The 6 Earliest Christmas Markets to Open in 2018

The 6 Earliest Christmas Markets to Open in 2018

A few months ago, Aaron and I got a killer deal on tickets to Germany over Thanksgiving week thanks to emails that we get from Scott’s Cheap Flights. We fly out the day before Thanksgiving and will be in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria for about a week - I’m so excited!!! I’m MOST excited to visit a few Christmas markets while we are there! Sadly, we will be flying back to Texas before most of the markets open. But I have been able to find some that will be open while we are there and they are most definitely on our itinerary! I’ve compiled a list of 6 of the earliest opening markets for the 2018 season in case you, like us, booked a trip that ends before Christmas market season really gets into full swing, but still want to visit a few.

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The Berlin Zoo

The Berlin Zoo

For two years we lived in Germany. During those two years we saw lots of the country, and Europe in general. We took weekend trips to Cologne and Munich, went Champagne tasting in France, toured a Nazi-era mine, experienced the Arctic cold while mushing our own team of sled dogs, dove in a flooded Alpine Park, and ate pasta while sipping a glass of Chianti in the Eternal City. We definitely lived it up, but, shockingly, one place we never made it to was Berlin. It was one of those trips that was too close for a long weekend (we took advantage of company holidays to travel to farther places), but too far for a spontaneous road trip. When we found ourselves back in Germany for a vacation to see a friend get married last September, we knew we wanted to visit a few places we hadn't made it to while we were expats. Berlin was one of those places.

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Making My Own Chocolate Bar at the Rittersport Store in Berlin

Making My Own Chocolate Bar at the Rittersport Store in Berlin

Our trip to Germany last fall fell, conveniently (or not so conveniently, depending on how you look at it) over my birthday. However, as I was pregnant at the time, my usual indulgence of choice - a good, dry, German Riesling - was off the table (well, mostly, I will admit that I imbibed in one small glass over dinner). So what's a pregnant woman to do on the day she turns 30 when she cannot freely partake in the consumption of wine?! The next best thing of course - eat chocolate!

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Miniature Wonderland in Hamburg

Miniature Wonderland in Hamburg

Finding things to do when we travel that won't completely bore a toddler, aren't super "kid-centric" and are interesting for parents can be tricky. As our daughter had gotten older, we have to find more and more things that she will enjoy when traveling. Aaron and I would love to just wander sometimes, eating at street-side cafes and stopping for a beer or glass of wine, but, a two year old finds those things boring. When we were in Hamburg, we knew we wanted to visit Miniature Wonderland - it's actually on our European Bucket List - and we were delighted when Evelyn found it just as cool as we did.

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Itinerary: 10 Days in Germany

Itinerary: 10 Days in Germany

It's June and summer is often a time when people hit the road, either literally or figuratively, and travel. Many people head to Europe to take advantage of the long days and nice weather, of which Germany is a popular destination. From the Black Forest to the Glockenspiel in Munich, from Brandenberg Gate in Berlin to the dom in Cologne, there is a ton to see and do in Germany. If you're planning a trip to Germany this summer, here is the ultimate itinerary to get the most out of your time here.

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Speyer Technikmuseum

Speyer Technikmuseum

The week between Christmas and New Years turned out to be a busy one for us. We went to Switzerland and then we one of my sorority sisters and her husband visit us for a couple of days. They were on a European vacation that started in Turin, Italy and ended in Amsterdam. Quite a trip for only a week! We wanted to show them a little bit of Germany, and we were lucky to find the Christmas market in Speyer was still open. Coming home, they noticed the giant Lufthansa 747 at the Speyer Technikmuseum, and said they had to go (it's good to be friends with like minded people!). Despite living so close, Aaron and I had never been, so plans were made to visit the next day.

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Christmas Market Round Up

Christmas Market Round Up

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and most of the Christmas markets are either already closed or will be today or tomorrow. Some will stay open through the new year, but only a very small portion. Last year, Aaron and I spent our weekends in December hitting up some of the bigger, more famous Christmas markets in Germany - Munich, Cologne, and Heidelberg. This year, we switched tactics and tried to visit smaller, more local markets. It was nice to see the big ones last year, but I really think I like the smaller ones better. For one, there are fewer people in general (though not always), and they are usually much less overwhelming than the giant ones found in the bigger cities. But my favorite part, I got to see some new places that I probably would not have visited before, and a couple have been added to our, ''We need to come back here'' list.

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