When you think of visiting Germany, Stuttgart may not be the first place you think of. However, this picturesque city in the South-West Germany valley is home to both Porsche and Mercedez-Benz. Aswell as Bosch, Dinkelacker and Daimler AG. The capital of the German state Baden-Württemberg is known as the manufacturing hub and the 6th largest city in Germany.
Stuttgart lies an hour away from the Swabian Jura and the Black Forest and the city is unusual in the scheme of German cities. This is because it is spread across a variety of hills. Some of them covered in vineyards, valleys (especially around the Neckar River and the Stuttgart Basin) and parks.
I headed to Stuttgart overnight for the Cannstatter Wasen, the world’s second-largest beer festival and to explore the city.
Find out all about Cannstatter Wasen traditions here.
LDN to STR
Flying direct from London Heathrow (Stanstead route is also available). The flight is a mere 1hour 40minutes into Stuttgart Airport. A modern Flughafen (German for airport) with many amenities including a gorgeous little Trattoria in the BA departures.
Staying at the Jaz in the City hotel which was 10 minutes from the Cannstatter Wasen. The 166 room hotel offers a very laidback approach with a focus on good food, art and great music. Firstly the hotel rooms are large with accessible bathrooms, a Bluetooth speaker and tablet. Comfy couches in crazy fabric and lovely little touches including slogans on the shampoo and body wash bottles.
The reception is adorned in Porsche leather (there was actually a Porsche conference on whilst we were there). The bar and dining area were sumptuous whilst still keeping it pretty urban. We arrived on a Sunday brunch time and enjoyed a traditional brunch whilst the DJ played some great beats.
We headed out to the Cannstatter Wasen (or Volkfest) on the Sunday. So didn’t explore much of the city. However, on Monday we hopped on the underground one-stop. Headed to the tourist information store next to the train station. There are hop on hop off buses for you to explore the city on and of course, as always the cheapest tickets I’ve found online are here.
Tour the city by foot
We, however, took a walking tour around the city with Stuttgart Tourism to discover some incredible facts about the historic city.
The central main square of Stuttgart is named Schlossplatz. It is the crossing point between the city’s shopping area, Schlossgarten park which runs down to the river Neckar. And the two central castles of Stuttgart and of course, major museums. Königstraße, which is hailed as Stuttgart’s most important shopping street runs along the North-Western edge of Schlossplatz. It is claimed that this is the longest pedestrianised street in Germany.
Heading down from Königstraße and across the park, you’ll discover the Staatsoper Stuttgart. Which is home to both the world-famous Ballet and the Opera. Boasting around 1,400 seats and 1,300 employees. The Staatsoper is a beautiful building and a must-visit if there’s a performance on.
The New Palace juxtaposed with the Old Castle is fascinating. The New Palace is an 18th-century Baroque building commissioned by Duke Carl Eugen of Württemberg (aged just 16). To replace the Old Castle in the early years of his reign.
The Old Castle originally was a water castle dating back to the 10th Century, where it was built as the residence for the Counts and later some Dukes of Württemberg. The two are in stone’s throwing distance of each other and are extremely interesting next to each other. Today the New Palace is used as Government Offices and the Old Castle is now a museum. Do note that museums are closed on Mondays in Stuttgart.
With a rich heritage in agriculture, the history of the Covered Market is also fascinating and if in Stuttgart you should visit this food haven. With around 40 food and drink vendors specialising in cheese, chocolates and wine it is certainly a party for all your senses. The locals of Stuttgart are proud of their Covered Market and as one of the very few cities in Europe to have one (Newcastle has the Grainger Market) they really champion this historic building with a lot of sentimental value.
Heading round from the Covered Market you’ll find the luxury shopping district with Louis Vuitton, Maxmara, Tesla and Breuninger located in and around a new shopping centre it truly is the place for high-end shopping.
Breuninger, the department store spans over 35,000sqft and is the second-largest department store in Europe after Harrods. The brand has a rich history after being founded in 1881, they were the first German retailer to introduce both elevators to their store and loyalty cards into their shops. They were also the first German retailer to add a multi-story carpark for customers based on American trends.
Traditional Dining in Stuttgart
There are plenty of restaurants to dine at in Stuttgart, we decided to eat at Carls Brauhaus a traditional German restaurant. With hearty traditional dishes on the menu. I opted for the Linsen and Spätzle. This is a traditional Swabian dish. Lentils and Spatzle ( a type of pasta made with fresh eggs) are accompanied by string sausages, it is an absolutely classic dish. I’ve had something similar before from the German Gymnasium next to King’s Cross in London and have to admit that the London version packed much more flavour. The Dinkelacker, however, was flowing and super flavoursome. This is the beer I’d highly recommend drinking when in Stuttgart.
My whistlestop tour of the city was lovely and enchanting. It kind of had me feeling like I was in the Disney film Frozen. It’s somewhere that has strong agricultural routes and a lot of history. With museums, libraries, period buildings, parks and zoos to get around it’s a great place to head to for a couple of days to take in a different side of Germany
Have you been to Stuttgart? I’d love to know where you went and what you did below.