Christmas markets have been enjoying increasing popularity over recent years, with reach that now extends beyond their Central European roots. Strasbourg Christmas market however, lays claim to being one of the oldest and biggest Christmas markets in Europe. One cold day in December, we took ourselves off to investigate whether the “Capital of Christmas” lives up to its name.
Although we both visited some time ago, outside of the festive season, we had both forgotten that Strasbourg is a very attractive city. The city centre, called the Grande Île (“large island”) is a Unesco World Heritage site. I could write entire posts about the architecture, not to mention the vast Gothic cathedral that dominates the centre. However Tom’s excellent photography should speak for itself.
Gift ideas galore at Strasbourg Christmas market
When we first arrived, we made our way to the Place Kleber and started with a Glühwein. It may not be widely known, but there is an ancient law involving this festive beverage. It states that Christmas markets must only be attended once the traditional opening Glühwein has been consumed (true story. Honest!).
Having paid respect to the customs of our ancestors, we wandered around some of the 300 stalls at the different areas of the Strasbourg Christmas market.
Wandering the paths of the Ill
The river Ill is the reason that Strasbourg city centre is an island. The paths around are a tranquil escape from the bustle of the Christmas markets. Walking around, you can see some of the incredibly picturesque buildings of the old city.
We headed back into the city towards the Cathedral. On our way, we decided to stop for another Glühwein, this time because there was a small queue forming outside a tiny and very cute little deli/bakery. They were advertising their house recipe Glühwein made with mandarins. It was absolutely delicious, sweet and citrus and warming.
We walked on to the cathedral, and took a few pictures. By this time it was getting dark so we walked around some more to look at the illuminations warming the streets.
So ended our day out in beautiful Strasbourg. We had a great day there and can seriously recommend it for anyone who enjoys traditional European Christmas markets. Check out their homepage, then wrap up in your warmest clothes and prepare to be dazzled!