Watch out for flying Santas

It’s Christmas Market time in SouthWest Germany

Weihnachtsmarkt Karlsruhe

Christmas market in Karlsruhe | © KTG Karlsruhe Tourismus GmbH

In SouthWest Germany, everyone loves the atmospheric Christmas markets that appeal to all five senses. Smell spicy, hot mulled wine; taste the best gingerbread ever; hear choirs singing carols; see beautifully-decorated stalls; touch (and buy) locally-handcrafted gifts and home-made foods. From late November through to New Year, the region buzzes with excitement. But there is much more to experience. Completing the romantic picture are monasteries hosting markets run by SouthWest Germany’s State Palaces and Gardens organisation, Karlsruhe’s children’s fairyland, Baden-Baden’s natural spas and Stuttgart’s 21st-century lighting installations. And all are so easily accessible via direct flights to Stuttgart airport.

Stuttgart: fun both ancient and modern (November 27 to December 23)

Stuttgart’s Christmas market is one of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful. Throughout the Old City are dozens of elegant, decorated stalls, while 21st-century lighting installations recreate the city’s icons, such as a Porsche and a Mercedes car. Nearby, Ludwigsburg is a Baroque treasure, where sparkling angels hover above the market, selling locally-made gifts. In Esslingen, you can even travel back to the Middle Ages with medieval fun and games: jugglers, minstrels, blacksmiths and glass-blowers.

SouthWest Germany’s State Palaces and Gardens: unique Christmas market locations

From palaces to monasteries, SouthWest Germany’s heritage organisation offers atmospheric one-of-a-kind settings for Christmas markets. Salem Monastery and Palace, near Lake Constance, celebrates on the first weekend in Advent (November 30 to December 1); Maulbronn Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site, hosts 120 stalls for its Advent market (December 7 - 8); at the Stuttgart Christmas Market, an illuminated model of King William I’s memorial chapel to his wife Katharina stands on Schlossplatz square. The inscription reads "Love never dies".

Karlsruhe: look up, here comes Santa! (November 26 to December 23)

Families with children love Karlsruhe’s Christmas market because there is so much to do. As well as scores of stalls, there is the St Stephan Kinderland: fairy-tale characters; talking trees; a mini-steam train. Nearby is SouthWest Germany’s biggest outdoor skating rink (open till February) plus the annual circus. In front of Karlsburg Castle, journey back to the Middle Ages with fire eaters and knights in armour. The highlight? That could be Santa Claus flying high above the Christmas market itself!

Baden-Baden: relaxation guaranteed (November 28 to January 6, 2020)

In the Black Forest, Baden-Baden is magical at Christmas Market time. Outside the impressive Kurhaus, 100 decorated stalls offer high-quality arts, crafts and treats, such as gingerbread and mulled wine. Visitors adore the “living nativity”, with real farm animals, the scent of fresh hay and a life-sized crib. Every day on the open-air stage, there are live concerts and in the Trinkhalle you can visit the Christmas cribs exhibition. At the end of the day, choose between natural thermal spas, concerts, outdoor skating, or a flutter at the elegant casino.