Roasted chestnuts and other seasonal treats await at fall festivals, including the events listed below in Belgium, Germany and Italy.

Roasted chestnuts and other seasonal treats await at fall festivals, including the events listed below in Belgium, Germany and Italy. (iStock)

As autumn settles in, thoughts might turn toward preparation for the dark and chilly days that inevitably lie ahead. From thick winter jackets to sturdy boots to storable foodstuffs that could help carry a household through the winter, markets have long been the place to go for items promising warmth and sustenance. Even at a time when one’s next purchase could just as easily come from a shop or the click of mouse, markets can make for fun family outings and the chance to pick up unique objects. And should that market take place in a town or region that’s heavy on the charm, sightseeing or sampling local culinary treats can more than make up for any shortcomings in the shopping itself. Here are just a few autumn markets taking place within reasonable distance to U.S. military installations in Europe in the weeks to come:


Sankt Vith: On the third Tuesday of November each year, this small city in the Eifel region hosts its annual Katharinenmarket. On Nov. 15, some 200 stallholders will offer an assortment of goods from socks to spoons. Between perusing the wares, visitors can feast on pea soup or potato pancakes and warm up with mulled wine. Online:


Meersburg: this well-preserved town ideally situated on the eastern shore of Lake Constance hosts a crafts market Oct. 15-16. Pottery, leather goods, jewelry and metalwork are among the goods for sale at the Schlossplatz. Online:

Hauenstein: This speck of a town lies deep in the heart of the Palatinate Forest, one of the few places in Germany where edible chestnuts thrive. On Oct. 16, those who venture to this out-of-the-way corner will be rewarded with freshly roasted chestnuts alongside freshly baked breads, buns and cakes made with chestnut flour. The “Keschdemarkt” runs from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Online:

Maikammer: A village along the German Wine Road just south of Neustadt is the site of a French-German farmer’s market. On Oct. 23, producers from both countries will offer cheese, sausages, wine, marmalade, honey and other locally made products. Online:

Nördlingen: This Swabian town encircled by an intact medieval wall offers an additional draw for tourists on Oct. 23, as its annual autumn market attracts vendors selling sweets, spices, socks and other surprises. Online:

Völklingen: This city by the Saar River known for its hulking, disused ironworks is the site of a unique night market. From 4 p.m. Nov. 4, the “Mondscheinmarkt” offers some 65 market stands accompanied by entertainment and the usual festival treats. Medieval themed crafts are sold in the nearby Pfarrgarten. Online:

Pirmasens: This city 25 miles south of Kaiserslautern is surrounded by the dense Palatinate Forest and its endless hiking possibilities. From Nov. 4-6, the “Novembermarkt” offers market stalls, a wine tent, live music and a handful of attractions including a Ferris wheel. Online:

Hochheim: This wine town near the Main River just east of Wiesbaden hosts a fair and volk festival rolled into one. From Nov. 4-8, visitors can peruse household goods, clothing, home décor, gardening tools and countless other items. Culinary treats, a midway filled with high-tech carnival rides, a beer tent, and lots of freely flowing wine make for a memorable day out. Online:

Mosbach: A town of half-timbered houses in the midst of the Odenwald hosts a Middle-Ages and artisan’s market Nov. 5-6. Online:

Bad Schwalbach: An unassuming spa town 12 miles northwest of Wiesbaden will be the site of a small market at its Weinbrunnenplatz on Nov. 6. A small funfair takes place nearby. Online:

Esslingen: On Nov. 6, this town by the Neckar River shrugs off its usual Sunday slumber to host a flea and artisan’s market. Walking acts further enliven the city streets. Online:

Kirchheim unter Teck: This small town about 25 miles southeast of Stuttgart has been hosting its annual Gallusmarkt since 1574. On Monday, Nov. 7, around 200 sellers will be offering a wide range of practical goods. A small fair accompanies the trade. Online:

Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Locals and visitors alike can enjoy the small Martinimarkt held in the center of Garmisch from noon to 5 p.m. on Nov. 13. Online:

Tübingen: This handsome university town on the Neckar hosts its annual Martinimarkt Nov. 15-16, offering an assortment of traditional goods from baskets to brushes. Online:


Vicenza: Autumn tastes distinctly of chocolate as the fair known as CioccolandoVi takes over the piazza dei Signori in the historical center. From Oct. 21-23, numerous stalls will tempt with their artisanal renderings of the sweet treat. On Saturday, shops and museums will remain open until late in the evening. Online:

Zafferana Etnea: This Sicilian town on the slopes of Mount Etna, some 12 miles north of Catania, celebrates the tastes of autumn with its Ottobrata Festival. On Sundays throughout October, locals and visitors stream in to stock up and feast upon products made from the crops that thrive in the area’s fertile volcanic soils. The lively gathering also includes entertainment such as costumed singing groups, a puppet show, craftsman’s market and evening concerts. Each week, a “Sagra” shines a spotlight on a different local specialty: Oct. 16 is all about apples, Oct. 23 is dedicated to mushrooms, and Oct. 30 honors wine and chestnuts. Online:

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