During the 4 weeks of Advent (roughly four weeks prior to Christmas) the Christmas Markets – Weihnachtsmärkte - open their doors.
They originated in German-speaking part of Europe & in the Eastern regions of France in the Late Middle Ages.
Usually held in the town square they offer traditional decorations, food and drink from open-air stalls. Some people go shopping and some only go to meet their friends and enjoy the festive atmosphere – especially at night when the lights twinkle it becomes really special.
The must-haves visiting a Weihnachtsmarkt or being in Germany during Christmas season – Glühwein (hot mulled wine) or Kinderpunsch (the non-alcoholic version), Lebkuchen (ginger bread – Nuremberg is famous for this), Stollen (a moist, heavy bread filled with fruit - Dresdner Christstollen is famous). But there is so much more to choose from – varying by region.
Some famous German Christmasmarkets are the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Berlin around the Gedächtniskirche, Dresden Striezelmarkt, Frankfurt Römerberg, Munich Christkindlmarkt, Cologne Weihnachtsmarkt am Dom and of course Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt in down town Stuttgart.
Not in Germany but also worth a visit are Vienna in Austria, Colmar in France, Prag in Czech, Basel & Zürich in Switzerland.
In the Internet you will find lots of information and also their opening times.
St Wendel Weihnachtsmarkt
In terms of numbers and visitors the biggest one in Germany – famous for its scenic setting.
Wiesbaden Twinkling Start Christmas Market
Lots of attractions and a special program for the younger ones.
General information: https://www.stuttgart-tourist.de/en
enter Christmas Markets into the seach
In the middle of the city center – look above – the highlights are the lovingly decorated roofs.
And if you want a Scandinavian twist - at the “Karlsplatz” you will find the Finnish Christmas market
Ludwigsburger Barock Weihnachtsmarkt – Baroque Christmas Market
Very special atmosphere with the surrounding arcades, stands and gates and the two baroque churches which are illuminated.
Esslinger Mittelaltermarkt – Medieval Market
“For almost four weeks at the Medieval Market, merchants in historical garments offer their goods for sale just as they did hundreds of years ago. Craftsmen like pewterers, felt-makers, tinder-makers, blacksmiths, rope-makers, basket-makers, broom-makers or glass-blowers demonstrate their craftsmanship. Furthermore, in the streets and on various stages artists fascinate their audience with juggling, music and nonsense. All around, Esslingen´s medieval half-timbered houses create a unique and spectacular backdrop. The Middle Ages with all one´s senses, lock, stock and barrel.” Quote from their website
Smaller Christmas markets are everywhere – but mainly only open at the weekend or for one day
Nearly every little town as a smaller Christmas market, but they are also worth a visit and much quieter to enjoy.
Just some examples below:
In Stuttgart Area: Böblinger Weihnachtsmarkt, Weihnachtsmarkt Sindelfingen, Sindelfinger Wintermarkt, Weihnachtsmarkt Nagold, Weihnachtsmarkt Calw
In Kaiserslautern Area: The romantic Forest Christmas at Johannis Kreuz,Weihnachtsmarkt Pirmasens, Neustadt, Grünstadt and Speyer.
Please check dates & opening times in the Internet / Facebook. Some of them only open for a weekend, but the big ones usually open End of November right up to Christmas.
A lot of sites can be switched to English or even found on Facebook