How about strolling over a Christmasmarket in nice warm clothes, looking for new ideas for gifts and having a hot drink in-between to warm up?
We went around the different markets in the Ruhr area. Every one is different. Each one has its own specialities. But they are all nice and interesting.
The first Christmasmarket on our list was the nostalgic market in Hattingen. Already on our way to it we were lead by historic signs and passed by the house from mother Hulda. This house is also an Advent calendar. And mother Hulda herself opens a door each day and at the same time shakes her pillow. There might drop a gold taler or two.
Behind her house the historic market begins at the church square, surrounded by half timbered houses. There are only a few booths, but there is a DIY corner, where children can bake cookies. Here you can find a lot selfmade things. Pupils have designed fairy tale scenes. There is a nativity scene exhibition and Kindergarten children sing and perform a song on the small stage. The physical wellbeing is cared about very well.
Francophiles will love the French Christmasmarket on the other side of the street. Here you can find delicacies and good smelling things from France. And freshly prepared galettes or ‚Flammekuchen‘ are on the menu.
In case you had too much sweets at the Christmasmarket or too much of the hot wine punch, you can train the calories off at the banks of the Ruhr or get your head free from the pre-Christmas stress. If you get up early enough you might experience nice colours a beautiful light and a nice view.
In Essen you can not only visit the Christmas market but you have the chance to go ice skating at the old coke oven at Zeche Zollverein. What a setting! Between all the old rusty steel and the machinery and piping there is a skating rink with lights and music. You can rent the ice-skates and once in a while there is even a ice disco. When have you been the last time on skates? We had much fun, though it has been a couple of decades since we last stood on the skids…
If you are lucky, the sunset will be spectacular with nice colours behind the furnace. We could watch it from above. With a guide this observation deck is open to everybody. Beside the ice skating rink there is a small winter village with some food and drinks so you can spend quite some time there.
In the evening we went to see the Christmas market in the centre. Here you walk around under a net of lights. This is very romantic and you walk slow and easy underneath the lights. The booths are placed not too narrow so you have enough space to walk around and look around. Also in Essen there is some DIY activity. Here you can dip your own candle. It is supposed to be very ruminant as you need up to four hours for one candle…
Wer hoch hinaus will, kann mit dem Riesenrad fahren und sich gleich alles aus der Vogelperspektive angucken. Das Lichtnetz sieht nämlich auch von oben schön aus. Wem das zu hoch ist, der versucht vielleicht das barocke Karussell. Da geht es zwar auch rund, aber man bleibt zumindest am Boden.
If you want to get up high use the Ferris wheel so you can have a look from above. The net of lights looks beautiful from above. In case you do not like hight you might try the baroque merry-go-round. It also spins around but you stay on the ground.
There is also enough food and drink offered in Essen and here you drink from very nice glasses or cups. And of course there are very many booths with a lot of things offered that make a nice gift.
The next stop on our tour was Dortmund. There everything is huge. There is a big Advent calendar made from 24 containers. And when you walk along the streets and turn around a corner then there suddenly is a huge Christmas tree. It is supposed to be the biggest in the world. The numbers are impressive though.
Also the booths are bigger here. Everything is big. At the booth you find some special and unusual things. Inbetween food and drinks are offered like ‚Mutzen‘, potatoe fritter, bratwurst, roasted almonds and much much more…
Compared to the big market in Dortmund the Christmas market in Recklinghausen is small but nice. It can be found on three different places and it is affectionately designed. Here you can also find a net of lights at the ‚Holzmarkt‘ and some booths for grubbing, eating and drinking. Some Santa Claus figures are sitting at the corners, reading a book or looking at the visitors. You can get a hand painted portrait of yourself or you can kiss under a misteltoe. Just stroll around and get inspired.
At the church square you will find traditional handicraft and special street food. There are some booths from eastern neighbouring countries and one booth is reserved for good deeds. And there is also the Roncalli rondel with its classical circus style with a lot of paintings and light bulbs. Striking is that you get the hot wine punch served in bottles. Quite different.
At the town hall square there is more action. You can ice skate in a tent or go on the Ferris wheel. For those you like overviews.
Mülheim an der Ruhr
In Mülheim we had to visit the medieval Christmas market. It fits perfectly into the historical setting of the castle ‚Schloss Broich‘. The entrance at the gate is guarded like it was usual at former times. Instead of booths here you will find tents and many people are wearing robes. Old traditional handicraft is performed and you can buy different paraphernalia and garb. But you can get also other things. You can learn how to write with a real feather and there are a love of events: Story hours, nativity play – even in Latin we heard – and juggler and dancers. A hand operated wooden merry-go-round can also be admired.
At dusk and in the evening everything is lit by flare of fires from fire baskets, fireplaces and lanterns with candles. Drinks and food also differ from the usual offers at Christmas markets. Here you can get warm beer, mead and bread on stick or stews. A nice market for the whole family.
The Christmas market in Bochum has also something very interesting to offer. It is spread all over the center of the town. The booths can be find everywhere and some of them are really nice designed and decorated with lush festoons. Now and then they form groups like the ‚pitman village‘ or the medieval market.
So you can stroll through and get inspired. The offered products are very special so everybody might find something here. There is even a bar merry-go-round. The visitors of that bar get dizzy not because of too much hot wine punch but because this bar really goes around.
— Ruhr_Tourismus (@Ruhr_Tourismus) December 12, 2016
But the highlight seems to be Santa Claus in his sledge who flies over the ‚Dr.-Ruer-Platz‘. An unforgettable event and fun for the whole family.
Which Christmas market have you visited? And which is your favorite so far? Leave a comment.
All Photos © WaltzingMeurers