In case you like camping, but do not like all the mess about tents and setting them up…
In case you are traveling with children and would like to combine with water and fun…
then here’s a weekend proposal for you.
The newly set up campground near the fun swimming pool badkap, Albstadt offers wine barrels to sleep in. Should be fun for the kids and actually looks relatively comfy for the grown-ups as well. Pricing is decent, 35 Euros per day for 2 people.
Sooner or later – despite the 16,5 degrees we had today here on the Alb – Santa Claus will be coming to town. I guess Christmas markets are the favorite place to go for people visiting Germany. And I would agree: they are a wonderful component of „German Gemutlichkeit“. Apart from the all-time favorite „Gluhwein“ (I am giving up on putting Umlauts in the words: Glühwein, Gemütlichkeit.. ;-)), hand-made products are offered, festive decoration of the stands and … well you have to go see it.
While visitors typically go to the most famous markets in Nuremberg (Nürnberg.. another one 😉 ) or even to Strassburg right behind the border of France, the Swabian Alb and surroundings have some pretty markets to offer too.
Exceptionally pretty is the yearly Royal Christmas Market on the Hohenzollern Castle (Burg Hohenzollern). It takes place on meanwhile two (guess why!) weekends in early advent and is an absolute must-see when in the area.
Another option – little of topic, because it is more in the Black Forest – is the Christmas Market on the Neuenbürg Castle. Again setting is a castle, which offers a great frame in itself. Even prettier, when there is snow.
And of course, don’t miss out on the Stuttgart Christmas Market, which I personally think is one of the prettiest „town Christmas markets“ in Germany.
The latter two websites do not have information in English language. So if you need more information, please comment this post, and I will be happy to assist.
In closing, some German lessons you need to learn before going to the Christmas market:
- Christmast market = Weihnachtsmarkt
- Hot spiced wine = Glühwein
- A hot spiced wine please = Ein Glühwein bitte
- Christmas carol = Weihnachtslied
- Christmas tree = Weihnachtsbaum
- Merry Christmas! = Frohe Weihnachten!
Starting to write a blog about the Swabian Alb for people not really speaking German seemed like an easy thing to do. Well, I am a little smarter now.
The web seems not to have decided, how the area I live in is called in in the English language. While the German tourism page calls it – like me 🙂 – Swabian Alb, while the tourism page of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg calls it „The Swabian Mountains„. Even better, some homepages call it the Swabian Alp, and those who are overwhelmed with the decision making call it „the region south of Stuttgart“. Which could also result in „the region north of Lake Constance“… Probably I should just stay with Schwäbische Alb and you all figure out how to best pronounce the „sch“ and the „ä“… 😉
[25.12.2014]: Dicovered a new one, the Swabian Jura, as mentioned on the page Mythos Schwäbische Alb. They have a lot of information available in English by the way.
Had a discussion last night which went something like this: „We also have wonderful shopping opportunities on the Swabian Alb“. – „Oh yeah.. I know… I have been to Outletcity Metzingen.“ – While it is true that there are a lot of outlets in once place – it is also that there are many people in one place. Especially when you are trying to get your Hugo Boss suit on a Saturday.
But there are so many other outlet shopping opportunities on the Swabian Alb, which can be easily combined with a nice weekend trip for the family.
One example is the Marc Cain Factory Outlet store in Bodelshausen. It is situated close to the B27 going south from Stuttgart. They are selling cloths, bags, shoes…. The insider information is, that there is a so to speak „super outlet“ hidden at the right end of the store, where you can find a lot of really interesting prices. Bad news for Mr. Shopping: no cloths for you 🙁 But: a nice little café was built there – probably just for you!
Another one is the outlet store for Mey Bodywear in 72459 Albstadt-Lautlingen.
Street Address is Auf Steingen 6. Opening hours are: Mon-Fri 09:00-18:00, Sat 09:00-14:00. This is a place where also Mr. Shopping will be able to find some fashionable or sportive underwear. And: there is a cafeteria for snacks and drinks.
So… first two reasons to come and visit… even when shopping is what your heart desires 😉
If people do not know the Swabian Alb, at least most of the time they know the Hohenzollern Castle. It can be reached easily using the route B27, especially coming from the Stuttgart region or from Lake Constance in the south. Not only does it offer a lot of „old stones“ to admire, it also provides spectactular views over the lovely surrounding countryside of the Swabian Alb.
The castle offers a homepage in English language which can be found here and offers all important information: Hohenzollern Castle.
Some interesting hints for your day trip to Hohenzollern Castle:
On the bottom of the hill, you’ll find the Hofgut Domäne. This precious manor was reconstructed over the last couple of years and now offers different kinds of restaurants, a beer garden in summer, miniature golf, playground, and a children’s zoo. Perfect addition to the „cultural“ input in Hohenzollern Castle in case visiting with the entire family.
By the way: guided tours are available in the castle, highly recommendable to do one, as most of the castle is closed for visitors outside of these castle tours. If you are lucky, and it is a Saturday, you might find a wedding in the castle’s court. The little chapel is often used for veeeery romantic weddings…
Insider tip: come visit the Hohenzollern castle for one of its events: the Christmas market in winter, or mediaval markets in summer time. Especially the Christmas market surely is an event you will never forget. Make sure to come early, since a lot of fellow travellers also love these events.
An then of course the visit to the castle can be combined with so many other interesting things: a hike with spectacular views back to the castle, some outlet shopping in one of the many factory outlets on the Swabian Alb.