I’ve been to Christmas markets in the UK before in Bath and Gloucester, but for the real thing you need to head to Germany. My mum has mentioned several times before how she’s always wanted to go to a German Christmas market, so we headed over to Düsseldorf and spent just over 48 hours exploring the markets.
Saturday 3rd December
- Flybe Birmingham 10:50 – Düsseldorf 13:20
- S11 train then tram to hotel – Townhouse Düsseldorf, on Bilker Straße (bottom left of map) (30 mins)
- 5 minute walk up to Tourist Information Office to pick up a map, then market (1) Marktplatz
- Discovered how cold it was & located Primark on Schadowstraße to pick up some additional layers
- Explored (7) Schadowstraße, (5) Schadowplatz and some of (6) Jan-Wellem-Platz
- Dinner at an Italian on Berger Straße
- Gluhwein (mulled wine) from Marktplatz. The mugs are collectable, or you can return them to get a deposit back.
- Back to hotel
On this first day we didn’t buy anything, just made notes of things to return to because we knew how much there was to look at.
Sunday 4th December
- Breakfast of crepes & coffee from one of the nearby stalls once the markets opened at 11am
- Explored (2) Flinger Straße, (3) Heinrich-Heine-Platz and (4) Stadtbrückchen markets
- Returned to stalls from the previous day to buy things
- Picked up some hot chocolate and pretzels from Marktplatz
- Located the ice rink… and the dozens of children racing around on it. Decided to come back tomorrow.
- Walked around Hofgarten park
- Churros from a stall (not quite as good as the ones you can get in Spain… but pretty good)
- Collapsed in the warmth of Starbucks with aching feet to recuperate
- Returned to hotel for a couple of hours then went out again for dinner in a Cuban restaurant
Monday 5th December
- Checked out of hotel
- Final shopping from markets
- Returned to ice rink to find yet more children from a school class
- Visited a couple of normal shops for boots / Lindt chocolate / my obligatory fridge magnet
- Returned to ice rink a third time to find it almost empty! Ice skating time!
- Smoked fish bread rolls from a market stall for lunch
- Final mug of hot chocolate by the river
- Tram & train back to airport
- Flybe Düsseldorf 17:20 – Birmingham 18:00
What I’d change
Honestly? I can’t think of anything beyond packing warmer clothes. Some snow would have been nice to really add to the atmosphere, but that’s never something that can be controlled. The hotel was in a perfect location, walking distance to all the markets and restaurants but away from the noise at night. We could have done it all flying in on the Saturday and out on the Sunday, but it would have been much more rushed and less enjoyable. It was especially nice to be there on the Monday as well when the crowds were much smaller. Three days allowed us to try all the various stall food we wanted to, see all the markets & do shopping at a leisurely pace, and really get into the Christmas spirit.