Small but exquisite: 10 Christmas markets in Rhineland‑Palatinate

If you drive through the more rural parts of Rhineland‑Palatinate in the winter, as the days get shorter and darkness begins to fall, you will spot the festive illuminations of countless villages, little towns and historic landmarks along the way. The lights in many of the little towns are reflected in the gently flowing waters of our river valleys, the castles are visible havens of light twinkling on the hills and slopes for travellers, and sparkling villages in the deep forests are an invitation to come in and explore. The Christmas markets in these places have a friendly feel to them, people know one another and all visitors are given a warm welcome. In most cases, the festivities only last a few days, but they do really celebrate the Advent season in style. We would like to introduce you to some of these little gems, pretty Christmas markets away from the big cities that can make your December really special.

Christmas markets around castles

Rhineland‑Palatinate is a state full of castles. In many places, there are one or more medieval complexes guarding over the current occupants. This is the case in the little Eifel town of Manderscheid, where the once bitter rivals of the upper and lower castles now stand opposite one another in peace. These days, the first weekend in Advent sees the Manderscheid Castle Christmas in the lower castle, with mulled wine and roasted almonds, and lots of little stalls where the local craftsmen can showcase their skills. The Christmas market in Kastellaun in the Hunsrück is also dominated by a mighty fortress, with the streets and alleyways of the town below filled with the wonderful aromas emanating from the different stalls, and a real-life nativity scene depicting the Christmas story in the palace gardens. The Neuleiningen Christmas market is a slightly more romantic option, spreading through the winding streets of this medieval village in the Palatinate, with its old courtyards, half-timbered houses and traditional wooden stalls in the shadows of the castle walls. When it is all carpeted in snow, the market on the first two weekends of Advent is transformed into a genuine winter wonderland!

Neuleiningen Christmas market, Palatinate

Sales stalls in the castle courtyard at the Neuleiniger Christmas Market, Palatinate

Mulled wine in Advent
Lucia Market in Rech, Ahr valley

Festive tour of the Lucia Queen of Lights at the Lucia Market in Rech, Ahr valley

Of course, Rhineland‑Palatinate is also wine country, home to Rhine-Hesse, Palatinate and Moselle, three of the five largest wine-growing regions in Germany. The smaller Ahr valley also produces some excellent wines, and one place you can sample them is the cosy Lucia Market in Rech, the Pinot Noir produced in the red wine paradise that is the Ahr is simply fabulous. But the highlight of the market is the Lucia, the magical queen of lights, who walks through the streets in her festive finery on the second Sunday of Advent every year. The Deidesheim Advent is another great starting point for wine lovers. There is a modest market at the ‘Summit of Wine Culture’ every Advent weekend, which also has plenty of good food to offer! All the mulled wine comes from local vintners and the food on offer is primarily regional cuisine. In the Rhine-Hesse wine region, the town centre of Oppenheim puts on its winter finery for its Christmas market on the third weekend of Advent. With a fire crackling on the market square of the old town and surrounded by half-timbered buildings, the town hall and St Catherine’s Church, the wine tastes twice as good.

Pre-Christmas in medieval flair

Above all, Rhineland‑Palatinate is a state of idyllic Christmas markets. At the Dudeldorf Christmas market, there are more than 120 stalls across the different squares and streets, in courtyards and barns and around Dudeldorf castle. Pre-Christmas magic twinkles across the whole Eifel village on the first weekend of Advent. At the same time, the spa resort of Bad Marienberg dolls up its market square and the spa area for the Marmer Christmas market, showcasing handmade crafts from all over the Westerwald region, including blacksmiths and basket weavers demonstrating their skills. Just a few kilometres further, festive fragrances waft through the beautifully illuminated town of Hachenburg during the third weekend of Advent. The Nostalgic Christmas Market against the half-timbered backdrop of the Old Market feels like a trip back in time. The Linz Christmas Magic in the north of the Romantic Rhine offers an interesting combination of modern sustainability and traditional crafts, with brightly lit half-timbered houses, timber-panelled shops and traditional delicacies from the region. You can even take a Christmas guided tour and discover some of the secret corners of this pretty little town on the Rhine!

Linz Christmas Magic, Romantic Rhine

Festively decorated medieval alleys and stalls for the Linz Christmas Magic, Romantic Rhine

Nostalgischer Weihnachtsmarkt auf dem Alten Markt von Hachenburg, Westerwald

Nostalgischer Weihnachtsmarkt auf dem Alten Markt von Hachenburg, Westerwald

Weihnachtlich beleuchteter Marktplatz und Pfarrkirche zum Deidesheimer Weihnachtsmarkt, Pfalz

Weihnachtlich beleuchteter Marktplatz und Pfarrkirche zum Deidesheimer Advent, Pfalz

More event tips in the Advent season:

Christmas markets

Our Christmas events include Christmas markets, St Martin’s processions, Advent concerts, winter walks and much more.

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