The winter months are nothing short of magical, filled as they are with festive wonder and celebration. Wherever you are, there is something unique to experience during the wintertime. The winter holidays are also a strong contender for a family holiday or even a solo adventure, giving you the opportunity to see a fresh side to any number of incredible destinations.
But if festive wonderment is that which you seek, there is arguably no better candidate than Germany. Here are some of the leading reasons Germany should be top of the list for your festive holiday.
Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when one imagines winter in Germany is the Christmas market. In towns across the UK, German-inspired market events – or Christkindlmarkts – have become a regular fixture during the festive season, serving up season-appropriate gifts and beverages from local and international traders alike.
While the UK’s Christkindlmarkts aren’t the most representative of the authentic Bavarian Christmas experience, this is all the more reason for you to experience it for yourself. A cruise from Southampton could take you to Hamburg, and into the midst of a market-rich city with authentic festive experiences galore. Hamburg is quite simply an inspired place to experience the bustle of the German festive season, with tens upon tens of unique markets to explore and enjoy.
It would be foolish to start talking about German Christmas markets, and indeed the festive season in Germany, without mentioning the food. German cuisine is often wrongly maligned on account of its unassuming nature but is in fact supremely varied and supremely delicious – and especially so in the run-up to Christmas.
Bratwursts are regular fixtures in German markets, but Munich is perhaps the best place to visit for its Weisswurst variant. Hamburg’s Fischbrotchen are a delight year-round, but delightfully light on the tongue at Christmas. These are to say nothing of the various festive sweets, pastries and breads available across Germany, from chocolates and pretzels to stollen and lebkuchen.
It is equally hard to ignore Germany’s rich traditions with regard to beverages. German hot chocolate is a revelation, while beloved festive drink mulled wine is in fact a German import – called Gluhwein. Even the German beer brewers get in on the festive action, with regional Christmas beers available for all to enjoy.
Germany is also a winning location for winter sports, enjoying as it does both the Bavarian Alps and the Black Forest mountains. Thrilling places as these are to visit for the landscape views alone, they are also world-renowned destinations for skiing – which makes them veritable meccas for sport enthusiasts and adventure tourists alike in the winter months.
When the mountain snow is at its thickest, Germany’s mountains boast some of the best ski slopes on the planet. Chalets form an integral part of Germany’s winter tourism, as equal parts meeting-ground for family skiing and welcome respite from the crisp weather.