The Christmas Markets in Germany aren’t just full of shopping and food, it’s an experience. If you have the chance to visit this time of year, seeing a Christmas Market is a must. These markets, set up every December (and sometimes November), fill pedestrian streets and open squares with vendors selling all sorts of things.
In Stuttgart there is a competition every year for the best decorated rooftop, and they take it quite seriously too. The amount of effort that goes into these markets is nothing short of impressive, and when combined, creates a magical air about it. There’s home decor, Christmas decorations, homemade wooden items, food, and perhaps best of all, Gluhwein.
Gluhwein is a hot mulled wine with cinnamon and spices and is central to these markets. Nearly every other stall sells this mulled wine piping hot, often from a massive pot, which is the perfect way to warm up on a cold winter’s day. It is an absolute ‘must do’ during the holidays if you happen to be in the area.
The Stuttgart Christmas Market is huge, it’s one of the largest in Germany. I don’t even think we walked through everything it was so big. It’s fun to walk around, sip on some Gluhwein, hang out with friends, and check out what all the vendors are selling. The markets are always fairly busy on weekdays, and especially so on weeknights and weekends.
Germany also has a unique way of being environmentally friendly during markets. If you order a drink at any market they charge a 2 euro (or more) deposit (pfand) on the cup, mug, glass, etc. So, return the glass and you get the money back. Over the years the prices of pfand have increased, I assume because patrons end up keeping these ornately decorated mugs for themselves (who would do that?!).
Photos of the Stuttgart Christmas Market (Weihnachsmarkt)
Mmmm fish on a stick
The rooftops of the stands are awesomely decorated
Getting dark out…starting to see the lights