Please sign in to post.

More questions about Christmas markets! (Munich->Stuttgart)

Looking for your experience and advice for our trip to (mostly German) Christmas markets! I’m pretty excited. We are not city people generally, so we are mainly focusing on smaller towns between Munich and Stuttgart. My husband proposed to me in December in the Black Forest (lo, those many years ago…), so while we will market hard, we are also happy with days driving along the roads, taking in the beauty, and the local food and drink. Some general questions, and I’ll share our itinerary in another post. (Highlights—Munich to Stuttgart/Esslingen, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbuhl and back to Munich.) We will have a (compact) rental car, we love road trips and husband is experienced driving in Germany. We were last in the area in May (Black Forest), and are eager to return after a too-long absence.

Thank you to those who have replied to my previous questions. We've got a pretty solid plan now!

? General question about the pfand, or deposit on the cups for gluhwein et al. Will each market have ONE common mug, or does every seller have their own? If we get a cup and pay the deposit (and DON’T want to keep that particular mug), do we have to return the mug to the place where we got it for the deposit? Or can we go to a different stall that “rents” that mug?

? Another general question, what’s your favourite drink? Of course gluhwein is the default. What about the version of eggnog? (It is not possible to get “home made” eggnog where I live, and the carton from the dairy section at the grocery store is usually disappointing.) Or the flaming one? Or, you know, the ones without booze!

? Husband would like to find a good beer hall in Munich—have heard that Hofbrauhaus is very touristy? Hotel is about 10 mins walk from Hofbrauhaus, so it’s handy at least. (We drink a lot of craft beer, amber to dark at home. Pilsner is not our fav, so won’t NEVER have it, but would enjoy something else if it’s available.) So—beer lovers, where would you go?

? General question, we’ve seen lots of videos with costumed characters (often stilt-walkers) in the markets. Are they buskers? Or provided by the market? Just wondering if we should have good amounts of coins for tipping.

? How much work is it to get into small towns during the markets? Especially on the weekends… We picked our accommodations specifically so we will be in walking distance to the markets once we park the car, so if it’s insane to move around from town to town, we’ll be happy where we are. (Most of our accommodations provide parking for when we are there.)

? Related question. We’re happy to drive, but also ok with local trains if that’s a reasonable way to get into other towns. For example, from Rothenberg to Schwäbisch Hall or Nordlingen. My first impression of the train schedule is that the small towns aren’t as easy to get to and from as would be larger centres like Munich or Heidelberg.

I'm also posting my itinerary if you still want to talk about this topic. (I sure do!) And...thanks again.

Posted by
8443 posts

Most markets have one mug, but because of Covid, they may have mugs from earlier years that they may want to get rid of. Yes, you bring your mug back to the stand where you got it as you usually get a chip with it too for the Pfand. If you want to keep it, trade it in for a clean one. No reason to keep that sticky one in your bag.

Posted by
157 posts

Nice! I wouldn't have gone back to get a clean one--good tip, Mrs Jo!

Posted by
108 posts

I have quite a collection of mugs as I have been doing the Christmas Markets for a number of years. Last year I was at one in Berlin (by the ruined church) and they had multiple mugs. I saw a clear one in the shape of a wineglass and bought one in the shape of a beer mug. My daughter ordered a hot chocolate in a snowman mug and they made a point of telling her she had to buy the mug, it couldn’t be returned. So shop around first!

Posted by
248 posts

--Pfand is mixed--often by stall, but occasionally you can get lucky and get a general one. But it's a gamble. If there is no chip and you see the same mugs elsewhere you can get your Pfand elsewhere, but I would assume same stand.

--Glühwein mit Schuss is my favourite, especially with good Glühwein (not generic) or good flavors. But I love a good Feuerzangenbowle, even if it is diabetes in a warm mug. Some drinks are an acquired taste (Eierpunsch) and some are better in certain moods or at certain stands (hot chocolate). Hard to find and often repulsive-sounding but actually really good is a Glühbier or, as it is sometimes called in places like Munich, a Krampus. And since all Glühwein is dangerous to one's sobriety by the third, a Kinderpunsch is a good one to drink as a break if you are out for longer.

--You shouldn't need too many coins for tipping. It's too cold for most busking, and most entertainment is provided by the markets.

--I wouldn't expect it to be harder or easier to get to a specific town than at other peak season times, but I am not sure I understand the question. Do you mean if you are based in Munich, how hard is it to get to Freising or Starnberg? Or do you mean getting to Rothenburg or Dinkelsbühl? Also: Consider when the markets are open. Big cities have markets that are open daily, but many small towns might have them only on weekends or even only on one weekend. Be sure to check. It would be a bummer to get to a place only to find they don't have markets that day.

Posted by
2052 posts

Some larger markets have a variety of mugs. I brought back 15 from our trip in 2015. Only one was broken in transit home. I use them at Christmastime when I make gluhwein for the family get together.