Getting into the mood for the Yuletide Season at the Heidelberg Christmas Market:
It was close to dinnertime when our coach pulled into Heidelberg. We were dropped off a little distance from the Christmas market as coaches were not permitted into the Old Town. It was pitch dark and brrrrh cold…and a part of me wanted to stay back in the warm coach.
We strode quickly to the Old Town Market Square, not because we were in a hurry, but just to keep warm. Once at the Christmas market though, the colourful fairy lights, beautiful Christmas decorations and the romantic feel of the place helped take our mind away from the cold.
Heidelberg’s Weihnachtsmarkt is very atmospheric.
Looking at the crowd, they appeared to be mostly locals who have come out to have a drink with friends or to browse around for Christmas presents. Groups of highly spirited university students added to the festive atmosphere by going around and singing Christmas carols and they were happy to pose for my photograph.
Extensive Christmas Market
The Market Square Christmas market appeared to have more stalls selling traditional Christmas treats and hot food and freshly-baked cinnamon cookies seemed to be a favourite here. Seeing all the fruit loafs and butterstollen, it was hard not to be tempted. But, at Market Square, we were only seeing a fraction of the city’s Christmas market. Heidelberg’s Christmas market is spread over six squares – Bismarckplatz, Anatomiegarten, University Square, Kornmarkt , Karlsplatz and Marktplatz.
Guided Walking Tour
We wandered around in no particular direction, checking out what people were buying. It would have been beneficial to do the Christmas-themed guided walking tour which is aimed at showing visitors the festive side of Heidelberg. The tour goes from the Marktplatz to the Universitätsplatz and through the Old Town’s winding lanes and is intended to provide visitors with information about the region’s Advent and Christmas traditions. Visitors also get a rundown of what’s available at the wide array of booths at the Christmas markets. It ends on a merry note at the mulled wine stand “Zum heiteren Christkind”. Unfortunately, our late arrival in Heidelberg precluded us from doing the walking tour which is put on by the city’s tourism office.
In the Market Square, Heidelberg attractions that were easily recognisable, even in the dark, were the fountain with a Statue of Hercules on a column which was the Market Square’s centre piece, the Holy Ghost Church and the Town Hall.
With just a small taste of Heidelberg’s Christmas market, it was time for us to make our way back to the hotel for dinner. On our way out, passing Karlsplatz, we caught a view of the Heidelberg’s famous castle, which was beautifully lit up for the season. There is an ice-skating rink at Karlsplatz Square, which opens on the same day as the Christmas market. How romantic it is to be ice-skating and enjoying views of the lit up castle.