This post is part of a series on European Christmas markets.
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] T [/dropcap]rier (pronounced “Treer”) is the oldest city in Germany, and that alone makes it worth a visit. I like to bring people here during the annual Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market), which takes place near the cathedral, because so many noteworthy sights and sites are in the immediate vicinity. And nothing helps people appreciate history quite like festive holiday lights, revelry, and a couple mugs of glühwein.
Since this is part of a series on German Christmas markets (see our companion posts on the Frankfurt Weihnachtsmarkt and Christkindlmarkt Innsbruck), I’ll concentrate here on what makes Trier‘s noteworthy. But if you’d like to go deeper, check out our suggested walking tour of historical sites in Trier to find out the facts and tall tales we dish to our friends when they visit.
What makes the Trier Christmas Market unique?
You’ll hear a lot of French at this market, and that’s part of what makes it so fun. Trier sits close to both Luxembourg and France (see map here), and the shifting borders throughout the centuries led to a large cultural overlap. The city is a popular destination for people from all three countries, and if you come here during the day you’ll likely bump in to one or two French school groups on field trips (aah, the desperately boring outings of European schoolchildren!).
Like the Christmas markets in most German cities – usually held in the pedestrian “old town” – you’ll find a backdrop of gorgeous Medieval architecture in Trier. As an added bonus, the size of the market is completely accessible (in larger cities you can start feeling that the same booths repeat themselves ad infinitum).
But what you won’t find in other cities are the flower stalls. These vendors set up shop in the main square throughout the year, changing their offerings with the seasons, and keep their prime spots throughout the Christmas market. One glimpse of the creative wreath displays and a whiff of fresh pine, and you’ll wonder why these aren’t a staple at every market.
What to eat and drink at the Trier Christmas market
The market food has French-Alsatian influence, like the region itself. Try the flammkuchen, which is like a thin-crust pizza with bechamel instead of tomato sauce, or my personal favorite, sauteed fresh forest mushrooms served with garlicky alioli (I make a pilgrimage here each year just to devour them, even if we don’t have guests).
Fret not: There are plenty of libations available to help you wash down those mushrooms, principally glühwein (mulled wine). You can also try the non-alcoholic version (kinderpunsch, or “child’s punch”), or go the other way and kick your glühwein up a notch mit Schuss (with a shot of rum or Amaretto). There will also be options for hot ciders, coffee drinks, or the feared Feuerzangenbowle (described here).
Whereas normally you drink these standing and huddled together with other shivering souls, at Trier you can have a seat at the ice skating rink, or even warm up at an indoor glühwein lodge (head towards the cathedral and pass the Käthe Wohlfahrt ornaments booth. The lodge will be on your left.).
Trier is located in the western German state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz) on the Mosel River. It lies just 25 miles from Luxembourg City.
- Love the Trier Christmas market for its large selection of flowers and wreaths, Roman ruins and inspiring 13c cathedral
- But I’ve never been here in the afternoon before. It’s full of French school children. Nothing like my field trips growing up!
- My mom loves it when I send a tweet because she can sneak some of my gluhwein!
- The markets culinary highlight: sauteed fresh forest mushrooms with homemade garlic mayo
- A definitive resource for Christmas market dates across Europe
- History of the Christmas Market in Europe – Guest Post by Nicole Basaraba (marcia-richards.com)
- Christmas Markets Around the World (leggotunglei808.wordpress.com)