Fall is such a festive time, with that back-to-school vibe, autumn leaves breaking out in vibrant displays of color and the hint of the holidays around the corner. If you’ve chosen to take a river cruise along the Rhine during the fall season, you’re in luck. There are countless ways the towns and cities along the river light up during this time of year, from farmers' markets overflowing with the bounty of the growing season, to wine harvest festivals and music events. Here are a few of my favorites!
Pure Markt (April - October, also December)
All through the summer and into the fall, and again in December, the Pure Markt in Amsterdam draws locals and visitors alike to its location at Amstelpark. Each second Sunday of the month, shop for Dutch produce, international delicacies and Netherlands-made souvenirs, as well as vintage, designer and gift items. Be sure to come with an appetite - about 70 percent of the market’s stalls are food-related. Sample authentic Chinese dumplings at Maggie’s Jiaozi - perhaps the minced pork with garlic chives from her own garden - or succulent green or umami oysters at Zilt en Zalig.
Waterlooplein Markt (Monday - Saturday, 9:30 AM - 6 PM)
You needn’t even leave Amsterdam for the next exciting market experience. This oldest and most famous flea market in the city is more than 130 years old. Go treasure hunting through 300 stalls, perhaps finding antique jewelry you can’t live without or a vintage camera. Of course, like any popular market, there is plenty of food to choose from. Look for food vendors along the edges of the market.
A wonderful time to visit Basel is during the Food & Wine Fair.
Basel Wine Fair (typically held last week of October)
If you’re a wine lover, don’t miss this renowned wine fair in charming Basel, showcasing approximately 3,500 wines from 23 nations. Sample vintages from Armenia, Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland and more. If you prefer whiskey to wine, there are plenty of drams to try, plus more than enough gourmet bites to satisfy any palate.
International Festival for Jazz and More (early October - mid-November)
The delightful university town of Heidelberg, Germany, is home to this seven-week jazz extravaganza. It’s the biggest and most important jazz festival in the country, showcasing well-established musicians, rising stars and many styles of music in addition to jazz, which illuminates the crossover between jazz, international music, electronica and hip-hop. Throughout the events, you can attend concerts and master classes that cater to all styles of music lovers.
Hunsrück Potato Festival
Spend the second and third week of October celebrating the potato through culinary and regional events organized by restaurants and towns in the Saar-Hunsrück region. Try traditional recipes that have been handed down through the generations, including the most famous one of all: Schales. Grated potatoes are fried in a Dibbe (cast-iron pan) until a delectable crust forms at the bottom, then flipped over. You’ll find everything potato you can imagine on the menu, including steamed and mashed spuds, potato cake, soups, potato hash, potato sausages and stuffed dumplings. Sound savvy and call a “potato” a “Grumbiere,” the local word for it, which roughly translates to “ground pear (looks a bit like a potato and grows underground).
Ready to experience local life on the Rhine at one of these lively festivals? Reach out by booking a consultation through my Services page. I'd love to chat!