Last year, during the Iron Route, I wrote a round up of the Best Christmas Markets in the World. This year, on Travel Europe High & Low, I bring you THE best Christmas Market of all time. As in, all the time I’ve spent in Christmas Markets this year (to be fair, all ye non believers I have developed something of a specialty in this area. This ain’t my first rodeo and this ain’t my first Christmas Market of 2013.)
No, it’s the second so far it won’t be the last. It’s the Munich Christmas Market – or Christkindlmarkt – and it’s rumoured to be the biggest in the world. Normally “big” puts me off when it comes to outdoor crowds. It makes me think more queues, more jostling and more blindness since my rather, ahem, petite stature leaves me nose to coat lapels more often than not. And in gigantic Germany, I start to get dangerously close to waist level.
Luckily, in Munich’s case, “big” meant big spaces between stalls with plenty of elbow room and jostling space for the sub-gigantic among us.
It also meant live Christmas carols from the balcony of the Rathaus, or Town Hall, whose carved stone tower twinkled in the light reflected from the 100 foot high Christmas tree. It meant sweet scented gluhwein served in ceramic boot-shaped mugs. Hansel & Gretel cookie houses and iced gingerbread hearts. Bratwurst and grated potato, creamy crepes and candy floss. Sturdy tankards of beer and intricate wooden candlesticks.
Above all, it meant a great excuse for me to share these photos with you and to update my Best Christmas Market list.
I’m not sure how long Munich can hold on to the top spot, though. I’m due in Strasbourg any day now and I gather the gluhwein’s already mulling.
I’ll keep you posted.
** In case you skipped merrily down here without reading the article, Munich’s Christmas Market is the best in the world…in my opinion. That’s all. For a list of more great Christmas Markets, head here.
Abigail King is a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road. Now published by Lonely Planet, the BBC, CNN, National Geographic Traveler & more, she feels most at home experimenting here: covering unusual journeys, thoughtful travel and luxury on www.insidethetravellab.com