#EnjoyStuttgart: Why Stuttgart’s Christmas Markets are really worth your next city trip to Germany.

For more than 300 years, the city of Stuttgart has hosted their traditional Christmas markets as one of the oldest markets in the whole of Germany. A fascinating fact for someone like me, who has been growing up to the splendour of similar Christmas markets back home in Austria. Whether it’s a creative workshop in Stuttgart’s ginger bread factory, an evening concert or a simple stroll across the old town:

 

Definitely do consider Stuttgart when heading for an experience of the German Christmas markets. In close proximity, you will not only experience one but three – Stuttgart, Ludwidgsburg and Esslingen markets.

The Christmas Market in downtown Stuttgart, for instance, has a curious feature: A competition as to which of its almost 300 stands has the “most beautiful rooftop decoration”!

“Look at that one, Elena. Rumour has it that it’s going to win this year’s rooftop competition”, quite a few people tell me with a convinced look on their faces. The stand they are pointing out is arguably pretty, and does manage to strike a balance between utter kitsch and tasteful decoration – at least in my eyes. I smile, somewhat stunned: The Vienna Christmas markets I know couldn’t care less about their rooftop armour! But Stuttgart, I learn, tells a different story. Check this out.

Schon bei der Erstbegehung des Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarktes, unmittelbar nach meiner Ankunft in der Stadt ...

Even as you arrive in Stuttgart …

 

... fällt auf, dass der "Kopfschmuck" auf den Dächern der Marktstände ...

… you cannot help but notice all the “tender loving care” that went into preparing their beautiful Christmas market stands, including all kinds of (historical) rooftop adornments …

 

... und hier ist er, der Favorit unter all den Dächern am Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt aktuell!

… and here comes the one with the most chances to win this year’s “Christmas stand rooftop competition”, according to the locals I meet ..!

 

So viel Kreativität und Liebe zum Detail ist auch an den umliegenden Läden nicht vorüber gegangen ...

All this creativity has clearly influenced surrounding shop window decorators, too …

 

... da musste ich mich ja fast anstecken lassen, und bei ... Lebkuchen-Werkstatt mein eigenes Rentier verzieren lernen: Genüsslich hängt es noch heute "bei mir rum", um gen Weihnachten verspeist zu werden ..!

… and of course myself, inspired to put the finishing (sugar) touches on my own little ginger bread reindeer in Melanie Weeber’s ginger bread factory ..!

 

Check out progress on my “sweet moves” and let me wrap you up in the magic of exploring the Christmas markets of Stuttgart in this short little travel video I’ve made:

 

As night falls, the Christmas markets become truly alive. Head out for an evening concert to the former Renaissance Palace of Stuttgart – or take a tram out to Esslingen and time travel back into the Middle Ages .!

Darkness is what lights up the Christmas markets, essentially creating the ambiance we all love. The smell of hot apples, the warm light of candles, the charm of the surrounding framed timber houses in Esslingen: A visit to its Christmas market is nothing short of a real time travel experience.

Back downtown, you may be just in time to hear the Christmas carols sing traditional songs known the world over. Indeed, I’d agree that late November / early December is one of the best times to visit Stuttgart – at least from what I’ve experienced during my visit there.

Am späten Nachmittag ...

As daylight fades on Stuttgart’s ice skating rink …

 

... wenn sich alles entspannt, Zeit hat und auf den Straßen der Stadt tummelt ...

… people come out of their houses, offices or shopping malls to mingle in the Christmas crowds …

 

... dann, ja dann, erwacht die Weihnachtsstimmung wirklich zum Leben - wie hier beim ersten Schlosskonzert des Jahres ...

… aiming straight for the town’s Renaissance Palace hosting the first Christmas carols for the season …

 

... ein Hochgenuss ist dazu der "Blonde Engel" von Stuttgart, ein weißer Glühwein mit Sahnekrone obendrauf ...

… don’t miss a toast with the “Blonde Engel” of Stuttgart, a white hot wine including a generous serving of whipped cream on top …

 

... Prost mit Dir, meine liebe Monique, die hier in Stuttgart lebt und mit der ich zuletzt auf einer Hausbootreise in Frankreich unterwegs war !! ..

… cheers to seeing you again, my dear friend Monique who I last saw (and travelled with) on a house boat in France during summer!

 

... aber auch der Ludwigsburger Weihnachtsmarkt ...

Next to Stuttgart, you can also visit the Baroque Christmas Market in Ludwigsburg …

 

... oder hier der Mittelaltermarkt in Esslingen ...

… or, as mentioned, the Christmas market in Esslingen …

 

... lohnen den Besuch ...

… including traditional snacks …

 

... vor allem Esslingen, mein wahrer Favorit unter allen drei Weihnachtsmärkten die ich in und um Stuttgart besucht habe!

… as well as an ambience unparalleled, and perfectly suited, to welcoming a traditional, medieval Christmas market in the heart of its old town!

 

In addition to all the Christmas markets, here are some travel tips for planning your upcoming stay in Stuttgart.

Arcotel Stuttgart is a conveniently located hotel featuring a great breakfast buffet to get you going for the day. Besides the fresh start, it is also just a mere ten minute walk from the city centre as well as Stuttgart Main Station. Do climb the adjoining station tower, as it will give you a good overview of one of the largest European infrastructure (re)building projects – or simply head on over to the Schlossplatz, whose typical “Brauhaus” restaurant will wrap you up in the cosy creature comforts of spaetzle food, German sausages, and beer.

If you wish for a slightly more elaborate restaurant experience, I can recommend you to head up the Cube Restaurant featuring a spectacular view across the old town. Spot the old market hall of Stuttgart and head out there later for a well-earned espresso, a whole range of food items, Glühwein and what have you. Stuttgart is simply too good, as is the local Swabian cuisine (and their wine!) to stay abstinent for too long. So build in the sport as you move from one Christmas market to the next, or climb up the city tower by the main station, if you feel you must burn some of those calories. …

Als gehobenes, kulinarisches Epizentrum der Stadtmitte von Stuttgart gilt das Cube Restaurant im fünften Stock des ...

The so-called Cube Restaurant is located on the fifth floor of the new art museum building …

 

... von dem der Blick über den Tellerrand ...

… and offers a whole range of tasty, healthy lunch meals …

 

... die Erkundung des naheliegenden Weihnachtsmarktes sowie der Altstadt von Stuttgart verheißt ...

… including this rather spectacular view across the old town of Stuttgart …

 

... mal vom Weihnachtsmarkt-Getümmel abgesehen ...

… besides the town’s typical Christmas markets …

 

... lohnt unter anderem der Besuch der Stuttgarter Markthalle, welche ihr über 100jähriges Bestehen feiert ...

… you may want to freshen and warm up from the cold outside inside this rather lovely, historic market hall …

 

... der "Gang unter die Liebenden" rund um die Stuttgarter Oper & Co. ...

… go looking for the history of lovers near the Stuttgart Opera building …

 

... hinein in das finnische Weihnachtsdorf (!) ...

… check out the Finnish (!) Christmas village at the heart of town …

 

... den wirklich verheißungsvollen, aufstrebenden Stadtteil ...

… the so-called “bean district”, an up & coming neighbourhood just outside the city centre of Stuttgart …

 

... oder aber auch der Blick auf die Moderne unserer Zeit, wie hier beim Projekt "Stuttgart 21", welches - nach wie vor umstritten - aus dem Stuttgarter Kopfbahnhof einen der größten Durchzugsbahnhöfe Mitteleuropas machen soll ...

… or a view upon the “Stuttgart 21” infrastructure project, where the former terminal train station is to be rebuilt into one of the largest connecting stations of Central Europe …

 

... wir genießen die Diskussion um diese und ähnliche Dinge beim Mittagstisch im traditionellen Brauhaus am Schlossplatz ...

… we enjoy a discussion (or two) about the project over a typical Swabian meal at the local Brauhaus restaurant at the Schlossplatz …

 

... und laben uns an Aussichten wie diesen : Stuttgart genießt den Ruf einer ausgezeichneten Weinstadt und hat selbige sogar mitten in der Stadt!

… succumbing to the vistas, including a generous expanse of vineyards that frame the borders of Stuttgart!

 

Natürlich kommt man auch am Thema "Auto" nicht vorbei, wie der Besuch des Mercedes-Museum im Rahmen der Stuttgarter City Tour eindeutig beweist.

Of course, you cannot fail to notice the town’s automobile industry, as the local Mercedes Benz museum proudly shows.

 

So yes. Do visit, do #EnjoyStuttgart! Especially now before Christmas. Here are some more impressions for you:

 

Next up, I would love a visit back during summertime or spring. Back to “the sound of the city’s many outdoor concerts, a stroll through its parklands and immersed in the livelihood of its countless festival and events”, as my city guide Heike continues to emphasise throughout our tour through the old town of Stuttgart.

“Stuttgart, whether in a foodie, artistic or historic sense, is always worth a trip to Germany for. I look forward to seeing you back here soon, dear Elena.”

And so do I. 😉 When will we see you?

 

Disclaimer: I have been invited by the German National Tourism Board as well as Stuttgart-Marketing GmbH to travel and experience the Christmas markets in Stuttgart. All opinions are my own.

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