During my Mom’s visit to Germany in December last year, we made a point of trying to visit as many Christmas markets as possible. We visited the local markets in Ludwigsburg, Stuttgart, and Esslingen, hopped across the border to see the Strasbourg market in France, and even visited the chocolate festival in Tübingen. We travelled the furthest, though, to see the famous Striezelmarkt in Dresden, Germany’s oldest Christmas market, and I’m only now getting the chance to tell you about it!
We decided to take the train to Dresden from northern Bavaria where we were visiting S’s family. The train ride itself took about 3 hours but the time passed quite quickly. Once we arrived at the train station in Dresden, we were greeted by an enormous and beautifully decorated Christmas tree and a small arts and crafts market. It certainly set the tone for the festive day ahead!
We followed the crowds into the inner city where we passed a few Christmas markets along the way. After our long train ride, we decided to stop for lunch at Coselpalais Restaurant & Grand Cafe which came highly recommended to us by S’s parents. The restaurant is easy to spot due to its yellow exterior and grand baroque style. Built in 1765, the Coselpalais was severely damaged in WWII but was restored to its original form after an elaborate reconstruction. It is one of the most popular cafes in the historic old town and for good reason – their cakes are legendary! When we stepped inside, we were smitten by all the Christmas decorations and the elegant atmosphere.
After a hearty lunch, we decided to tour a bit of the old town while it was still daylight. Dresden is known for its historic baroque and rococo city centre and the famous Frauenkirche. The 18th century church was ruined in the war and left unrestored as a war memorial for 50 years before it was finally reconstructed between 1994 to 2005.
After a bit of sightseeing, we beelined for the Striezelmarkt in the Altmarkt square. To say it was crowded would be an enormous understatement – it was probably the busiest Christmas market I’ve ever been to and I’ve been to the Christmas market in Nuremberg which most people would agree is the most popular Christmas market in Germany.
The Striezelmarkt is known for selling traditional Christmas gifts, toys and decorations that originate from the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) located only a few kilometres outside of Dresden. In fact, most of the Christmas markets in Germany are still supplied with wooden decorations like ornaments and Schwibbogen (decorative candle arches) from this region. Dresden is also famous for its Stollen, a sweet Christmas bread studded with dried fruits and often topped with powdered sugar. Dresden Christstollen is only produced by 130 bakeries in Dresden – the recipe is a highly guarded secret. Only stollen produced by these bakeries bear the stollen seal. If you’re looking for an authentic Christmas treat from Dresden, then stollen is definitely the way to go.Continue Reading