Christmas season in the Northern hemisphere is how all think it should be: cold, having hot beverages, wearing warm clothes and if you are lucky with some snow around to wait for the arrival of Santa Claus!
Visiting any European country during Christmas holidays is a great idea, especially if you grew up in a southern country with sunny days and not even a single hint of a white Christmas!
Yes! In Chile, for example, Christmas is happening during our summer, and while all the Santa’s are almost melting inside their costumes, we have watermelon and ice cream as dessert for Christmas dinner and we don’t have real natural Christmas trees at home.
Perhaps one of the countries that perform Christmas at its best is Germany. When the Advent time starts, the cities get covered by lights and decorations and even small villages set-up a special market for this season, in German called Weihnachtsmarkt.
While Karlsruhe is maybe not the most visited city in Germany it’s definitely worth a visit to the city and the whole Baden- Württemberg area. With the Black Forest and the Palatine hills in the surroundings and very beautiful villages and castles to discover.
Why visiting Karlsruhe Christmas Markets is a great idea?
Visiting Karlsruhe during Christmas season is a great idea, especially for if you are like me, growing up in Chile where Christmas is in middle of the Summer!
The city is located in a privileged area with beautiful mountains and villages around displaying the best of the black forest and, for the ones that are a bit scared of the cold temperatures (as I am) this will be great news: This area is having warmer weather than the rest of the country.
The Christmas Markets in Karlsruhe, as most of the markets in the country, offers a mixture of commercial products and local handmade goods. I like them because they are usually not as crowded as other cities and they offer very local atmosphere.
The good news this year?
After four years, some the Christmas Markets are going back to its original place Marktplatz near the main shopping street, but you will still find a more quiet location at Friedrichsplatz.
This year, the Christkindelsmarkt will have 106 stalls in two main places: on the Friedrichsplatz under the theme “Waldweihnacht” and on the marketplace under the theme “Lichtweihnacht”.
The Christmas Market at Friedrichsplatz
During the day is very quiet and calm and the perfect time for the ones wanting to do some serious shopping.
Later, after sunset, the place gets seriously crowded sometimes, families, couples, and groups of friends from all ages gather around the stall and small tables to drink a warm and sweet wine and to get into the Christmas mood little by little.
The most unique and fun thing about the Market in Friedrichsplatz is the “Flying Santa Claus”, who soars with his sleigh every evening over the beautifully decorated stalls and crowds!
This is by far my favorite and you can enjoy this every day at 5 and 7 pm.
Market in Friedrichsplatz Opening Time
- Tue 28 November – Sat 23 December 2017 daily from 11am to 9pm
The Christmas Market in Durlach
This is definitely my favorite Christmas Market in Karlsruhe as it also hosts a Middle Age market!
The Durlach Christmas market brings back to life the medieval life with campfires, candlelight, jugglers, musicians. storytellers, crossbow shooting, mouse roulette, a carousel, and medieval swordsmen sharing information about sword fighting in the Middle Ages. You will also find lots of handicrafts, from toys to decorations and clothes.
People gather around the stalls or around the fire who makes this market very cozy and warmer than the usual markets. It’s a unique Christmas Market and it gets very crowded after working hours and the weekends.
Medieval Christmas Market in Durlach Opening Hours
- Tue 28 November – Fri 22 December 2017
- Sunday to Wednesday from 11am to 9pm and Thursday to Saturday until 10pm.
- Information about the market can be found at weihnachtsmarkt.durlacher.de .
Anders auf dem Turmberg
This restaurant is having its own Christmas Market with a great view of the city! It’s very small and they only have drinks and food, but it’s worth the visit to enjoy after a walk. You can also get there by the funicular!
This cozy Christmas market is open in all weathers, they even have blankets for the very cold nights, on Fridays from 16:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 hrs to 20:00 hrs.
Are you planning to visit Karlsruhe but don’t know where to stay?
But wait….What about hot wine and Lebkuchen?
Of course, no Christmas Market is such without food and delicious drinks to enjoy, hot and sweet wine, sausages, waffles and much more are the actual stars of every Market.
There will be some special events related to this market, mark your calendars!
- Wednesday, December 6: The world’s largest Dambedei will be cut at 6 pm.
If you don’t know what it is, this is a sweet treat child receive from the beginning of November for St. Martin’s Day until the beginning of December for St. Nicholas’ Day. It is called “Weckmann”, “Stutenkerl” or in Southern Germany, “Dambedei”.
Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker; he also has a reputation for secret gift-giving, and due to this he became the model for Santa Claus. Some practices such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him is celebrated on his feast day St Nicholas Day on December 6th.
– This event in Karlsruhe will have Gotthilf Fischer performing.
- Sale of Glögg – Scandinavian mulled wine.
On Sunday, 3 December, 2 to 3:30 pm, in the Skandi Hut (booth 104). The sell will be for a good cause, making donations for the oncological department of the Children’s Hospital Karlsruhe.
Vegetarians don’t worry!
- They will be offers for Vegans, Vegetarians and also Gluten-free and organic offers
Kinderland St. Stephan
This area is designed especially for kids or for adults they still have the inner child very alive like me!
In the square right in front of St. Stephan’s Church you will find a very special Christmas Market featuring not only stalls offering child-friendly food but also a special and diverse child program making Christmas dreams true.
The lovely cottages create a village with fairy tale scenes recreated, woodcarvers and blacksmiths working in real time, kids can bake their own cookies at the Christmas bakery, take a ride in the train around the font or ask directly their Christmas wishes to Santa Claus.
- Starting at 11 am from Tue 28 November 2017 – Sat 6 January 2018
Don’t miss the Ice skating rink in the Karlsruhe Schlossplatz
Stadtwerke Eiszeit is the biggest open-air skating rink in Southern Germany is located around the Grand Duke Karl Friedrich Memorial and having a total area of more than 2000 square meters.
They have space for everyone, with two separate ice rinks for ice skating and also for curling. The mornings are the perfect time for beginners where you can even get 50-minute skating lessons for 5€ and 8€.
- 28th November 2017 to 28th January 2018, daily 11 am to 9 pm
There are some events happening here too:
- December 13: KSC curling battle
- Ice Age Beat Nights on Thursdays from 6 pm to 9 pm: 30th November, 7th, 21st, 28th December, and January 4th and 11th 2018.
- Closing party: Saturday, January 27th, 7 to 10 pm with DJs from the Krokokeller
Other things not to be missed in Karlsruhe during Christmas season:
- Two horse-drawn Christmas carriages will be giving free rides!
The stops will be located between the Karl Friedrich monument on the Schlossplatz and the Zirkel as well as in the Erbprinzenstraße between Christkindelsmarkt and Kinderland St. Stephan. They will stop every half an hour from 1 pm to 5 pm on the Advent weekends and there is no need to do prior registration.
- If you love shopping, don’t miss the Long shopping night on Saturday, December 2nd until 10 pm.
- Special tour in the Adventstram tram including mulled wine, gingerbread, and punch. December the 3rd, 10th and 17th all visitors will learn interesting facts about Karlsruhe history and also about Christmas customs and traditions. It cost 18€ and registrations are required.
- The Advent walk in the woods will happen to discover the Christmas story with life-size figures and candles in the in the forest” of the Waldpädagogik Karlsruhe. It starts on the 12th, 13th and 14th of December at 5 pm. More information HERE
- There will be Christmas rides on the passenger ship MS Karlsruhe on the Rhine. This is planned for Nikolausfahrten at December 2nd, check the timetable and more information HERE
- A Public Ecumenical Bell Casting will be held in front of the Karlsruhe Palace on December 1st at 4 pm.
Other Christmas Markets worth to visit in the area
There are Christmas Markets in almost all the cities and even small villages have their own markets for this season. Some are open every day and others only during the weekends, but for sure there are a great excuse to explore more the area and visit other places during Christmas season.
Some of my favorites until now are:
- Esslingen, Medieval Market
Here you can check an online map of all the Christmas Markets around Karlsruhe
What about Christmas Markets in France?
This city in Germany is very close to the French border and you can do day trips to nearby cities to France or even Switzerland.
When you visit Karlsruhe, don’t forget to check the Christmas Markets in Strasbourg is only 1 hour and it’s one of my favorites in the area!