The world famous Christmas market in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg has been cancelled this year due to a rise in corona virus cases.
Even though Germany has so far faired quite well with the second wave of the corona virus compared to other European countries, the country nonetheless is dealing as well with a recent surge in COVID-19 infections.
With there being no end in sight of the pandemic, the authorities in the city of Nuremberg (Nürnberg in German) have just decided that the local Christmas market will not take place this year.
It is a major blow for those who had the slightest hopes to seek out some of the traditional Christmas atmosphere and some festive vibes on a trip through Germany.
Called the ‘Christkindlesmarkt’ in German (literally: Christ child market), the Christmas market in Nuremberg, Bavaria’s second largest city, is arguably the most famous of all German Christmas markets and certainly is one of its largest.
Although there are well over 2,000 annual Christmas markets in almost any city or town of size in Germany, the one in Nuremberg attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world each year.
When I visited the market last year, I was surprised by the amount of people speaking in English, Spanish and Italian, as there seemed to be a large number of tourists making special weekend trips to Germany in the weeks prior to Christmas.
According to local media, the German Christmas markets draw 160 million visitors each year and bring in up to five billion euro in revenue.
Other Christmas markets
It is not known if other Christmas markets in the wider Franconia region in which Nuremberg is located, such as the famous market in the picturesque town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, will open this year.
Other cities which are often visited by foreign tourists for their Christmas markets such as Cologne, Dusseldorf, Aachen, Frankfurt, Dresden and Leipzig, still have to decide as well whether their markets will open this year.
Most German Christmas markets traditionally open in the first week of December and remain open until Christmas or even New Year’s Day.
They are popular among both locals and tourists for their small handicraft and candy stalls, as well as for traditional beverages and meals such as gluhwein (mulled wine), roasted chestnuts and sausages.
Alternative Christmas markets
If most of the German Christmas markets would indeed remain closed, there might be alternatives found in other countries. In Austria, Vienna has a popular Christmas market with an absolutely huge ice rink.
The Czech capital of Prague is another city famous for its annual Christmas market, as are the French towns in the eastern region of Alsace-Lorraine (Elsass-Lothringen) such as Strassbourg, Metz and Colmar – all towns with historic German influences.
A personal favourite of mine can be found in the Transylvanian city of Sibiu in Romania, which hosts the country’s most beautiful Christmas market.
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