Christmas market breaks in western Germany
Make the most of a visit to the shopping haven of Düsseldorf by taking day trips to see the beautiful cathedral cities of Cologne and Aachen. All three cities have fabulous Christmas markets and are easily reached by train, especially if you're coming from neighbouring countries Belgium and the Netherlands. Check out our suggested itinerary below and read all about the highlights of this exciting region.
Getting to the German Christmas markets is easy. The country's trains are fast, efficient, and take you to the heart of all major cities. Within this itinerary we provide further details on travelling to each market.
Want a convenient pass for German trains? The Interrail Germany Pass entitles you to 3, 4, 6 or 8 days of rail travel in Germany within 1 month!
Itinerary in short
Cities visited in this trip:
1. Stay in Düsseldorf, Germany
Base yourself in Düsseldorf, with its splendid old town (Altstadt) that consists of over 200 bars and restaurants. At Christmastime Düsseldorf's Altstadt is transformed by no fewer than 7 Christmas markets, with the largest at the Marktplatz and Heinrich-Heine Platz.
As well as the beautiful handicrafts of the market stalls, you can go on a shopping spree at Düsseldorf's glamorous Königsallee. At dusk, head to the banks of the Rhine and watch as the Christmas lights bounce across the water.
Düsseldorf Christmas Market dates:
23rd November - 30th December 2017
Düsseldorf's Rhine promenade in winter
From Düsseldorf to Cologne
2. Day trip to Cologne, Germany
Take a day trip to Cologne to see the lively city's spectacular Gothic cathedral (Kölner Dom). Its south tower can be climbed for amazing views of the city.
If you can't satisfy your sweet tooth with the wide range of sweets available at Cologne's 4 large Christmas markets, you can visit the Chocolate Museum (Schokoladenmuseum Köln) and become Willy Wonka for a day.
Cologne Christmas Market dates:
27th November - 23rd December 2017
Christmas market at Cologne Cathedral
From Düsseldorf to Aachen
3. Day trip to Aachen, Germany
Take a relaxing day trip to Aachen. Enjoy the soothing thermal baths and spa facilities of the Carolus-Thermen. Then make sure your sightseeing includes Aachen's beautiful cathedral (Aachener Dom), the oldest in northern Europe.
At the city's charming Christmas market you can try the local gingerbread, Aachen Printen, alongside your mulled wine.
Aachen Christmas Market dates:
24th November - 23rd December 2017
Aachen skyline at sunset
Explore Germany with Interrail
Choose from 3, 4, 6 or 8 days of rail travel within 1 month.
As soon as you're in Germany, hop on and off as many trains as you like using just one rail pass.
You'll arrive at city centre locations just a few steps from the nearest Christmas market. Leave everyone else to battle it out for car parking spaces!