The capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in the vine-decked Neckar Valley, Stuttgart is a big city with a small-town atmosphere – the locals are incredibly friendly and will forgive you if you don’t speak German at all. One could argue that the real reason why this city is so likeable is because of its people who come from over 170 nations and live together in tranquillity. Filled with parks and green hills, a great cultural scene, bustling club scene, vineyards in the heart of the city, mineral baths, and so much more – in short, this city has it all.
Things to do
It is certain that you’ll find at least one museum perfect for you in Stuttgart. Architecture enthusiasts will enjoy the Weissenhof Estate – the estate showcases the pioneering modern architecture of the early 20th century and it bears the aesthetic imprint of seventeen prominent architects. The world’s biggest pig museum, the Schweinemuseum, can also be found in Stuttgart. It houses 50 thousand paintings, lucky trinkets, antiques, cartoons, money banks, and a mountain of cuddly toys – all pig-themed. If you want to learn more about the architecture and archaeology of the region, the Landesmuseum Württemberg offers just that, and with a free entry to the permanent collection. Every car-lover’s dream must be the Porsche Museum: the audio-guided tour will take you through the history of Porsche from its beginnings in 1948. Another museum perfect for car enthusiasts is the Mercedes-Benz Museum, which takes you through the history of the Mercedes empire.
Three galleries can be found in Stuttgart, each with its own story and unique art worth showing. Staatsgalerie Stuttgart harbours exhibitions of European art from the 14th century up until now and American avant-gardists that worked after the Second World War.
Kunstmuseum Stuttgart presents special exhibits of high calibre alongside a permanent gallery. The shimmering glass cube is filled with prized works of Otto Dix, Willi Baumeister, and Alfred Hölzel. Head up to the Cube café and restaurant if you want to see the city from a higher perspective.
Württembergischer Kunstverein can be identified by its copper cupola. If you know German, free guided tours at 3pm on Sundays will take you through the exhibitions of provoking temporary art.
Two palaces still proudly stand in Stuttgart as reminders of its long past. Schloss Solitude, perched above Stuttgart, was built in 1763 for Duke Karl Eugen of Württemberg as a hunting palace and summer residence. Standing proudly on the stately Schlossplatz, the three-winged Neues Schloss now houses state government ministries.
Stiftskirche is a 15th-century church with Romanesque origins, topped with two mismatched towers. Look around and take in the magnificent spiritual energy of this Evangelical-Lutheran church.
Nature and planetarium
When the heat of the city becomes too much, the locals visit Max-Eyth-See, a lake with murky water which is also a perfect place for picnics and some pedalo fun on the lake. Even though you can’t swim in the lake, there is a worthwhile bike path you can cycle on.
Stuttgart also has a planetarium – its up-to-the-minute technology is ready to show you the outer space with highly realistic projections of planets and constellations and will also give you plenty of background on astronomy.
Those travelling with children will most certainly enjoy visiting the Wilhelma Zoologisch-Botanischer Garten, a quirky mix of ZOO and botanical gardens. Visit the petting farm, admire okapis and elephants, and bask in the beauty of rare flora while there.
The best of animated film can be seen at the 26th International Festival of Animated Film Stuttgart (Trickfilmfestival). The festival covers the entire spectrum of current developments in the field of animated film and its interfaces with architecture, art, design, and games. The films screened at cinemas in Stuttgart’s city centre and also at the “Festival Garden” – the informal and free open-air cinema on Palace Square – will delight everyone.
Top places to eat
Stuttgart is filled with exquisite cuisine, and dozens of food places that you can find there will truly prove that to you. Of course, while in Germany, you will want to try something local, which is exactly why the Weinstube am Stadtgraben restaurant is here. The Swabian food served here is sure to stick in your memory for a long time. If you want to try something both modern and European, head over to Olivo – beware, though, it is quite pricy.
Top places to sleep
You can find various accommodation choices in this city. All you need is to know how much you’re willing to spend.
The Hostel Alex 30 in Stuttgart city centre offers brightly furnished rooms and apartments and features free Wi-Fi throughout the property and a terrace with a barbecue. Königstraße shopping street is 1 km away.More on Hostel
B & B
Located in the Birkach district, Gästehaus Andrea is just a 15-minute drive from central Stuttgart and 7 km from Messe Stuttgart exhibition grounds. Free Wi-Fi is available here.More on B&B
Steigenberger Graf Zeppelin is a luxury hotel situated in the centre of Stuttgart, close to the Königstraße shopping street, Stuttgart Central Station and various city sights. It offers a gourmet restaurant, a rooftop spa with free indoor pool, free Wi-Fi, and soundproofed rooms with a flat-screen TV.More on Hotel
Stuttgart is well connected to the rest of the world via the Leinfelden-Echteringen Airport, and to the rest of Germany and neighbouring countries via rail and the autobahn. Local buses and taxis are ready to take you to your hotel or apartment upon your arrival.
The best way to get around Stuttgart is public transportation, as taxis are a bit pricey. It is no problem to go on foot in the inner city, but cycling might be a bit of a problem as there is a lot of car traffic. To learn more about the prices of public transportation, visit http://en.vvs.de/tickets/