Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Brief Guide to the Heidelberg Christmas Market

Zimtsterne (Cinnamon Stars): The best Zimtsterne ever are available in the Marktplatz. Enter the Marktplatz from the southwest and pass the giant pyramid bar on your right. The Zimtsterne are a couple of booths down on the left. You can watch them bake them, try a free fresh sample, and even buy the non-star-shaped ends at a small discount. I can't eat them from anywhere else now. We tried to make them at home and that ended badly, too.

Kartoffelpuffer/Reibekuchen (Potato Pancakes): The two stands I know of that sell these are in the Marktplatz and the platz with the ice skating rink on the far east end of the Hauptstrasse. (Why can I never remember the name of this platz!?) The ones in the Marktplatz are better - more crisp, less gummy. They are in the northwest corner, just a ways beyond the delicious Zimtsterne.

Spicy Wurst: In order of spiciness, least to most: Feuerwurst in the Bismarckplatz, Feuerwurst in the Uni-Platz, Teufelswurst in the Marktplatz. In the Marktplatz you can also get some deliciously horrible Kaesespaetzle at the same stand. Yum!!

Nicest Christmas Junk: There's a little ornament and pyramid stand in the Kornmarkt (northwest corner) that has much cuter, sturdier stuff than most other stands selling this sort of thing. In the back section of the Uni-Platz there is another good one (at least there was last year, but I didn't look for it yet this year). The increase in quality is of course accompanied by an increase in price.

Delicious Dried Strawberries: A dried fruit stand in the back section of the Uni-Platz. Free sampling!!

Vegetarian Options: Kaesespaetzle in the Marktplatz at the little Wurst stand next to the giant pyramid. Kartoffelpuffer in the Marktplatz and the ice skating platz. French fries in the Uni-Platz just at the corner where the back and front sections of the platz meet. Crepes and waffles at the platz halfway between Bismarckplatz and Uni-Platz, in Uni-Platz, in Marktplatz, and in the ice-skating platz. Chocolate-covered fruit at the candy stands (everywhere).

Biggest Freaking Crowd: Around the fountain in the Uni-Platz. Madness! Do not arrange to meet your friends here unless you are very tall.

#1 Place to Get Budged in Front of While in Line: Crepe stands. Germans are the most shameless budgers ever. Good luck controlling your fist of death when you catch the smug look on their face when they've gotten away with it, because you're too frustrated to berate them in your second language.

More contributions from locals welcome!


  1. Say after me:

    "Bismarckplatz, Theaterplatz, Uniplatz, Marktplatz, Karls-Platz."

    That's exactly the order in which you will pass them walking from the Bismarckplatz towards Karlstor.

    Now you try it...

    Hope this ends the "platz" confusion.

  2. Anon: KARLS-Platz, that is the one I always have trouble with. I knew it was a person's name. But the other one I'm thinking of isn't the Theaterplatz, it's that one that has a mug stand during the Christmas market - next to the first Extrablatt. What is that one?

    Mary: Someone who budges...maybe it's not really a word, haha.

  3. CNH: I can only surmise that by referring to the first Extrablatt, you mean the area in front of the Psychologische Institut. That's not a "platz", my dear.

    Other than that, look out for a "tienda" by Frank & Schuster (tea, spices, etc). Get the Turkish Apple Tea (unadulterated)!

    Weihnachtliche Gruesse aus Georgia. (It's a state of mind, not a country.)

  4. Anon, yes, we looked it up, it's apparently called the Anatomiegarten. Who knew? I don't think I've ever heard it referred to as anything.

  5. Anon: Although I might be mistaken since German isn't my first language, I would have thought that a big empty area (i.e. "place") in the middle of a town is what defines a "Platz." If it's not a Platz, at least I'm not the only one who's mistaken. The Rhein Neckar Wiki lists the Anatomiegarten under "Plaetze" (http://wiki.rhein-neckar.de/index.php/Altstadt_(Heidelberg))

    As for the Karlsplatz, I'll admit, I, too, have a hard time with this one. I always remember it's "some Fuerst"-platz, which narrows it down, but remembering which Fuerst (even if they did all have the same three names) is always the trick. I feel better, though knowing that people who grew up in Heidelberg have a hard time remember the name of that Platz! ;) btw, In which Gerogia are you (or your mind)?

  6. Btw, the Heumarkt and Kornmarkt are also missing in the above list. ;-)

    And at least Kornmarkt is directly on the Hauptstra├če as well of course.

  7. We just relocated to Italy after two and a hlaf wonderful years living in the Heidelberg Altstadt and this post made me miss the Christmas Markt even more. Our favorite foods were the sauteed mushrooms and the sauerkraut dish with the little dumplings and pieces of speck.

    I'm glad I found your blog, I wish I knew about it while we were living there...


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