Aachen Christmas market, Germany

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Aachen Christmas market is always on the list of the best Christmas markets in Europe and if you are looking for an authentic German Christmas market with a flavour of authencity, well this is a market you should not miss!

Diaries of an explorer

Ready to explore it?
For the people who do not know where Aachen is, it is located in the North-Rhine Westphalia and it is the westernmost city in Germany, close to the border with the Netherlands and Belgium. In my case, it is just 35 km from where I actually live.

We arrived during Saturday afternoon by car and the parking places were almost full: We had to wait for 20 minutes before parking the car. Once parked (on Saturday it is 2 Euros per hour, whereas on Sunday only 1 euro per hour), we could arrive easily to the heart of Aachen, where the market is located.

This should not be a big surprise, since the Aachen Christmas market attracts every year approx. 1,5 million of visitors

The main entrance is located in the charming Markt, dominated by the wonderful medieval building of the old municipality. 
Diaries of an explorer

As you can see the puppets that keep the big sign remind the typical Christmas cookies, called Aachener printen, that you have absolutely to try.

The market is usually crowded and at some points it is not easy to walk, but the beauty of the little shops in the nice wooden houses could not stop us from visiting and enjoying the overall market.

Diaries of an explorer

If you want to have a nice view of the market, you can climb the stairs of the old town hall and go to the nice balcony and see the overall Aachen Christmas market in its largest square.

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Now time to see some nice handicrafts and Xmas decorations: you have already seen the Xmas balls in the first pic. I find particularly interesting the miniatures of the Christmas village, which is a nice tradition in this area, that includes also the Limburg (Euregio) and the Netherlands.

Diaries of an explorer

Diaries of an explorer

Diaries of an explorer

The market is not limited only within the Markt, but you can also find it in the Katschhof, located exactly behind the old town hall building and surrounded by the the tower and the dome of the Aachen Cathedral (Aachener Dom). 

The Aachen Cathedral is part of the Unesco sites and it is the site where Charlemagne was crowned emperor so it is really an important cathedral to visit. I will dedicate a post about it and also about other things to do in Aachen later.

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Here there are several shops and also a stage where typical Christmas songs are played to create even a better Christmas atmosphere.

Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer

You can stop by and have a delicious Bratworst, a sandwich with the typical wurstel. You can have half of baguette for 5/6 Euros or a smaller version at 3,5 Euros.

 Or maybe if it is too cold ( it was -1° C) that day, you can also taste a Gluhwein in its typical "boot" cup. It costs 3 Euros and you must deposit other 3 Euros for the cup. The cup is so nice it could be a souvenir you pay 3 Euros.

Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer

The Katschhof is the best place where to stop to have a Gluhwein or eating something.
Diaries of an explorer

Diaries of an explorer

If you want to complete your culinary trip in this nice market, I recommend you also Nobis Printen shop always in the Katschhof. There you can "test" some delicious German sweets.
Diaries of an explorer

Travel tips:
  • My recommendation is to travel by train since the parking places in the city centre are really crowded and you must wait to find a parking place, even if you pay. Just consider the fact I found a 30 minutes queue by car to access the autoway when we were coming back.
  • There is a shuttle service from the railway stations.
  • If the train is not an option (less comfortable like coming from Maastricht, where the train connection to Aachen is awful), I recommend you to come on Sunday so you can pay just 1 Euro per hour versus the 2 Euros per hour you pay on Saturday.
  • The market is open between 11 am and 9 pm. 
  • It does not take more than 2-3 hours to visit it: I also recommend you to stop by the beautiful Aachen Cathedral, an authentic pearl you should not miss.
  • Take also a walk in the charming main streets of the city; you have also a good selection of restaurants around.
  • Please consider also the fact that the Aachen Christmas market will be closed as of the 24th of December: your last day is on the 23rd of December.
  • This year, 2016, the Aachen Christmas market is at the 4th place as best European Christmas market

Where to sleep:

If you wanna stay at least one night in Aachen, well I recommend to:
  • Budget accomodation: Ibis Aachen Marschiertor, located at just 5 minutes walk from the Markt, breakfast not included ( buffet breakfast at 11 Euros per person per night), prices around 50 Euros per double room per night.
  • Medium budget: Innside Melia Aachen, the top in Aachen, at 500 meters from the Markt and 600 meters far from the Cathedral, view over the city, breakfast included, sauna and fitness centre, prices around 100 - 130 Euros per night per double room.
  • Luxury accomodation: Pullman Aachen Quellenhof, 5 star hotel located at just 1 km far from the Markt, swimming pool, fitness centre and sauna, well connected with the Eurocongress, breakfast included, prices rage 150 - 220 Euros depending on the selected room. 

 Soon I will write a post about what to see in Aachen and in particular about the stunning Cathedral.

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