When you vow to return to a beautiful city from a previous activity you did a few months ago, and a local recommends you come back to the city’s Christmas Market because it’s one of the most beautiful markets they have been to in the area, you make that promise to yourself happen. I finally returned to beautiful Esslingen, and the Christmas and Medieval Market did not disappoint. Here’s a brief guide to Esslingen’s Christmas and Medieval Market. Trust me when I say this is one market you don’t want to miss.
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About Esslingen am Neckar
Dubbed one of Germany’s most beautiful Medieval cities with cobblestone streets, half-timbered buildings, and a deep-rooted history as old as the year 777, Esslingen am Neckar (Esslingen for short) is located near Stuttgart. Not to be confused with another Esslingen in northern Germany, Esslingen am Neckar gets its full name from the River Neckar running through this charming city. It has a history as old as the prehistoric times, with the Romans having influenced the area.
With a 1200-year history behind it, Esslingen was a former free Imperial City due to its prominence and a city of wealth. It boasts of the famous Old Town Hall with its beautiful facade. Additionally, it’s known to have one of the oldest continuous rows of half-timbered houses in Germany. Many Medieval-style buildings and homes are still well-preserved, having been untouched during WWII. It’s why it’s the perfect setting for a Medieval Christmas Market.
Esslingen Christmas & Medieval Christmas Market
Let’s take a stroll towards the Christmas Markets in Esslingen. Starting from the Agnesbrücke, admire and take your photos here at this picturesque spot in the city. You’ll notice the half-timbered building across the river; it’s easy not to miss.
As you cross the Agnesbrücke, head towards the Esslingen’s market square. Along the way, stop and admire the medieval City’s Church of St. Dionys facade from the outside. If it is open, enter the church (free) and peek inside. The interior has much history that has been documented since the year 777.
Esslingen Christmas Market
Onwards, as you turn the corner of the church towards the market square, you’re greeted with several stalls all decked out for the Christmas holidays. Welcome to the Esslingen Christmas Market (not quite at the Medieval part yet)! Meander around at this point and enjoy the atmosphere. I absolutely loved looking at each stall for its creativity, local homemade and unique souvenirs and gifts for sale, and all the decorations. Some of the stalls are just so unique!
In the middle of the market, heading towards the half-timbered buildings, you’ll find the German pyramid slowly turning on full display. Meander around and admire the season’s tidings while enjoying the history around the Marktplatz. You’ll also find the Tourist Information Office also right across from the Marktplatz.
Esslingen Medieval Christmas Market
Head towards the Altes Rathaus and find yourself right in the heart of the Esslingen Medieval Christmas Market. My favorite thing to do was slowly walk around this charming area of the market. Try not to miss every nook and cranny, the Medieval portion of the market spreads out towards the Trogbrunnen Hafenmarkt and within the Standesamt, Stadt Esslingen am Neckar (the Registry Office).
The best thing about this Medieval Christmas market is that it feels traditional. The stalls are decorated intricately to mimic the markets from the Middle Ages. The half-timbered buildings and the historical significance around the city also help the atmosphere become even more magical. Additionally, the people running the stalls are also dressed to the period to help make the experience for the visitors authentic.
But it doesn’t stop there; the market also includes games and activities visitors can partake in. You’ll find shows and performers walking around the market in their stilts and costumes, singing and dancing. Shows and performers are scheduled throughout the day. Furthermore, the children’s rides, games, and activities, including candle-making, ax throwing, archery, and more, are varied and unique.
The various stalls are also unique in the souvenirs and gifts they sell. You’ll find many handmade items, jewelry, pottery, homemade food from local artisans, and more. Also, since Esslingen am Neckar is known for the grapevines surrounding the cities and local areas, you’ll find some of their most famous sparkling wine, especially since this is the home of Kessler Sekt, Germany’s oldest sparkling wine producer!
And, I can’t forget the star of the Christmas Market, the food and drinks. Here, you’ll find all of your favorite Christmas Market treats and some very different food to reflect the time period, as well as the local Swabian favorites. As always, I try to collect Christmas mugs from my favorite market. You won’t be disappointed with the Terra Cota mugs you can find throughout the Medieval Christmas Market.
Esslingen’s Christmas and Medieval Market
Date: November 23- December 21, 2023
Opening Hours: Daily from 11 am- 8:30 pm; Fridays and Saturdays 11 am – 9:30 pm
Map of the Christmas Market: Find it here
Are you adding this to your German Christmas Market list? You really should; it’s a favorite of mine. Until next time, friends! Happy Holidays! Bis zum nächsten Mal, Freunde! Schöne Ferien!