Located in the beautiful Neckar Valley and surrounded by beautiful hills, vineyards and forests Stuttgart is the state capital of Baden-Württemberg. One of Germany’s richest regions, it is home to both Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. An industrially important city Stuttgart was heavily bombed during World War Two however many historical buildings were restored or rebuilt in their original style. Although not as famous as other German cities Stuttgart is well worth a visit especially during one of the many local markets and festivals. These include Germany’s largest wine festival held in early September, the charming Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) and of course the Cannstatter Volksfest, the second largest Beer Festival in Germany held during the last week of September and first week of October. Visiting these local festivals will give you the opportunity to try out many delicious specialities from surrounding villages, sample the locally brewed beers as well as tasting wines from nearby vineyards which provide the beautiful backdrop to this charming southern German city. Alternatively the mineral spas located in Bad Cannstatt are second only to Budapest’s in the whole of Europe and well worth a visit. Lastly Stuttgart’s location makes it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding areas of the Swabian Alps and the Black Forest as well as further afield Switzerland, France and Italy all of which are only a few hours away and easily reached by the well connected rail network.
A good place to start is to wander up Königstrasse a pedestrianised street at the heart of Stuttgart extending up from the main railway station. Apart from the many shops and cafes you will also see the Schlossplatz (Palace Square) which houses the baroque-style Neues Schloss (New Palace) and the medieval Altes Schloss (Old Palace) as well as beautiful fountains and various statues and sculptures. Nowadays the New Palace is the location of the State Government offices meanwhile the Old Palace is home to the Württemberg Landesmuseum (State Museum). Stuttgart’s Stock Exchange is located in the impressive Königsbau, also located in Schlossplatz it boasts a 135 meter long colonnade, the ground floor houses various cafes and shops and is a prefect spot to relax and soak up the atmosphere with many street performers entertaining during the warmer months.
If you’re after some more culture then the Stuttgarter Staatsgalerie (State Gallery) located on Konrad Adenauer Strasse is well worth a visit. Exhibiting mostly 20th century art the gallery’s Picasso collection is one of the best in Europe.
Stuttgart was revolutionised in the late 19th century by the automotive industry and as a result the Merced-Benz and Porsche Museum are popular attractions. Particularly the former of these houses an impressive collection of about 100 lovingly preserved cars including the first car ever built.
For unrivalled views of the city and its beautifully green surrounding countryside head over to the 217 meter high television Tower (Fernsehturm). An excellent place to orientate yourself it is visible from just about anywhere in Stuttgart and although it has since been copied in many German cities it was the first of its kind when it was built in 1954-1956.
For a relaxing soak in one of Stuttgart’s Spa Baths head to Bad Cannstatt on Sulzerrainstrasse it offers modern facilities and several beauty and health treatments which should prepare you for an evening out sampling the many local dishes, wines and beers.
As you would expect from a German city Stuttgart has an extremely well integrated public transport system which includes the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, Buses and Trams. All forms of transport use an integrated ticketing system so it may be worth buying a daily travel card, which will allow you to use all public transport types. Alternatively a “Mehrfahrtenkarte” is a carnet of multiple single tickets, which needs to be stamped at the designated machines before you board your ride. All forms of tickets can be bought from vending machines at bus stops or at train stations. It may also be worth investing in a Stuttcard or Stuttcard Plus card which combines various special offers with free/reduced admission to many attractions as well as (with the Stuttgcard Plus option) unlimited free public transport.
Recommended places and events to visit in Stuttgart