Lübeck – the historic city renowned for its brilliant Christmas markets come the end of November.
Surrounded by water on all sides, the old city of Lübeck is actually an island enclosed by the river Trave. You can enter the glorious old part through the Holsten Gate. Known for its two round towers and arched entrance, its one of Lübeck’s medieval Brick Gothic constructions, which was built back in 1464 and you can still come across it stamped over the 2 Euro coin.
Lübeck has vastly preserved its medieval appearance with seven churches dotted around the old town – you would be fooled to think that during World War II, it was the first German city to be attacked, demolishing a lot of its historic buildings along the way.
Thankfully however, the Lübecker Rathaus (Town Hall) – undoubtedly one of the most fascinating town halls I have ever seen – is still in one piece and in its full glory. Based in the city center, Lübeck’s Town Hall looks out onto the market square, where the Rathausmarkt Christmas market is held and thinking about the aroma of roasted chestnuts, mulled wine and sausages is making me wish I was there right now… is it Christmas yet?
Once you’ve had enough of the Christmas markets, time to sit down, relax and refuel, so what better way than by satisfying your sweet tooth. Located behind the Town Hall is the Niederegger Café which is basically the German equivalent of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
Situated on three floors, the shop floor of the café has every possible marzipan, truffle and nougat confection imaginable, with recipes dating back to 1806. You can also find all sorts of things made out of marzipan – like a giraffe or a toy train! The list goes on, so if you’re traveling with a case I would recommend to pack light and save yourself some spare room for your buys. (Don’t worry if you exceed your luggage allowance because you can get Niederegger from John Lewis.)
Make your way up the stairs and you’ll find yourself in the café where you will then be greeted by an overwhelming display of cakes. But before you delve into choosing your victim, sit down and take a look at their food menu as this is also a great spot to grab some lunch – I recommend the prawn and herb scrambled eggs and and a German beer.
Time for dessert – you’re in for a treat! If you’re in a big group, I would advise you all order something different so that you can sample more of the cakes. Now, I’m not saying you’ll be able to try them all as there really are too many options, but I would advise you definitely try the marzipan cake, it really is a hidden gem of a treat.
And if you’re not a big cake fan, try out the marzipan pancake. It’s super fluffy and the ice cream on top makes a great addition to the hot pancake.
After lunch, make your way up to the Marzipan Salon on the second floor. There you’ll be taken through a historic journey of marzipan’s oriental beginning, right through to how it came to Lübeck and made its mark in the city.
The Lübeck Christmas markets are held from 21st November – 30th November 2016
Open daily from 11am-9pm depending on individual markets
Christmas Market in the historic Old Town (Nov 21 – Dec 30 – closed Christmas Day)
Christmas market Breite Strasse (Nov 21 – Dec 30 – closed Christmas Day)
Niederegger Christmas bazaar (Nov 21 – Dec 20)
Lüb`sche Wiehnacht (Nov 19 – 20)
Christmas fairy tale forest at St. Mary’s Church- 20 displays illustrate stories written by the Brothers Grimm (Nov 21 – Dec 30)
Maritime Christmas Market on the Koberg (Nov 21 – Dec 29)
Winter Wonderland by the river Obertrave (Nov 21 – Jan 1, 2017 – closed on Christmas Day)
Historic Christmas Market at St Marien Churchyard (Nov 21 – Dec 23)
Craftsmen Christmas market inside St. Peter’s Church (Nov 24 – Dec 18)
Craftsmen Christmas market at the Hospital of the Holy Spirit (Nov 25 – Dec 5)