Tag Archives: Germany

When an illuminated castle brightens the summer at Heidelberg

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High above the German city of Heidelberg realms world’s most popular ruin. Is there any place more beautiful in this world than between the historic walls of the castle beneath the shining stars during a warm summer night? For sure, there is! Just this place, but filled with music and dramatic or funny works of literature. Every year this castle is the site for two of most dramatic events- the Castle Festival and the Castle Illuminations.

Illuminated castle.

The legendary Castle Illuminations every year capture the imagination of thousands of people – hardly any other city offers such magical nights every year. Castle illuminations commemorate the destruction of Heidelberg Castle by the French General Melac in the years 1689 and 1693 during the War of Palatinate Succession. Its origin however was of a romantic nature. In order to welcome his freshly-betrothed bride Elizabeth Stuart as custom demanded, Elector Frederick V (1596-1632) ordained great fireworks, thereby instituting a tradition which has endured to the present day. The illumination of the beautiful facade of the Castle is complemented today by a brilliant fireworks display, which bathes all the Old Town in an awe-inspiring light. One can also enjoy the spectacle from the water on a fireworks boat trip. This years the first of the illumination was on June 2nd. But you have two more chances to witness this on July 14th and September 1st, 2018.

Bengali Flares. Photo credit: Jan Becke

Bengali flares slowly bathe the Heidelberg Castle in a mysterious red firelight, as if the ruins were on fire once again in their long history. As the last times in 1689 and 1693, when the troops of the Sun King Louis XIV burnt down the castle, leaving behind the world-famous ruins. When the glowing Castle slowly dies down, the second part of the spectacle begins – the brilliant fireworks over the Neckar. 

Illuminated castle. Photo credit: Tobias Schwerdt

The Elector Friedrich V first had the fireworks staged in 1613, in order to provide a fitting welcome for his newly-betrothed wife Elizabeth Stuart. These fireworks laid the cornerstone for the later festivals of light held in the night sky over Heidelberg – celebrating its 400th Jubilee in the year 2013. The banks of the Neckar and the Philosophers’ Walk around 10 o’clock are the best locations to admire the Castle Illuminations.

Fireworks at Heidelberg. Photo credit: Robin Schimko

Heidelberger Schlossfestspiele or the Castle Festival has already started on 7th June and it will run upto 29th July. Come, visit this summer festival, and experience theatre and music art in the most beautiful way: having a view over Heidelberg. And, so great is the aura and the settings, that I am sure, you will feel it as an experience of lifetime.

Fireworks in Heidelberg. View from Nepomuk Terrasse.

This year’s performances include the famous Germans story of the young orphaned girl Heidi who joins her grandfather’s house up the mountain in the Suisse Alps. It will be presented as a play for children (6 years and older) and their families. A fascinating story about friendship and the warm and charming personality of a child.

Fireworks in Heidelberg. View from Philosopher’s walk.

Besides, “If I Were a Rich Man” is what imagines the milkman Tevye in the musical Anatevka. Would he stay in Heidelberg forever if he were rich? Maybe. The popular musical will be presented in German language. The public can expect Russian and Jewish melodies within the beautiful setting of the historic walls.

Castle festival.

A further highlight of this year’s program, also in the big yard, are Carlo Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters, directed by theatre director Holger Schultze. A servant hires in two positions at a time and is facing a lot of trouble. How is solves this pell-mell in the end can be seen this summer in Heidelberg. Moreover, the philharmonic orchestra will present exclusive concerts with international top-class artists and young upcoming stars.

Theatre performance during castle festival.

Heidelberg is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. The picturesque ensemble of the castle, the Old Town, and the river Neckar surrounded by hills, which inspired the poets and artists of romanticism, still fascinates millions of visitors from all over the world. First mentioned in 1196, Heidelberg was planned and built, together with the castle, in the 13th century. Heidelberg’s heyday as the capital of the Electoral Palatinate began not least with the foundation of the university – today the oldest in Germany – in 1386. Heidelberg was one of the few major German cities to be largely spared the destruction of the World War II. Today Heidelberg Castle is said to be one of the most favourite destinations for international travellers in Germany. So, no doubt that every year more than 11.9 million visitors come to the city.

Heidelberg in autumn. Photo credit: Jan Becke

But besides rich history and ever blooming romanticism, modern Heidelberg is also an educational hub, known to students world over for its universities. It is home to Germany’s oldest university, as well as to numerous others, and to a host of internationally renowned research institutes and research-based companies. Another aspect of Heidelberg’s creativity is its literature. In Heidelberg, literature is omnipresent. Taking a walk through the city, one finds publishing houses, bookshops and libraries around every corner. Taking a look at the vibrant scene of writers, translators and theatre life, one discovers a high level of literary productiveness. No day without literary event, no summer without literary festival, no year without literary award winners. Literature is literally everywhere. Since December 1st 2014 the city is UNESCO City of Literature within UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network.

Photo Credit : Thomas Kunert

Heidelberg is just 78 kms south of Frankfurt. Thus Frankfurt Airport is best for air connectivity to Heidelberg. From Frankfurt, there are various means to reach to Heidelberg including Airport shuttles, buses and trains.

Have you ever been to Heidelberg? Have you seen the Castle Illumination there? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

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India Summer Days return to Karlsruhe and lot more in SouthWest Germany

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On the weekend of 14th to 15th July 2018, the INDIA SUMMER DAYS return to Karlsruhe under the heading ‘Baden-Württemberg meets Maharashtra’: a small piece of India right in the centre of Karlsruhe, with all its sumptuous colours, music and dance. India fans can indulge in live music, an Indian bazaar, culinary delicacies and numerous other cultural highlights, as well as Ayurveda and yoga workshops.  Last year India Summer Days were held for the first time alongside the “Pre-Festival” in the middle of the Günther-Klotz-Anlage.

SouthWest Germany, the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, is right in the heart of Europe and is bordered by France, Switzerland and Austria. Easy to get to, easy to get around, easy to have fun: that’s SouthWest Germany, a real four-season destination! With history and high-tech, romantic palaces and vibrant cities, natural beauty, glamour and fun, SouthWest Germany guarantees something for everyone. 

Also Read: Germany Unplugged – Holidaying in the SouthWest

Due to its varied historic and cultural heritage, South West Germany is abound in cultural monuments. Six of 42 UNESCO World heritage sites in Germany are located between the lake of Constance and the northern part of South West Germany. Ice Age Art in South West Germany, Historic Stone Age lake-dwellings on Lake Constance, the Frontiers of the Roman Empire , the Maulbronn Monastery and the Monastic Island of Reichenau. Worth mentioning as well, are the apartment buildings of the French architectLe Corbusier in Stuttgart, „the Weissenhof Estate“. Le Corbusier designed as well the master plan of the Indian City Candigarh in 1952 which was declared by UNESCO as World heritage in July 2016.

Wherever you go in Southwest Germany you are never far from a grand palace, a romantic castle, half-timbered houses – and something good to eat and drink. Stop in a café for coffee and cake; linger in a beer garden over a locally-brewed pint; taste wines at a traditional wine festival; sample schnapps and world-class gin in the Black Forest. Order traditional dishes in a Weinstube (tavern) and gourmet meals in Germany’s most Michelin-star studded region. In 2018 there are many foodie reasons to come to Southwest Germany, or Baden-Württemberg, as we call it.

Europa Park

In the heart of the border triangle, between the Black Forest and Vosges, lies the best theme park worldwide- Europa-Park. Whether Ireland, France or Spain ‒ 15 European themed areas with exemplary architecture, gastronomy, and vegetation are waiting to be discovered by visitors from around the world, embarking on a journey of discovery through Europe with over 100 attractions and shows and the promise of lots of fun and adventure for the whole family. The park’s own 4* hotels provide everything visitors need for a perfect family holiday or romantic wellness weekend with an authentic atmosphere and ambience unique to each themed hotel.

Shop till you drop! Read: Munich is a ultra-chic shopping destination

At India Summer Days, visitors will experience the great diversity of Indian culture and tradition in an authentic way. The focus will be on Maharashtra, Baden-Württemberg’s partner region in the heart of India, which has been linked to Karlsruhe for years. Last year Balaji També and a team of Ayurveda doctors, yoga teachers and cooks traveled from Atmasantulana Village, India, to the summer festival in Karlsruhe and offered many informative workshops on Ayurveda, Ayurvedic products, pulse diagnosis, Ayurvedic nutrition, healing music, meditation and yoga. Numerous other artists and musicians as well as yoga and Ayurveda experts will be arriving in Karlsruhe directly from India. This region has got special relations with Maharashtra. Stuttgart meets Mumbai wine festival also celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2014. The long and enduring town-twining between Mumbai and Stuttgart which dates back to 1968.

India Summer Days, Credit: jowapress.de

Susanne Schlung, Marketing Director of the State Tourist Board said after her recent visits to Mumbai and Delhi that  she could see a lot of interest in traveling to Europe and especially the interests of travellers who travel the second or third or….time to explore a region of Germany – such as SouthWest Germany. She was really surprised that a lot of the people she met during our stay, know of Cuckoo-clocks, the Black Forest with its delicious Black Forest cake and Baden-Baden with its Spas and Casino.

Sharing culture! Read: A culture feast at Upper Rhine Valley

Susanne said, “Due to the demand for smaller family groups, apartments and smaller busses for more people are more relevant. Small groups and individual travellers also like to try our lovely traditional food and beverages (beer and wine) as well as our high level cuisine in lots of Michelin starred-restaurants. But on the third or fourth day of their journey they need to have Indian food again. No problem; south west Germany has a lot of Indian restaurants to offer! Indians also like Shopping! So, in south west Germany they have lots of possibilities to go shopping – from traditional souvenirs , e.g. the Cuckoo-Clock at the Tiitisee-Shops up to designer wear in the Outlet City in Metzingen which is a 30 minute drive to Stuttgart or Wertheim Village in the north of SWG. Outlet City Metzingen offers at about 80 different luxury designer brands (such as Hugo Boss, Prada, Nike, Michel Kors, Armani, Burberry, Gucci & Jimmy Choo).”

Europa Park

German cars, especially Mercedes Benz and Porsche are well-known and loved in India. There are two museums in the capital city of SWG, Stuttgart, were one can see a lot of cars and learn something about the history of the cars. Traveling by train, which is very fast and convenient in Germany is also very popular with travellers.

Have you visited SouthWest Germany or Europa Park? How was the fun? Please share with us all!

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Munich is a ultra-chic shopping destination

Muenchen-Shopping Fuenf Hoefe- A. BardehleKnown as one of the best 10 cities to live in the world, Munich offers a plethora of shopping options to visitors. When in Munich, shop at some of the world’s most creative boutiques or visit Munich’s traditional stores.

Munich, with its air of polished prosperity, is quintessential Germany. The old and the new co-exist here with cherished traditions like Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival, rubbing shoulders with designer shopping, sleek cars and high-powered industry. Indeed Munich today is the flavour of the year. The Bavarian capital on the Isar river has strong roots in the past. Its Baroque and Rococo architecture, lush parks, museums and historic venues such as Schloss Nymphenburg, the summer palace of the rulers of Bavaria, are the favoured haunts of tourists and locals alike.

Shopping_Odeonsplatz_Foto_A_KupkaThis gracious German city is just an hour’s drive from the snow-crusted Alps that frame it so beautifully and lend it an air of enchantment.

Main Shopping Centres

Neuhauserstrasse and Kaufingerstrasse in the city centre have large department stores and global chains. Smaller and more exclusive shops can be found around Maximilianstrasse and Theatinerstrasse. Leopoldstrasse is a trendy shopping street with tasteful boutiques on the surrounding streets. Even window shopping is fun here!

Shopping in Muenchen - Louis Vuitton Foto Werner BoehmHigh-End Shopping in Munich

Turning back across Marienplatz, you come to the high-class shops in Kaufingerstarsse and Theatinerstrasse.  In addition to fine shops and cafés, you will also come across the premises of the Hypobank Cultural Foundation, an art gallery famous for its spectacular exhibitions. Munich’s ultra-chic shopping area also encompasses Perusastrasse, Residenzstrasse, Brienner Strasse and Odeonsplatz. You will discover gems in the shop belonging to the Nymphenburg Porcelain factory, which has been based in Munich for over 250 years.

Bavarian Gifts

Typical Bavarian gifts might include traditional clothing such as Lederhosen (Knee length Breeches) for men and a Dirndl (traditional attire of skirt, apron, bodice and blouse) for women, Beer Mugs wood carvings, pewter-ware at Geschenke Kaiser, Rindermarkt 1.

Shopping Marienplatz Muenchen Foto Christoph MukherjeeMust buy

• Porcelain figurines are a must to buy at Schloss Nymphenburg

•Go for those hand-made chocolates and other sinful sweets at Elly Seidl’s shop. Try champagne truffles.

•The shops in Munich museums sell fine reproductions of works of art, limited editions, posters, and reproductions of designer  pieces from both their own collections and those of their museums.

•The museum shop at the Deutsches Museums carries an outstanding selection of unique toys, from building sets to robots-enthusiastically received by children and adults alike.

•Antique dolls, fashioned with artfully painted porcelain heads and draped in precious fabrics are collector’s items

•Dukatz cups and saucers, inscribed with humorous and subtle quotes by Bavarian author Oskar Maria Graf, can be purchased from Dukatz café.

Germany Unplugged: The best Christmas markets

4fc5fe69f18042d1f4e4d95619be55f2One of the biggest and most beautiful Christmas Markets in Europe is held every year in Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. In 1692 the first Christmas Market was mentioned in a document. It’s origin is probably much earlier. The Christmas Market is held in the heart of Stuttgart – in the Königsstrasse infront of the Königsbau, at the marketplace and the nearby sourroundings. To enjoy the beauty of Baden-Württemberg’s state Capital I would recommend at least a three-day stay. The automobile museums of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are a must see, as well as the palace square in the city’s heart or the beautiful green areas like the Killesberg Park or the Zoological-Botanical Garden Wilhelma. Also Stuttgart is a great starting point to discover the nearby Black Forest. The Christmas Market is open daily from 10 am until 9 pm, sundays from 11 am until 9 pm.

A look at few of Germany’s best Christmas markets

Stuttgart Christmas Market

7385a5b73e4c95d05759ab876823503aOne of Europe’s largest and oldest, this 300 year old market has some 200 decorated stalls in front of the Old Palace. Eat Bratwurst; sip mulled wine, listen to Christmas concerts. Stuttgart’s Christmas Market with over 282 beautifully decorated stalls is not only one of the oldest but without doubt also one of the largest of its kind in the whole of Europe. Its illuminations are second to none, the festive concerts of seasonal music in the Renaissance courtyard of the Old Palace and the “Winterland” on the Palace Square all contribute to the incomparable Christmas atmosphere which enchants millions of visitors year after year.

Ulm Christmas Market

MaerchenwaldThe majestic Minster, the cathedral with the world’s tallest steeple is the backdrop for some 120 pretty stalls. Music ranges from classical & jazz to steel bands. With more than 130 decorative wooden huts, the Ulm Christmas Market attracts more than a million visitors every year. Offering traditional Christmas arts and crafts, toys and gifts. The Christmas market also has food and drink to cater to every taste.The Fairytale Forest, living crib and many other attractions make it one of the most appealing Christmas markets in Germany.

Hohenzollern Royal Christmas Market

events_weihnachtsmarkt_2013_04The Royal Christmas Market is regarded as one of Germany’s most beautiful. The splendid setting is the ancestral seat of the Prussian Royal Family. In an astoundingly beautiful ambience on the ancestral seat of the Prussian Royal family, the Royal Christmas Market on the Hohenzollern Castle is very rightly regarded as being one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany. A broad spectrum of exhibitors as well as a stylish supporting program invite to a festive delight, to experience, discover an shop. Because of the Christmas Market taking place in some of the interior rooms, there are no guided tours possible on the market days. But the treasure room, the two churches and the cellar are open.

Tubingen – ChocolART: International Chocolate Festival

ChocolateAt Germany’s largest chocolate festival, chocolART, you can taste Swiss pralines and Belgian truffles, learn how to cook with chocolate, pair beer with chocolate and even have a chocolate massage. Tübingen’s Chocolate Festival offers a high-value market where chocolate specialists from France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and selected premises in Germany present and sell their delicate products. Last year this event attracted more than 270.000 visitors to Tübingen’s old town. The Mayan culture says that chocolate has a divine origin and since settling in Europe, this idea has led to the production of art and literature. Therefore alongside its presentation of culinary delicacies and international fine-dining, Tübingen will offer an extensive accompanying cultural programme which will draw attention to the sacredness of chocolate. To seduce and to be seduced is to be expected, when truffles and pralines will compete with each other for six whole days. With in total 87 chocolatiers from 12 countries, around 80 tonnes of chocolate sold, 20 000 cups of fresh milk and more than 200 000 visitors the statistics show that chocolART is even more successful every years.

Thrill and forgotten romance of airship flight…

Passengers getting in the ship
Passengers getting in the ship

“In an age in which flying has become one of the most unromantic of travel experiences, the resumption of Zeppelin flights has proved an unqualified success” (Telegraph Travel). I can compare it in its beauty to an experience of a sea plane flight in Maldives.  Indeed Zeppelin flights seem most unbelievable compared to modern jets and dreamliners, but they are superbly romantic and exciting. And taking a zeppelin flight at a place where first zeppelin flight took place more than hundred years ago can be thrilling. Also worth considering is the fact that there are not too many places in the world offering this adventurous experience.

View from the airship
View from the airship

Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship pioneered by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century.The Zeppelin was invented in Friedrichshafen in South-west Germany, and we can also take a flight from this lakeside town aboard one of the world’s most romantic forms of transport. Airship rides of various lengths and routes are offered to the general public around the area of the Bodensee (Lake Constance), and occasionally at other locations in Germany. The Zeppelin NT is a 246-foot long semi-rigid airship which can accommodate two pilots and up to 12 passengers in a gondola equipped with large sightseeing windows.  The airship is inflated with safe, non-flammable helium and usually cruises at an altitude of about 1,000 feet/300 meters, at a speed of approximately 35-40 mph, or 60-70 km/h.

Panoramic windows for a big view
Panoramic windows for a big view

With panoramic windows, spacious seats and rooms to walk about, this is a comfy way to fly. Float 1000 feet above the ground and above the shimmering blue blue of Lake Constance, see the snow capped Alps to the south and lush vineyards and orchards to the north; look down on four countries, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Then tour the Zeppelin Museum to learn about this milestone in aviation history.

airship floating over lake constance
airship floating over lake Constance

The Zeppelin flights from Friedrichshafen last between 40 and 90 minutes – riding over beautiful Lake Constance with its shorelines and islands and to the south the mountains of Switzerland. Its often claimed that passengers who travel on the giant silvery Zeppelins of the past enjoy a degree of luxury and elegance unmatched by any other form of aviation.  One can open the windows, speak without effort, enjoy watching the world go by 1,000 ft below and tell ourselves what it must have been like when far bigger airships were having their heyday… Airship flying is total joy from beginning to end and in between.

Actually, vacation experiences in SouthWest Germany are as varied as the landscapes between the Rhine, the Neckar and the Danube Rivers. There is plenty of fun for the whole family: Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, and the kids, of course. And almost everyone in Germany speaks English – even the children!

Its all about witches and devils in these carnivals!!

fasnacht freiburg
fasnacht freiburg

When winter slowly departs, carnival revelers live it up in the Upper Rhine Valley. This is when witches, devils, and other bizarre characters celebrate the fifth season. With bells, jingles, and elaborate costumes, they parade through the lanes on Shrove Tuesday to drive away the spirits of winter.

In contrast to the Rhenish carnival, the Swabian-Alemannic custom reminds people of the local sagas and stories. The guilds follow strict rules here. Whether at the Morgenstraich procession, on Shrove Tuesday (Fastnacht, also called Schmotzigen Dunschdig), or on Ash Wednesday: The cities and towns are in an exceptional state for almost a week. Colorful parades attract a costumed audience that hopes for bonbons and sweets, which the carnival revelers throw into the crowd. Wearing disguises as they approach the viewers, their hand-carved masks are regional works of art.


The master clockmakers, who produce the famous cuckoo clocks, are also skillful. They follow an organ-building tradition that is more than 350 years old and makes music boxes around the entire globe possible. The residents of the Upper Rhine Valley are well-known for the best clockmaker handwork and present the history of the clock at 39 stations along the Clockmaker Street (Uhrmacherstrasse).

Many different dialects characterize the region in the tri-border area of Germany, France, and Switzerland. The Baden dialect (Badisch), Alsatian, Swiss German, and Alemannic meet here. The local peculiarities are celebrated in traditional costumes, and typical dances and specialties complete the revels at traditional events.

FasnetCrazy carnival and traditional customs in the Upper Rhine Valley

  • Celebrate with wild fools
  • Walk in the footsteps of watchmakers
  • Discover ancient customs

With the rush on the city hall on Dirty Tuesday (Schmutzigen Duunschtig), the hot phase of carnival (Fastnacht) is heralded in Freiburg. The city has celebrated the fifth season for centuries, and it was mentioned in a document for the first time in 1283. During the five-day street festival, the historic town center is transformed into a colorful sea of celebrating people. The highlight is the carnival procession on Shrove Monday (Rosenmontag), one of the biggest in all of Southern Germany. This is where the old and new fool’s guilds (Narrenzünfte) present their handmade costumes, which are called Häs.


The fool’s motley is traditionally taken out of the closet and dusted off on Three Kings Day (January 6). Which is what differentiates the Alemannic Fasnet carnival from the Rhenish carnival, which is already rung in by the campaign on November 11. They also have different origins: While the carnival culture from the Rhenish region is a satire on the French military, the Fasnet in the Upper Rhine Valley is based on ancient peasant and lower middle class customs that are intended to drive away the winter.

This can be observed especially well in Rottweil when a number of witches, devils, and other people in masks jump through the Black Gate to the city (Schwarze Stadttor) with resounding noise during the Fool’s Leap (Narrensprung) on Shrove Monday. They parade through the streets with bellows and whips and some of the onlookers land in the cages that many witches pull behind them – and are sent back to the ranks of the spectators with bonbons and other sweets after a while.

(source: upperrhinevalley.com)

Germany Unplugged : Holidaying in the SouthWest

vineyards of stuttgart
vineyards of Stuttgart

There are so many ways to taste the delights of SouthWest Germany. Sip a cool glass of white wine overlooking sunny vineyards. Nibble spicy cheese in a farm shop in the Swabian Mountains. Enjoy a meal in a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Black Forest. That’s what we call hospitality in this part of the world.

Indian Restaurants

Restaurants serving Indian delicacies can be found all over SouthWest Germany. In fact, Indian cuisine is highly rates among locals who often patronize them all year round for mouthwatering dishes ranging from Tandoori Kebabs, Dum Biryani, Chicken Tikka and vegetarian delicacies as well. Stuttgart has the maximum number of Indian restaurants, with smaller cities like Heidelberg, Freiburg, Karlsruhe and the Black Forest also offering a sumptuous Indian spread.

Wine Country

Light lovely and fruity. SoutWest Germany’s wines are easy to appreciate, and they are of a high quality. Germany’s 2013 winemaker of the year comes from Iringen, near Freiburg. Joachim Heger grows the region’s classic grapes for his award winning wines: Reisling, Grauburgunder (pinot gris), Weissburgunder (pinot blanc), Silvaner and Spaetburgunder (pinot noir)

Local Specialities – Black Forest Cake

To appreciate why this treat is world famous, eat it in the Black Forest. The authentic version has fresh thick cream, seriously dark chocolate and Kirsch, or cerry schnapps made from locally picked Morello cherries. Perfect with coffee.

stuttgart-beer-festival © Thomas Niedermüller
stuttgart-beer-festival © Thomas Niedermüller

Beer Country

Beer is also taken very seriously in SouthWest Germany, with the best brews conforming to Germany’s age-old purity laws – using just hops, malt water and no additives. Small local breweries are everywhere. In late September/ mid October, the second largest Beer festival in Germany is held at Stuttgart.

Where Santa comes from: Enjoy Christmas in Upper Rhine Valley

Christmas in Alsace
Christmas in Alsace

Wintertime in the Upper Rhine Valley is the season for traditional Christmas markets. The beginning of Advent marks the opening of colorful and richly decorated stands that charmingly nestle in the town lanes. Visitors are tempted by hot mulled wine, gingerbread, and regional treats but also by the possibility of buying Christmas presents from the many artisans, potters, and goldsmiths. Music, singing, and nativity scenes spread the Christmas spirit. At special medieval markets, jugglers invite their audience to marvel and suckling pigs on original spit-roast grills promise hearty enjoyment.

Even Santa Claus comes from the Upper Rhine Valley: Caricaturist Thomas Nast made the figure famous. The man from Landau, who later immigrated to the USA, drew the classic Father Christmas in red-and-white clothing for the first time. His drawings were later the model for an advertising campaign that made Santa Claus in his red clothes famous around the world.

With snow-covered fir trees, frozen lakes and rivers, and powdery snow on the Alpine peaks, the Upper Rhine Valley also transforms itself into a gorgeous winter landscape during the cold season. On endless ski-runs and cross-country ski tracks, winter athletes find the ideal conditions for skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding. With elevations of up to about 1,500 meters, the mountains of the tri-border area of Germany, France, and Switzerland ensure white slopes.

If you prefer a slower pace, you can enjoy a romantic ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the wintery panorama or book a hiking tour in the snow. Whether beginners or experts, the right offers are available for every age group and all skill levels.

Discover Christmas, winter romance, and the typical regional recipes in the Upper Rhine Valley.

Winter in Freiburg
Winter in Freiburg

Magical Christmas time and winter romance in the Upper Rhine Valley

  • Gormandize and shop at charming Advent markets
  • A dream of skiing in an idyllic winter landscape
  • Romantic enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides and dog sledding

Winter Tips

  • magical Advent season is guaranteed by the Dornröschen (Sleeping Beauty) Christmas market in Dörrbach. Rustic wooden huts offer colorful handicrafts and culinary delicacies in a medieval setting.
  • The ice age under the open sky starts at the end of November in Karlsruhe: The Stadtwerke Eiszeit, one of the largest artificial ice rinks in Southern Germany, offers the perfect conditions for ice-skating and curling on about 1,000 square meters.

    Skiing in Jura
    Skiing in Jura
  • The history of skiing as a sport is presented by the Ski Museum in Hinterzarten. In a 300 year-old farmhouse, the rare and lovingly collected exhibits document not only the development of the sport but also the career of Olympic champions such as Georg Thoma.
  • Reflective moments are shared by the Advent Impulses at the St. Martin Church in Freiburg. The services start every day at 5:30 p.m. during the pre-Christmas period.
  • The tallest Christmas tree of Europe is presented by the Aargau. The giant Christmas tree in Oberrohrdorf is sponsored solely by a private initiative and has a height of 44 meters.
  • Giant woodpiles burn at the Christmas torching in Altensteig. The historical custom celebrates the birth of Christ on Christmas Eve.
  • As an extra for the Advent season, the Upper Rhine Valley offers individual Christmas packages that include accommodations and specials such as wine-tasting or a boat trip.