Last week Steve and I flew to Hamburg with his brother Tony and wife Linda for our annual trip to visit the Christmas markets, and this year our destination was Lubeck, in Northern Germany.
Centuries old warehouses still line the waterfront and are now shops, restaurants and bars. Their step gables, and the Gothic spires of the churches are a striking feature of the landscape.
A view of one of Lubeck’s splendid Christmas markets by night. In the background is the city hall which dates back to the 13th century. Since 1987 the medieval old town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Lubeck’s most iconic building is the Holstentor, the impressive remaining city gate which sits on a separate island by a park.
The road through the gate leads to a cobbled square housing the porticoed town hall and part of the annual Christmas markets. Other stalls are in Koberg square, overlooked by Saint Jakobi Church and the medieval Holy Spirit Hospital. Nearby are shops selling the famous Niederegger marzipan founded here, and the former houses of Willy Brandt, Günter Grass and Thomas Mann.
We stayed at Hotel zur alten Stadtmsuer in the historic old town which had the advantage of private parking.
Hotel zur alten Stadtmsuer, is a small family-run two star superior hotel which was affordable and centrally located in a quiet side street only a short walk into the city centre, and the magical Christmas markets.
We ate at Bei Ulla, a popular local bar and restaurant which served traditional home-cooked German dishes and was very welcoming.
And we bought furry hats, funky socks, liqueurs, stollen, chocolate novelties, Christmas baubles and much, much more!
We sampled several mugs of the traditional Gluwein as we meandered around the market stalls and a new drink to us Feuerzangenbowie, which was served hot and literally flaming!
Recommended by a friend in Berlin the Feuerzangenbowie drink was delicious, and featured rum soaked sugar cones which were lit before serving.
We all enjoyed a memorable trip to magical Lubeck, with its impressive historic old town, the delightful Christmas markets, and lots of lovely bars with exceptional service. The hotel, car hire and flights were reasonably priced and we found that drinks and meals out were better value and generally less expensive than in the UK.
*The story of the elves – At the hotel where we stayed there were lots of tasteful traditional Christmas decorations, including two long-legged colorful elf character figures on display. Steve was very keen to obtain a couple of similar elves to take home, so we searched all the Christmas shops and stalls in Lubeck for three days, but to no avail. On our final morning Steve asked the hotel staff where he could find such an elf to buy and to our surprise the two elves were actually for sale! It made the perfect end to our trip to bring them back with us, and certainly put us in the mood for Christmas.