CONTRIBUTED BY MOMOKO KIMURA & QUENTIN RICHARDSON
Christmas Market Season is here! And what a great start it has been with the market next to the Dutch and Belgian borders in the city of Aachen. Between the city’s most iconic buildings, the market occupies the wide, openly spaced plazas with the usual goodies and local treats.
Before departing K-town, we checked the Aachen Christmas Market website to check the exact layout of the market and the best options for parking since I own a larger vehicle. We settled on Bendplatz, since it is a large open parking lot easily reached from the autobahn.
Parking turned out to be a larger issue. The Bendplatz was fenced off and I chose to park in the Lindt Factory parking lot. Do not park at the Lindt Factory parking lot, they close around 2000. Only after after an international debate concluded, was I able to leave the lot with my car at the end of the evening.
However, you can park around or inside parts of Bendplatz, but a little extra walking is needed to get to the shuttle bus stop (subject to change). there is a clean public toilet nearby and the shuttle bus stop for the market is located there. However, the lot was fenced off and the shuttle bus (convenient and fast) ends its service at 1830. The website says you can use buses 33 or 47 (33 is closer). Around the shuttle bus are a few tents selling gluhwein and other goodies.
We paid 3 euro for round trip tickets aboard a double decker bus, 2 euro is the one-way price from Bendplatz. The website says you can use buses 33 or 47 (33 is closer). The shuttle takes you straight to the street one block from the main entrance. From there you pass shops primed for local seasonal goodies. I suggest bringing an eco bag. The market is located in the three main sections of the town center called Markt, Katschhof, and Münsterplatz.
Upon arrival to the main entrance, you will see two Aachener gingerbread men (Printen) in front of the Rathaus and a larger Christmas tree to the right (Markt). My immediate suggestion is to continue straight for the information hut and purchase a poster and postcard for 2 euro… easy souvenirs.
After that head over to the Rathaus for a great view of the market. I forgot my DSLR, and my iPad was in its life proof case (otherwise the pictures would look better). Near the steps is a stand with delicious Belgian waffles and a place to sit in warmth to enjoy them. A twist and great opportunity has been presented this year for mug collectors. This market has been the first market we have been to that allows you to buy mugs gift wrapped for 3 euro instead of sneaking off with them after drinking.
A local treat from this market is Printen: a delicious variety of gingerbread, spiced cake and/or chocolate snacks available in shops year round or special tents. We bought a special tin box with a mixture of several different kinds. The box was a bit pricey since it was peak season (14 euro) but there are other sets to buy, both larger and smaller.
The larger tent sponsored by Hexenhof near Dom (Münsterplatz) has the best atmosphere and gets pretty crowded since the have the best varieties of drinks. The area between Dom and Rathaus (Katschhof) has great eateries. Mmmmm fried cauliflower, right?!? Not really, but the Hungarian Schaschlik was really good, actually, amazing! There are a lot of shops in this area too, some already familiar to KMC residents.
Because of freezing rain and falling temperature, we left the market. Directly north of the market near where the shuttle bus drops you off, you will see the stops for buses heading for Bendplatz. There is also an Esso station and quick connection back to the autobahn on the road adjacent to the station. Using A44, you are about 30 minutes from the Liege Christmas market.
Tips For Your Trip:
If you have an iOS device, send the PDF pages of the website to iBooks.
20 November to 23 December, 2015
Daily 11:00 – 21:00
Except Wednesday, 23 December: 11:00 to 20:00
Markt, Katschhof, Münsterplatz are grouped together. This is the largest part of the market with over 125 booths. You can reach them using this address:
Katschhof 2, 52062 Aachen, Germany
Holzgraben is a small market area between the areas above and below. It has 18 booths and can be found at this address:
Ursulinerstraße 25, 52062 Aachen, Germany
Kugelbrunnen is the smallest market area with just 5 stalls. It can be found at this address:
Promenadenstraße 7-9, 52062 Aachen, Germany
Directions from Kaiserslautern:
Use A63 to Kruez Alzey (A61 towards Koblenz), drive northwest to Kruez Kerpen (A4 towards Aachen/Einhoven) use Ausfarts #2 or #3, confusion and traffic is expected at Kruez Aachen. After that follow the market signs.
Directions from Ramstein/Trier:
Use A1/A48 towards Kruez Koblenz (A61 towards Köln/Bonn), drive northwest to Kruez Kerpen (A4 towards Aachen/Einhoven) use Ausfarts #2 or #3. Expect some confusion and traffic at Kruez Aachen. After that follow the market signs.
Directions from Spangdahlem:
Use A60 towards Verviers, Belgium and exit at Kruez Battice towards Aachen (A44 in Germany). Once back in Germany, use Ausfart 3 to get to the market and Esso.