Christmas Shopping in Seiffen

As I begin this post about Christmas shopping in Seiffen, I realize it has the possibility of being either extremely short or extremely long*. The short version might go something like this. Though Seiffen is by no means a large town, it is home to more than 100 Christmas shops and woodcarving workshops. Most are located on, or not far from, the Hauptstrasse (Main Street). They include … [Read more...]

Seiffen Hotels at Christmas

Let me start with the bad news. If you were thinking of traveling to Seiffen or any of the other towns in Germany's Erzgebirge with popular Christmas markets this December, there's a high likelihood there will be no room at the inn. I base this both on a conversation I had with the hotel management of the Hotel Erbgericht Buntes Haus where I stayed in July and a quick perusal of TripAdvisor … [Read more...]

Traveling to Seiffen at Christmas

I’ve grown so accustomed to traveling with ease between German cities that I was a little surprised that getting to Seiffen was kind of a hassle. As usual, the best option for me was the train, so any difficulty was mitigated to a large extent by the ease of booking tickets online and having access to Deutsche Bahn’s explicit timetables (leave from Platform #xx, arrive at Platform #yy, XX minutes … [Read more...]

Seiffen: Germany’s Year-round Christmas Toy Town

One of my last posts of 2013 was dedicated to The Erzgebirge: Santa’s Workshop in Germany, a region, which at the time I knew only by reputation. However, a late-July trip to London this year gave me the excuse to fly over to Germany and fill in the blanks, as it were. With just a couple of nights at my disposal, I realized I only had time for one town but the choice was a no-brainer: the … [Read more...]

Fearsome Krampus Invade the Marienplatz: Auf wiedersehen to Munich

I definitely had an ulterior motive for wanting my daughter to join me in Munich last year. In addition to all the sparkling, feel-good joys of the Christmas season, I knew that the last day of our visit was also the date of the Krampus Run. In an earlier post I wrote about my shocking first encounter with the Krampus in the Marienplatz—shocking because A. I was completely taken by surprise and … [Read more...]

A Day at the Munich Christmas Markets: The artsy and the alternative

Let’s start with the alternative. Pink Christmas—yes, English—is a Christmas market geared towards the Munich gay community. I’m always intrigued by Christmas markets that sound unique or out of the ordinary so this one was definitely on my list. I didn’t mention it earlier, but my daughter had taken the train down from Berlin so we could have a few days together in Munich and, since we share … [Read more...]

Christmas in Munich: More than the Marienplatz

How much do I like Munich at Christmas? Let’s see; I’ve been to Germany at Christmas five times now and four of those times I chose to go to Munich. Last year’s trip was a reverse itinerary of my first one—at least partially. And just as in Dresden I was anxious to visit more Christmas markets than just the Striezelmarkt, similarly, in Munich I wanted to expand my horizons beyond the … [Read more...]

Leipzig at Christmas: Markets, markets everywhere

It’s true. Once you enter the precincts of Leipzig’s historic Altstadt, or old city, it hardly matters which way you turn—the Christmas markets just flow from one right into the next and keep on going. The main Christmas market at the Marktplatz (market place) is held in front of the Old Town Hall and is always anchored by an enormous Christmas tree at least 65-feet tall. This is one of … [Read more...]

Leipzig celebrates Christmas

Leipzig feiert Weihnachten. These words, which mean “Leipzig celebrates Christmas,” are splashed across the top of the world’s largest freestanding Advent calendar, tucked out of the way on a side street in the city’s historic center. It’s just one of the city’s many holiday-themed attractions and, as you can imagine, it’s very popular, and not just with tourists. My introduction to … [Read more...]

Dresden: Christmas markets through the centuries

Although I paid both a daytime and an evening visit the Striezelmarkt, I was also anxious to get to several other Dresden Christmas markets that were right in the same vicinity. Top of the list was Mittelalter Weihnacht, the Medieval Christmas Market in the Stallhof of the Dresden Royal Palace. The Striezelmarkt may officially be 578 years old but it’s evolved over time into a modern affair … [Read more...]