You could ‘lose’ yourself in Stuttgart! Not in the sense of literally getting lost, but totally losing sense of time and being enraptured by its beauty. This city is the state capital of one of Germany’s richest regions, the Baden-Württemberg but its own richness is also thanks to its blend of history and culture, beautiful architecture and picturesque squares, as well as car museums as one would expect from the country which virtually birthed the automobile industry.
Zoom Your Way Through
Having said that, one really should head to the automobile museums first. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a car buff; you really must make time to experience the history of Germany’s car industries for yourself. Stuttgart is the proud home of the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche Museums. Both are not only unique in appearance and architecture, but also contain a wealth of fascinating information on the evolution of the two brands.
One of the most interesting tourist sites is Schlossplatz with its Old Palace, which was built in the late 14th century and the New Palace, built much later during the 18th century. Both had to be virtually reconstructed after the Second World War due to massive destruction. The New Palace is now used for government offices while the Old Palace houses the Württemberg Regional Museum which traces the region’s history all the way back to the Stone Age. Royal jewelry and other treasures from the past are also displayed here. Just outside, the elegant gardens make a scenic, picture-perfect place to relax.
Other places of interest are the Linden Museum, one of Germany’s biggest ethnological museums, as well as viniculture museums. You should also visit the Solitude Castle and Ludwigsburg Palace, the latter being one of Germany’s largest baroque palaces with an enormous, impressive garden.
The Wihelma Zoo and Botanical Gardens are also lovely. What was once a palace with a zoo has now expanded into giving more priority to the animals, particularly its apes, with a slight difference in its beautiful setting and lovely gardens. Beautiful Moor-style architecture combines with glasshouses and animal enclosures which even include an aquarium.
And For A Bird’s-Eye View…
If you want a great view of Stuttgart, head for its highest point, the Bierkenkopf. This is a hill built partly from the ruins of World War 2. It is also interesting as facades of some of the buildings destroyed during the war have been placed there. And another tall structure in the city is the Fernsehturm, its TV Tower which has the honour of being the first ever of its kind in the world. The fact that it was built in the 1950’s in itself is interesting, but that fact pales to the jaw-dropping view of the city that awaits you at its top.
A Happy Place To Be…
Stuttgart is also hip and happening with festivals almost throughout the year, seemingly for each of the seasons. The world-famous annual Cannstatter Volksfest or Cannstatter Wasen is a 17-day fair that begins on a Friday in late September, while later on in the year a Christmas market is held. Christmas markets have a long-standing tradition in Germany, dating back all the way to the Middle Ages, but Stuttgart’s is probably one of the oldest and largest. Both are delightfully colourful events and it is worth timing your trip to coincide with either one.
Stuttgart also pays homage to its wine heritage each August by hosting one of the largest and most beautiful wine festivals in Germany each year, the Stuttgart Wine Village or the Viertelesschlotzer. There are also plenty of vineyards to visit around the city. Be sure to sample their wares- indeed the trip would be a waste if you didn’t.
After all that walking about take a moment to relax in the Mineralbad Cannstatt and the Mineralbad Leuze- the hot and cold mineral bath spas. With so much to see and so much to do, you’ll definitely welcome the chance to cool your feet!