One for the Weekend - Christkindlemarkt explores another exciting place to take your kids Staff

Written by Staff Published on 29.11.2010 15:54:27 (updated on 29.11.2010) Reading time: 4 minutes

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 29.11.2010 15:54:27 (updated on 29.11.2010) Reading time: 4 minutes is proud to present our new review series ‘one for the weekend´. Each month we will present a new location outside of Prague or even the Czech Republic that you can visit as either a family, group, couple, or individual over a day or a weekend. If you have any great locations please feel free to send them to us to

Christkindlemarkt in Nuremberg

Kristkindlmarkt is a Christmas Market in the historic center of Nuremberg, Germany. The main market is held on Nuremberg Main Market Square, and there is a smaller market geared specifically towards kids called Nurnburg Kinderweihnacht, held on Hans-Sachs-Platz.

Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany

With normal traffic – 3.5 hours with the necessary short stops.

To avoid disappointment, book your hotel well in advance and confirm the reservation. It is hard to get a room anywhere in Nuremberg once December hits. The gluhwein (mulled wine) and much of the food available from stalls is sold with an additional *pfand* (deposit) against the mug or plate. This is great – it’s nicer to eat from a proper plate than paper, and it keeps waste under control. Just be sure to return your items to the right stand to get your money back. Also beware of pickpockets, as the market is full of slow moving crowds.

It’s *very *cold at this time of year, so dress as if to go sledding. Plan on taking warm-up breaks if you’re at the market for a long time. The Kinderweihnachten has two indoor areas where you can warm up: the Playmobile hut where kids can play for free with the spread of toys and the House of stars where different activities are planned each day, and for a small donation children can make crafts to give as gifts. Apart from the market, no shops are open in Germany on Sunday, so do your shopping Saturday.

The food is fantastic, and it’s great to eat your way through the market, waiting in lines and sampling one thing after another. But it’s mostly greasy or sugary – or both. It seems the healthiest thing you can find is a toffee apple or chocolate covered fruit. Recommended are the fried potato cakes (kartoffelpuffer), apple fritters (apfelkuchle), lebkuche (a local gingerbread specialty), and of course the sausages – wurst. If you drink alcohol, you must try the feuerzangenbowle mulled wine. It’s like svařák, but much richer.

You’re better off finding a hotel not too far from the inner city’s medieval wall and walking. Leave your car at the hotel.

Opening day (Friday, 26. November 2010) 9.30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Mon-Thu 9.30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Fri -Sat 9.30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sun 10.30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
The last market day will be Friday, 24. December, 2010 (9.30 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

The main market is not recommended for small children; all the stalls have high shelves that kids can’t see, and maneuvering through the crowds with a buggy is maddening to everyone – children, you, and people trying to get around you. Bring kids to the nearby Nurnberger Kinderweihnachten instead.

Have a back-up plan in case your children get lost in the throng (we gave each child a safety whistle and business cards with our phone numbers) and locate a spot to regroup if people get separated. Keep valuables tight on your body.

The children’s market is deliberately “old-world” looking. It evokes a time hundreds of years ago – what Christmas must have been like in our grandparents’ day. That’s part of the appeal: small kids love it and adults love it becuase it’s such a departure from modern “Made In China” plastic bling-bling commercialism; older kids who are not easily impressed, however, might find the whole thing a bit lame. My children – 2 and 4 – are still very enthusiastic and easily impressed, so they loved the old fashioned rides and were delighted with the simple animated characters stop the various stalls. Use your judgment and know your child. The market itself is free to visit; the rides are 5 for 5 EUR, and a ride in the old-style horse coach costs 11 EUR for a family of four.

“I would only recommend taking children on a long trek to hang out at an outdoor market if they are going to be excited by the novelty of the food and decorations, or if they are old enough to do some shopping of their own. It’s crowded and cold, although Nuremberg itself is a fantastic city full of interesting shops and great restaurants and museums, so there’s lots to do besides just the market. The main market is bustling and charming – here they sell only traditional gifts like you would expect to see a hundred ago: dollhouses and miniatures, antique seals, and sealing wax, hand-crafted candles, “vintage” metal wind-up toys, wooden toys, exquisite tree ornaments, ceramics, and knitwear. A smaller market off to the side is the International Market – made up of stalls representing places like Italy and Scotland, that sell clothing, food, etc. from their representative countries. The third is the Children’s Chistmas market – which is just adorable: tucked in next to an enormous cathedral and offering Christmas-style model trains, a post office where you can send letters to Baby Jesus, and well-maintained old-fashioned rides like a double-decker carousel and a tiny ferris wheel.”

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Other places from the One for the weekend series:

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