Hey guys! If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you may have seen that I was recently in France, Switzerland, and a few other places over the past week. My friend Jenn was visiting from Seattle and it was a busy week full of Christmas markets and sightseeing.
Our first day was spent at a local Spa – since many thing aren’t open Sundays, we opted for a day of relaxation at Bad Sachen just outside of Lindau. It was awesome, and definitely needed for all the travel that was to come. Then the next morning we were on our way to one of my favorite places – Colmar, France. We arrived at our Air B&B, dropped off our things, and make our way to the Christmas Market.
I always thought Germany did Christmas the best, but France may just take the cake. The mix of the beautiful half-timbered houses and all the Christmas decor was almost too much to handle. There were markets in every square throughout Colmar. It was seriously looked like a scene from a movie set.
As you may know, Alsace is a big wine region, so many of our stops included sampling some of the region’s grapes. I knew I loved the region’s Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Cremant, but this time I tried the Muscat and it was delish! I’ve always associated the Muscat grape with super sweet Muscato, but the dry style served in Alsace was delish. I’m more of a white wine than red person, so everything was right up my alley.
We spent the day cruising around town, weaving in and out of Christmas markets, and admiring the decor. Once it got dark the markets lit up and it added another layer of charm.
On our second day in France we went to the Chateau Haut-Koeningsbourg (a castle) and then stopped in a few small villages on the way back to Colmar. I had been to a few of them with Jeff last year (post here), but this time the cities were bustling – some with their own Christmas markets.
My favorite stop was in Ribeauville (above), where you can see a castle on a hill overlooking the town. It was super charming with all the Christmas decor that lined the streets. Ribeauville is a big wine-growing city, so we stopped and tried some of their local wine with a bowl of onion soup. I’ve always been a fan of French Onion soup back home, but nothing compares to eating it in France! It was amazing.
Our next stop was Riquewhir, another charming town with a Christmas market, Jeff and I visited here last year and the town seemed pretty empty. It was packed this time! It was almost hard to walk through the streets, but it was adorable nonetheless.
We ended up in Eguisheim as the sun went down. I loved this place when Jeff and I visited last time, and the charm was still there, even it the dark. Jenn and I stroll around the streets, checked out the Christmas market, and admired the decor. It was so magical it seriously looked straight out of a fairy tale.
On our way home from France, Jenn and I checked out the Black Forest region of Germany. We stopped by the city of Freiburg and took a peak at their Christmas market before heading to the Rothaus Brewery in the “high” Black Forest. The name is very literal – we were driving up a windy, tree-filled mountain road for what seemed like forever.
We finally arrived at a brewery hiding in the foggy woods. A tour guide showed us the facility and afterwards we had the opportunity to sample some of their beers in their bar. They were delish! If you’re in the US they actually distribute one called Tannen Zapfle – you have to try it. After our tasting, Jenn and I walked over to the brewery’s restaurant and each enjoyed a huge slice of Black Forest cake. It was incredible – nothing like I’ve ever had back home. It was somehow creamy, chocolaty, and delicious without being too sweet. I don’t know if I’m glad or sad we don’t have it over here in Lindau!
One of the last stops on Jenn’s trip was Zurich – just an hour and 45 minutes from our place in Lindau. We could not have asked for a better day – the sun was out and the weather was unseasonably warm. Perfect for walking around.
Zurich is pretty expensive, so we pretty much just went for the sightseeing and Christmas markets (I actually have no idea how many markets we visited the entire trip, but it was a ton!). There was a full on market inside the main train station – complete with a Swarovski tree, but our favorite was the Christmas market at Sechslautenplatz. It was huge, on the water, and full of the most delicious-looking food stands you’ve ever seen. If I had all day I would have tried everything!
After the Zurich trip we went to Konstanz, Germany the next day – just across lake from Lindau. It was so cold, windy, and rainy. Even though the market was cute we spent our time there trying to find cover and avoid getting hit my the slush-rain! It was crazy.
Jenn headed home on Sunday and it seriously went by way too fast! It was such a treat to travel around with one of my besties and see all of the Christmas things. Europe seriously does Christmas way better than back home, and if you ever get a change to visit during late November/early December, don’t hesitate!! After living in Germany for the past 3 Christmas seasons I’ll never look at the holiday the same way. I used to be kind of a Grinch, but now it’s one of my favorite times of the year.
Facebook | Bloglovin | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest