December markets: Salzburg, Stuttgart/Esslingen and Strasbourg

My post-London Christmas market trip in December with DH is evolving. DH has agreed to extend post-London by a full 7 extra days, allowing us to plan for starting in Salzburg (Dec.7), then Stuttgart/Esslingen, and ending in Strasbourg. We are planning on using the train, point-to-point. I need help with the Stuttgart and Esslingen part: We will be arriving by train from Salzburg in late afternoon on a Tuesday. We will have the evening that day and the next in Stuttgart (2 nights) and the morning of the last day (Thursday). We would like to spend part of the day on Wednesday in Esslingen.
Is this doable? Where would you recommend we stay? Near the rail station in Stuttgart? We'd be looking for something under the 100 euros mark (or so) for each night. Any suggestions? Many thanks!

Posted by Kathy
Germany, Germany
800 posts

Get a hotel near the main train station in Stuttgart and your plan is very feasible. There's plenty of good options, look at booking.com for availability/prices. The S1 train goes from the main Stuttgart station to Esslingen with no changes. You can spend the morning there, have some lunch, then head back to Stuttgart for an afternoon rest, then head out to the Stuttgart market for the late afternoon/evening. The Stuttgart market is a 5 minute walk from the Hauptbahnhof. The Esslingen market is a 10 min walk from the train station there through the cute downtown area. If you really wanted to......the afternoon you come in from Salzburg, check in to your hotel, then head out for a walk through the Stuttgart market and dinner. Wednesday you head to Esslingen for a few hours, then take the the S-bahn to Ludwigsburg for their Baroque market for a few hours, all home in time for dinner. Esslingen and Ludwigsburg are each 20-30 min outside of Stuttgart, just opposite directions so you have to come back through the main train station to change S-bahn lines. Thursday morning you can then hit up the Stuttgart market again before you leave. The train from Stuttgart to Strasbourg is quick and easy--will probably say 'Paris' on the reader board at the train station, so check your train numbers. Have fun!

Posted by Diane
Ottawa
1156 posts

Thank you so much, Kathy, that was extremely helpful! :-)

Posted by Diane
Ottawa
1156 posts

I found two hotels that would fit the bill nicely (and inexpensive enough to allow us to splurge a bit in Salzburg): I have a choice between Motel One and Hotel Reiker - have you tried either or can recommend "One" over the other?

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4769 posts

I think one of the charms of the Esslingen Medieval market is being there after it gets dark as well as seeing it in the daytime. I wouldn't cut your time there too short. The trains back to Stuttgart are quick, and you can still see some of the Stuttgart market in the evening after coming back from Esslingen. If I had to do it over, I think I would have stayed in Esslingen for one night, and headed off to Stuttgart the next day. Loved the atmosphere in both markets. Stuttgart gets written off too quickly as a good tourist destination. Motel Ones are great, but make your reservation early. Tried to get in there this past Christmas and it was already booked by Oct. There are plenty of hotels near the Stuttgart train station for under 100 €. Give www.hrs.com a try for hotels. Here is my Trip Report that I wrote in Dec.
http://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/helpline/index.cfm/rurl/topic/94805/christmas-market-reports-post-your39s-here.html

Posted by Diane
Ottawa
1156 posts

Thanks Jo! Good link and fascinating thread. I'm very excited about doing this with DH! I travel so much without him, that I cherish being able to do something special for this trip with him. Plus, it's going to be a very odd Christmas for us this year (DH working through and a significant part of the family will be away), so this will be a great chance for making great Christmas memories of a different sort. You're right about Motel One booking fast - as of last night, there were only 3 rooms still available for my nights. I reserved. Overall, I'm finding that the good choices are already booked or nearly sold out for my dates in December. I booked at the BW Hotel Elephant in Salzburg and the Kebler Hotel in Strasbourg (now both showing as "sold out" on Booking.com for my dates). I'm sure some availability will free up as the year progresses and people cancel/modify their plans... but still, the period of the Christmas markets is clearly a mini-"high season" for these locales.