Christmastime 2013 in Southwest Germany

Hohenzollern CastleTravelers who are planning to go to the Black Forest or other parts of Southwest Germany this Christmastime can visit historic cities, and enjoy the traditional Christmas markets. There are carol singers to listen to, hot mulled wine (Glühwein) offerings and unique gift ideas from huge selections. Luxury Travel Advisor has rounded up the top five Christmas markets and events in Southwest Germany:

1. Hohenzollern Castle - The castle, located in Hechingen, 30 miles south of Stuttgart, will be holding the Royal Christmas Market. Mulled wine, roasted peanuts, handmade crafts, jewelry, toys and knitwear are also offered. The event takes place from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, plus Dec. 6-8, 2013. Entry price to the castle is 10 € (approximately $13.30) for adults and children under 16 are free.

2. Stuttgart - Ludwigsburg's Baroque Christmas Market and Esslingen's Medieval Christmas Market will be held just minutes away on public transportation. Stuttgart Tourism offers special Christmas packages from Dec. 6-22, 2013, starting at 146 € ($175, single room). The packages includes one-night accommodation/breakfast in a four star hotel; a voucher for drink/snack at the Christmas market; a ticket for an organ recital at the Collegiate Church; a StuttCard for discounts on local attractions; and one ticket/pass for public transportation.

3. Karlsruhe - Guests and locals will get a chance to stop by 100 stalls, take a tour in a horse-drawn carriage, and see Santa fly in a sleigh above the Christmas Market. Nearby Durlach is offering crossbow shooting, a fire show and medieval sword fighting at its own Medieval Market. Karlsruhe Tourism also offers affordable overnight deals starting from 47 € (or $62) as well as Christmas deals starting from 26 € (or $35). The offer is valid from Nov. 30 to Dec. 23, 2013.

4. Mannheim - Located at the Friedrichsplatz, each of the 200 market stalls provide hand-knitted woolen hats, scarves and mittens for the kids; jewelry for relatives; gifts for friends, from hand-blown glass tree decorations to carved wooden nativity scenes and scented candles. Snacks such as Stollen (sweet bread with raisins and candied fruit), homemade cookies, sausages and mulled wine will be offered. The regular Kapuzinerplanken market has 80 exhibitors from around the world displaying their traditional handmade crafts, with collectible pieces of art, gift ideas and delicacies. The market runs from Nov. 27 to Dec. 23, 2013.

5. Baiersbronn - The city present travelers with the "Baiersbronn Winter Magic" package, clients ski or snowshoe from hut to hut, and then enjoy some German cuisine. Packages offered from November through March start from 195 € ($260 per person). Included in the package are two-night accommodation with breakfast; two-day snowshoe equipment rental; a four-course meal in four different restaurants; one snack coupon for a stop in a hiking hut; and Black Forest card for visitors (free public transportation).

For more information, visit www.tourism-bw.com.

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