CONTRIBUTED BY KARI MARTINDALE
Note: This article was originally published in 2014, but has been updated for the 2015 season. Enjoy!
Erbach sits just a kilometer up the road from Michelstadt, in the Odenwald. While Michelstadt hosts a well-known large Weihnachtsmarkt, Erbach’s market is charmingly intimate. They boast a Fachwerk-rich Marktplatz with a giant Schloss, worthy of visit any time of year.
The Christmas market itself was small but lovely, set to the picturesque backdrop of Erbach. A choir sang, a wooden nativity scene greeted us, and there was plenty of Glühwein cheer. In fact, the Christmas pyramid actually sat atop a Glühwein stand!
Although there was a small merry-go-round for the little ones, the market was geared less toward children’s entertainment and more toward spreading holiday cheer.
One noteworthy aspect about Erbach from a Christmas shopping standpoint is actually an important thing to know about the town in general: just down a street from the Marktplatz is a courtyard of shops that sell authentic, German handcrafted items—and not just your typical souvenirs. My favorite of these shops is Drechselstube, the oldest shop in the Odenwald specializing in wood crafted items. You’ll of course find typical items there: a few rows of nutcrackers, smoking men, and ornaments, miniatures from some of the popular German collections, and a nice selection of Christmas pyramids and arches (this includes giant, high-euro pieces—they’re high-euro because of size and intricacy). In general, many items in the store are offered at much more reasonable prices than souvenir shops. Woodcarvings large and small, picture frames, signs, bowls, breadboxes, music boxes…I dare you to leave empty-handed!
In addition to Christmas and decorative pieces, they sell wooden toys and doll furniture for babies, toddlers, and young children. These prices are also lower than most markets and toy stores. Most toys are handcrafted in Germany, but a box or tag will show if it is not. Some of the Drechselstube shopkeepers speak English, and they are all friendly toward children. However, I would note that you’d be better off keeping younger hands busy in the toy section rather than near some of the more fragile items!
Another important building that the Marktplatz of Erbach features is the Odenwald visitor’s center, which is chock full of good info about the entire region. The visitor’s center also sells books and souvenirs from the area, including a large variety of Schnapps!
Walking from the visitor’s center through the adjacent arch, you’ll come upon Korb-Welt (pictured above), for those who like baskets and similar items.
If you’re looking to sit down for a meal, Erbacher Brauhaus, pictured above, has been consistently good in both food and service all three times we have eaten lunch there with guests.
If you’re planning to visit the larger Michelstadt Christmas market, consider popping into neighboring Erbach, as well!
Tips For Your Trip:
Markt Square 11-15
64711 Erbach im Odenwald, Germany
Market at all four Advent weekends in 2015.
November 27-29, December 4-6, 11-13, and 18-20, 2015.
Saturday and Sunday: 1100-2000