Bavarian Forest Winter

Why I Think Everyone Should Visit Bavaria At Christmas (

9 mins read

A land of cuckoo clocks, fairytales, and a festive cheer unlike no other in the world, I think Bavaria is arguably one of the world’s best places to visit at Christmas. I took a trip to under-the-radar Regensburg, a university city hailed as the best-preserved medieval city in Germany.

Although it’s an under-the-radar travel destination it’s actually the best preserved medieval city in Germany and towards the end of November and all of December, the city – just like the rest of Bavaria – turns into a truly magical place. Here’s why I think everyone should visit Bavaria at least once during the Christmas Season….

A video of our visit to Bavaria at Christmas…

1. The Germans have their version of Hygge!

Cosy Bar Regensburg

You’ve now probably all heard of the Danish lifestyle craze that roughly translates into a feeling of comfort, contentment and coziness! Well, you may or may not know that Germany has its own version – Gemütlichkeit – and Gemütlichkeit and I love that it’s especially evident in the run-up to Christmas! 

A little more traditional than its Scandi cousins, Gemütlichkeit is all about Glühwein, Advent markets, Christmas trees dripping with wood-carved decorations, stollen cake, inviting bars and restaurants illuminated by a warm glow of candlelight and my favourite… hundreds of twinkling lights adorning colourful historic buildings! Which was my idea of how to spend Christmas! Just bliss! 

2. The Beautiful Snowy Bavarian Forest

Bavarian Forest Winter

Snowy Bavarian Forest

The Bavarian Forest is the oldest national park in Germany and nature has been allowed a free rein in this unspoilt highland region, 95 percent of which is covered by forest.

I visited and was truly enchanted! During the winter months, I thought there was nothing more idyllic. To me, it felt and looked almost otherworldly where the soft, thick snow carpets the ground and weighs heavy on the towering fir’s branches.

Even if you don’t snowshoe or ski then I would just check that your car has donned its winter tires and then just take a journey down there and gaze in wonderment at the snowy winter wonderland that awaits you! 

3. The storybook historic towns and villages

Drone shot of Regensburg in the Winter

Due to the irresistible lure of modernisation sadly much of what is known as ‘traditional Europe’ has been slowly swept away and in my opinion, the Europe of your dreams is now much harder to find! 

Although not in Bavaria! Every time I visit this region it’s obvious that historic heritage and cultural traditions are extremely important – here pristinely preserved medieval towns go about their peaceful, time-warped business.

I love that they still have perfectly preserved fairytale castles, colourful traffic-free towns filled with beautiful half-timbered buildings to unspoiled dense forests of black fir trees. I personally think this is the region to visit for your fix of unspoiled ‘old-world European charm’ that has become such a rarity these days! 

4. The Christmas Markets…of course!

Christmas Market Bavaria

I honestly think there’s nothing quite as magical as a Bavarian Christmas market! In Regensburg, the city is filled with no less than four different markets and two of the best are held in the illuminated Beer Gardens by the Danube River and in the flame torch-lined grounds of a stately castle.

A feast for all the senses – traditional stalls sell delicately hand-crafted Christmas decorations surrounded by a sea of hundreds of twinkling lights, smoke from open campfires billows into the frosty darkness, the aroma of caramelised almonds permeates the air and the regal sounds of bugles signal the start and end of the Christmassy shenanigans. Perfection.

5. The wooden Christmas decorations – made the Bavarian way

Thurn und Taxis Christmas Market in Regensburg

I honestly think the super cute old-fashioned Christmas decorations which are sold everywhere throughout Bavaria deserve a special mention of their own! 

Every year tourists flock to Bavaria just to gaze at their handmade Christmas decorations alone and once I saw them I could see why! Forgot tinsel and tacky plastic decorations, these ornaments are truly exquisite and range from handcrafted angels to painstakingly elaborate nativity scenes and are made from the famed local Bavarian wood.

For bargains, I would recommend heading for the Christmas Markets or to splurge head to the fine array of independent stores in the Old Town of any Bavarian city.

6. Their unique outlook on life!

Traditional Christmas Decoration in Regensburg

Bavaria is a gloriously quirky place and I will always love this region’s amazingly unique outlook on life! With clear links to its colourful, folksy past this is the place where flamboyant ledhosen-clad locals sup on gigantic steins of beer accompanied by jolly Oompah music and I think you can’t get much better than that for a European break! 

My favourite quirky Bavarian tradition? The Krampus, a half-goat, half-demon and Santa Claus’ evil alter ego, punishes bad children at Christmas time. 

This legend has even inspired annual Krampus walks, where people don masks and furry costumes and run about the streets scaring everybody witless. So if you are in Bavaria on December 6th I would recommend witnessing the action firsthand. Yikes!

Words by Becky video and photographs are by Gary Nunn.

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