It even has a Ferris wheel
This year, not only did we pay homage to Cologne, we also ventured further up the Rhine to experience how Düsseldorf celebrates this enchanting time of the year….and we certainly weren’t disappointed.
Our preferred mode of transport for visiting these markets is always the car. That way it doesn’t matter how many gifts we return with or how much gingerbread (Lebkuchen as the Germans say) we stock up on, there’s room for it all.
We always choose to catch Le Shuttle as the crossing only takes 35 minutes.
Then from Calais where it disembarks, it is around 250 miles (400km) to Düsseldorf, this should take around 4 hours, weather dependent.
To whet your festive appetite, Düsseldorf, the capital of the region North Rhine-Westphalia, has 7 Christmas markets.
Additionally, in Burgplatz on the bank of the River Rhine, is the eye-catching Ferris wheel ‘Wheel of Vision’, with a Christmas Village at its feet.
Although the 7 markets are dotted around the city, they are in easy walking distance of each other and much of the town is pedestrianised.
The first of the markets, and one of the largest, is nestled in front of the Rathaus (city hall) in Marktplatz, which is in the heart of Altstadt.
This market has a great bustling vibe and has a lovely selection of local crafts which you can watch them being demonstrated by the local craftsmen and women.
As a staple of all German markets are the wonderful food stalls, and Düsseldorf is no exception, bratwurst is in abundance and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
There is even a 100-year-old Carousel.
To keep the Christmassy theme flowing through the town, from Marktplatz you are naturally drawn along Flinger Strasse.
This is a colourful market with the focal point being the rotating traditional pyramid tower.
Underneath which you would be forgiven if you stop for a heartwarming Gluhwein.
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After your festive refreshment, continue along to Heinrich-Heine-Platz, where you will be greeted with a vision of thousands of twinkling gold lights.
The ‘Angel Market’ theme is enchanting, the centerpiece nestled in the middle of it all is the stunning Art Nouveau bandstand. For Christmas, this is transformed into a parasol of glimmering lights, that encases a haven of hot chocolate and Gluhwein.
Effortlessly you are drawn into the 4th market in Stadtbruckchen, the theme in this courtyard is the ‘Little Star Market’ (Sternchenmarkt). With its glistening silver stars and crystals above you shining down on snow-covered huts.
For the little visitors, there is a delightful little carousel.
Just a short stroll across Konigsallee you enter Düsseldorfs smart shopping district, here you will stumble upon the 5th market in Schadowplatz.
Although you are in a modern part of the town the lovely wooden wintry cabins transports your imagination to an enchanting faraway place.
It’s a bustling market and there is a fine selection crafts to be tempted with, along with currywurst and more refreshments.
Not to be overshadowed by ‘Schadowplatz’ and ‘Schadowstrasse’, the 6th market is in Jan-Wellem-Platz, and is home to Düsseldorfs ice rink. Here you will find people of all ages trying to master their pirouettes.
The little cabins that line Ko-Bogen are a delight, tempting you with salmon, raclette, crepes and gingerbread, just to name but a few.
All set against the back drop of some amazing modern architecture.
The decorative wooden cabins line the street, tempting Christmas shoppers out of the larger stores, for that item just a little bit different from the norm.
Burgplatz & the wheel
If all these markets weren’t tickling your Christmas taste buds, then head to Burgplatz where I previously mentioned the Ferris wheel.
This temporary structure is 55m high and has 42 rotating heated gondolas. The views along the Rhine and over the Altstadt (Old Town) are fantastic. Journey around a few revolutions and see all the church spires piercing up through the city.
725 years in one monument
If you are at Burgplatz during the day or have just had a promenade along the Rhine, there are few other things that will catch you eye here.
Firstly, the Alter Schlossturm the old palace tower now a shipping museum ‘Schifffahrt Museum’, you won’t miss the building as it looks like a lighthouse.
Then there is the statue to the Radschlager (cartwheeler) an emblem of Düsseldorf.
The custom of cartwheeling dates back to 1288 when children spun to celebrate the success at the battle of Worringen.
Now this ale is a unique to Düsseldorf and is brewed by 5 different microbreweries around the Altstadt.
You must try and give it ago, a couple of the brauhaus that we can recommend and that serve it direct form the barrel are Brauerei zum Schlüssel, which serves Schlüssel Alt.
The other 3 brewers are Füchschen, Uerige and Brauerei Kürzer
Where we stayed
We chose a lovely central apartment named Square Rooms which had everything you would expect. Pino who greeted us was really friendly and helpful and informed us that all the drinks and food in the mini bar were complimentary.
Düsseldorf is quite well known as a fashion city and has some very select stores. So be careful that these boutiques don’t distract you from the markets.
Also, there is a wonderful Lindt chocolate shop here and the hot chocolate is amazing. You can indulge yourself in a steaming mug of dark, milk or white hot chocolate.
Don’t forget to take home one of the many souvenir Christmas market mugs, there are always lots to choose from and make a great Christmas decoration and a memory for years to come.
Just a few points to note;
If you wish to fly, it only takes about 1 hour 15 minutes from London.
You really need to book early as these markets are very popular.
Although all these markets are fantastic to visit during the day, they really come alive in the evenings, don’t miss it.
Be warned these markets become extremely busy at the weekends, particularly in the evenings. Children may feel a bit swamped with the crowds.
Dress warm and comfortable…..essential.
Germany’s Christmas markets are really for all ages, don’t be put off that it is all for children, it really isn’t. We are all big kids at heart…..
Inspired to visit Düsseldorf at Christmas?
A stylish city that gives itself over to to the season. Why not wander around and discover it’s many markets?
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