The Frankfurt Christmas Market looks back on centuries of tradition and is one of the oldest in Germany. In fact, the first official reference of the market was in the year 1393. Centred in Frankfurt’s Römerberg, the traditional, timbered houses offer one of the most picturesque backdrops of any Christmas Market in Germany. At the numerous stands, classic Christmas delights are offered, like mulled wine, roasted almonds and bratwurst. Additionally, Frankfurt offers its own brand of specialities like hot Apfelwein, Bethmännchen pastries and Quetschemännchen candy figurines. Local craftsmen sell their handy crafts and art in the stalls neighbouring the Paulskirche and also at Römerplatz. Here one can find a truly special Christmas gift or souvenir.
Towering 33 meters above the market, weighing some nine tonnes and adorned with 5,000 energy efficient LEDs, the largest Christmas tree in Germany casts a magical glow across the market. The tree is donated by the Austrian tourism region Skijuwel Alpbachtal Wildschönau in Tirol. The tree is flanked by a stage with the traditional nativity scene and a stage where local and international music groups perform on the weekends. Every Wednesday and Saturday at 6:00 PM, the horn group plays from the balcony of St. Nicholas Church, filling the market with traditional Christmas music.
On weekends, tours through the market are offered in English and German. The tour includes a sampling of the Frankfurt specialities in the Market, as well as a telling of stories from modern day and historical Frankfurt and its many personalities. One specific highlight of the tour is a visit to the balcony of the St. Nicholas Church with a view across the sea of Christmas lights glistening through the cold, crisp air across Frankfurt’s city centre.
The Frankfurt Christmas Market stretches from the Main River northward to Hauptwache where it empties into the main shopping boulevard, Zeil. Several other smaller Christmas Markets are held in the areas surrounding Frankfurt. A more recent addition to the traditional Frankfurt Christmas Market, the so-called “Pink Christmas” at Friedrich-Stoltze-Platz, is a popular meeting place of the city’s LGBT community and friends and lovingly decorated with much attention to detail yet also with a certain “pink” touch. The Christmas market held in the Frankfurt city district of Höchst provides a similarly memorable experience. Höchst Castle with its Gothic-style keep is in fact well worth a visit on its own. In the woods boarding Frankfurt, the Sachsenhausen Christmas Market is held at the Geotheturm (Goethe Tower). Here visitors can enjoy traditional Christmas Market offerings in the tranquillity of the woods. Other noteworthy markets are not far from Frankfurt in Hanau, Mainz, Rüdesheim and Michelstadt.