There are many beautiful Christmas markets in Franconia, a region in Northern Bavaria. And one such local gem is the Kulmbach Christmas market. Mind you, it doesn’t run in December in 2022. So you really have to be fast. Here’s what to expect.
- Dates: 25 to 27 November 2022
- Times: Sat 10am to 8pm, Sun 11am to 7pm
- Tourism site
- Live Cam
- Specialty drinks: lebkuchen beer and Eisbock beer
- Specialty food: Franconian sausages with sauerkraut
What the Kulmbach Christmas Market is Like
The market itself is located on the main market square in the Old Town. It’s called Marktplatz (German for market square) and the spot is especially picturesque. There are gorgeous historic houses in the classic Franconian half-timbered style and various coloured beams and housing facades. It makes for a great picture any day of the year.
But for Christmas Kulmbach transforms it into a little twinkly outdoor exhibition. Mind you, the market is small, with wooden huts that are decorated with fairy lights and pine tree branches circling the beautiful Luitpold Fountain.
A few open fires are strategically placed around to huddle close to with your mulled wine in one hand and a local treat in the other.
The stalls sell local produce, such as honey, wooden décor, met wines and sweets. In the centre, they’ve erected a wooden après ski kinda hut in which you can sit down more comfortably, sheltered from the weather, and warm up with food and drinks.
What surprised me was that there was a burger trailer at the market. So if you want some non traditional Christmas fare, you can try those. I think it’s a great option.
First and foremost, I want to mention what’s for sale in the Kulma Alm, the apres ski hut in the centre of the Christmas market square in Kulmbach.
These aren’t typical for German xmas markets, so seeing one, I had to take advantage and seek shelter from the drizzle.
I was surprised how spacious it was inside and that there were little furs and cushions to sit on on the wooden benches. Plus, there was décor hung up on the walls, placed on the tables and around the light fixtures. It was quite nice and cosy.
To get an idea of what’s on offer, I’ll attach a photo of the menu.
The main fare are Franconian sausages, which are medium length and thick but squishy (not firm). I really like how they were spiced and can recommend them.
You can choose to have two or three. They come with either a plain bread bun or a slice of fresh bread and sauerkraut. The condiment to go with them is non-spicy mustard.
Alternatively, you can have a steak or meatball in a bread bun with onions on top.
There is also currywurst, but I would presume that’s more for tourists as it is not typical for the region.
Another classic is shashlik with either bread or fries.
Vegetarians can dig into Käsespätzle (cheese spaetzle) with fried onions. This and fries are the only vegetarian option. I presume it’s also vegan, but if you want to be sure, ask the friendly staff.
For a more regional dish, try the Schupfnudeln, which are local pasta with sauerkraut and bacon.
There are also soups, which are German chili con carne and potato soup.
For sweet meals, have a go at the Kaiserschmarrn with apple sauce. That’s an Austrian dish, which is like crumbled pancakes. It’s good!
Dampfnudeln are different version of it and are basically a dough dumpling filled with vanilla sauce and decked in poppyseed sugar.
Of course, a Christmas market wouldn’t be complete without mulled wine (non alcoholic also available). You can get that one, although I didn’t spot any special Christmas market mugs.
Usually, you can get them at Christmas markets as they are different for each town and each year. Many Germans collect them! You pay a deposit of usually 2 euro, then decide to keep them or get the money back.
Pro tip: You can also ask them to exchange your used mug for a fresh one so you can carry it home.
Other hot beverages on sale were spiced apple punch, Lumumba, egg punch, hot caipirinha, hot aperol and hot lillet.
If you’re more into fresh beer from the tap, there is also quite the selection to choose from.
Non alcoholic drinks include the standard soft drinks as well as non alcoholic mulled wine and beer.
I really liked Kulmbach when it visited it for the first time in the summer. I was pleasantly surprised just how many gorgeous historic houses were sitting along the cobblestone streets underneath the pretty impressive Plassenburg castle.
From the train station, you wouldn’t have known any of this. So stopping here for a little bit made me curious to revisit. And when I heard that the Christmas market in Kulmbach only lasted three days, I needed to visit for that special time of the year.
I’m a sucker for German Christmas markets.
This one, however, was a little bit disappointing. The rainy weather certainly didn’t help. But what was a little sad was that none of the Christmas lights strung across the streets in town were on.
Not sure if they will be in December or if they really limit all the lights due to the electricity crisis. Most houses didn’t have lights on in their windows either (across the entire region, I’ve noticed), which made everything feel less like sparkly Christmas wonder and more like bleak night.
That’s a shame cause I really love that cosy glow of the fairy lights during Christmas. Maybe it’s just this year.
Also, the market itself was super tiny. I walked its length (or circle more like) multiple times, sat down to eat food and then walked along the shopping street twice. (Just a few clothing and dollar store type shops).
And when I arrived at the carpark, there was no charge cause it was under an hour! That was crazy to me. I hadn’t realized I breezed through the city and Kulmbach Xmas market so fast even though I was walking that slow.
So I recommend visiting if you want to combine visits to other nearby Christmas markets and to get the coveted limited edition beers as a souvenir or for yourself.
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