Mannheim's Christmas market is a holiday season shopping extravaganza, centered around the city's iconic water tower. One of Germany's oldest and largest markets, more than 160 booths host vendors from around the world, offering handicrafts and handmade items. Beautiful glassware, and carved wooden toys and games, sit alongside Christmas lanterns, colorful baubles and ornaments, all of which are presented in quaint wooden houses. Luxurious cashmere scarves, sheepskin mittens and felt hats are the ideal purchase to take home as gifts for friends and family. Speyer's Old Town transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. With the historic Old Gate as a stunning backdrop, market stalls are brimming with yuletide treats, serving Christmas cookies and steaming mugs of aromatic glühwein. Skaters don their woolen hats and gloves, and take to the ice for some festive fun, while visitors browse for unique handmade gifts. The holiday atmosphere continues into January, bringing the opportunity for New Year merrymakers to enjoy the festivities and sample regional specialties, such as potato soup and yeast dumplings.