The Frankfurt Christmas Market

by Sarah on December 15, 2012

Frankfurt Christmas market

During Advent, the darkest days of winter are also the brightest.  In Germany it is especially festive with street markets bringing people outside even in frigid, inhospitable weather. This tradition has been an annual event since the Middle Ages in many towns and villages of Germany, the Alsace region in France and Tyrol in Italy. Today Christmas Markets are a regular feature across much of the European continent and have been adopted in Canada, the United States and as far off as Singapore and Japan.

Frankfurt Christmas Market

Above: The Bavarian Christmas tree is 30 meters tall

Lebkuchen, gingerbread cookies, frankfurt christmas market

 Above: Lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies)

With a few hours to spare in Frankfurt before my Sunday evening flight, I wanted to go to the best party in town. There is no need for an invitation and or even a specific address- stretching across the heart of the old city, it is impossible to miss.  With the aptly named St Nicholas Church residing over the square, Frankfurt’s Christmas market is one of the oldest and largest in Germany.  There are over 200 colorfully decorated stalls offering everything from tasty treats, gifts, Christmas ornaments and the usual festival knickknacks.

Frankfurt Christmas Market

Hours since our breakfast croissant in Ribeauville, we were lured by the street food vendors. First, crisp, steaming kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) washed down by a mug of glühwein (mulled wine) to subdue our hunger. When we passed a display of schokokuss in every conceivable flavor (Israelis recognize them as crembo, Americans as Mallomars) I naturally had to stop there too. And how could I leave Frankfurt without trying their bratwursts? Just as I wiped the last of the mustard off my face I discovered poffertjes, adorable mini pancakes from Holland. “Do you want them plain or stuffed with nutella or cherries?” Hmm, the difficult decisions one has to make.  On our way out, I spied a booth selling frankfurters and sauerkraut. Since I didn’t know when I would be back in Frankfurt, I ordered a plate as my husband looked on, incredulous “how are you going to eat all that?!” I did, along with generous glugs of apfelwein (apple wine).

Frankfurt Christmas market, kartoffelpuffer, potato pancakes

Above: Kartoffelpuffer or potato pancakes

crembo, schokokusse

Above: Schokokusse which I tried in orange, almond and mint

Frankfurt Christmas market, frankfurter, bratwursts

Above: A variety of sausages

poffertjes , little pancakes from holland

Above: Poffertjes, little pancakes, in this case stuffed with cherries

Glühwein , mulled wine, frankfurt christmas market

Above: Gluhwein, mulled wine

Frankfurt Christmas Market

Above: The market Christmas tree and St Nicholas Church

Later, struggling against a food coma, a flight attendant rolled by with her trolley and asked innocently “Would you like some dinner?”

 More on the Frankfurt Christmas Market:

Frankfurt Christmas Market : A Non-Instagram Photo Tour

Frankfurt’s Traditional Christmas Markets

The Frankfurt Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market)

A big thanks to my twitter friends for the recommendations!



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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa December 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

Thanks for the lovely visit! I’d love to go to Germany and stroll around this kind of Xmas market.




Sarah December 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Rosa, Do you have Christmas Markets where you live?


Silvia December 15, 2012 at 11:11 am

Healthy appetite :)
When savouring different cultures(cuisines) I’m too in awe of myself over all the things I’m capable of eating that under other circumstances I would be not.
Oh, I’m so longing for mulled wine.


Sarah December 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Silvia, I did get a bit carried away, but all in good fun :-)


Eha December 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Oh Sarah, thank you! Always having visited Europe spring > autumn, I have been to none of these fabulous markets: have even thought of doing one of the Rhine cruises before Yule, as the ships stop at quite a number of these! I do hope you won’t mind if I share with some likeminded friends who were born up north, but now have Christmas in summer heat . . .


Sarah December 15, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Eha, I’m glad you enjoyed my virtual tour and hope your friends do too. The season I miss the most from my own childhood is autumn and hope one day to visit then.


Yael December 16, 2012 at 8:34 am

Those little cherry pancakes look so good. Would love some. It was a lovely virtual tour.


Yoni Livne December 16, 2012 at 11:34 am

I’ve been dying to go to Germany … so many delicious dishes to try, right? I’d love to pay a visit to the Frankfurt and visit the Christmas market. It looks like a very exciting journey!

P.S I’m enjoying your blog a lot! Looking forward to read more :)


IshitaUnblogged December 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Hopped onto this from Sally’s of My Custard Pie’s tweet… We were living in Frankfurt for almost 2 years and how I miss these markets… your beautiful post just stirred up a whole lot of emotions!

Can never forget Christmas market – i’s so strange that I’ve written about Christmas in Dubai – but the first half is all about Frankfurt Christmas Market!!! Example –


Ali December 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Thanks for linking me (Ali’s Adventures) and my husband (Grounded Traveler). I’m glad you enjoyed the Frankfurt Christmas markets, that was lots of fun!


Joy @My Turkish Joys December 18, 2012 at 1:16 am

Beautiful Christmas market! Thanks for sharing! Makes me wish I were there, but hopefully someday. We are staying in Istanbul for Christmas this year and making it as festive as we can.


foodwanderings December 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm

What a nice quick trip you had to Frankfurt and you made the most out of it. The food and Christmas market look like a great way to go through the city.


Jenna | Follow Ben and Jenna December 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Thanks for linking to us! We’re away from Germany this month and this post brought me HOME (and filled me with longing). Loved it! I’ve never tried the poffertjes so will make them a priority.


Jamie December 20, 2012 at 5:57 am

Oh, Sarah…. I don’t know where to start! The photos are beautiful but the food! I am sitting here laughing at loud at you just packing it away, one thing after the next but who could blame you? It all sounds so fabulously good and looks even better! And how true to enjoy these local and seasonal delights! When else? The Christmas Market here in Nantes is both small and cheesy, only selling junk. I dream of a real Christmas market with the icy chill and snow and all the holiday trimmings. Thanks for sharing!


bellini December 20, 2012 at 6:13 am

I need to adopt your mentality and go “all in” when in a new country and try it all!!!!!After all I may never get back there again!


Sarah December 20, 2012 at 7:02 am

Bellini, In this case “all in”, isn’t hard at all- everything was so yummy (though I passed on the chocolate covered gigantic pretzel)


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