If you’re looking for the best Christmas markets in Europe, Vienna and Nuremberg usually jump out at you. These two Germanic cities are famous for their Christkindlesmarkts, but in the end we chose Nuremberg. If only because the history of the shopping spree there goes back to the middle of the 16th century.

We chose the Hyundai Ioniq 6 for the trip to test whether even a more affordable electric car (in terms of electric car prices) would be usable for long journeys. We therefore chose the best option, i.e. a rear wheel with a larger battery and camera mirrors. In theory, everything seemed perfect…

From where, where, where

If you want to get to the markets in Nuremberg comfortably, there is a direct connection by car, with the Hauptmarkt square as the destination, where the event takes place every year.

From Prague, it is about 300 km and three and a half hours’ drive to the place via the Czech highway D5 and the German highway A6. From Hradec Králové, expect an hour and about 115 km more via the D11 and the Prague Ring Road.

Photo: Jan Majurník

It takes about 3 hours from Prague to Nuremberg, plus or minus 4 hours from Hradec.

If you start from Jihlava, then you will drive to the cursed D1 and then again to Prague, further along the D5 and A6, when this trip will cost you four hours of driving time and almost 430 km. Brave people driving from Brno will add 70 km on the D1 and an extra hour of time if the highway is not closed.

If you are from Český Budějovice, where everyone would like to live, you can leave the republic via the Strážný border crossing and continue along the German A3 through Řezno to Nuremberg. All this in four hours and some 340 km. Or take it to Pilsen, Rozvadov and the classic German A6.

Photo: Jan Majurník

Driving below is more risky because of the erratic D1 highway.

Our expedition chose the route leading along the D5/A6, when at the beginning (Jihlava) we charged almost to full at the Ionity station and at a leisurely pace and with a prayer to St. Christopher (the patron saint of drivers), we set off via the D1 to Prague.

Trouble with chargers

The Ioniq 6 with rear drive and a large battery soon proved to be a good travel choice among electric cars, as our consumption on 225/55 R18 winter tires was around 18 kWh per hundred. Of course, at a defensive pace and with self-recovery turned off, as the use of inertial driving is absolutely key for range and consumption. And because the car is heavy (it weighs two tons!), it whizzes down the hill as fast as a white delivery van before Christmas.

On the other hand, on the current consumption meter, you could see what a problem hills are for heavy electric cars. Then the indicator of energy appetite soars to the heights and the car eats like two hunks in two pubs at once. But when it goes up, it usually snorts down as well, which a skilled driver must be able to use.

Photo: Jan Majurník

The final consumption there and back was 18.2 kWh in the end, which is very respectable!

Still with excellent consumption, we reached Rozvadovo to the pump, where a charging stop at the E.ON station was planned. However, an unpleasant surprise awaited us on the spot, one of the two stations was not working and two other cars were waiting to be charged in front of us.

However, we anticipated this pain of electromobility in advance, so we kept an energy reserve for the next 100 km and headed to the German side to Ionity (Autohof Wernberg). We know that even Ionity is not a standard of reliability, which was confirmed at a rather busy charging point. Only three of the five racks worked, so thanks again to the station operator.

Photo: Jan Majurník

On Ionita’s first visit to Autohof Wernberg, only three of the five racks were running. The second time (the day after) they all worked.

The unreliability of stations, especially on transit roads, is currently a big problem for electromobility, because if we already have cars that can get somewhere and charge quickly (the Ioniq can handle up to 232 kW), the plans of unprepared drivers will be ruined by a non-functioning charger, and therefore queues.

Then someone turns towards the gas station and remembers the five-minute refueling and subsequent departure, or simply transfers to Tesla, which has a full online overview of the (non)functionality of its network.

Mirror digitization

Charged to almost 100%, we burned towards Nuremberg. On the way, we thought about the vehicle itself, which in our opinion belongs to one of the best electric cars on the European market today. In the backcountry with a bigger battery, it is not a glutton at all, because highway consumption (even at speeds of 100-110 km/h) of 18 kWh per hundred on winter tires is simply solid consumption (range of 400 km and reserve).

In the summer, this value will drop even more thanks to the weather and summer footwear, which will increase the range by around 80 km while maintaining the same driving style. If the driver slows down on highway sections, the kilometers per charge will increase even more.

Photo: Jan Majurník

According to the native online navigation, you can drive reliably without any problems.

We also like the online navigation, which handles live traffic decently and has a varied database of chargers. In short, it is already possible to drive according to it and it is not necessary to drag third-party map data. We also consider the ergonomic solution of the internal controls and buttons to be successful, there is not much to complain about.

We will mention two more essential assistants. The first is the rear-facing side cameras, which, after activating the blinker, project the rear view into the alarm clocks, allowing you to check the blind spot and what is happening behind the car on the given side. The Koreans succeeded in doing this, a really great tool.

A certain controversy is then caused by the camera rear-view mirrors, which would be worth a whole article by itself. You’re probably wondering if you can ride them. We will answer that the beginnings are unusual and you tend to watch the cameras themselves outside and not the displays inside. Getting used to it is running on a longer track, when the first greater harmony comes after about 2-3 days of operation. We claim that the classic center reverse also plays a pivotal role when deploying camera mirrors, thanks to which you have more natural control over what is happening behind.

Photo: Jan Majurník

Camera mirrors are great, but that we couldn’t be without them…

For parking according to the camera mirrors, the adaptation is longer, as the image is not so natural for the driver. It will just take longer to park as nimbly as a deer using digital. In all honesty, camera mirrors are a nice gadget, we enjoy it, we like to get used to it, but it is not a big “game changer”. In short, if you don’t have them in your car, you haven’t lost anything.

Less happy solutions…

In this chapter, we also complain a little about Korea. There is no place for a large bottle in the driver’s and passenger’s doors, which is impractical for long journeys. The second thing is the mandatory fitted extremely annoying speed assist that reads traffic signs. If you violate the loaded speed, it starts beeping annoyingly. Every time.

Photo: Jan Majurník

You have to turn off the extremely annoying speed assist in the submenu.

If only that assistant worked 100% correctly, but it doesn’t. In particular, exits from municipalities or the end of speed limits are a problem. So, even though there is already, for example, 50, the car still has 30 in its memory and it rings like a race. Disabling this function, which starts automatically after every start, is unfortunately solved in three steps, i.e. lengthy. In the latest Hyundai Kona, you can do it much easier by hitting one physical button and then clicking away on the display. Maybe even Ioniq will learn it one day.

We also don’t like the fact that after every start the recovery level returns to the first level and the last setting is not remembered, in our case it is off.

Ioniqu 6 with a basic price from 1,159,990 CZK, i.e. with a larger 77.4kWh battery from 1,339,990 CZK, because you are able to forgive a smaller trunk and less space above your head due to aerodynamics, but such an unpleasant “assistance” should really be turned off in one two clicks.

Local and international markets

Finally in place! If you drive as close as possible to the Hauptmarkt, it is convenient to park in the adjacent parking garage (Augustinerstraße 4, 90403 Nürnberg) for 2 euros per hour or 18 euros per day. However, some of the parking spaces there are not easily accessible, but the Ioniq 6 can cope with that. It is then about 200 meters on foot to the square itself.

Remote control parking is free of charge in tight parking spaces.Video: Jan Majurník

The stalls are very concentrated on the sales floor, but after passing a few aisles you will notice that the offer of certain products is repeated. Probably the most popular items there are tasty traditional Nuremberg sausages sold from 3-5 euros (75-125 CZK) and gingerbreads with a price of 3 euros (75 CZK) each. Of course, there is also a welder or a punch, including non-alcoholic versions.

You can also buy jewelry, socks, hats, Christmas decorations, wooden and plush toys, all kinds of chocolate, honey and wool products, or coated baguettes or grilled corn on the spot. Some booths accept cards, but there are only a few of them, so take cash with you (there are ATMs at the counter).

Due to the extreme popularity of the markets, which, however, are exceptional to others except for their high concentration and local products, it is constantly crowded, especially on weekends. You can easily get up and come to the opening, but a million people will be walking between the stands anyway. The entrances to the square are then guarded by the police (prohibition except for exceptions) and security guards walk among the crowds.

Nuremberg’s markets are open from 1 to 24 December from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., with the exception of Christmas Day, when they close at 2:00 p.m. If you would like more markets, head to Rathausplatz, a three-minute walk away, where until December 23rd the international markets of Nuremberg’s partner cities (including the Prague stand) are held. From November 23rd to December 30th, the Children’s Christmas markets with merry-go-rounds and other entertainment for children take place on Hans-Sachs-Platz, which is located 250 m from the Hauptmarkt. So always a good trip and happy and cheerful!