A Guide to the Christmas Markets of Alsace
The Christmas markets of Alsace are a must visit for anyone who loves the magic of the festive season. With the warming glow of Christmas lights, the sparkling glimmer of an ice rink and the elevating scent of gingerbread, the Alsace Christmas markets have a way of uplifting you into the Christmas spirit.
Nestled on the border with Germany, Alsace benefits from the best of both French and German culture. You will find delicious chocolate, incredible mulled wine and dominating fir trees at the markets. Enjoy the scents of cinnamon, cloves and sweet chestnuts as well as hearing the angelic voices of the choirs as they sing traditional Christmas carols. You’ll leave feeling ten times more Christmassy than when you arrived!
We can’t promise the gentle drifting of snowflakes for your Alsace Christmas markets visit, but we can guarantee you great gastronomy, Christmas scenery and seasonal activities. You’re in for a treat as you cruise through the Alsace region this Christmas!
Sight Seeing and Culture at the Alsace Christmas Markets
The Alsace region is a visual paradise during the Christmas season. Cheerful Christmas lights, white-capped fir trees and twinkling decorations create a wondrous winter wonderland. The Christmas markets of Alsace provide ample opportunity to experience the romance of the region. You can see incredible architecture and experience glittering reflections of Christmas lights in the River Rhine.
Strasbourg Christmas market has consistently been voted the best Christmas Market in the whole of France. This Alsace Christmas market is famous for its enormous Christmas tree, which stands in Place Klébler. Admire the Christmas illuminations and sparkling ice-skating rink, as well as the enormous carousel.
Another Christmas Market in Alsace that you shouldn’t miss is located in the pretty medieval village of Riquewhir, popular for its warm and friendly atmosphere. Here, you will find wooden chalet-style stalls that sell a plethora of handicrafts to artisanal delicacies such as spice bread and bretzels. Located on the popular Vins d’Alsace wine route, Riquewhir is listed as one of France’s Most Beautiful Villages, making it a must-visit!
Colmar Christmas market is set within the town, to a backdrop of stunning scenery. The area boasts historic half-timbered houses, adorned with adorable decorations like bows, stars, and candles. The Christmas magic is alive and thriving at this Christmas market in Alsace, with its jaw-droppingly beautiful chocolate box façade! La Petit Venise is a must-visit for its colourful buildings, which tower over the canal and reflect in the calm waters. Colmar is the ideal Alsace Christmas market if you’re looking for a picture-perfect place!
Food and Drink at the Alsace Christmas Markets
Do you have a big appetite for Christmas? Well, with the smell of mouth-watering melted chocolate in the air and the sight of sizzling Wurst sausages on the grill, you won’t want to miss out on sampling some of the seasonal delicacies on display at the Alsace Christmas markets!
If you’re looking for a savoury meal at the Christmas markets in Alsace, then why not taste the delights of a choucroute? This Alsatian recipe combines charcuterie meats, sauerkraut and sausages with potatoes, for a French twist on the German classic.
If you’re looking for a much sweeter treat to devour at the Alsace Christmas markets, then waffles and crepes are easy to find, but why not try some of the more regional delicacies? You can buy traditional biscuits called bredeles at most of the markets, and pretzels aren’t in short demand either! Other local favourites are brioche gingerbread men, known throughout the Alsace Christmas markets as manele.
When in Alsace, do what the Alsatians do! The Christmas markets of Alsace are full of opportunities for you to drink ‘vin chaud’, which is the Alsatian equivalent of mulled wine. Unusually, vin chaud is made from white wine, rather than red. On tasting it, you will find it to be full of festive flavours like cinnamon, orange and lemon.
If you’re not a huge fan of warm beverages, then try an Alsatian lager. Made from water extracted from underground, the beer is created by adding barley malt, yeast and hops. Keep your eyes peeled throughout the Alsace Christmas markets, as you might come across Alsatian Christmas beer, which is a seasonal dark ale.
Seasonal Activities in Alsace
The fairy-tale Christmas markets of Alsace are an excellent place to wander if you have time to spare. Whether you’re looking to browse the market stalls or engage in something slightly more pulse-raising, there’s plenty to do in Alsace.
If you’re looking to buy Christmas presents, then the Alsace Christmas markets are the ideal place to do your Christmas shopping. If it’s gifts for loved ones that you need, then you will find all sorts of amazing artisan stalls selling ceramics, pots, glassware, woodwork, furniture, textiles and jewellery. Of course, there’s also a chance to purchase stunning Christmas decorations like glass, hand-painted baubles.
At the Strasbourg Christmas markets, you’ll find colourful carousels that radiate warm beams of light and exhibit extravagantly painted horses and other animals. Strasbourg Christmas market also has an enormous ice rink. If you’re up to the challenge, then why not take to the ice and have a go at this seasonal sport? Alternatively, you might wish to stand and watch the skaters elegantly glide by as you warm your hands on a mug of vin chaud.
If you’re looking for something to do aside from the Christmas markets of Alsace, then don’t miss out on a visit to Meisenthal glassworks, which is the origin of the glass bauble. Throughout the Christmas period, you can attend demonstrations by craftsmen of glass bauble blowing. Grab yourself a bauble or two whilst you’re there and visit the glass museum, to see what other creations are made there.
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the addition of chocolate! Located near Colmar, guests will visit a local chocolate atelier to watch the chocolatiers prepare their creations, and get involved in creating your own chocolate masterpiece! For those wishing to take home a souvenir, the gift shop offers some gourmet seasonal creations.
Cruise with us on Luxury Hotel Barge Panache
Escape from the hustle and bustle of the Christmas markets and head back to your room aboard hotel barge Panache. This spacious barge allows up to 12 guests and is a quiet retreat from the busy Alsace Christmas Markets. On board you can enjoy unique views of the Alsatian cities we visit from the calm canals where we moor.
For more information on our Christmas Market Cruises, and the rest of our collection of luxury hotel barge cruises, why not order a free copy of our brochure or speak to a member of our team directly using our handy Contact Form.