A warm and inviting atmosphere among the scent of spices, cinnamon and mountain wood. It’s time for the much awaited Christmas Markets and our favourites are set up in the cities of the Dolomites (Bolzano, Merano, Bressanone, Vipiteno and Brunico) from November 24th to January 6th. Scout out for the perfect gift, search for funky, hand made Christmas decorations and enjoy a cup of mulled wine. There are now many Christmas markets throughout the Alps and beyond, but South Tyrol boasts the copyright: these markets are the original ones.
The hallmark of the Bolzano Christmas market is definitely the 20m tree set up in Walther Square with its 1300 sparkling lights. It is called the “Tree of Wishes” and it is decorated with Thun ceramic angels and charms, symbols of dreams and hope. From the tree the magic radiates throughout the city. Sixty-five wooden chalets are set up in the main square, and the “Christmas Park” (Alcide Berloffa Park) hosts 32 more stands. Lots of beautiful wooden chalets where you can unearth the handicraft or curious object. Not forgetting to taste some local delicacies, such as Lebkuchen sweets, apple fritters, cookies, Zelten and Stollen. There are also many events scheduled throughout this season (you can find out more at the info point at No. 11 Wheat Square). After the market, head out for dinner in one of the town’s finest restaurants: Laurin, Zur Kaiserkron, Argentieri Restaurant, Tree Brasserie, Italia&Amore, Gasthaus Fink, Löwengrube, Batzen Häusl) where the in-house chefs have prepared a special “Market Menu.”
In the town overlooking the River Passirio, everything revolves around the Christmas Village at the piazza della Rena. Here we find a large chalet where you can book a gourmet dinner but also participate in creative workshops to learn how to create an advent wreath or a centrepiece for the holidays. The spa park will also be transformed into a wonderland for the occasion: during the “Silent Lights” you can enjoy an exciting and magical experience surrounded by nature, moving among light, wind, sound and landscape.
Peace and light are the themes chosen for this year’s Brixen Christmas Market. In the atmospheric Hofburg courtyard, the light and music show “Colours. A Homage to Peace,” where the 60-child Peace Choir will perform. Also worth seeing is the XXL-sized Advent calendar decorating the 24 windows of the Bauzano House, overlooking the Cathedral Square: every day a new window is opened where pictures and painted phrases on peace will appear.
Christmas in Vipiteno celebrates bells. Small themed glass bells can be found on the stalls, a traditional item that makes a valuable gift. But sounds are spread everywhere: a carillon consisting of 25 bells has been installed on the Tower of Twelve and rings every day at a set time. Inside the Sound Forest at North Park there are sound stations and snow games, and on Mount Horse there is a special bell: here everyone can leave his letter to Santa Claus. It will be sent directly to him.
Christmas has its own distinctive scent: a mix of ginger and cinnamon, woods and pine, snow and chimney fire. A scent to always inhale. That’s why at the Brunico Christmas Market, which is historically linked to the scents of nature, a special Christmas scent has been created in collaboration with Bergila; an essence of herbal notes with a touch of spice to enhance the warm, winter flavours. To dive even deeper into the Christmas scents, you can visit the Fragrance Barn at Tschurtschenthaler Square: a sensory experience among the herbs, oils, and scents of South Tyrol.