Who doesn’t love a German Christmas market? All over the world, they’ve become a staple of this time of year, with punters braving the cold to glug Glühwein and bag themselves some unique gifts to give come December 25th.
Of course, there’s no better place to experience one of these markets than in Germany itself. While they’ve been embraced and adopted by most cities here in the UK, they still know how to do it bigger and better back home. Among the best of all is Dusseldorf’s effort, where each year, for most of November and the whole of December, gingerbread houses and ornate huts seem to sprout from every corner of the city.
If you’re looking to dive into this festive paradise, here’s where to head to get the most out of Dusseldorf’s Christmas markets.
Market Square (Marktplatz)
The city’s market square lies at its heart, close to the banks of the Rhine and nestled deep within its historic Altstadt district. Lined by quaint period architecture, it’s the perfect setting for a Christmas market.
This year, the square will be home to a number of working craftspeople, from glass blowers to wood turners. You’ll be able to watch them forge their wares before having the chance to buy – whether a gift or a little treat for yourself. There will also be a recently restored, 100-year-old merry-go-round that promises fun for all the family.
The markets then stretch eastwards along the elegant Flinger Strasse. Not only is this pedestrianised lane already lined by stylish boutiques and high street favourites, but the stalls along here will offer all manner of wares. With hut facades modelled on traditional Dusseldorf town houses, it’s really set to look the part this year.
Little Angel Market (Engelchenmarkt)
Continuing up Flinger Strasse, the street opens out onto the tree-lined Heinrich-Heine-Platz. It’s bordered on one side by the first Saks off 5th department store in Europe, a recently opened flagship bursting with designer brands. The surrounding market stalls take their style cues from the elegant sandstone of the building, while floral motifs and angel figures carved from wrought-iron create an Instagram-perfect sight.
The centrepiece of the square is the music pavilion – something of an art nouveau masterpiece. In its surrounds you’ll find an eclectic mix of traditional and international fare, as well as plenty of mulled wine on offer, all set beneath a sea of twinkling lights. It’s truly magical.
Little Star Market (Sternchenmarkt)
This intimate little marketplace is tucked away in the courtyard of Wilhelm-Marx-Haus, adjacent to Heinrich-Heine-Platz. Above the market, large balls of light break into colour and dazzle the crowds below. Moving between the stalls, you’ll find everything from gourmet hotdogs to handcrafted jewellery pieces and homemade scarves. It’s the perfect place to pick up a gift for someone special – just remember it needs to fit in your case!
Kö-Bogen Market (Jan-Wellem-Platz)
One block northeast, you’ll find a marketplace with a very different vibe. On the corner of the city’s beautiful Hofgarten park are a wave of cutting-edge new developments, including the glossy Kö-Bogen buildings. It might be a departure from the ornate architecture of Altstadt, but the market here really is something special. The stalls line the waters of Landskrone lake, meaning you can head out over a bridge and take a seat beneath the trees with a hot chocolate in hand. But the main attraction in the area is surely the ice rink. With its picturesque views out over the park, grab your skates and glide through the heart of Dusseldorf for an hour or two. To keep the kids happy, there’ll be a merry-go-round too, as well as an activity tent with a packed-out schedule full of fun and games.
Just next door, the Schadowplatz Market has been redesigned for 2017. Its huts will be adorned with a hefty coating of fake snow, adding a flavour of Scandinavia to this particular quarter. Nestled beneath the city’s glossiest new skyscrapers, you’ll also find plenty of your favourite international brands in the area, including the city’s Apple store. It promises to be a modern twist on Dusseldorf’s otherwise traditional offering.
Don’t settle for anything but the best. Experience a real German Christmas market this festive season with flights to Dusseldorf from Manchester Airport.