The historic city of Esslingen near Stuttgart celebrates the Christmas Season with a wonderful Medieval Christmas Market. Set against the spectacular backdrop of the city’s historic half-timbered houses, Esslingen’s market is one of the country’s most atmospheric thanks to its quirky participants.

Trawl the food stalls and banter with the vendors, but make time to watch the jugglers, stilt-walkers and fire-eaters – in awe, not to mention the tight-rope-walkers! There’s a hint of circus fun in Esslingen’s Christmas market the kids (and grown-ups) will definitely enjoy. 

You’ll also see craftsmen from a bygone era: the felt-makers, blacksmiths, basket-weavers, scribes, leather-makers, spoon-carvers and chandlers, who all come to town to partake in the festive mood. The cold, crisp air is filled with the scent of charcoal fires mingling with exotic spices, mulled wine, ginger cookies and roasting food… If you close your eyes, the combination of the aromas wafting through the air, and the merry songs and music mean you could easily be forgiven you’d taken a wrong turn, heading back in time.