Tübingen, Germany Christmas Market: Stepping Into A Snowglobe

Tübingen, Germany, is one of the cutest Christmas markets that we visited during our 2-month Christmas market extravaganza, which took Caleb and me to over 50 markets across Europe! It was the most relaxed and authentic market we experienced and had some of the cheapest mulled wine we saw.

Priorities right?

In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know to figure out if you should visit, how to spend your time, and some personal tips to make sure you have the best, most authentic experience! 

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Here’s a video we made of the Tübingen Christmas market so you can get the vibe!

YouTube video

✔️ Quick Info:

📅 Opening Dates: The market always runs the third week of Advent, which is December 13,14 and 15, 2024.

⏰ Best time to go: opening time – around 10 am.

🏨 Where to stay: Stay in Stuttgart and do a day trip down to Tubingen.

💴 Paying:  We found a lot of cash only stalls, so bring Euros just in case.

What To Expect & Know When Deciding To Visit Or Not

If you’re trying to figure out if it’s worth organizing your Christmas market trip around Tübingen (since it’s only open one weekend of the year!), here’s what we think you should know and consider:

The Good: Visit Tübingen If You Want Authenticity.

If you’re looking for a completely local and feeling market, you won’t find a city in Europe that has more authentic vibes than Tübingen.  When people say that walking around Tübingen at Christmas feels like being in a snow globe, they really aren’t lying! It’s such a beautiful and romantic market!

The market isn’t focused on Christmas-themed, mass-produced, made-in-china nutcrackers that your mulled-wine-soaked brain thinks you need (you don’t) like most of the other christmas markets in Europe. Tubingen is a fairy-tale town that is very green-friendly and you get that whole vibe with the local feeling of its market!

A cobblestone street in Tübingen, lined with people walking and beautifully detailed buildings, including one with ornate frescoed facades.

Almost everything we saw was made by local artisans, which is why this market is only one weekend a year. The focus isn’t to commercialize Christmas but to allow the locals to sell their wares. This really set it apart from other markets and is one of the reasons we think it’s a market worth your time!

Part of the market is also a farmers’ market in the morning where you can buy fruits, veggies, and baked goods. So, if you want to experience the true culture and atmosphere of a local town, this is the perfect market for you!

The backdrop with the colorful, half-timbered wooden houses is also just so cute and makes strolling down the market streets even better!

Residents and tourists walk through a cobblestone street in Tübingen, with colorful buildings, local shops like 'Rilling küchen', and festive street decorations visible

The Bad: Don’t visit Tübingen If You Want A “Classic” Christmas Market

Now, we always keep things honest, so we have to play devil’s advocate: if you want the “classic” Christmas market experience with huge, wooden mulled wine huts, Christmas pyramids, overpriced sausages, and a gazillion kinds of foods and drinks….

…Tübingen is not for you.  Just stay in Stuttgart.

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We personally love that Tübingen does NOT feel this way, but if that is what you’re looking for, then you’d probably consider this a “bad” thing.

We should also mention that, while it’s super cute, it does lack a little bit of the “festive feeling” of other markets because of its authenticity. It isn’t as decorated for Christmas as other markets, and the stalls are just boring white tents, not cute wooden stalls.

It also does get VERY busy in the evening since it’s only open one weekend a year. You can avoid this a little if you go early like we did, which is a tip we have for *every* Christmas market (but then it does feel a little less festive as it’s much quieter.)

Tübingen At Christmas is For You If…

To help you decide if you want to visit or not, here are some things that would make it worth checking out if you agree to all/most of them:

  • You want to have an authentic German experience
  • You don’t mind a slower pace and taking your time
  • You like simple beauty and don’t need it to feel like a Christmas carnival or super festive
  • You want a chance to support local businesses and buy souvenirs or gifts from local artisans.
Outdoor winter market scene in Tübingen, showing a red wooden hut serving drinks and food, surrounded by people in winter attire

Tübingen At Christmas is Not For You If…

On the flip side, if you agree with these thoughts, then skip Tübingen:

  • You want to hit A LOT of markets in one city
  • You want a crazy, super festive feeling atmosphere
  • You want lots of food and drink options with all the Christmas “bells and whistles.” 
The ornate facade of a richly decorated building in Tübingen, featuring intricate frescoes and a historic clock, with a Christmas tree in front.

Getting To Tübingen Is An Easy Day Trip From Stuttgart

If you’ve decided to go to Tübingen’s Christmas market, we suggest doing it as a day trip from Stuttgart. The Stuttgart Christmas markets have a great “big-city” market vibe to balance out the quieter, chiller vibe at Tübingen. It’s also in the  Baden-Württemberg region of Germany.

We took the MEX18 train from Stuttgart Central Station to Tübingen Hauptbahnhof, which is around an hour’s journey and has no changes – it’s super easy!

Outdoor market scene in Tübingen with fruit and vegetable stalls set up in front of traditional half-timbered houses

A Guide To The Beautiful Market

IMPORTANT: When we were researching the market, many guides kept saying that it was ALL ABOUT chocolate because it’s the same thing as the ChocolArt chocolate festival in Tübingen.

This is NOT true. While the ChocolArt festival is Christmasy, decorated, and serves some Christmas items like mulled wine, it runs the week before the Christmas market – they are two different events. If you can visit both, you should.

Unless you don’t like chocolate. But then…who are you?

When we spent the day at the Tübingen Christmas market, we walked all around the small city and wandered down all the side streets because, unlike bigger cities in Germany like Berlin, the market doesn’t really “congregate” in a main square.

Sure, there is the farmers market in the main market square (Marktplatz) in front of the tower clock, but it closes early. All the Christmas vendor tents just spread themselves out along the city streets, so make sure you walk along all of them.

2 festive white christmas mugs with santa on them

We ventured out of the main area, and we found the cheapest mulled wine in the CUTEST mugs (see above) for $2.50, which seemed like a great way to start the day because of Christmas and stuff, and then walked around admiring all the local wares.

TAYLOR’S TIP:  this was the only market that had both a pfand (cup deposit) for $1 and a “tasse,” which was $1.40 and was the price if you plan to keep the mug. So, you get to choose between options where it was always just a refundable pfand at other markets.

The beauty of visiting Tubignens market is that it is just about strolling the cobbled streets, mulled wine in hand, and snacking on delicious food like waffles, bratwurst, and almonds along the way! 

I had a delicious heart-shaped waffle with both chocolate and powdered sugar. Apparently, you’re only supposed to have one or the other, and when I asked for both, the lady gave me an “Oh, you must be American look.”  I am what I am. 🇺🇸

It’s such a peaceful and relaxing pace compared to other markets we’ve been to, such as markets in Prague, so make sure you take your time to just enjoy it. You won’t find many other markets like it!

Tips To Make Your Time Better

Cobblestone street in Tübingen bustling with people browsing items at various market stalls selling wooden artifacts and other handicrafts.

1. Know that the market is not at Hohenzollern Castle.

When we visited, we thought the Christmas market would be at the castle on Tübingen’s hill. But it’s NOT there! It’s just around the town, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking it’s going to be this christmas castle experience. We just want to set expectations!

Crowded market square in Tübingen next to a large Gothic church, featuring vendors, shoppers, and colorful balloons, under an overcast sky.

2. Get There Early

The farmers market closed between 12pm and 1pm, so get there early if you want to experience that. 

It started to get REALLY busy when we left in the early evening so, like most markets, the best time to visit is in the morning or early afternoon.

If you want to plan you’re morning,  everywhere online said the market opened at 9am when we researched but then we got there for 9 and nothing was open! It didn’t open until 10am for us, so we recommend arriving around then.

If you want to go early, we had a coffee at Celebre Italian Coffee Shop, which was tasty and big with lots of seating!

Panoramic view of colorful, multi-story buildings along the river in Tübingen, with reflections visible in the water

4. Don’t Miss The Necklar Bridge

Make sure you route to Necklar Bridge because it has the best views of the adorable old town with all the colorful half-timbered houses! It’s a great photo op, and it’s charming and romantic too!

That’s a wrap on our Tubingen Christmas market guide! It’s truly a special place at Christmas and we know you will love it. If you have any questions, leave a comment and let us know!

After you visit Tübingen, we suggest you visit the Essinglen Christmas market because it was also a favorite of ours! Read our full guide here!

Or, read our ultimate guide to packing for the Christmas markets so you make sure you don’t ruin your time by being cold and miserable!

Other Specific Christmas Market Guides:

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A couple embraces while watching the sunset behind the Crystal Palace in Madrid's Retiro Park, a moment of romance and tranquility by the reflective waters.

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