Beyond being just a layover city for travelers, Stuttgart is home to one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe, boasting some of the most beautifully decorated stalls we have seen in Germany and unique markets that we have not seen elsewhere.
In this Stuttgart Christmas Markets guide, we’ll share everything you need to know about experiencing the wonder of Stuttgart Christmas Markets for yourself.
NOTE: We last visited this Christmas market in November 2018, so take note that some things may be different this year. We’ve tried to keep this guide as up-to-date as possible, but let us know if you spot anything we should change!
When is the Stuttgart Christmas Market?
According to the official Stuttgart Christmas Market website, this year’s edition of the market will take place from November 29 – December 23, 2023.
Where to Stay for Stuttgart Christmas Markets
In need of a place to stay? Here are some quick recommendations for Stuttgart hotels near Christmas Markets:
- Budget: Check prices and availability
- Mid-Range: Check prices and availability
- Luxury: Check prices and availability
Where to Find Stuttgart’s Christmas Markets
As with any other major city, the Stuttgart Christmas market scene is made up of various markets sprinkled throughout the city, and not just one location.
In bigger metropolises, this can mean that you need to criss-cross the whole city to experience as many festive markets as possible, however, the Christmas markets in Stuttgart are close enough that you can easily stroll from one to the other.
So here are the different locations where you can find Christmas markets in Stuttgart:
Marktplatz, located in the heart of the city, is the center of the Stuttgart Christmas market scene, where you will find all your Christmas market essentials, such as beautiful ornaments, intricate crafts, a selection of festive treats, and boozy hot beverages to put you in the festive mood.
What sets this Stuttgart Christmas market apart, is its annual competition for the most dazzling rooftop, which creates a wonderful visual spectacle for seasonal visitors—thousands of festive lights, bright baubles, mechanical reindeer, giant teddy bears, and more…It’s just mesmerizing!
As if your neck wasn’t sore enough from looking up in awe non-stop, don’t forget to also look up at the Stuttgart Town Hall’s windows, which are blocked and numbered every year to turn the entire building into a massive advent calendar.
The Stuttgart Christmas market located at Karlsplatz is home to a very unique Finnish-themed market, that offers all sorts of Nordic goodies, such as steamy mugs of Glögi (Finnish mulled wine), delicious fire-grilled salmon, and warm cozy sweaters, among other things.
At this location you will also find a white tent that houses an antique market, selling everything from old books and globes, to pricier items such as beautiful antiques and art pieces. A perfect place for a little treasure hunt!
If you are having a hard time dealing with the cold temperatures, make sure to visit this unique Stuttgart Christmas market and stop by their Lavvu (similar to the North American tipi), which provides a nice heated seating that your freezing derrière will appreciate after all that walking around.
The Stuttgart Christmas market at Schillerplatz is a quaint location that comes alive by the stunning backdrop of the Collegiate Church and the Stuttgart Old Castle… truly a postcard-perfect sight!
This market is nestled away from the buzz of the main Stuttgart Christmas market, making it a cozy spot to wander around, enjoy the dreamy decorations, the striking views, and the massive slices of Flammkuchen that you can find at the Schäfer’s Weihnachtsmarkt Hütte.
This memorable Christmas market in Stuttgart is filled with beautifully decorated wooden huts, set against the backdrop of the imposing Stuttgart New Palace, one would think that’s enough reason to visit, and it is… but there is also an ice skating rink!
And if that doesn’t sell you on it, there is also a light sculptures exhibition that takes part in a fun light show every day on the hour. So, make sure to visit when is dark to fully appreciate it!
In Front of the Markthalle
This little section of the Stuttgart Christmas market is mostly comprised of food stalls, but we thought it was worth mentioning since this cozy spot is a good place in the city to just go get a festive treat and not be squished by the passing crowds.
What to Eat at Stuttgart’s Christmas Markets
The Stuttgart Christmas market scene might seem small and cozy, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring!
Especially when it comes to food, the Christmas markets in Stuttgart actually offer some very unique dishes that go beyond standard Xmas market fare.
So here are some Stuttgart Christmas market food stalls that you should try:
1. Patatas Bravas with Garlic Sauce
Patatas bravas consist of cubed fried potatoes that tend to be accompanied by a spicy sauce, this is by no means a German dish—it’s actually Spanish—but that won’t matter at all when you get a whiff of that delicious garlicky sauce they are covered with.
You will find this delicious savory snack at Conny’s flamboyant stand, at the main Stuttgart Christmas market, which is one of the city’s most popular food stalls due to its very unique festive treats, such as mouth-watering fondue, baked camembert, truffle currywurst (!) and more.
To locate Conny’s stand, just look for a flashy display of Christmas baubles covering the roof of a stall, like a festive swarm of bees.
Stuttgart is located in an area of Germany called Swabia, which is known for its hearty soul-warming cuisine, and the Maultaschen falls right into that category.
Maultaschen looks like Germany’s take on the Italian ravioli—it consists of a pocket made out of pasta dough that wraps a flavourful meaty, bready filling… pure comfort food!
And as if that wasn’t enough, there is a stand in the Marktplatz that sells “Handy Maultaschcen”, meaning, a massive German ravioli that requires a whole hand to hold it. You are welcome!
Flammkuchen is a tasty crispy treat that consists of thin dough rolled flat, topped with creme fraiche, onions, and bacon—that is then baked in a wood-fired until perfection.
…basically a minimalistic pizza, but in the best way possible!
We would particularly recommend stopping by the Schillerplatz market, and trying the Flammkuchens being served right by the Schäfer’s Weihnachtsmarkt Hütte, they seem to be pretty popular here, so don’t miss out!
4. Glühwein (Mulled Wine)
If we are being factual, Glühwein is a fragrant spiced hot wine (normally red). If we are being honest, it’s basically a delicious boozy hug in a mug!
And the best thing is, that you will find this divine festive drink across the different Christmas markets in Stuttgart, in different variations of it such as the ones made with rosé, white wine, or with an extra kick of your chosen liquor.
Glühwein is inarguably the star of the show of any Christmas market, but what we love particularly about the Glühweins at the Stuttgart Christmas markets is the immense variety of mugs that they served them in, really, all sorts of colors and shapes—you will have to stop yourself from hauling them all back to your hotel.
This popular dish was originally created in Berlin, and it consists of grilled sausage cut up into small chunks, that are then covered with a sweet curry ketchup sauce, completed with a little bread roll.
I know, it sounds…interesting, but this is such an iconic modern German meal, that you cannot pass on the chance to try it!
The Currywurst is not unique to the Christmas season, but it is very present in everyday German life, which is why you will find no shortage of Currywurst stalls at the Stuttgart Christmas market scene.
For an interesting twist on this German staple, we recommend you try the never-before-seen truffle currywurst at Conny’s stand.
6. Gebrannte Mandeln (Roasted Almonds)
Another classic seasonal snack that you will come across while exploring the Stuttgart Christmas market scene, are the delicious Gebrannte Mandeln, or roasted almonds.
The roasted almonds stands are easy to locate from miles away by their eye-catching gingerbread cookies suspended from the roof, and the deliciously sweet smell of roasted almonds in the air.
In these stands, you can choose from a variety of candied nuts, and other sweet goodies, but if you are being guided here by that sugary scent don’t let your stomach do the talking and pay attention to the quantities you order—prices are normally listed per 100g and they are not a cheap treat.
7. Flammlachs (Grilled salmon)
Fire-grilled salmon is one of those foods you didn’t know you needed from a Christmas market until you devour your first flavorful salmon roll while standing close to toasty open fire. After that, you are hooked!
You can find this appetizing snack specifically at the Finnish-themed market located in Karlsplatz, and probably at other Christmas markets in Stuttgart, but this is the Nordic market so it just seems disrespectful to have salmon anywhere else.
8. Reibekuchen (Potato Cakes)
Now, onto another potato dish, because, well…Germany.
If you, like us, are a fan of the good ol’ breakfast hashbrowns, it will thrill you to know that Germans have their own version of it, and it can be enjoyed no matter the time of day—no need to wait until breakfast—the deliciously crispy Reibekuchen.
Reibekuchen (or Kartoffelpuffer) is a little potato round cake that is fried to golden perfection and is normally served with a side of apple sauce, similar to having hashbrowns with ketchup, the sweet and salty combination is just *chefs kiss*.
9. Wurst (Sausage)
It should go without saying that if you made it all the way to Germany you have to give their national dish a try, the Wurst, or sausage.
Germany prides itself on having over a thousand types of different sausages, all with unique preparations and spices, and accompanied by condiments that are specific to the type of sausage, so make sure to stand in line at the popular Wurst stands around the Stuttgart Christmas market scene and give them a try.
If you find yourself a bit overwhelmed at the number of options, take a look around and spot what people tend to order the most, or feel free to ask a friendly seller for their recommendation.
To finish this list with a bang, let’s talk about a drink that looks as intimidating as it sounds, the Feuerzangenbowle.
This legendary Christmas market drink consists of a sugar cube that has been soaked in rum, that is then set on fire, and dripped into a steamy cup of Glühwein…just beautiful!
You get an intoxicatingly sweet and boozy drink, plus a little fire show at the same time, and all for the price of one!
You can find this aggressive-looking drink in most of the Stuttgart Christmas market stalls that are already selling Glühwein.
What to Buy at Stuttgart’s Christmas Markets
After experiencing the magic of the Stuttgart Christmas market scene, with its cozy wooden huts, unique stalls, and head-turning decorations, you will surely want to take a piece of it home with you.
So, here are some ideas of what to buy at the Christmas markets in Stuttgart:
1. Painted Porcelain Christmas Village Houses
Let’s start this list with one of the cutest souvenirs—and one that requires the most commitment to it—the adorable, and fragile, painted porcelain Christmas village houses.
You will see these intricately decorated porcelain Christmas houses lined up at various stalls at the Christmas Markets in Stuttgart, and while they might as well just be a beautiful festive exhibition, you can actually purchase these tiny houses and figurines to take home and recreate your own festive village!
NOTE: Sometimes you can even find some houses modeled after iconic buildings from the city the market is in, which would be a great memento of your trip.
2. Food products
If you have those friends that don’t really need anything, or you are that person, a great souvenir to take from a trip could be something that you experience, instead of just possess, like food.
Through food, we get to know a place better and part of their culture, so keep an eye out for food products that are easy to transport, so you can share a part of your adventure with loved ones back home.
The best way to stay on the safe side when traveling with food products is to look for items that come with a label that specifies the ingredients, so look out for local delicacies that are packaged in a travel-friendly way, such as cookies, chocolates, honey, bread spreads, and more.
3. Paper Stars
One thing that you will notice as you explore the various Christmas markets in Stuttgart, is just how important all those lovely warm Christmas lights are to create that cozy ambiance that we love, and you can recreate this same vibe at home with these beautiful paper stars.
These charming structures made out of paper make a perfect gift, or souvenir, that will add a touch of warmth and coziness to any space. Plus, they are foldable so they are super easy and light to pack into your luggage.
4. Lebkuchen (Gingerbread Cookies)
For an iconic, affordable, and quirky gift for a friend back home you cannot go wrong with the famous German gingerbread cookies.
These vibrant Christmas market staples are impossible to miss when wandering around the Stuttgart Christmas market scene, you will see them hanging from the roofs of sweet shops, with cute and funny sayings written on them with icing.
NOTE: These baked goods tend to look prettier than they taste. You’ve been warned.
5. Authentic German Christmas Ornaments
Germany goes all out with Christmas decorations—we know, shocking— and you can literally take a piece of that beautiful decor home with you.
If you, like us, would also love for your house to resemble a dreamy and whimsical German Christmas market every year when the holidays come around, then this is the souvenir for you!
You will be able to find an assortment of stalls selling these intricate handmade Christmas ornaments across the various Christmas markets in Stuttgart, from hand-carved figures and hand-painted tree decorations to these gorgeous wreaths.
It’s the perfect souvenir and gift: traditional, won’t empty your wallet, and relatively sturdy enough to survive the long trip back home squished inside your suitcase.
6. Local Liquour
The best way to get to know a place is through its food—or in this case, its drinks—and Germany likes to drink, from having a beer with lunch, or sipping a little glass of liquor to help with digestion after a meal, alcohol is just an essential part of the culture.
So what better way to pay homage to your German Christmas market adventure, than by bringing home a bottle of local liquor to share some of the local flavors from the area with some of your favorite people back home?
PS: You can even buy carry-on approved little bottles of tasty local liquor, in case you get thirsty on the way home.
7. Wooden crafts
A quintessential German seasonal stall that you will come across throughout the Stuttgart Christmas market scene, is the almighty wooden crafts shop.
In these warm-toned stands, you will be able to find anything you can imagine made out of wood, from your typical German breadboards to skillfully carved bowls, wooden spoons, and quirky big wooden noses made to hold your eyeglasses.
These stalls are so entertaining to explore, with many random knick-knacks that make for funny souvenirs, alongside actual useful kitchen tools that would also make a thoughtful gift for a foodie friend back home.
Extra points for being a sturdy souvenir that will hardly get damaged in transportation.
8. Christmas Market Mug
One of the cutest, most practical, and affordable souvenirs you can get from your trip to the Stuttgart Christmas markets is an adorable Christmas market mug.
The mugs are unique to each city, and even to each individual Christmas market within the city, so you really are spoiled for choice here, and the Stuttgart Christmas market scene had some of the cutest mugs we have seen around—so keep your eyes peeled!
9. Cozy Nordic Sweater
I know what you are thinking, nothing about this screams “German Christmas market”, but… I have never heard anyone—ever—complain about having way too many beautiful cozy sweaters to put them through the cold winter months.
Besides, this Finnish Christmas market is very unique to Stuttgart, we have not seen this kind of market on any of our other Christmas market excursions, so yes, we believe is a valid souvenir for this trip.
PS: And if you are anyway in need of an extra layer of warmth, might as well buy a cozy nordic sweater from the Christmas market rather than from a department store.
If you are really looking for that one-of-a-kind souvenir, that no one else has, and is so unique and special to you and your trip, head over to the Antique Market tent, located at the Finnish-themed Christmas market in Karlsplatz.
Imagine finding a super interesting piece of art, or a very special book, or maybe some old-school German piece of drinkware that you can take home to incorporate into your everyday life and always remember your Christmassy trip abroad.
Extra Tips for Visiting Stuttgart’s Christmas Markets
No card payments
You know all those delicious foods we talked about? And all those pretty souvenirs too? Well, you won’t be able to get any of that if you don’t have cash on you.
Germany loves to romanticize a lot of things, and one of those is the use of physical money, so if you walk into a Christmas market without cash, you are basically there to window shop because most establishments will not accept card payments.
So, whatever you do, do not forget to take out cash! Because there is nothing worse than being “hangry” and not being able to locate an ATM.
It is such a shame when all you want to do is spend as much time exploring the cute Christmas markets, and staring at the beautiful decorations, but all you can think of is how you don’t feel your hands or feet anymore…
So, if you want to be able to stroll around leisurely, enjoying all the adorable Christmas markets in Stuttgart, free of worries, make sure to dress for the weather.
We recommend wearing a good pair of winter shoes, a proper winter jacket, a beanie (sometimes it is misty, and wet hair is no fun) scarf, gloves, and smart layers, in case you get too warm walking and want to shed a layer off.
Bring a reusable bag
Contradicting Germany’s old school tendencies—like the one about not accepting card payments—Germany is very forward when it comes to recycling and reducing the use of plastic, so if you plan to do some shopping, it would be a good idea to bring your own reusable bag to pack your souvenirs in, since the majority of stalls won’t offer plastic bags or they might charge for an extra bag.
Where to Find More Info on Stuttgart’s Christmas Markets
Official website: Stuttgarter-Weinachtsmarkt.de
Help us improve this Stuttgart Christmas Markets Guide!
Do you have a pro tip about Stuttgart Christmas Markets? A particular souvenir you loved, or a delicious treat you tried? Let us know in the comments what your insider tips are for Stuttgart’s Christmas Markets so we can help improve this guide for all future visitors.