If there’s ever a time to be in Stuttgart, it has to be December! The weather may be a little on the chilly side, but this charming, German city has such a cosy feel and so much Christmas cheer, you’ll barely notice the cold. Since 1692, Stuttgart has been home to one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets, and as lover of Christmas markets, I cannot recommend this one enough. From late November and until the 23rdof December, Stuttgart’s city centre is transformed into a winter wonderland. Tradition wooden huts line the city’s streets, adorned with uniquely designed rooftops and selling everything from woven baskets to traditional Swabian food. The smell of Glühwein (mulled wine) filters through the market drawing you inside cosy cabins where you can spend the night chatting with loved ones over a mug or two of this festive drink.
It may be tempting to spend your entire trip at these wonderful markets, but venture a little outside and you’ll quickly realise that Stuttgart has a lot to offer in December. So, without further ado, here is my guide to Stuttgart in December.
The Stuttgart Christmas Market
Yes, I spoke about this above, but I wanted to officially add it my list of things to see in Stuttgart. With roughly 290 stalls and over 300 years of history, it is easy to spend the majority of your time in Stuttgart at the Christmas markets. Make sure to look up and admire the decorative rooftops and don’t forget to indulge in some local delicacies.
Glanzlichter Stuttgart (aka Winter Illuminations in the inner city)
Starting this year, Stuttgart now compliments its Christmas market with a spectacular light show in Palace Square. Eight light sculptures representing Stuttgart’s main tourist attractions, shine bright each night from 4 to 10pm. My favourite sculptures were the silver Mercedes-Benz and the Stuttgart Beer Festival Ferris wheel. These light sculptures are also part of a theatrical light show that takes place on the hour, every hour, once the sun goes down.
The spectacular 40-metre-high glowing library is a relatively new attraction for Stuttgart. Built in 2011, the library was designed by Korean architect, Eun Young Yi. The façade has a sleek, simple appearance, featuring countless glass blocks. However, the interior is the real masterpiece. Flooded with natural light, the interior is divided into two main areas. The first being the symmetrical cube-shaped entry, featuring a 1m2 fountain that serves as a meditation space. The second area is upstairs. This is where we took the photos featured here. It’s mind-blowingly beautiful and every photographers dream backdrop. The 5-floor area, is lined with a shell of books and features nothing but blue geometric sofas. As you walk around the gallery area, the circulation is arranged in a spiral giving mesmerising views from each floor. Besides the Christmas market, visiting the Stuttgart library was the highlight of our trip.
I was initially reluctant to visit the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Firstly, I’m by no means, a car fan, and secondly, it’s located slightly out the city, so you do have to go out of your way to get there. However, as soon as we arrived, I was glad we made the effort. On entering, we were guided toward a space-age like pod that takes you to the top floor. From there you spiral your way around the museum seeing everything from the very first vehicle prototypes to today’s latest designs. I probably spent more time admiring the design of the museum than the cars, but in any case, I thoroughly enjoyed our visit.
Markthalle Stuttgart (Stuttgart Market Hall)
Located within the city centre of Stuttgart, Market Hall is a one-stop-shop for all things food related. The 43 stalls on the lower floor, sell everything from Mediterranean, to oriental, to traditional German delicacies. We stopped and enjoyed a coffee from the mezzanine, watching locals stock up fresh, beautiful quality produce below.
Christmas Market Delicacies
If you’re like me and spending majority of your time at Christmas markets, you’ll probably eat there most days. Make sure to try Langos (similar to a deep-fried pizza and very yummy), Kurrywurst (German sausage in curry sauce), and Spätzle (soft, strange-shaped egg noodles, often served in cheesy sauce).
The Cube is the place to go for modern German and International cuisine. Located on the top floor of the Stuttgart Museum of Art, the glass restaurant not only has amazing food, but also spectacular views across Stuttgart.
A trip to Stuttgart is not complete without a hearty, Swabian feast (the traditional food from this region). With a large, yet cosy interior, Carls Brauhaus, is the perfect place to warm up and treat your tummy to some simple, yet delicious German food.
If you find yourself in Stuttgart in December, I cannot recommend taking the short trip to Esslingen enough. Roughly half an hour by train from Stuttgart, this medieval Christmas market is seriously huge. With over 200 venders sporting medieval costumes, there is something for everyone. A large portion of the market is dedicated to traditional games, such as axe throwing, and Russian Roulette that uses a live mousse that select the winner. Whilst other areas serve up piping hot mugs of Glühwein and food inspired by the medieval era. If you have the time, it’s worth staying overnight and enjoying the market over 2 days. However, if you only have 1 day, don’t stress, it is possible to visit the majority of the market in that time.
For those fond of baroque architecture, the Ludwigsburg’s Baroque Christmas Market is for you. Whilst I found it to be slightly less impressive than the Stuttgart Christmas Market and Medieval Christmas Market, it is no doubt very beautiful at night when thousands of draped lamps and giant angles light up the market. I recommend visiting late in the afternoon and staying until the sun goes down.
A short walk from Stuttgart’s central railway station, lies Jaz Stuttgart Hotel. The hotel opened earlier this year so everything is shinny and new. The rooms are generously sized and the bed is one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept on – my husband and I joked about trying to ship one back home. The hotel offers an exceptionally good buffet breakfast, as well lunch, dinner or drinks and they also have a gorgeous rooftop bar which is worth checking out.
A huge thank you to Stuttgart Tourism who sponsored this post. As always, all opinions expressed in this article remain my own.