Esslingen Am Neckar is a beautiful town from the Baden-Wurttemberg area in Germany, located 15 km away from the big industrial city of Stuttgart being a suitable destination for a weekend break. Whether you’re a local or you’re a curious traveler, the historic importance and cultural legacy, the beautiful natural surroundings or the cozy restaurants will stimulate your desire to explore, to know, to taste and to live.
The old days and the new generation have a perfect partnership
“What a fairy-tale, effervescent colored little town!” were my first thoughts when we arrived in the historic part. But “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, meaning there’s a reason for the beauty of it: the age! Many many years of existence, some very good, some bad, but all of them shaped the image that we see today.
Esslingen Am Neckar formed in the Neckar Valley, on a river crossing, in over 1200 years of known history! Thanks to its strategic location on a commercial route it developed into a a Free City-State and thrived during the Middle Ages.
But I loved the youthful and modern atmosphere of today, influenced in part by the University of Applied Sciences but also by the sense of a good balanced life: people of all ages doing open-air activities on the beautiful hills, students filling the pubs in the afternoon, entire families enjoying a delicious cake or tired tourists like us, looking for a warm drink to get some stamina back. I visited it in late November while on a work trip, when it was cold and the day was short but I imagine it turns out to be even prettier a few weeks later when the Christmas Markets are set up, or in Spring days when the slopes around it are freshly green and covered with flowers.
Tips for the travelers
A one day tour is sufficient for you to make an idea of the place, but there’s a lot of walking and hiking involved so bring the right shoes and the right mindset with you. The historic and cultural mosaic of the hundreds of years of existence had left for us a very well preserved medieval town and a multitude of diverse beautiful buildings: timber-framed and colored, rock-solid medieval and gray, imposing churches or simple dwellings made of wood, many towers ( you cannot miss the oldest tower Wolfstor or the most famous tower Schelztorturm) and also many hundreds of years old bridges arching over the Neckar river.
You should hike the fortified walls of the Castle of Esslingen, perched on a hill on one side of the town for the beautiful perspective of the entire area. As you get down from it there’s no way you can miss the pointy, Gothic tower of Frauenkirche, a church dedicated to Virgin Mary. Just a few meters away there’s another important Church of St. Denis, with its symbolic towers connected by a passage way.
There are not one, not two but three Town Halls here!!! The very beautiful Old Town Hall is opposite a Baroque and more modern New Town Hall, and then very close from them there’s another Baroque building of the Reichstadt Town Hall or the Town Hall of the Region, because Esslingen is the seat of the District of Esslingen. Three very different looking buildings, serving for the same purpose:).
We failed to visit the town’s museum Stadtmuseum im Gelben Haus, because it did not offer any English translation and our German language is unfortunately very limited. We opted instead to go for a tasty cookie and a warm drink in a pastry shop nearby :).
The town is also known for it’s canals, a little Venice of the region, and for it’s rich winery tradition. Kessler champagne is locally produced and world renown. Then Kessler Cellars are the oldest in Germany, and the best part is you can take a tour of them and even taste the bubbly wines. We weren’t inspired to try any local wines, it was so cold that all we wanted was a hot drink not a cold one, but keep this in mind for your upcoming trip to Esslingen.
Visited November 2017