Germany Trip Plan:
Enjoy Christmas Markets in and around the Bavarian Forest

Germany trip plan: Enjoy Christmas Markets in and around the Bavarian Forest
Christmas Market Goodies
[ source: Flickr]

For centuries Christmas Markets have been an essential part of Advent in Germany and each year locals and visitors alike enjoy the traditional atmosphere with family and friends. In this special time of a year stay in the beautiful Bavarian Forest and visit Christmas Markets in Nuremberg, Regensburg, Thurn und Taxis Palace, Deggendorf and Castle Egg, Passau and Straubing.




Note: This is a trip plan (self-driving, stay in a vacation apartment, explore on your own)
Duration: 7 days
Recommended Destination Airport: Munich Airport

Trip Plan Details:

For centuries Christmas Markets have been an essential part of Advent in Germany and each year locals and visitors alike enjoy the traditional atmosphere with family and friends. In this special time of a year stay in the beautiful Bavarian Forest and visit Christmas Markets in Nuremberg, Regensburg, Thurn und Taxis Palace, Deggendorf and Castle Egg, Passau and Straubing.

From the start of the Advent season, 4 weeks before Christmas, there is a festive market in nearly all German cities and towns. In small villages you maybe find only few stalls decorated with pine branches and lanterns, while in the major cities you will be amazed by consciously cultivated magical atmosphere that surrounds the big markets with their wide range of Christmas decorations, seasonal gifts and local culinary delicacies. The most common drink sold is mulled sweetened wine called Glühwein. Often, the wine is served in ceramic mugs that have the town\'s name printed on them. Those popular mugs are often bought as a souvenir.

Cost Estimate:

We compiled some starting prices and rough estimates to help you better with your Germany trip planning.

Lodging: starting at $583 for 2 persons / 7 days
Admissions: starting at $350 for 2 persons / 7 days
Car Rental: starting at $420 / 7 days
Gas: starting at $180 / 7 days
Estimated Total Cost:2 persons, starting at $1533 / 7 days
 4 persons, starting at $2266 / 7 days

Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

Day 1: Arrival
Typical Christmas Market stall with sweets
[ source: Flickr]

Your new holiday apartment is perfectly located to discover some of the most beautiful Christmas Markets in and around the Bavarian Forest. Before you go on your first tour get to know your neighborhood, buy some groceries or have dinner in one of the local authentic Bavarian Restaurants.


Day 2: Straubing Christmas Market and Winter Fairy Tale Forest

Day 2: Straubing Christmas Market and Winter Fairy Tale Forest
Nativity Scene from around 1900, GNU, author: Andreas Praefcke
[ source: Wikipedia]

There are some most beautiful places you never heard of, Straubing is one of them. Just 15 minutes away from Regensburg along the River Danube lies this gorgeous Bavarian Town. Its huge market square hosts one of the more sophisticated market places with modernized hexagonal huts with beautiful red roofs and very elaborate decorations. Lights shine on all streets and squares, and the fresh scent of pines and Christmas baking s in the air. The main action is on the Theresienplatz, directly at the feet of the Gothic town tower. Christmas decorations, atmospheric concerts and traditional crafts invite you to linger. Try a local specialty called Maldauer, a kind of kielbasa served with a roll and mustard. You will enjoy the wonderful view of the 2nd Straubinger Advent Calendar, which covers with 100 square meter an entire building facade!

The Winter's Tale Forest displays more than 50 decorated and illuminated Christmas trees and in the event-tent, children await a lot of actions. Enjoy the magnificent views of this enchanted town at one of the guided tower tours offered at Christmas time. Another guided tour will take you through the Straubinger Krippenweg with its incredible variety of cribs, be it at the crib altar in the hospital or the Baroque church of Nativity of the Carmelites. The Gäubodenmuseum as well as private owners kindly provide every year different nativity exhibits from their own collections. Opening hours for the Christmas Market are daily from 10 A.M. to 8 P.M.


Day 3: Christmas Market in Passau at the Cathedral

Day 3: Christmas Market in Passau at the Cathedral
Christmas Star decoration
[ source: Flickr]

Passau is easily reached by train or public bus and with the pleasant smell of Lebkuchen, gingerbread, baked apples and beeswax you know Christmas is in the air. The Christmas Market is held each year in the charming old town of Passau against the splendid backdrop of the Cathedral of St. Stephen. In the 4 weeks before Christmas Eve on the 24th of December, the tastefully decorated Market Square offers a unique flair and a range of high-quality products. Discover the tastes of regional specialties, as well as a variety of different crafts created by artistic skills that have almost fallen into oblivion. Enjoy a big bag of Heisse Maroni, roasted chestnuts! Musical performances take place every day. Opening hours: Mondays-Thursdays 10 A.M.-8 P.M., Fridays-Saturdays 10 A.M.-9 P.M and Sundays 11.30 A.M.-8 P.M.


Day 4: Medieval Christmas Market at Castle Egg and Deggendorf Christmas Market

Day 4: Medieval Christmas Market at Castle Egg and Deggendorf Christmas Market
Medieval Cristmas Market flair
[ source: Flickr]

In Bernried, near Deggendorf lies the Beautiful Castle Egg and here you will get into the real Christmas mood. Medieval displays and traditional Christmas stalls make Christmas a magical experience. Stroll through the Christmas market; enjoy a traditional mulled wine and many other local savory and sweets. Stalls sell crafts, Christmas decorations, toys and much more extraordinary items. Santa Claus will join to read Christmas stories to the daily visitors and wish all a peaceful Christmas time.

In Deggendorf glistening Christmas decorations, twinkling lights, Christmas carols and delicious delicacies await you. An impressive pre-Christmas bustle in the surroundings of the Old Town Hall and in the pedestrian zone of the Upper town square can be expected. A special Christmas program with parties and live music provide extra entertainment on all weekends. When you walk through the downtown area you can admire a variety of the Nativity cribs while enjoying the bright lights of the atmospheric streets and squares. The City Museum offers a special exhibition of baroque Cribs with a variety of the most magnificently dressed figures. The Holy Family with the heralds, shepherds and gift-bearers are presented in addition to exotic and native animals and plants. Visit the historic Town Hall tower with keepers dwelling and enjoy the views over the snow-covered rooftops and let yourself be enchanted by the festive mood! The Christmas Market is open on Weekdays between 10.30 A.M.-8 P.M. and Sundays from 12 A.M.-8 P.M.


Day 5: Christmas Market in Nuremberg

Day 5: Christmas Market in Nuremberg
Zwetschgenmännle (Prune People), popular souvenir
[ source: Flickr]

Well worth the 2 hours drive is the most famous Christmas market of all and one of the oldest! The main market is in the Hauptmarkt with very high quality stalls selling traditional gifts, food and drinks. The tempting aromas of mulled wine, sweet roasted almonds, Nuremberg sausages and gingerbread create an unforgettable atmosphere in the Old Town decorated in its Christmas regalia. The world-famous Christkindlesmarkt lies right at the heart of it with its more than 400 years of tradition. The Nuremberg Children's Christmas is just around the corner from the Christkindlesmarkt. Here a child's fairy tale dreamland comes true with a magnificent two-tiered nostalgia carrousel based on old originals with reindeer and Father Christmas sleighs, plus a mini Ferris wheel, a steam railway and a small merry-go-round. Many decorative little stalls invite the children to join in handicraft activities such as Christmas baking, candle-pulling, glass workshop, wood burning, handicrafts stall, a children's post office and the active playhouse. Santa Claus listens to the children's wishes and poses for photos with the little ones. The unique Nuremberg Christmas Angel visits regularly the Children's Christmas and invites all the children to a free ride on the nostalgia carrousel at the Christkindlesmarkt. Opening hours: Mondays-Thursdays 09.30 A.M.-8 P.M., Fridays-Saturdays 9.30-10 P.M. and Sundays 10.30 A.M.-8 P.M., on Christmas Eve 9.30 A.M.-2 P.M. only.


Day 6: Medieval style Christmas Market at the Thurn und Taxis Palace and Regensburg

Day 6: Medieval style Christmas Market at the Thurn und Taxis Palace and Regensburg
Dampfnudel bakery, local specialty, CC, author: Túrelio
[ source: Wikipedia]

Today your excursion will lead you to the home palace of the family Thurn und Taxis. This palace in the UNESCO-World heritage city of Regensburg is the setting for one of Germany's most atmospheric Christmas markets. It is less commercial than some markets with craftsmen demonstrating their skills and a wide range of food and drinks, including a hog roast! A myriad Christmas lights, candles, lanterns and flaming torches set against the picturesque backdrop of this wonderful palace bestow this Christmas market with a very special flair. The inner courtyard is the temporary home to a magnificently decorated Christmas tree whilst the stalls are abuzz with blacksmiths, candle- and crib-makers, glass blowers, lantern makers and the famous Hutmacher am Dom, all offering their unique and unusual wares. Try a wild boar kebab, freshly smoked salmon, an Upper Palatinate specialty of Christmas and a hot punch and mulled wine. Adding to the festive atmosphere are the dulcet tones of choirs, orchestras and musical ensembles. Children of all ages love it here with old-fashioned roundabouts and Punch and Judy shows all adding to the excitement. Opening times: Mondays-Wednesdays 12.00 A.M.-10 P.M., Thursdays-Saturdays 12.00 A.M.-11 P.M. and Sundays 10.00 A.M.-10 P.M. Entrance fees for adults is €3.50-5.50, children aged 6-16 €1, under the age of 6 years free.

Regensburg has 2 more Christmas Markets. One is held at the Neupfarrplatz and can look back to 400 years of tradition. It is thought that this market, right in the middle of the venerable Imperial Town on the Danube, has been attracting crowds during Advent since the beginning of the 17th century. Many local specialties, including berry Glühweins from the Bavarian Forest and apple Glühwein from the Oberpfalz, local sausages such as a Bavarian Rindswurst, beef sausage with mustard, or a half meter long sausage in a baguette, Dampfnudeln, a white bread, possibly served with vanilla and poppy-seed sauce, Lebkuchen, toasted almonds, roasted chestnuts and more are here on offer. The performances of the world-famous Regensburg boys' choir, the Cathedral Sparrows, Domspatzen, add to the Christmas Markets fame. Guided tours are conducted through the seasonally decorated Old Town, which is a unique gem of Gothic architecture. At the Haidplatz and Kohlenmarkt the Lucrezia Arts & Crafts Market takes place. This Crafts men's Christmas Market has been for many years a welcomed addition to the traditional goods on sale.


Day 7: Departure

Day 7: Departure
Merry Christmas
[ source: Flickr]

A week full of Christmas spirit, beautiful markets and delicious food is over and its time to think of returning back home. Remember, Christmas comes once a year and you can always come back for more. The Bavarian Forest has many more beautiful places and festive Christmas Markets to explore!


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Bayerisch Eisenstein

Bayerisch Eisenstein
[ source: Flickr ]

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  • Instead of eating out in restaurants most of the time your vacation rental apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen. By preparing your breakfast and dinner yourself you can save lots of money, but you can also live a more authentic Germany vacation by trying out local foods and recipes. (see some German recipe suggestions.)
  • Use public transportation instead of a rental car. We provide you with links and details on how to get around using public transportation. Check out the corresponding Live Like a German travel guide for more details.

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