If you're spending time in Europe this holiday season, be sure and stop at the most splendid of all Christmas markets held on the banks of the Rhine River in Dusseldorf, Germany. You won't regret it. The Christmas Market Glitters at Night — Photo courtesy of Currystrumpet Christmas markets have a long history in Europe where they've historically been referred to as Christkindlmarkts, and Dusseldrof's is one of the best and the brightest. Held during the month-long season of advent , this market is a great way to experience Dusseldorf (the country's seventh largest city and one of its loveliest), with local craftsmen and women offering their wares and delicious foods and baked goods on display. You're sure to get a sense of Germany's particular brand of holiday spirit.
From late November to late December, you can stroll through this living Christmas fairy tale. Over 200 vendors in seven different shopping districts await you. All seven districts are linked so you'll have no trouble hopping from one neighborhood to the next, all the while having a chance to explore the real Dusseldorf as the market winds through the city's various neighborhoods.
In Markplatz, near Dusseldorf's city hall, you'll find rows of candle-makers, glassblowers, metalworkers and artists that have set up shop in huts modeled after the historic Renaissance-era city hall. Fill your shopping bags with handicrafts from the Erz Mountains or handmade leather goods. There's a 100-year-old carousel to ride, and a hand-carved, life-size nativity scene to visit, too.
Near the heart of Old Town, close to trendy boutiques, you'll find a well-known drinking spot, a mulled wine pyramid across from the Carsch-Haus department store. This area is officially called Flinger Strasse, and you can also pick up traditional birdhouses or Bunzlau ceramics.
Near the Carsh-Haus department store you'll also find a music pavilion on Heinrich-Heine-Platz where the hot chocolate flows freely. A Warm Drink at the Market — Photo courtesy of Currystrumpet All of the huts in this area are inspired by the the pavilion's Art Noveau vibe. Flowers and angels adorn this district's huts, which sell familiar crafts along with the more experimental, including marionettes, hats and caps, and fun items for your dog back home.
If you're hunting for jewelry or home furnishings, you'll want to stop by the inner courtyard of Wilhelm-Marx-Haus. You'll find glittering treasures of all kinds in whimsical, snow-capped huts. Christmas Treats — Photo courtesy of Currystrumpet
A newly designed Snow Hut Village on Schadowplatz feels very Scandinavian, as do the textiles and carvings on display. All this strolling and shopping is sure to help you work up an appetite, and it's a good thing, too. This is the place to fill up on potato fritters (known as "Reibekuchen") or pancake puffs (which is a fun way of saying "Poffertjes").
Feel like ice skating? The Dusseldorf Christmas market can help you. A huge ice-rink sits in the Shadowstrasse area. There's also a kids' activity tent, where the tots can watch a puppet show that's offered daily. The Lights of Dusseldorf — Photo courtesy of Noebse
It seems like the Dusseldorf Christmas market has thought of everything. If you've got more bags of presents than you have free hands, two luggage buses can help you store your oodles of Christmas goodies.