Over the next 7 days I am braving the European winter as a guest of Backroads Touring, I was fortunate to be offered a place on their exclusive Romantic Road and Christmas Markets Tour. With groups capped at 15 this is a really intimate way of experiencing the cities of Munich, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Rothenberg, Wurzberg, Dinkelsbuhl, Augsburg, and last but not least, Fussen. This route will take me to some of the most renowned for Christmas markets in Germany.
Our first stop gives me the chance to visit the UNESCO heritage site of Regensburg. Drenched in history this town was once a rich trading port situated on the banks of the Danube river. However the town has now swapped commerce for academia, so visitors will find Regensburg has a younger and more vibrant vibe than you would expect due to the university.
Regensburg is the atypical chocolate box town, with cobblestoned roads and paths weaving you past designer boutiques and bakery’s, and of course at this time of year the traditional Christkindlesmarkt, or Christmas Markets. The smell of Christmas cheer is intoxicating in a great way, making it impossible to stop for a glass of hot Glühwein and a Bavarian sausage.
My next stop is Nuremberg, a city unusually shaped like a bee hive, and as I walk through the quiet outer roads towards the centre of town I’m aware of the not so distant buzz of thousands of people enjoying this cities famous Christkindelsmarkt. Spread-out across most of the streets in the centre of the city it has all the familiar sounds and smells of Christmas in Germany. To an Aussie traveller this is a really novel experience as the Germans really embrace Christmas and celebrate it openly with their friends and neighbours. A shoppers’ paradise the variety of retailers is copious with all of your usual suspects, but also many local designers and cute gift shops. And what better after a successful day of shopping than unwinding in one of the pretty squares, decorated for the holidays, with a hot glass of Glühwein and beside the tranquil river that splits the city in even halves.
My next port of call is Bamberg, a town in Northern Franconia, built on seven hills and of all the cities still possessing its original old charm as it escaped much of the bombing through all the wars. This is a town of forty churches and 16 brewery’s, and so arriving on a Sunday it was obvious that if you weren’t interested in worship and/ or drinking today, perhaps choose a weekday to visit the town. Bamberg is no different to the other cities in Bavaria holding its Adventsmarkt in the town square daily till about 8pm.