Frankfurt at Christmas
I fell in love with this wonderful city when I stumbled upon it two years ago on a summer Eurotrip. Returning in the winter to explore all that Frankfurt has to offer at Christmas time, it more than lived up to my expectations. Although many people would not immediately think of Frankfurt for a short break, it is a vibrant little city with a vast range of things to do and see.
Frankfurt is a lively financial city situated on the River Maine, home to the European Central Bank and the German Stock Exchange. However it has not completely discarded its rich historical past, and old gothic style buildings sit side by side futuristic skyscrapers. Frankfurt airport is the third largest in Europe which explains its popularity among tourists. In terms of size and numbers of visitors, Frankfurt Christmas market is one of the largest in Europe so I was excited to see what it had to offer.
I went to Frankfurt with the usual “Oh it’s that time of year again!” attitude and came back feeling completely inspired. The main attraction and events were focused in the traditional city centre, Romerberg. Although Frankfurt was heavily damaged during the Second World War, there is little evidence of it in this very well-preserved little square. The reconstructed traditional buildings make for a wonderful backdrop to the centre of the Christmas markets. It is a very pretty, authentic square that you could get lost in wandering around for hours, captivated by everything on offer.
There are many beautiful ornaments and exciting hand-craft goodies on display in every stall, each one with its own authentic goods. There is a real sense of a traditional approach to Christmas here, rather than the mass-produced, commercialised version we are often subject to in Britain. It would be advisable to walk round all of the stalls first and get a good look at everything on sale before you decide what you want to purchase. This will help to ensure you find the perfect Christmas gifts and presents to take home from the markets. If you exhaust the products on sale at the market, there is a busy new shopping complex a stone’s throw away with a range of shops to rival Oxford Street.
The markets are really magical when all lit up in the evening so it is definitely worth visiting in the evening too if you have time. Enjoy a very reasonably priced Bratwurst for dinner while listening to traditional German Christmas music and it is difficult not to feel yourself engulfed in the Christmas spirit. Germany really embrace Christmas and there are many delightfully decorated Christmas trees spotted everywhere around Frankfurt at this time of year. Whittle the night away while sipping at a gluhwein (a traditional Christmas drink of mulled red wine, spices, and raisins) and soaking up the Christmas atmosphere.
So if you are looking for a short break to get you inspired this Christmas, look no further than the magical little gem that is Frankfurt.