Holiday Kaiserslautern: City lights, forest magic

Kaiserslautern aerial city view. Photo by Daniel Stewart Lustig/

If you find you’ll be spending the holidays a little closer to home than you might have liked, don’t worry! Holiday beauty can be found in plenty of places in Kaiserslautern – both expected and unexpected.

Here are five ideas to help you make the most of the holiday season in Kaiserslautern.

1. Take a night walk in the city

Winter has the power to turn even the most active among us into hibernators. Fight the urge to sleep, especially when the sun goes down early!

Fortunately, Kaiserslautern has some great hibernation antidotes. One of the best ones involves bundling up and walking around the city center after dark. It’s like a whole new city. Gaslights, street lights, and shop lights illuminate pedestrian plazas. During the Christmas season, you get an added bonus of beautiful illumination.

Shopping isn’t required to make this a refreshing outing. Even if you’re only going to sneak peaks at shop windows, the time spent will be well worth it.

2. Check out the Christmas markets

That’s right, Kaiserslautern has markets, as in plural, as in more than one. The Fruchthalle, in the city center, offers a large variety of vendors, goods, and goodies. There is also a smaller outdoor market nearby.

In addition, lots of smaller villages surrounding Kaiserslautern offer their own Christmas markets. These include Otterberg, Johanniskreuz/Trippstadt, Falkenstein, Homburg and many, many others. Get out there and immerse yourself in the fantastic scented clouds of gingerbread and mulled wine!

3. Tour neighboring villages

Speaking of KMC villages, many of them will be well worth your while, for a variety of reasons. Otterberg has a lovely downtown, an ancient church that’s worth a look, and a cute little plaza. Föckelberg offers incredible views of the surrounding area. Neuleningen has an always-open castle, narrow winding streets, and breathtaking views of the Rhine Valley.

The list goes on and on. If you live anywhere near Kaiserslautern, there are sure to be loads of hidden gems less than thirty minutes from your place. Ask your friends for tips. Ask your neighbors. Do a little research. And then start your visit!

4. Hit the forests

German forests are excellent. Trails that wind through trees are outstanding for many reasons: the route stays the same, and the scenery changes every season. They’re never subject to travel restrictions. You can walk (almost) wherever you want. They’re free. And they give you hours and hours of fun and fresh air.

You can get exercise, see new things, stumble across hidden treasures (like wild animals and great views). Forests are everywhere around Kaiserlsautern, and they rock.

5. Try out winter specialties

So when you’re done braving the great outdoors, there’s also this: Germans know how to eat well and drink well during the holidays.

If you haven’t done so already, join them. Put down those microwave taquitos and frozen pizzas. Save that run to the food court. Find a butcher’s shop, a bakery, a farmer’s market or a Christmas market. Start simple by looking up German recipes online. Discover mulled wine, or Pfalz wine, or German beer. Buy a bottle of sprudel and learn to love the bubbles.

Kaiserslautern has all of these things, in spades. If you’re going to stay local during the holidays, don’t be afraid to try living like a local. It makes the season all the more magical!

Due to regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19, bookings and trips may be cancelled or postponed, and travel to neighboring countries may not be allowed. Please verify the status before making plans to attend. For U.S. government employees, including service members, remember to always follow command regulations, which may be different than host nation policies.