A day trip to Dortmund Christmas Markets!
When we think of the best Christmas markets in Europe Germany is certainly up there! Having done some quick research, we found that there were only a few of them open on December 26th, most close by December 23rd. So Last year we visited Dortmund, a city closeby that remained unexplored for us. That fact that is boasted the biggest Christmas tree in Germany at the time was certainly part of the draw.
After breakfast, we loaded the car and set out on the 2.5-hour journey to Dortmund. We expected our toddler to sleep at least half of the way but she decided otherwise: her nap lasted only 15 minutes! She was fine for the first hour in the car, singing, looking out the window, eating and playing, but then she got bored and upset. We decided not to stop and drive on. Music calmed her a bit and when we finally reached the city, things got much better – it was not the boring motorway anymore but lots of interesting sights to keep her occupied. Yes, we know about the existence of tablets and smartphones with kids’ cartoons and programs to distract but we prefer to avoid, or at least postpone, the digital addiction for our daughter as long as possible.
Once we arrived
The parking under the Dortmund Theater, the one we chose, happened to be very close to the Christmas market but there are other underground parking garages that are easily accessible and inexpensive closeby.
The market itself did not disappoint, stalls adorned with all kinds of tasty and crafty goods were spread throughout the whole city centre. Half meter bratwurst, gingerbread in various shapes and forms, honey of all kinds (finally we found our favourite Rapshonig, yum-yum!) smoked salmon, potatoes cooked in many different ways (fries, wholly baked, potato pancakes), fruit glazed in chocolate, and many more festive delicacies to satisfy any gourmet.
Souvenirs and Christmas present ideas are everywhere from jewellery, purses, and wallets to wool products and kitchen utensils-there is something for everyone!
To keep yourself warm, there were various hot drinks on offer, among them hot chocolate, punch, and of course, tasty mulled wine (Glühwein). I must say big respect to this part of the market – all the drinks were served in mugs, no plastic or paper cups. A deposit of 2.5 euro was to be paid for the mug which you got back upon returning the mug.
For the kids
The organizers thought of entertainment even for the littlest festive revelers. Merry-go-rounds with jolly kids on board were dotted around the centre. This is where our almost 2.5-year-old daughter tried it for the first time and after 2 rounds she was still in the mood to enjoy it more but a promise to find hot chocolate helped to persuade her to move on.
As the market spreads throughout the old city centre, it offers a nice opportunity to see the architecture and a little of Dortmund’s history. After a few hours strolling around, taking in the sights and sampling all the festive treats, the dark winter evening began to descend and the market started to get busier. It was time for us and our tired little toddler to head home!
Not all the trips turn out to be easy and enjoyable but this one was definitely a nice little adventure, short but memorable.
For more information on the Dortmund Christmas Markets click here!
Do you have a favourite Christmas Market? Let us know in the comments!