One Day In Stuttgart, Germany? Complete City Break Guide

If you only have one day in Stuttgart, of course you want to make the most of it! Let The Travel Tester guide you to some of the highlights of this city. 

One day in Stuttgart

Morning in Stuttgart

Where to Start the Day?
At the tourist information in front of the main train station (Hauptbahnhof), you can browse the brochures (or check our own brochure rack before you leave to save time!), ask for information and organise a so-called “StuttCard”. With this card, you can get free admission and reductions on the regular prices of more than 50 partners in the Stuttgart Region.

The StuttCard is available both with and without unlimited free travel on the entire VVS (Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund Stuttgart) Stuttgart Transport and Tariff Network. There is a 24, 48 and 72 hours cards.

One day in Stuttgart? See the Highlights with these Tips | The Travel TesterStuttgart Hauptbahnhof

The Stuttgart Citytour
Yes, this is one of those red tourist buses that take you past all the highlights around town and it leaves right next to the Tourist Information Center. Easy! Hate them or Love them, but in around 100 minutes, you get a pretty good background story on the city, with the chance to hop-on and hop-off at the different stops along the route.

I really liked how this audio guide wasn’t just a lot of facts and numbers (that I never remember), but a fun conversation between a girl and her grandpa talking about life in Stuttgart and all the fun sights you can spot or go to.

One day in Stuttgart? See the Highlights with these Tips | The Travel TesterWho said Germans don’t have a sense of humour?

Palace Square
Either start directly with the bus tour, or walk around Palace Square for a bit. This is the real heart of the city and a great place to start exploring as well.

I’ve heard that the Old Palace you see here was not fancy enough for the Duke (he was determined to make Stuttgart a second Versailles), so he ordered the built of the New Palace, along with three others, soon after moving to Stuttgart. This became the residence of the kings of Württemberg up to the middle of the 19th century.

Today, you’ll find the ministries of the Baden-Württemberg state government here. The palace gardens were laid out in 1807 on request of King Friedrich I and they are still beautiful today!

One day in Stuttgart? See the Highlights with these Tips | The Travel TesterPart of the Old (left) and New Palace

Let’s Hop!
When you’re ready for the hop-on-hop-off bus, enjoy the audio guide and get off at stops like the Mercedes-Benz Museum if you’re into cars…

… the Wine-Experience if you’re into wine…

… or even the Pig Museum if you’re into pigs… Yes, there is a museum dedicated to pigs here. Something for everyone!

Art in Stuttgart: Architecture and Design Museums

Looking for some good design and art in Stuttgart to see during your visit? How about having a look at architecture and design museums?

Mercedes-Benz Museum

One of the eye-catchers of art in Stuttgart has to be the Mercedes-Benz Museum. This museum is the only one in the world to document the more than 125-year old history of the automobile industry from day one to the present day.

From the top floor of this striking building, you make your way down nine levels along two circular routes. While unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit the museum itself, I did get a glimpse of the amazing architecture of the building, which was designed by the UNStudio van Berkel & Bos, Amsterdam.

The building is modelled on the double helix of a DNA spiral, quite cool!

The Porsche-Museum

Another museum that I had to keep for my next visit, but the Porsche museum is said to exhibit more than 80 vehicles and 200 smaller items.

What I like is that in order to guarantee expert maintenance of the historical racing and sports cars, the museum has its own workshop.

The futuristic building designed by the Viennese architects Delugan Meissl rests on three V-shaped pillars.

The Stuttgart Television Tower

One of the main landmarks of Stuttgart is the massive television tower (hard to miss with its 217 meter). Not only was the structure itself an innovation, but the addition of an observation desk was unique as well at that time (1956).

Stuttgart engineer Professor Fritz Leonhardt, a famous bridge builder and structural engineer had the idea to have an elegant concrete needle grow out of the forests instead of an ugly grated pole.

When building started, many people living in Stuttgart were doubtful as to whether the first ever tower to be constructed from reinforced concrete would hold. It did. To keep it going much longer than it already has, the Television Tower is currently undergoing renovation and is expected to remain closed until the end of December 2015.

Weissenhof Estate and Le Corbusier House

Any architecture lover would go crazy at the Weissenhof (I checked with Nick, he did) as it is one of the most significant landmarks left by the movement known as “Neues Bauen”.

This estate used to be a residential building exhibition from the City of Stuttgart and the Deutscher Werkbund. Working under the artistic direction of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 17 architects created an exemplary residential scheme for modern urban residents.

The house designed by Le Corbusier has undergone some serious restoration of the interiors, the façades and the grounds and is now open for the public. You can take a tour here and there is also a museum.

Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart (City Library)

Stuttgart’s new public library was finished in 2011 and is MASSIVE. Korean architect Eun Young Yi has designed this 40 meter high glass block at the Mailänder Platz, calling the 14-meter high entree hall the “Heart”.

When you think that the building is a bit grey and boring during the day, check it out at night. The cube glows in the dark!

On the West wall of the building, the word “Library” is written in silver letters in English, on the North wall in German in Arabic on the South and yes, in Korean on the East.

Learn in Stuttgart: Historical Museums and Monuments

Looking for something to learn in Stuttgart during your visit? How about visiting a couple of historical museums and monuments?

Burial chapel Württemberg

On the top of the hill “the Württemberg”, you can find a romantic spot and a great view. If you turn around, you’ll probably spot the mausoleum rotunda (Grabkapelle auf dem Württemberg), that was commissioned by King Wilhelm I and built between 1820-1824 as a memorial to his wife, Queen Katharina, who died at young age.

The court building master Giovanni Salucci was commissioned to build the chapel. The chapel is one of the most impressive examples of neoclassical architecture in the Stuttgart region and was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.

From March to November, you can visit the chapel. They offer guided tours in German. On the website you can find more background information, although the German site is more extensive than the English one. I can recommend selecting German Language and then Google Translate it.

Hungry to learn more about the history of Stuttgart and the state of Badem-Württemberg? Here is a selection of museums that could be of interest of you. I haven’t visited these myself yet, but love to hear your experience if you did!

With the red City Sightseeing bus, it’s very easy to get to all the city’s museums and you’ll get to listen to an entertaining audio tour telling you more about the history of Stuttgart.

Landesmuseum Württemberg

The Württemberg State Museum offers an overview of the history of the state from the Stone Age to the present time. The museum was founded in 1862 by King William I as a “state collection of national antiquities”.

In addition to their main location in the Old Palace, the museum also includes the New Palace housing archaeological finds, as well as the “Stiftsfruchtkasten”, a former granary and wine depot where they house a musical instrument collection.

The Museum of Popular Culture is housed in Waldenbuch Castle, a half-hour drive from Stuttgart. Here you can learn about lives of every-day people from pre-industrial times until today.

Baden-Württemberg House of History

This museum covers the era from Napoleon to the present day. Short texts, films and information points convey a wealth of knowledge about the state, the state capital of Stuttgart and the surrounding region.

Linden Museum Stuttgart

This one of Europe’s leading museums of ethnology. While it’s not focused on Germany, it gives you insight into the everyday lives, art and civilisation history of non-European peoples. The seven large permanent sections on North and South America, Oceania, Africa, the Orient, and Southern and Eastern Asia are complemented by special exhibitions.

Gottlieb Daimler Memorial

Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler was an engineer, industrial designer and industrialist born in Schorndorf. You will probably know him as the inventor of the high-speed petrol engine, being the ‘father’ of our modern car.

In 1882, Gottlieb reconverted his garden house into a workshop. The room with a tool bench and a forge became the refuge for Gottlieb and fellow engineer Wilhelm Maybach. The two wanted to realize their vision of individual mobility: a transportable universal motor for vehicles on water, on the land and in the air.

They worked day and night with strict secrecy, even their family didn’t know what they were doing!

They developed the first sprinting motor in 1883, in 1885 the first light sprinting motor and in 1886, Daimler and Maybach built the motor into a coach, at the same time it was used for the first motor boat in the world, the “Neckar”.

Do in Stuttgart: Walk through the Vineyards

Looking for something active to do in Stuttgart during your visit? How about a walk through the vineyards?

Roman Landscape

Did you know that as far back as the 3rd century AD, the Roman emperors had vineyards planted all over Germany? Well, Stuttgart soon became the largest wine-growing communities and you can still enjoy that characteristic landscape today.

Stuttgart has many great hiking trails which will lead you over hills and dales. Along the way you are treated with with spectacular views.

There are four separate circular vineyard trails with a choice of eight different routes through the hilly scenery of the city’s vineyards. As I didn’t have much time, I did a shortcut of the “Weinwanderung”.

You can reach the starting point of this trail by taking the red tourist bus to stop 8 and hop-off. They say you need about 45 minutes, but I would say 1,5 to 2 hours is more realistic. You can eat great curry wurst at “Aussichtsreich”. Well deserved!

Keep Rollin’

Apart from hiking, Stuttgart is also a great place for cycling. If the hills scare your legs a bit, you will be happy to know that you can also rent e-bikes in town.

You can cycle along the 366km Neckartal-Radweg (Neckar Valley Cycle Route) between Villingen-Schwenningen and Mannheim. The trail takes you through picturesque countryside, past palaces, castles and architectural masterpieces, and consists of twenty stages in all.

Or take the “Württemberger Weinradweg”, a wine trail especially for cyclists that leads from Niederstetten in the Tauber Valley through the Hohenlohe region and the Heilbronner Land to Ludwigsburg and Stuttgart, continuing through the Rems Valley to Esslingen, and ends in Tübingen and Rottenburg.

Do in Stuttgart: Walk through the Vineyards | The Travel Tester

The Burgholzhof Watch Tower

Food in Stuttgart: Swabian Wine and Good Food

Looking for some good food in Stuttgart to taste during your visit? How about enjoying Swabian wine and good local food?

German Wine: It’s a thing!

“Kenner Trinken Württemberger” (Connoisseurs love Württemberger Wines). This is the motto of the wine in the region surrounding Stuttgart, the 4th largest wine-growing region in Germany.

While I’ve always known Germany for their beers, during my last trip to Baden-Württemberg I’ve learned that actually some regions are well-known for their production of outstanding wines.

Stuttgart happens to be a city with a long tradition of wine growing (as far back as the Roman times) and the only city in Germany with its own wine estate. The vineyards even go well into the city itself!

It’s rare to find a wine region in Germany specializing in both red als in white wines, but the area here is famous for their unusual specialties and different grape varieties.

When I arrive at the “Collegium Wirtemberg” (Wirtemberg being the old spelling of Württemberg), a group of locals is chattering away in the tasting corner, while some of them take the wine seller apart to ask advice on buying some bottles. “We don’t really get a lot of tourists”, Petra Hammer tells me, “We mostly sell to locals”. I couldn’t be happier. Because where the locals shop, that’s where you find the good stuff.

They sell four types of wine, ranging from their ‘Basic’ selection, to the ‘Klassiker’, ‘Muskateller’ (where the focus lies on the grape) and the ‘Kult’, their stronger, 12-24 months old wines. 65% of the wines are red says Petra, also her personal favourite.

What’s special about Collegium Wirtemberg, is that they are a so-called ‘Coöp’. They have about 100 members, each owning and maintaining part of the vineyard. Because the members individually don’t produce enough wine to sell it, the coöp takes care of the wine-making process and sells it for them.

Famous Red Wine

The main wines grown in Stuttgart and the surrounding region today are the red varieties Lemberger, Spätburgunder and Trollinger. Especially this last one is very specific for the region. From the grapes, a fruity, light red wine can be made which you can even drink while it’s still young (you then chill it), as it matures late.

You can recognize the Trollinger by the large grapes (they taste very sweet, nice!) and originally it came from South Tyrol and Trentino, where it goes by ‘Vernatsch’.

While red is the way to go around Stuttgart, if you like white wine better then Riesling, Kerner, Silvaner and Müller Thurgau are the local varieties, although even the Sauvignon Blanc is getting more popular (and thus grown) by the locals here.

How to Pair Local Wines

The wines of Württemberg go well with local Swabian specialities. While most restaurants will serve up these dishes, a very special occasion is visiting the ‘Besenwirtschaften’, meaning ‘broom taverns’.

Besenwirtschaften are temporary wine taverns that only open for 12 weeks of the year. You can spot them by the broom hanging at the door, showing the wine grower is open for business. They can only sell their own wine, usually served in a glass with a handle, rather than a stem.

Definitely have a go at eating “Maultaschen”, a sort of dumplings filled with meat. The story goes that the cistercian monks of Maulbronn Monastery (Kloster Maulbronn) where unwilling to go without meat during Lent, and so they hid it from the Lord’s eye by covering the meat with dough.

And of course don’t forget the lovely “Kässpätzle”. These cheesy noodles I tried before in the Black Forest, except in this region, they add “linzen”, or lentils to the dish and service it with a thin sausage.

Don’t forget your Apfelstrüdel for desert!

Behind the Wine Scenes

At Weinfactum Bad Cannstatt, Marcel Straub takes me on a backstage tour of the winery. As we walk around, a small school class just arrives so we get to join in the demonstration.

As you may (or may not) know, I’m a huge fan of visiting factories and am always amazed at the ingenuity that comes along with these type of production processes.

This winery is also a coöp, with about 120 members (40 active) and 70% of their wines are red, which is to be expected when you look out the window into the vineyard.

I learn some more fun facts from Marcel, for example that the colour from the red wine actually comes from the skin of the grapes, that there is a white wine made from red grapes (Blancde Noir) and that in their bottling process, they can add corks to 6000 bottles in just one hour… and there is just one person doing this (hint: not by hand)

Interested in learning more about the wine culture in and around Stuttgart? Perhaps visit the Stuttgart Museum of Viniculture, where the exhibition Old Wine Press in Uhlbach documents 2000 years of wine-growing history.

More into beer than wine?

No problem at all. Just like in many other German cities, there is some great liquid gold to try for you. And when you visit in the fall, you should definitely visit the yearly Cannstatter Wasen Harvest Festival.

You could compare it with the Oktoberfest, but then of course with specially for the occasion brewed beer and live local folk music. They call it a ‘Volksfest’ (Party of the People) for a reason!

Originally, the idea of King Wilhelm I of Württemberg and Queen Katharina, was to begin a combination of a festival for the general public and an agricultural fair with horse racing and prizes awarded for outstanding achievements in cattle breeding. The festival was intended to aid the recovery of Württemberg’s battered economy in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars.

The Cannstatter Wasen has been celebrated for over 200 years now and it covers 35 hectares on the banks for the river Neckar. For 17 days, a massive beerfest / fair ground with over 300 attractions is thé place to have fun.

While the Ferris wheel, rollercoasters, beer gardens and stalls selling food are quite fun to start with, you haven’t experienced the Cannstatter when you haven’t entered one of the 7 massive beer tents. What you will find in there cannot be put into words really, you have to go for yourself and experience it.

Want to learn more about Swabian beer? Take a brewery tour of the Dinkelacker-Schwaben Bräu brewery, where in two hours you can follow the entire production process from beginning to end, from hops to malt.

Afternoon in Stuttgart

Shopping in Stuttgart
For some good shopping, you can start on the Königstrasse (1,2 km of shopping, woopwoop!). Don’t miss Fluxus, a hip concept mall that is open until end 2015. Or head over to the massive Breuninger department store, a name that’s been standing for quality since 1881 and is similar in fame as Harrod’s is in London.

Markets in Stuttgart
If you’re a fan of markets, you should visit the Markthalle, which is located in a heritage listed building in Jugendstil style. You’ll find plenty of food, household items and garden equipment here. And behind the old palace on the Schillerplatz, there is a cute church and wile I was there, also a little farmer’s market.

While the ladies shop, these guys play some chess!

Evening in Stuttgart

Where to eat in Stuttgart
Getting peckish? I had a typical Swabian dinner at the cute Weinstube Kachelofen. You’ll find that many restaurants in Stuttgart serve up local dishes (go for Maultaschen, Zwiebelrostbraten or Spätzle), but of course there is enough modern (fast) food to go around as well.

When you’re ready for a good night out, head over to the area surrounding the ‘Hans-im-Glück’ (lucky Hans) fountain, as this is -so I have been told- the trendy part of the old town centre. Also around the Marienplatz, there are lots of cafés, bars and restaurants to enjoy. I was a party-pooper and went to bed early, but you’ve got plenty of options if you’ve got more energy than me left at the end of the day :)


Map of Stuttgart: City Plan and Brochures to Download

The Travel Tester practical map of Stuttgart and downloadable brochures of transport, tours, sights and activities around the city. Make your travel planning complete and get the best out of your trip!

Make sure to click on the icon on the top left of the map to see the full directory:

Brochures of Stuttgart

Want to prepare your trip from home and save time when you arrive in Stuttgart? Read or download these informational brochures from The Travel Tester:

The Travel Tester Brochure Rack: Germany, Stuttgart City Tour | Map of Stuttgart: City Plan and Brochures to Download  The Travel Tester Brochure Rack: Germany, Remstal | Map of Stuttgart: City Plan and Brochures to Download The Travel Tester Brochure Rack: Germany, Remstal | Map of Stuttgart: City Plan and Brochures to Download
Stuttgart City Tour Remstal Map Remstal – Sculpture Route
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The Travel Tester Brochure Rack: Germany, Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz Museum | Map of Stuttgart: City Plan and Brochures to Download  The Travel Tester Brochure Rack: Germany, Stuttgart, Porsche Museum | Map of Stuttgart: City Plan and Brochures to Download The Travel Tester Brochure Rack: Germany, Stuttgart, Paragliding | Map of Stuttgart: City Plan and Brochures to Download
Mercedes-Benz Museum Porsche Museum Paragliding in Remstal
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The Travel Tester Brochure Rack: Germany, Stuttgart, Weinwanderweg | Map of Stuttgart: City Plan and Brochures to Download  The Travel Tester Brochure Rack: Germany, Stuttgart, Weinbaumuseum | Map of Stuttgart: City Plan and Brochures to Download  The Travel Tester Brochure Rack: Germany, Stuttgart Württemberg Wines | Map of Stuttgart: City Plan and Brochures to Download

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The Travel Tester Brochure Rack: Germany, Stuttgart, Weinwanderweg | Map of Stuttgart: City Plan and Brochures to Download  The Travel Tester Brochure Rack: Germany, Stuttgart, Weinbaumuseum | Map of Stuttgart: City Plan and Brochures to Download

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Disclaimer: I traveled to Stuttgart as part of the #JoinGermanTradition campaign created and executed by iambassador in cooperation with the Dutch office of the German Tourism Authority. All photos and opinions are my own, as always.

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