If you are lucky enough to be visiting Germany in the run-up to Christmas, you'll feel the sense of celebration everywhere you go, and you can expect some unforgettable events in delightful settings.
There's something very special about Christmas time in Germany, and that's thanks in no small part to all the festive events that take place up and down the country. With so much going on, it's hard to know where to start! How about a river cruise that takes you to wonderfully atmospheric Christmas markets, such as the Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt or the Christmas market of the nations in Rüdesheim? Or why not soak up the festive magic at one of the many Christmas concerts, such as those taking place in Dresden's Church of Our Lady or in the cathedrals of Frankfurt and Cologne. And on the first and second weekends of December, the courtyards of the UNESCO World Heritage town of Quedlinburg throw open their doors for the Advent in den Höfen Christmas market. As well as seeing what is otherwise hidden behind closed doors, you'll be able to browse for curios and enjoy fantastic food and drink.
A time for celebration and contemplation
In Munich, the Christmas story has long been told in the form of Nativity scenes. You can explore this old-established tradition on the Krippenweg trail, which takes you to the many fine examples of this festive tradition on display in the parishes of the city centre. For a truly memorable experience, head to the North Sea island of Föhr on 4 December and take a winter walk across the mudflats to the Hallig island of Oland, where you can attend a service at the island church. Another fun festive activity is a historical train ride on the steam railway through Saxony, or the Hanau vintage railway, which runs special Christmas services through the wintry landscape. If you're looking for some quiet reflection, many abbeys, including Maria Laach Benedictine Abbey, continue to offer accommodation during the festive season. For more information, visit www.maria-laach.de