Local Christmas markets begin Eifel's holiday season

  • Published
  • By Iris Reiff
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Annual Weihnachtsmaerkte, or Christmas markets, are springing up in many towns throughout the country, to include the Eifel area. Almost every mid-size town has its own unique Christmas market offering the aromas of fresh fir, Christmas baked goods, waffles, candies and sweet breads, which help people get into the Christmas spirit.


Vendors and craftsmen set up their goods in little wooden huts or stands, usually decorated with fir branches and Christmas finery. Most of the merchandise sold at a Weihnachtsmarkt is characteristic of the season, and children’s eyes light up with joy at the sight of the many treasures piled high in the booths.


A variety of decorative Christmas tree ornaments are offered, such as golden paper angels, multi-colored balls, garlands, all sorts of sweets and a large selection of handicraft items, toys and trinkets. Gluehwein, a traditional hot, spiced wine, is available at most markets.


Also, many large and small towns in the local area offer unique markets including Dudeldorf and Manderscheid, two communities located right at the doorstep of the base.


The Dudeldorf Christmas market is one of the larger markets in the immediate Eifel area on Nov. 26-27


The Dudeldorf Christmas market has become quite popular over the years, attracting people from all over Germany. This market takes place Nov. 26-27, for the 31st time. The market is nestled within a scenic community, featuring charming houses and quaint medieval corners.


Numerous vendors sell food and Christmas crafts in small wooden huts set up in the town streets. Entertainment includes concerts at the local church, displays and art exhibitions throughout the market.


On schedule is an entertainment program on both days, including bagpipe performances, and on both days Sankt Nikolaus will hand out treats to children in the afternoon. Musicians and singers will perform Christmas music and chorales.


Exhibitions and entertainment will also occur inside the community’s Burg castle ruins, at the “Alte Brauhaus” and in basements of houses.

The Dudeldorf market starts at Nov. 26 at noon and Nov. 27 at 11 a.m.  


There is a 1 Euro entry fee to this market. A raffle takes place Nov. 27 on the stage near the church, where people can win nice prizes with their entry tickets. 


Oberkail road Christmas market on Dec. 3-4


The Oberkail Advent celebration and market is small, but possibly the closest holiday event to the base. Activities will start off at 2 p.m. Dec. 3 with welcome words by a community official and with a children’s dance group performance following at 2:30 p.m.


The Spangdahlem men’s choir will be on stage at 3 p.m. with a children’s musical to follow at 4 p.m. and a clarinette group performance at 5 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., the “Clouds and Sunshine Trio” band will offer entertainment for visitors. The market closes around 8 p.m. Dec. 3.


Activities continue Dec. 4 with the opening of market stands at 11 a.m., following a church service. The afternoon will feature a children’s flute concert at 1 p.m., a performance by the Oberkail-Binsfeld church choir at 2 p.m., a performance by the Saint Michael Oberkail kindergarden children at 3 p.m., a performance by the Kyllburg Tanzgruppe dancing group at 4 p.m., and a children’s Zumba dance performance at 5 p.m.


The German Sankt Nikolaus will surprise children in the afternoon on both days of the event. In addition, music will be provided throughout the market by the Oberkail music association. There will be an exhibition with 30 Christmas mansions for people interested in seeing such a display.  


Manderscheid castles offers a scenic market Nov. 26-27


Also the community of Manderscheid invites the Eifel military community to their most scenic Castle Christmas market, Nov. 26-27. Events and entertainment take place in the famous Niederburg upper castle and within the castle’s ring. Thousands of visitors have attended past events.


Large-scale entertainment is scheduled. Highlights include a live Christmas mansion and castle tourchlight illumination in the evening. Vendors’ booths offer wooden toys, engraved works, holiday incense oils, Christmas figure art, craft items, pearl works, silver jewelry and much more. A variety of traditional holiday foods are also available throughout the event.


The Manderscheid Christmas market is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Nov. 26 and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Nov. 27. Entry to the castle is free.  People may park in the town of Manderscheid and opt to take the shuttle bus from either Ceresplatz, from the Manderscheid Rathaus city hall, or from the Burgenblick Parkplatz, to and from the castles.


For more information, call castle officials at 06572-737 or the Manderscheid administrative office at 06572-932665.


Large-scale Traben-Trarbach underground Christmas market popular Nov. 25-Jan. 3


The annual Traben-Trarbach underground Christmas market is unique in the region and takes place Nov. 25-27 and Dec. 2-4, Dec. 9-11 and Dec. 16-12, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The market will be open Dec. 22 thru Jan. 3, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Opening times are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Dec. 31. “Wine-Night” shopping (translates to Weihnacht, which is Christmas) will be Dec. 17, from 11 a.m. to midnight. The market will remain closed Dec. 24-25.


Holiday displays and decorated market stands are spread out over more than half a dozen large, wine cellars, dating back to the 16th century, and which are all located underground. The theme of this year’s market is “Wine, Pleasure and Culture”. People can smell the aroma of spiced wine, roasted almonds and fir springs as they walk in. A large variety of products will be available for seeing and shopping.  Various food and beverage stands are incorporated in the cellars, offering a mix of different holiday specialties, which are typical for the season. Items include Christmas cakes, gingerbread, cookies and waffles, holiday decoration and lights, ornaments, handcraft items, winter clothes, jewelry, candles, scents, wine and more. 

Traben-Trarbach also has an outdoor ice skating rink for visitors. Opening times are Nov. 25 through Dec. 18, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. or Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays. The rink remains open Dec. 22 until Jan. 3, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., weekdays, and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. On Dec. 17, the rink is open from 11 a.m. to midnight and on 31 Dec. it is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on group visits or in reference to the opening times, call 06541-83980.    


Trier Christmas market dates back more than two decades and takes place Nov. 26 through Dec. 22


A very special market, which dates back more than two decades is located right at the door-steps of the base, in Trier.

In the heart of the city, more than 90 decorated wooden huts will offer Christmas merchandise, ranging from Christmas ornaments, holiday decorations, wooden toys, candles, figurines ,hand-blown and engraved glassware to regular gift articles, ceramics and lambskin shoes.


Every day, hundreds of visitors flock into the city and enjoy the fun. The market has long become a famous meeting point for students from the Trier University, who gather here to exchange ideas and have fun. During the day, tourists and shoppers enjoy the aromas of hot chestnuts or ginger breads as they walk by. Many of them like to take a break here to have a snack or beverage. Food items offered range from the popular Bratwurst sausage to potato pancakes or the tasty Dampfnudel (sweet dumpling,) covered with hot vanilla sauce. Traditional beverages are hot, spiced wines or hot chocolates with various added flavors. Entertainment, usually scheduled for late afternoons or evenings, include band and choir performances. Christmas music is of course played. The German Saint Nikolaus (Santa) delights children as he walks through the streets of town. After seeing Santa, the small ones may opt to take a ride on a historical carousel or enjoy watching a puppet play.


Like every year city officials claim they would love to welcome their American friends from the base at the Trier Christmas market. People don’t know what they miss out on if they don’t come to Trier for the market, they say.


People may get a photo taken with German Santa Dec. 3 at 4 p.m., Dec. 10 at 3 p.m., Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. or Dec. 19 at 3 p.m. The location is the stage in the market square near the carousel. English is spoken and pets are welcome.


A concert by the USAFE Band is scheduled from 4 to 5 p.m.,  Dec. 16. In addition there will be music associations and choirs performing Christmas songs, to include Gospel music and singing, Christmas readings, puppet theaters and much more. 


Trier’s Christmas market takes place all throughout the medieval market square as well as in front of the grand backdrop of the Trier Dom cathedral. It’s illuminations at night add to the atmosphere.


Why not combine a visit to the Christmas market with a shopping spree before the holidays? Many stores will remain open until 8 p.m. and some until 10 p.m. now until Christmas. For shoppers who cannot find the appropriate gift in a store, the Christmas market makes a great option.


The Trier Christmas market takes place Monday through Dec. 22. The official opening at 5 p.m. includes welcome words by the mayor and a nice entertainment program.


Opening times are Mondays through Wednesdays, from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.


Bernkastel-Kues, a scenic tourist town hosts medieval market, Nov. 19-21


Bernkastel hosts its 39th medieval Christmas market Nov. 19 through Dec. 24, offering more than 50 decorated sales huts near the Baerenbrunnen fountain in the town's market square and throughout the pedestrian area. Opening times are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays. The market is closed Nov. 20.


Highlight events on the first day of the opening, Nov. 19, will feature Seniors of Swing, who will provide U.S. Christmas songs on Bernkastel Karlsbad Platz. The official opening with welcome words is at 5 p.m., with entertainment following. At this time, Santa will arrive in a slide and sweets will be handed out to the children. Santa will be lead into the market square with drummers and trumpet players. This is a nice spectacle.


Many highlight events are scheduled to take place Nov. 21-Dec. 18 in conjunction with the market. An outdoor ice skating rink will officially open at 10:30 a.m., Nov. 26 on Forumsplatz in the Kues part of the city. A special 450-square meter LEGO display can be seen at 10 a.m., Nov. 26 inside the museum building of Cloister Machern, located outside of Zeltingen-Rachtig and on the way to Bernkastel. Entry is 5 Euro for adults and 3 Euro for children, age 6-12. 


Wittlich Christmas market is scheduled for Nov. 25 through Dec. 21


Wittlich has a Christmas market scheduled to take place Nov. 25 through Dec. 21 in the center of town, on Platz an der Lieser. Opening times are 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., daily. The market remains open until 8:30 on weekends. Highlights include regional, homemade and handcrafted items, and a vast entertainment program, to include Christmas carols, music and additional program highlights on Dec. 9 and on weekends. Stores will remain open in the pedestrian area for Christmas shoppers 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27.


Bitburg hosts a Christmas market Nov. 30-Dec. 11


The city of Bitburg will host their annual Christmas market Nov. 30-11 on Spittel Platz, a pedestrian area that was just remodeled in the center of the city.


Many Christmas treats to include traditional cookies, but also Germany’s famous Gluehwein spiced wine, sausages and regular food items will be available at the market. Sales stands will offer seasonal products to the visitors and entertainment is scheduled. Visit www.weihnachtsmarkt-bitburg.de for more information and opening times.