Nestled in a river valley between rolling hills sits the city of Trier, Germany This charming city on the western border of Germany was a last minute addition to our Christmas market tour, and I am so glad we added it.
The market wasn’t massive, but it, like the town, was a great blend of both Germanic and Belgian cultures, was very pretty, and had some very unique elements (especially food) that we didn’t see anywhere else.
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The Trier Christmas Market is divided between two separate, but basically connecting squares: Hauptmarkt and Domfreihof. These two squares are connected by the short street, Sternstrasse. While these are two technically two separate spots, it’s really just two parts of the same market.
We started in the Hauptmarkt and my goodness, the buildings surrounding this square are absolutely delightful! They were all built at different time periods, so you see a really interesting conglomeration of architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, etc. We loved all the different hues and details on the buildings.
Inside the market, you’ll find quite a variety of foods and shops within the relatively (compared to larger cities) small number of stalls.
There was also a small kiddie carousel to ride.
On the north side of the market, opposite the entrance, was a large Christmas pyramid, which is a classic German Christmas feature. You can see it best from the outside of the market, and it’s worth walking around to get a good view and picture with it!
When we finished in the Hauptmarkt, we strolled over to the Domfreihof square.
The part of the market sits in the shadow of the Trier Cathedral. If you fancy a ride, there’s a cute carousel in this square.
The cathedral is free to visit and definitely worth a stop. Matthew really liked the look of this cathedral; it has an exterior that reminded us more of a castle.
It is actually the oldest cathedral north of the Alps, but the real standout for this cathedral was the West Choir, a raised area just to your left when you first walk in that was stunning with its intricate carvings and bold coloring.
Cathedral architecture is always so impressive to me, especially in smaller cities! (Even smaller locations in Europe so often still have such grand churches!)
Opening Dates for 2022
The Trier Christmas Market will be open from Friday November 18 to Thursday December 22, 2022. It will be open every day except for Sunday, November 20.
Opening times are:
- Monday-Thursday: 10:30am-8:30pm
- Friday-Saturday: 10:30am-9:30pm
- Sunday: 11am-8:30pm
What Goods To Buy at the Trier Christmas Market
Here is a sampling of the goods for sale at the Trier Christmas market:
we saw items such cookie cutters, embossed rolling pins, stuffed animals, jewelry, alpine village pieces and people,
What to Eat at the Trier Christmas Market
Despite being a small market, there was an impressive variety of food to eat at the Hauptmarkt and Domfreihof squares, such as:
Other foods for sale included:
- Churros: Fried fresh from batter on the spot!
- Crepes: A large, thin, flat French pancake smeared with your choice of toppings.
- Chimney Cake: A sweet dough that is rolled into a rope and baked around a metal cylinder, and then rolled in sugar. This is a Hungarian dessert, but we saw it several times in Germany.
What to Drink
There were several drinks stands between the two squares where you can buy gluhwein (hot, mulled wine), non-alcoholic hot cider, or hot chocolate. When you buy your drink, you also pay a 3 euro deposit for the cup it is served in.
After you finish your drink, you can return the mug and get your deposit back. Alternatively, you can also keep the mug as a souvenir!
We collected mugs from the Christmas markets all around Europe, so of course we had to keep the one from Trier as well. Each city’s mugs are different and unique, and so we came home with a collection of unique and beautiful mugs. It’s a great souvenir and was one of my favorite aspects of the European Christmas markets we visited!
(Pro tip: When packing, stick each mug in a sock, and then place all the mugs in a carry-on duffel bag, padded with clothes).
If you are keeping your mug instead of returning it for your deposit back, you can still go up and exchange the dirty one you just drank out of for a clean one to bring home (people were really nice when we did this – it seems like this is pretty common).
Other Things to Know About Visiting the Trier Christmas Market
- There are no entrance fees to visit the Christmas markets.
- People in Trier speak German, of course, but you will find that most people interacting with tourists speak at least some English.
- There are some stands that will accept card, but many places will just take cash. There are ATMs around the city, so it’s not hard to find a spot to pull out some euros, but I would plan to have euros on hand when you arrive.
- Weekends are much busier than weekdays, so if you can, visit on a weekday.
How Much Time Do You Need?
One day is plenty of time to see Trier, the Christmas markets, and the surrounding sites, such as the Roman baths and amphitheater. You can stay overnight in town, or do this as a day trip from a neighboring city.
Where to Park
There are several inexpensive parking lots around Trier, marked above with the square and oval P icons. There are good signs for parking as you enter town, giving directions and indicating which lots are full and which have availability. It was very convenient and straightforward.
The parking lot we parked at was on the corner of Langstrasse and Deutschherrenstrasse. We paid 3.50 euro for 2 hours of parking.
Where to Stay in Trier
While you can do Trier as a day trip, if you want time to really see the city and take in the other sites in town, like the Roman baths or amphitheater, you’ll want to stay a night in the city. These are my two hotel recommendations for Trier. I would recommend making reservations as early as possible, as hotels during Christmas market season can sell out months in advance.
Hotel Deutscher Hof: This cute but modern hotel offers extremely clean, spacious rooms, in a great location, at just ~10 minute walk from the markets and old town of Trier. Plus, you can enjoy the on-site sauna and steam bath after a long day of sightseeing. Check current rates here!
Romantik Hotel zur Glocke: Located on a pedestrian street, the location of this hotel is superb. In addition, the building is historic, with some rooms having exposed beams in the room. The entire hotel is charming and quaint and a great home base for exploring Trier. Check current rates here!
Berghotel Kockelsberg: Now, this hotel is about 2.5 miles outside of Trier, so you will have to drive into town. The tradeoff? Staying in a historic building that looks kind of like a castle, fantastic views over the valley, all at an incredibly reasonable price. Check current rates here!
Traveling Between Different Cities?
While you can easily take the train between many cities in Europe, for this trip we chose to rent a car and drive between towns (since we were going at a fast pace and wanted to stop in the small villages like Trier as well). Driving in Europe is straightforward, the roads are well-maintained, and the signage is easy to follow.
Plus… can you say autobahn?! I’m not going to lie, cruising down the autobahn at 180 km/hour (111 mph) was THRILLING.
The rental company we booked with (OK Rent a Car) was a lot cheaper than the others, and the car ran very well, the check-in procedures were smooth, and everything went swimmingly. I’d highly recommend!
If you are planning on renting a car, I would reserve your car early. We got a good rate in September, but when I checked again in November, rates were triple the price. Check current rates here!
Christmas Market Essentials:
Like most Christmas markets in Europe, the Trier Christmas market was chilly! I cozied up with this affordable wool coat, this super cute pom-pom beanie, and this festive scarf. And don’t forget a pair of gloves!
You’ll definitely want good footwear as you walk around the markets – you can put in a lot of kilometers/miles as walk around the markets. These are my new favorite sneakers – white faux leather, and soft and cushy!
A good backpack and/or a crossbody purse with a zipper is a must! We liked carrying around a backpack so we had a place to stash any goodies we picked up at the markets, and this one is waterproof! And I always bring this cognac crossbody purse with me on trips – always zipped and in front of my body to prevent pickpocketing.
Don’t forget – Germany uses type C plugs, so if you’re coming from the US (or another country that doesn’t use type C plugs), you’ll need a power adaptor. This set is affordable and comes in a 3-pack – perfect so everyone can charge their devices.
These packing cubes are my new best friend. Gone are the days of a suitcase full of clothes getting all mixed up and disorganized after 2 days of travel, with me always rummaging around for 5 minutes trying to find things. You can pack like items in different cubes and keep everything in its place. Honestly, can’t believe I held out buying these for so long!
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Securing some travel insurance is an important part of prepping for any international trip – you never know when something might happen, and your regular insurance generally won’t cover you overseas. Costs for a medical emergency on vacation can add up extremely fast, so it’s just better to be safe than sorry.
I like booking insurance at Insure My Trip, as they offer a variety of plans with different coverages to choose from, so you can find the right option for you. Plus, they have great customer support if you need help before, during, or after your trip.
Final Thoughts on the Trier Christmas Market
The vibe of the Trier Christmas market felt really homey and local, like this was a spot that friends were meeting up at for lunch, or that grandmas were out shopping together. The whole feel was very pleasant and happy.
Read About More European Christmas Markets here:
- The Cologne Christmas Market: The Best Themed Market in Europe
- The Strasbourg Christmas Market: A City of Lights
- The Colmar Christmas Market: A Magical Winter Wonderland
- The Basel Christmas Market: A Traditional Swiss Experience