.

November 25, 2011- December 21, 2011

Halle, Saxony-Anhalt Christmas Market

While this market includes the usual Christmas market fare of decorations, carvings, and mulled wine, it also offers cuisine from other areas of Europe including Finland, Hungary, France, Austria, Russia and the Netherlands. And, for the first time ever, this market will feature a 275-foot tall Advent Candle!

November 23, 2011, December 23, 2011

Wartburg Castle, Thuringia Christmas Market

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is almost 1,000 years old and once served as a a refuge for Martin Luther as he translated the New Testament of the bible into German. A feeling of being in the Middle Ages overcomes visitors as they visit candle makers, glass blowers, and wooden-toy makers all dressed in Medieval fashion. Sample the sugared almonds and juicy Thuringian-style sausages.

November 26-27, 2011 and December 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 2011