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The Most Christmassy Town in Germany

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

It is surrounded by imposing stone city walls, and as you enter through it’s gates you are drawn street by street to a succession of living Christmas cards. Its spires and tiled rooftops add further authenticity when they become covered by fallen snow. As you meander through the cobbled streets you will be in awe of the amazing succession of stalls and shops selling yuletide decorations, traditional Christmas pastries, Bavarian sausages and mulled wine (Gluwein) as well as many other handcrafted gifts and decorations. This is Rothenburg ob der Tauber, probably Germany’s most Christmassy city!

We visited Rothenburg whilst staying in nearby Nuremberg and it is a fabulous day excursion.

Rothenburg’s traditional Christmas market began in the 15th century and it has kept much of the early traditions for over 500 years with many cultural traditions being retained. Known as the Reiterlesmarket which refers to the “Rothenburg Riders” which were said to be messengers from another world who floated through the skies of Rothenburg with souls of the departed in winter months. Today, the messenger’s appearance is a welcome part of Rothenburg’s Christmas season.

Among the shops and stores of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the famous Kathe Wohlfahrt which has stores in many countries, including our own city of York (in Stonegate). Rothenburg is the home of Kathe Wohlfahrt and it attracts visitors from all over the world, drawn there by over 30,000 traditional German Christmas decorations. Even if you just wander through it’s store you will be overwhelmed with inspiration and ideas to transform your own Christmas display.

This year, 2018, the Rothenburg Reiterlesmarket runs from 30 November through until 23 December, so if you want to shake off a commercial Christmas and experience a traditional German Christmas market then give Rothenburg a go.

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