The Heidelberg Castle Market, or Heidelberger Schlossweihnacht, is a special market held at the castle’s courtyard every year for just two weeks. It’s quite different from the main market in the Altstadt and offers mostly artisanal crafts.
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆
Diversity of goods: ★★★★☆
*I’m giving it an overall 4 because I feel like it’s a bit better than the main market in Heidelberg and it deserves more than 3 stars.
Opening days: Dec 6-11, 13-18
Opening hours: Thursday: 5-9pm; Friday-Tuesday: 12am-9pm
Date visited: Dec 7, 2012
This is a small artisanal crafts market that features handmade wooden, glass and woollen wares, but they’ve also got other things like lotion, gnomes, traditional Christmas decors, and of course, food and drinks. Food here is a lot more expensive than those in the main Weihnachtsmarkt, but I guess that’s to be expected – if you’re hungry, you can either eat here or go all the way back to the city center, so they don’t have any competition around. I don’t suggest going there with an empty stomach, but as an alternative, you can get a good bratwurst for €3 at the castle snack stall before it closes at 5:30pm.
Booth owners here are in general very friendly. We walked into a woollen clothes and accessories stall and the owner, who we learned lived in Switzerland for a while, started chatting with us and instead of pressing us to buy her beautifully knitted gloves and scarves, she tried to convince us to start knitting. In another booth full of handmade teddy bears, the owner said I could take pictures of them even after I’d admitted that I couldn’t afford to bring any home.
It was one of the coldest days in Heidelberg and it was snowing a lot up at the palace, which made it all the more Christmasy and so much prettier. When we were about to freeze to death, we saw two fires in front of a tent selling Finnish food and stood there for 10 warm minutes. It also smelled nice and I didn’t realize at first that it was from the salmon in the fire. I did want to try it but it was a bit expensive (though my Finnish classmate said it was actually cheap compared to those in Finland – but hey, we’re in Germany!) and, I don’t really eat fish or seafood…
All in all, this is a lovely market if you’re looking for more than something to fill the stomach. Note the opening hours of the market though; the booths open later than those in the main market and close at 9pm.