A HOLIDAY HEAP // The magic of Christmas in Europe.

A HOLIDAY HEAP // The magic of Christmas in Europe.


There’s no question that Europe really, truly loves and embraces the Christmas season. Here in Germany they may not coat their houses in Christmas lights (I’m sure energy conservation is a factor) but absolutely everybody lives and breathes the markets, gluhwein (mulled hot wine) and dazzling displays all around town.

I’ve been so fortunate that I’ve been able to visit a zillion Christmas markets all over Europe over the past few years. This year though, I visited just my 3 absolute favorite.

Christmas_0066Heidelberg, Germany

Home, sweet home! The markets in Heidelberg infiltrate nearly all the squares in the Old Town. The Hauptstrasse, the longest pedestrian-only street in Europe, connects all of them. Visitors, students and locals return loyally night after night to drink tasty gluhwein, socialize, and ice skate. For two special weeks a market is even setup on the grounds of the castle which overlooks the city.

Our buddy Vince joined us for an afternoon of sausages and cheer!

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Directly below the castle is my favorite beer hall/brewery in all of Germany – Kulturbrahaus. It’s BEAUTIFUL and offers absolutely delicious traditional German dishes as well as their crazy-delicious beer. This is our go-to spot when we have visitors.

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Strasbourg, France

Recently named the #1 Christmas Market in Europe (beating out Vienna) Strasbourg is an absolute spectacle. First, it’s got that great French charm swirled together with adorable cross-timbered German construction. There are zillions of markets throughout the city, my favorites being the one in La Petite France and by the Notre Dame of Strasbourg church. The icing on the cake though – unlike anywhere else I’ve visited, they go absolutely CRAZY decorating the sides of the buildings. HUGE lit displays of wreaths, reindeer, ribbons, flowers, you name it, adorn the windows above.

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When in France we dine on crepes! Oui?!

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 Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Perhaps the North Pole of Europe, Rothenburg is cookie-cutter perfect. A small, walled Roman village, the residents here take the holiday very, very seriously. Christmas spirit feels tangible and holiday cheer contagious. Not the most accessible of destinations the delightful village still reels in tourists far and wide. One of our favorite stops was in the original Kathe Wohlfahrt store. Glistening rooms of ornaments and decorations staged as an indoor village.

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From our home to yours, MERRY CHRISTMAS dear friends!


  • Wow! I bet it would be impossible to feel like a Grinch in places such as those. Just look at all that holiday cheer!

    Have a merry and blessed Christmas! 🙂

    Paola // Resuscitate

  • This is so so so adorable! Gah, I miss you and Dan!!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

  • The slow pace

    Merry Christmas!!! You should come to Bremen next year! Our Christmas markets are the best: small, charming and beautiful!!!

  • Heidleburg is just too dreamy! Merry Christmas!!

  • I’m in AWE of that old man handpainting ornaments! Unbelievable! Merry, merry Christmas 🙂

  • this all looks so festive! definitely a far cry from the holidays in Taiwan. Merry Christmas!

  • Merry Christmas!

  • I’m sad that we missed out on heading to the Heidelberg Christmas Market together this year! I hope we can make it in 2015, though! 🙂 And I’m sure there will be plenty of other events around Heidelberg that we can check out together! 🙂 I hope you and Dan had a great holiday season in London and will start off the year on a bang! 🙂

  • MyTravelingTroop

    Wow! Your blog post with its gorgeous photos and descriptions just inspired me to add a number of places to my travel-bucket list. We spent last Christmas in Paris and wouldn’t mind making Christmases in Europe an annual tradition!

  • Wrightnest

    Love reading this, we moved to the Heidelberg area in July! The Christmas markets are amazing. Will put Strasbourg and Rothenburg od der Taub on our list for next year!

    • Hi! That’s so exciting that you just moved to Heidelberg, welcome! I’d be happy to show you around sometime 😀 Feel free to email me at – theoverseasescape@gmail.com

  • Those places look amazing to visit during the holidays! Hopefully next year I can plan a Christmas trip to Europe!

  • Beth

    We moved from the U.S. to Germany about 3 weeks ago and I’m absolutely loving your blog!! I’ve been reading ALL of your EU travel posts, and I dare say I might copy some of your itineraries since you’ve visited several places on our travel spreadsheet. I was so excited to arrive during Christmas market season, and we made it to 5 markets (including Rothenburg). Strasbourg is at the top of my list for next year. December really is a magical time in Europe!

    • Hi Beth, I’m sorry I’m just now seeing this comment! Glad you’re enjoying the blog and best wishes in all your travels! 🙂

  • This is great! I love how you have embraced this time of year and have really explored and shared the best! Happy New Year!

  • How fun! Some year I’ll make it to Europe to experience a Christmas market! Thanks for sharing your favorites!

  • April

    Hi! I love your blog. My husband and I are traveling to Germany the first 3 weeks of December, could you suggest where you might go with this time?

  • Oh, how I miss the Weihnachtsmarkts in Germany! I love your photos and your blog!