Any visit to a German city in December, if that visit occurs before Christmas Eve, will have the pleasure of coinciding with the city’s Weihnachts Markt or Christkindlmarkt. Germany’s Advent celebrations bring light and warmth to the final and darkest days of Autumn, and they give pilgrims like me perfect travel destinations to close out the year before the typically bland months of January and February are inflicted upon us.
Trier is a city that I had never visited prior to a recent business trip. It lies between two of my favorite short destinations from Belgium, Luxembourg City and Germany’s Mosel wine region. While experiencing both of those several times, Trier always seemed to get missed. But that oversight came to an end in early December.
Trier’s Christmas Market is on the Hauptmarkt and the Domfreihof (in front of the cathedral). All of the prerequisites are there, stalls selling Christmas ornaments, various crafts, grilled sausages, and of course the season’s beloved hot mulled wine, called Glühwein.
This hot wine, probably introduced by the Romans, is spiced with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and other assorted spices and normally has about a 7-9% alcohol content, making it similar to a Belgian beer. The taste of it only appeals to me on cold evenings surrounded by Christmas festivities, and without doubt it is only good when the temperature of the glühwein is at minimum warmer than warm. There are not many drinks less appealing to me than a lukewarm or cold glühwein. But pour some of that hot spicy beverage into a souvenir mug while surrounded by medieval buildings draped in Christmas lights and I am in Himmel.
And oh those souvenir mugs. I have a habit of collecting not one, but two from each Christmas Market I attend, which is easy since each city generally has multiple markets with their own special mug, sometimes offered in different colors to boot.
Trier is unique for its Roman architecture, highlighted by the Porta Nigra which is a 4th century testament of Roman ingenuity. Getting there is easy from Luxembourg – the train is about 1 hour and costs under 12 euros one-way. Connections then can take you up the romantic Mosel wine region.
I didn’t stay in the city center of Trier but in nearby Euren at Hotel Eurener Hof, a very classy hotel, with a decor I don’t know what to call except baroque rustic, exposed wood beams, and traditional food. Their venison medallions and green spaetzle was delectable.
This was the opener for my Christmas Market travels in 2016 and now I am excited to get to other cities, some big and some small, for more glühwein, glitter, and German goodness. And better believe I will come home with more mugs to add to my collection.