Getting into the mood for the Yuletide Season at Heidelberg Weihnachtsmarkt:
It’s close to dinnertime when our coach pulls into Heidelberg. It’s pitch dark and we’re dropped off a little distance from the Christmas market as the coach can’t get into the Old Town. It’s brrrrh cold…and part of me wants to stay back in the warm coach.
We stride quickly to the Old Town Market Square, not because we’re 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 helps take the focus away from the cold.
Heidelberg’s Weihnachtsmarkt is very atmospheric.
Looking at the crowd, they appear 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 add to the festive atmosphere by going around and singing Christmas carols and are happy to pose for my photograph.
The Market Square Christmas market seems to have more stalls selling traditional Christmas treats and hot food and freshly-baked cinnamon cookies seems to be a favourite here. Seeing all the fruit loafs and butterstollen, it’s hard not to be tempted. But, at Market Square, we’re only seeing a fraction of the city’s Christmas market. Heidelberg’s Christmas market is spread over five squares – Bismarckplatz, Anatomiegarten, University Square, Kornmarkt and Mar
We wonder around in no particular direction, checking out what people are 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 are easily recognisable, even in the dark, are the fountain with a Statue of Hercules on a column which is 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’s time for us to make our way back to the hotel for dinner. On our way out, passing Karlsplatz, we catch a view of the Heidelberg’s famous castle, which is beautifully lit up for the season. There’s 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.