Christmas in Alsace, it is magnificent decorations and illuminations, a magical atmosphere, delicacies at every corner… To take advantage of the Christmas markets in the region, without unpleasant surprises, here are 12 very practical tips suggested by the blog team!
Reserve in advance!
Hotels, B&Bs and restaurants are often fully booked as December approaches. Booking your accommodation in advance will also save you money. Do not neglect its location, choosing it according to the sites to be visited and the means of transport used. For the restaurants, the reservation is very often essential in certain very tourist villages, like Ribeauvillé or Riquewihr, and even in Strasbourg!
Avoid parking downtown
In Strasbourg, opt for the park-and-ride option: park in a parking lot close to the city center and get a combined ticket including the price of the parking and the return streetcar ride for all the passengers in the car. Many Christmas markets(Haguenau, Obernai, Bouxwiller, Thann…) are accessible by train, so you won’t have to look for a place and waste time in traffic jams. Others, such as Eguisheim, Kaysersberg, Riquewihr or Ribeauvillé, have set up a shuttle system.
If possible, come during the week or early or late to the markets
Victims of their success, the Christmas markets of Alsace attract many people. If you don’t like crowds and want to stroll around with your nose in the air, it is better to discover the “big” Christmas markets, like Strasbourg or Colmar, during the week. Some Christmas markets, in smaller towns, are only open on weekends. In this case, an early or late arrival is preferable.
Alsace has a continental climate so it is very cold in winter. Even mulled wine or hot apple juice won’t get you through the day outside! Be sure to check the weather. Gloves, scarf, hat, down jacket, warm shoes -even tights under the pants or a double pair of socks- may save your discovery of the Christmas markets. But that is also part of the charm of the Christmas atmosphere!
Don’t schedule too many markets in one day
Parking or taking the train/shuttle to reach the center of each city/village takes time… So does enjoying the Christmas magic 😉
Have a plan B in case of rain
Even if you now know how to dress for the Alsatian winter, it’s always a good idea to plan a visit to a museum, a workshop, a break in a café or a show if it’s too cold or rainy… Especially if you have children.
Take some change
Exhibitors do not always take credit cards, especially in small markets.
Christmas in Alsace is not only about markets!
In Alsace, the Advent period goes far beyond Christmas markets! It is the occasion to decorate your home, to prepare small cookies (the famous There is a whole cultural program around Christmas, at the Ecomuseum, at the Wesserling Park or on the different markets of Strasbourg or the cribs and concerts of Noëlies, for example. You can also discover the region in a different way in December with treasure hunts, gourmet walks, workshops…
Plan your family Christmas markets
The parents of the Mon Week-End en Alsace team have prepared a special article to enjoy the markets with your family! We can also advise you to avoid the strollers in favor of the baby carrier (or your arms!) when they are small.
Avoid rush hour traffic with your dog… Or have him babysat!
The crowd is not adapted for your fur ball either 😉 If you want to enjoy your visit to the Christmas market quietly (for you as well as for him!), there is a dog-sitting service on the tourist spots called Patchguard and available at the Christmas market in Strasbourg.
Beware of pickpockets!
Keep your valuables and wallet safe from unscrupulous people! Also avoid leaving valuable items in your car or in plain sight.
Come on an empty stomach 😀
Bredele, nougat, gingerbread, kouglof, mannele, pies, mulled wine, streusel, doughnuts, tarts, cheeses, pretzels… There are so many Alsatian specialties to taste on the Christmas markets… Save some space to enjoy them 😉