Stuttgart, the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany, lies in a basin enclosed by orchards and forest-covered hills. At the bottom of the valley you will find the River Neckar and the older part of town with its fine historic buildings and houses gently climbing the surrounding slopes. In places where the hills rise a bit too steep, steps or stepped lanes predominate, offering endless opportunities for adventurous travelers to explore. In addition to being an important fruit-growing center, the city districts of Berg and Bad Cannstatt are home to the most productive mineral resources in Europe, after those of Budapest. Stuttgart is also famous as the cradle of the German automotive industry and is home to the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
1 Stuttgart State Gallery
The Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (the State Gallery) houses one of Germany’s finest art collections and is one of the most visited museums in the country. Best known for its superlative collection of 20th-century paintings, the museum also boasts impressive collections of German Renaissance art and Dutch and Italian masters from the 14th to 19th centuries. The three buildings that make up the Staatsgalerie are just as interesting as the collections. The original building, the Alte Staatsgalerie (or Old Gallery), was designed in a neoclassical U-Bahn style and opened in 1843. Adjacent is James Stirling’s Neue Staatsgalerie (New Gallery), added in 1984 and a masterpiece of contemporary architecture. The central feature of the building is the rotunda, enclosed by three wings with roofs designed to admit light. The newest structure was added in 2002, a five-story building that houses the Department of Prints, Drawings and Photographs. Architectural tours of the State Gallery are highly recommended.
Address: Konrad-Adenauer-Strasse 30-32, D-70173 Stuttgart
Official site: www.staatsgalerie.de/museum_e/
2 Editor’s Pick The Mercedes-Benz Museum
Stuttgart has a long love affair with the automobile, which can trace its roots back to 1887 when Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach set up shop here. One of the highlights of any visit to the city has to be the wonderful Mercedes-Benz Museum with exhibits on the development of the automobile. The star attractions, however, are the more than 160 vehicles (free audio tours are available). The nearby Untertürkheim diesel engine factory is also open for tours, and the Porsche Museum , with its wonderful collection of over 300 restored vehicles, is also worth a visit.
Address: Mercedesstraße 100, 70372 Stuttgart
Official site: https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/mercedes-benz/classic/classic-overview/
3 angles in Schlossplatz
The sprawling Schlossplatz is very much the focal point for visitors and locals alike. Surrounded by buildings dating back to Stuttgart’s former role as a ducal and royal capital, at the center of this vast open space are the beautiful gardens and the Jubilee Column, built in 1841 to commemorate the 25 years of the reign of King William I. Here you will also find a cast iron bandstand (1871); a number of modern sculptures by Calder, Hrdlicka and Hajek; and a beautiful fountain. On the northwest side of the square is the 19th century Königsbau with its colonnade and shopping arcade, and to the southwest, on higher ground, the Kleiner Schlossplatz with its many boutiques and restaurants.
4 New Castle and Old Castle
The huge Neues Schloss or New Palace dominates the Schlossplatz. Built in the late Baroque style and completed in 1807, the palace – once home to former kings – is now used by the state government. While tours are only available on special terms, just walking around the grand facade of the building is impressive enough.
Not far away, and also on the Schlossplatz, is the massive part of Altes Schloss or the old castle. Although it can trace its roots back to the 10th century, the existing building along with its picturesque arcaded courtyard was built between 1553-78. Today, the impressive structure houses the Württemberg Landesmuseum with its fine collection of medieval art, musical instruments, watches and clocks, as well as the Württemberg Crown Jewels. In the south wing is the 16th century palace church where you will find the graves of famous former residents and royal family.
Address: Schillerplatz 6, 70173 Stuttgart
5 The Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill
Perched high on the Württemberg overlooking Stuttgart and the Neckar valley is the burial chapel of Queen Katharina, erected by King Wilhelm I as a monument to his beloved wife after her untimely death. Built between 1820 and 1824, this beautiful structure, known locally as Grabkapelle , consists of a neoclassical-style domed rotunda inspired by Rome’s Pantheon (it’s also where Wilhelm himself is buried). It’s well worth the walk, as you’ll be rewarded with some of the city’s most spectacular views.
Address: Württembergstrasse 340, 70327 Stuttgart
Official site: www.grabkapelle-rotenberg.de/en/
6 Wilhelma Zoological and Botanic Garden
Named after a small Moorish-style palace built in 1842, the Wilhelma Zoological and Botanical Garden is a unique attraction. Beautifully landscaped with numerous greenhouses, animal enclosures and an aquarium, Wilhelma has grown from a former royal retreat into Stuttgart’s zoological and botanical gardens, attracting more than two million visitors each year. Modeled (albeit loosely) on the famous Moorish architecture of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain – hence the local nickname of the Alhambra on the Neckar – the gardens are wonderful to explore, as are the animal attractions, the highlight being the new Monkey House. In total, the facility features more than 8,000 animals from about 1,000 species, in addition to its impressive collection of plants.
Address: Wilhelma 13, D-70376 Stuttgart
Official site: www.wilhelma.de/nc/en/home.html
7 Schloss Solitude
Although located a few miles outside of Stuttgart’s city center, Schloss Solitude – also known as Solitude Palace – is a must-see attraction. Built for Duke Karl Eugen in 1763, this spectacular palace contains many fine state apartments and the lovely interior, designed in a late Rococo/early Neoclassical style, will leave you wanting to linger a bit while enjoying its magnificence. Highlights are the well-preserved pavilion with its decorative rooms and the white hall with its beautiful domed roof, frescoes and ceiling paintings. Outside, in addition to the well-maintained grounds, you’ll want to take at least part of the walk on Loneliness Allee, a 13-kilometer route that connects the palace to Ludwigsburg Palace and offers a beautiful view of the Württemberg lowlands. Access to Schloss Solitude is only possible as part of a guided tour (for English-language tours, please contact the attraction in advance).
Address: Solitude 1, 70197 Stuttgart
Official site: www.schloss-solitude.de/en/home/
8 Killesberg Park and Tower
Killesberg Park and Tower Dieter Weinelt / photo modes
Originally established in 1939 as part of a major horticultural program, Killesberg Park is a beautiful 123-acre open space that is fun to explore. Many of the structures we see today date back to pre-war opening and are still used for flower shows and other events. One of the most popular original features is the Killesberg Railway, a narrow-gauge railway that offers fun excursions around the park in the summer (wait for the steam engine), while the newest attraction is the Spectacular. Killesberg Tower , a 40-meter-high observation tower with a beautiful view of the park and the surrounding area. If you are here in July be sure to visit Lichterfest Stuttgart, a festival in which thousands of lanterns are used to decorate the park.
9 Koenigstrasse and the main train station
No visit to a major European city should pass without at least a little self-indulgence. In Stuttgart, Königstrasse is where you’ll find the very best shopping, whether in the many boutiques and galleries or in the larger department stores that make up the country’s longest pedestrian zone. Other popular activities here include café hopping, fine dining, and live shows. Here you will also find the huge Hauptbahnhof, the city’s main train station. This spectacular landmark, famous for the large Mercedes logo on its 58-meter tower, was built between 1914 and 28 and is currently being developed as part of the city’s metro network.
10 The Weissenhof estate
Above the northern part of Stuttgart, near the Academy of Fine Arts, the Weissenhof Estate (Weißenhofsiedlung) is a pioneering and influential housing development built in 1927 for an exhibition by the Werkbund, a group of prominent international architects including Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Gropius. Of the 21 original buildings, 11 survive and should be included in any visit to Stuttgart. Of particular note is the Weissenhof Museum , housed in Le Corbusier’s home, with fascinating exhibits and facts related to the design movement.
Adres: Rathenaustrasse 1- 3, 70191 Stuttgart
Official site: www.stuttgart.de/weissenhof/index.php?p=menu&language=nl
11 Collegiate Church – De collegiale kerk
The beautiful Stiftskirche with its two very different towers was founded in the 12th century on the exact spot where an older church from the 10th century once stood. Rebuilt in the late Gothic style in the 15th century, it was renovated in 1958 after repairing heavy war damage. Highlights include a beautiful array of 16th-century Renaissance figures of the Counts of Württemberg, as well as the 17th-century burial vaults.
Address: Stiftsstrasse 12, 70173 Stuttgart
12 Stuttgart Art Museum
The Kunstmuseum Stuttgart is a first-class museum of contemporary and modern art in the heart of Stuttgart. Only opened in 2005, the building’s bold design—basically a large glass cube with limestone interior walls—encompasses 5,000 square feet of exhibition space. Highlights of the museum’s extensive collection include some of the most important works by German artists Otto Dix, Dieter Roth, and Willi Baumeister. If possible, try to visit during the late opening on Fridays; as you leave you are blown away by the buildings which are well lit. Also of interest to art lovers is the Kunstgebäude , opened in 1913 and home to the Municipal Art Gallery and periodic special exhibitions.
Address: Kleiner Schloßplatz 1, 70173 Stuttgart
Official site: www.kunstmuseum-stuttgart.de/index.php?site=&lang=en
13 Schillerplatz and the old town
Flanking the old palace is the Schillerplatz, an old town square with a monument to Friedrich Schiller, one of Germany’s most famous sons who is known for his work as a poet, philosopher, historian and playwright. The square itself is home to a weekly street market, while nearby Marktplatz is famous for its annual Christmas market, as well as its Rathaus (town hall) with a carillon and 61-meter tower. Another landmark in this old part of town is the Prinzenbau (begun in 1605, completed a hundred years later), which was the residence of his heir, Prince Friedrich Ludwig, during the reign of Duke Eberhard Ludwig. On the southwest side of the square is the old Fruchtkasten (granary) from 1390 and next to it the choir of thecollegiate church .
Address: Schillerplatz 5, 70173 Stuttgart
14 The Carl Zeiss Planetarium
Another modern architectural masterpiece of Stuttgart is home to the Carl Zeiss Planetarium (the 20-meter-high dome is housed in a large glass pyramid). Named after its unique Zeiss VI-A projector installed in 1977, a creation by the famous lens maker, the planetarium offers two excellent programs in English: a live lecture on fundamental astronomical concepts with a focus on the current night sky, and the full dome hi-tech digital presentation.
Fans of Carl Zeiss himself may want to check out the Optical Museum in Jena, which traces his work, among other things, and displays exhibitions of optical instruments spanning more than eight centuries.
Address: Willy-Brandt-Strasse 25, 70173 Stuttgart
15 Natural History Museum of the State of Stuttgart
In the Berg district on the left bank of the Neckar is Schloss Rosenstein, which together with the Museum am Löwentor – just a 15-minute walk away – houses Stuttgart’s Natural History Museum. Both museums are dedicated to the natural sciences: Rosenstein is dedicated to the biology and evolution of living species, while Löwentor is dedicated to the origins of the earth with exhibits of fossils, dinosaurs and ice age man. Also worth checking out is the Linden Museum , with its exhibits of art and cultural artifacts from around the world.
Address: Rosenstein 1, D-70191 Stuttgart
Official site: www.naturkundemuseum-bw.de/intl/englisch/stuttgart-state-museum-natural-history
16 Stuttgart’s suburbs and steamy spas
There are a number of good reasons to travel to the outskirts of Stuttgart, besides the wonderful Mercedes-Benz Museum, Schloss Solitude and the Württemberg (for the adventurous enough to do this, the city’s excellent public transport network is a joy to travel to). to use). One of the most interesting tourist attractions on the outskirts of the city is the Birkenkopf , a 511 m high hill built after World War II entirely from the rubble of destroyed buildings. As remarkable as the views are, it’s a humbling experience knowing you’re on the cusp of a war-torn city.
Another great place with great views is Fernsehturm Stuttgart , a 217-meter-tall television tower atop a wooded hill in the south of the city. Both the restaurant and the viewing platforms offer fantastic views. For fans of spas and health-boosting mineral waters, head to Bad Cannstatt in the northeastern suburbs of the city, where you’ll be spoiled for choice with excellent baths, saunas and steam rooms. Another favorite spa is Das Leuze with its public mineral and swimming pools.
Where to Stay in Stuttgart for Sightseeing
Stuttgart’s main train station (Hauptbahnhof) is a five-minute walk from Schlossplatz, home to some of the city’s main attractions and main shopping areas. Surrounded by hills, the center of Stuttgart can be very hot in summer and many mid-range and budget hotels do not have air conditioning. An excellent U-Bahn and tram system makes it easy to get around, so hotels perched on the hills may be more comfortable after a day of summer sightseeing. These are all highly-rated hotels in Stuttgart:
- Luxury Hotels : A 10-minute walk from both the station and Schlossplatz, Kronen Hotel Stuttgart is known for its lavish breakfasts. Room balconies at luxury Waldhotel Stuttgart overlook a wooded park, a short U-Bahn ride to the city centre; The on-site fine dining restaurant is one of many choices in the hilltop neighborhood. Smart, modern Maritim Hotel Stuttgart offers spacious rooms in a quiet area with restaurants, a 10-minute walk from the city center and tram and U-Bahn lines.
- Mid-Range Hotels: A few blocks from the CBD, Wartburg Hotel has small, pleasant rooms and a helpful staff. The rooms are a bit more spacious at the Hotel Unger beim Hauptbahnhof, just a few steps from the train station. Novum Hotel Boulevard Stuttgart City is located in the city centre, just behind the Rathaus and three blocks from the old palace and the historic Schillerplatz.
- Budget Hotels: Motel One Stuttgart-Hauptbahnhof, in the pedestrianized business district, one block from the Hauptbahnhof and Schlossplatz, has small and simple but comfortable rooms. The City Hotel is a short walk from the centre, in a hilly area with restaurants and a U-Bahn line. Novum Hotel Rieker Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof offers simple rooms in an excellent location close to the train station.