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The Medieval Wine Town of Esslingen am Neckar - California Globetrotter

The Medieval Wine Town of Esslingen am Neckar

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IMG_4073When Americans think about traveling to Europe, they have an image in their heads of fairy-tale like towns that will transport them back to a time long since gone. They imagine towns with cobbled-stoned streets, colorful half-timbered buildings and perhaps a Knight in Shining Armour. But many don’t realize, nor can imagine the wrath of destruction that destroyed so much of Germany during the Second World War. However, there were a few towns and cities that managed to escape the fury of one of the most ruinous wars Europe had ever seen. The small town of Esslingen am Neckar is just one of those perfect examples of medieval towns that escaped unscathed.

Just a short train ride away, or even a quick 15 minute drive from Stuttgart, Esslingen am Neckar is a town few have ever heard of. But have no fear, it’s worth every ounce of effort to make it to this adorable little town.

Nestled in a valley surrounded by endless rows of vineyards along the Neckar river, Esslingen is the epitome of historic German towns.

IMG_4055Perhaps one of the best aspects, and one of my absolute favorite things about Germany, is the preservation of colorful historic half-timbered houses.Esslingen is home to over 200 historic half-timbered houses that date back to the Middle Ages which are a fine example of how wealthy the town was during this time. Over the course of the history of the town, it developed from a small pilgrimage site, to a market town  to finally a north-south trading route which allowed wealth and power to flow through the town. Today, the half-timbered houses in Esslingen are the oldest inhabited buildings in Germany. IMG_4050

Within minutes of walking into the town, every angle, every corner, every building is absolutely picturesque. Like many historic towns in Germany, the small allies wind their way, following the cobbled-stoned paths. IMG_4046

Eventually we came upon the historic and quite adorable little red city hall which was first built in 1423. The façade of the city hall is classic Renaissance architecture which is one of my favorite styles!IMG_4069IMG_4047

After continuing to meander through the town, we came upon an area of town filled to the brim with bridges and canals, as Esslingen sits on the Neckar river. As water played such an important role in the survival of many German towns, it’s no wonder why they built up and around the rivers. IMG_4054

IMG_4066With rolling hills of vineyard surround the town, it was no surprise that one thing that made Esslingen even more unique was the fact that the town produces one of the oldest sparkling wines/Champagne-like Sekt. The term ‘sekt’ in Germany refers to any form of sparking wine and the term was even coined right here in Esslingen!

The town was once home to monks who were known for producing wine. Today, Kessler Wines produces the sparking wine in the same building as back in the early 19th century.IMG_4057

Just behind this Sekt-manufactory was a beautiful beer garden we just had to sit down in and have some lunch before hitting the road. In Baden-Württemberg, some traditional meals to eat are Jägerschnitzel (schnitzel with a mushroom cream sauce) with Spätzle or Lentils with Spätzle and wiener sausages. However, being in Baden-Württemberg again, I had to order Käsespätzle which is just cheesy egg noodles.

As Spring was already in full bloom, it seemed like the perfect time to stop and get an ice cream from one of the most bustling little areas of town. Located in the Schelztor which dates back to 1286 and is named after a family which had a small farm not far from this tower, you can enjoy an ice cream.IMG_4052

After heading back to the car, I was sad we didn’t have more time to visit this beautiful town. I wish we had had time to take a walk up to the “Dicker Turm” (Fat Tower) on the hill which overlooked the town and had time to sample some of that famous German sekt! I guess that just means I’ll need to make another trip!

For other trips not far from Esslingen:

A Sprint Through Stuttgart

Lose Your Heart in Heidelberg

A Day Trip to Ulm

Top 10 Most Adorable Towns in Europe

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Author: California Globetrotter

At 14 I started traveling the world with my parents and was hooked! By 21 I was studying abroad in Heidelberg, Germany. By 26 I sold all of my belongings and bought a one way ticket to Germany to teach English. Little did I know, I'd meet the love of my life and end up traveling to the most romantic and idyllic towns in Europe and becoming a long-term expat in Bavaria! My name is Lorelei and I'm just your typical CaliGirl, Sunset Chaser, Fairytale Dreamer, Dress Lover, Traveloholic, Beer Drinker!

24 thoughts on “The Medieval Wine Town of Esslingen am Neckar

  1. Pingback: A Sprint Through Stuttgart! | California Globetrotter

  2. Pingback: Ich hab’ mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren <3 | California Globetrotter

  3. I was there and indeed, it’s a lovely town🙂

  4. Aaaah, it’s beautiful! I do love half-timbered buildings!

  5. First, I found your blog last week on the link up and I LOVE it. So many fantastic posts. I can’t get enough.

    We went for the Christmas Market this past year and this town was just too adorable for words. So lucky to be just down the road from all this beauty. Your pictures are post card perfect and really capture the true beauty and history of this little gem. #CityTripping

    ~Melanie

    PS congrats on the engagement and pending wedding!!!❤

  6. What a gorgeous place. I love the half-timbered buildings – and with sparkling wine there too – I really need to get myself there. Thanks for linking to #citytripping

  7. What a gorgeous place! It always amazes me when you find these old towns which seem so beautifully preserved, you can still imagine people walking around them centuries ago. And sparkling wine as a bonus – perfect… Thanks for linking up to #citytripping

  8. How pretty! We are heading that way later in the year and I was looking for a stop over destination. I do love a sparkling wine and gorgeous architecture. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Pingback: Germany Ja! » The Medieval Wine Town of Esslingen am Neckar

  10. How stunning. I think that despite the ravages of war, there are still many fairytale places around that sate any traveller, particularly me.

  11. I was often working in Stuttgart, but I never made it to Esslingen😦 If you have the time, visit Monschau, also a great little city

  12. This town is so cute! I am glad it wasn’t destructed during the war. The town hall is very unique. One of the reasons I would like to live in Europe would be the ability to move around and discover towns like this.

  13. I’ve just finished reading All the Light We Cannot See, and one of the striking images was a man watching his quaint French hometown be totally obliterated by bombs. This town you showed us was so lucky to escape the horror and remain undisturbed. I love all the images you showed us and would like to walk through those streets myself. The architecture and the color of the town hall is fantastic.

  14. I love the little half-timbered cities of Germany, and one where there is good wine is just a bonus. Great article and photos.

    Thanks for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration! See you next week!

  15. A friend of mine lived here for a year and so I spent a night visiting her. It really is an undiscovered gem. It’s charming and historic but also a real town. Because it isn’t on the tourist radar the way Mittenwald or Rothenberg you walk around the town amid local German people going about their business, not tourists popping photos everywhere. So it has a more relaxed feel. nice find! #wkendtravelinspiration.

  16. Pingback: The Most Picturesque Half-Timbered Towns in Germany | California Globetrotter

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