We recently spent Christmas away from home, enjoying 2 beautiful weeks in The Black Forest, where it would of course be a crime to not experience the traditional Christmas markets! One market in particular trumps the list, and that is the stunning Ravenna Gorge.
Visiting Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market
To me, there really is no better or more magical place at Christmas time than Germany, and that is heightened even more in The Black Forest. Imagine, bundling up into the cold fresh air, soft snow crunching beneath you, twinkling market stall lights surround you, and the sound of festive cheer and atmosphere fills the air – welcome to Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market (otherwise known as Ravennaschlucht Weihnachtsmarkt).
Atmosphere and Christmas magic: Based under the Höllental Viaduct, one of the market’s key differentiators is its location, encapsulating all the festive and traditional charm of a German Christmas market, whilst set against the stunning beauty of The Black Forest. If you come in the evening, the viaduct will be lit-up in all its glory, emphasising this magical location and creating a truly unique atmosphere. Snow is also likely late-November / into December (although never guaranteed), so if you’re lucky the market may even be blanketed in a fluffy covering of snow.
Stalls, food & drink: Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market features roughly 40 traditional wooden huts, nestled under the viaduct and towering fir trees, all selling local crafts, ornaments, food and drink. No visit to a Christmas Market is complete without grabbing yourself a steaming mug of German mulled wine (Glühwein). I’d suggest however, don’t go to the first Glühwein stall you see. 1) it will likely be the busiest 2) there will be multiple Glühwein stalls. Take a look at the mugs they’re serving their Glühwein in. The cost of your drink includes a €2/3 deposit, which you get back when you return your mug – or forfeit your deposit and keep your mug as a souvenir! There are also alcohol-free options, such as hot chocolate and alcohol-free Glühwein / hot punch (Kinderpunsch).
Information on the stalls can be found on Ravennaschlucht’s website.
Pack layers! Whether Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market is snow-covered or not, do not doubt how cold your time at the market can be, especially if you visit in the evening when temperatures often drop below zero. Dress warmly with layers, thick winter socks, scarf, gloves and hat. I also packed some heated hand-warmers which I stuffed inside my gloves which made a huge difference as the evening temperatures settled in. It is worth also wearing hiking boots or shoes with a thick tread – the ground can be uneven, and possibly slippery / icy if its snowed.
Bring cash: Many vendors at the market are cash-only. Some do accept card, but it is better to be safe than sorry and bring some cash with you just in case, to cover your costs for any food, drink or souvenirs you want to buy.
Unlike many other Christmas Markets, you need a ticket in order to visit Ravennaschlucht Weihnachtsmarkt. This is a very popular Christmas Market, and being a ticketed event means only so many people can attend at any one point in time, and it can sell out very quickly – often weeks in advance.
You can buy tickets from the Ravennaschlucht website. Tickets go on sale Autumn-time, about one month before the market starts at the end of November. It’s worth regularly checking the website for updates as they often announce when ticket sales will be available from.
Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market is open x3 days a week – Friday, Saturday & Sunday – 2pm / 3pm until 8pm / 9pm, and usually opens around the last weekend of November, until the last weekend before Christmas (roughly) – but full details of dates can be found on the Ravenna Gorge website.
You given a 2hour timeslot when you book your tickets, which is a comfortable amount of time to enjoy the market and see everything that’s on offer there. I personally would recommend you grab one of the evening timeslots, as that is when the market really comes to life, with the viaduct illuminated, the firepit roaring, and the wooden market stalls are lit up in all their glory. We visited on the very last Saturday before Christmas and booked the last timeslot of the day (7pm – 9pm). There was a great hustle and bustle there, it was busy, but it didn’t feel over-crowded. However if you’d prefer a quieter trip, book your tickets for an afternoon timeslot or for the Sunday.
Regardless of what timeslot you book however, make sure you arrive early – I’d allow about 10/15 minutes before your planned timeslot. Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market is a popular destination and to keep things smooth the organisers run it like a well-oiled machine, so if you’re running late they won’t be waiting for you, and there won’t be any guarantee of getting booked onto another timeslot.
When you book your ticket online you not only choose the date and 2 hour timeslot you’d like, but you can also pick tickets with different travel options, allowing you to travel to Ravennaschlucht either by car, shuttle bus or by foot.
There is parking available on-site which you can book online at the time of ordering your ticket (the cost is roughly €7/8 for your 2hour timeslot. However it is not the largest car park meaning spaces do sell out more or less as soon as tickets become available, and it can also be quite tight to get in and out of. This might be a better option if you’re coming on a Sunday or during a quieter afternoon trip.
If you choose to drive and park on-site, the Market is well sign-posted from the B31 – look for signs “Ravennaschlucht Weihnachtsmarkt” or “Höllentalbahn”. This pin should also take you directly to the car park if you’re using a satnav / Google Maps.
The other option is to drive to Hinterzarten, where you can park up there and then hop on the shuttle bus to the Market.
For an easier commute to Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market, you can hop on one of the free shuttle bus services.
You need to book your place on the shuttle at the time of ordering your ticket – I believe there are shuttles which run from Hinterzarten, Titisee and Freiburg. We drove to Hinterzarten and hopped on the shuttle from there, which was just a short 10 minute drive.
All shuttles park up a short 5 minute walk away from the Market, making it a convenient and popular option for most visitors to the market. Make sure you check the schedule first before booking your shuttle to make sure it fits within your travel plans. When you come to leave the Market, all shuttles are marked with their return destination, making it nice and easy to identify which one you need to get back on.
The nearest towns to Ravennaschlucht are Hinterzarten, Freiburg or Titisee. If you don’t have access to a car, or if you’re not planning to drive to the Market, then you can catch a train from Freiburg or Titisee straight to Hinterzarten.
Then once at Hinterzarten you can either catch the shuttle bus service directly to Ravennaschlucht, or you can choose to walk to the Market.
If you prefer to arrive on foot, then you can follow the winter trail from Hinterzarten. It’s roughly a 3km walk and taking 45 minutes – full details can be found on Ravennaschlucht’s website.
If you have any questions about visiting Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market, or if you’d like to share your own experience of attending, feel free to drop something in the comments below – thanks!