I visited last week for 32 hours the city of culture & innovation-Stuttgart as part of my German Wanderlust tour. Here is my account of my time in this beautiful city.
12pm: Start the trip with a view of Stuttgart at the ‘Aussichtsplatform’
If you’re arriving at the Hauptbahnhof take the lift to the ‘Aussichtsplatform’ (Viewing Platform, € Free) on the 10th floor from where you can get an excellent panoramic view of the city and the revolving Mercedes logo.
Tip: There is a hive of cheap budget suspects in the Station- Chinese fast food counters, bakeries, McDonalds and Starbucks so if you’re looking for a quick bite, this place is a good bet.
2pm Zip over to the hostel: Jugendherberge Stuttgart Neckerpark
Hop on the S1 ( Direction: Plochingen ) and get off after one stop at Bad Canstatt.
From there the hostel is 200 yards away , so a great location. There is a hive of decent fast food places to eat around the hostel plus also a Netto budget supermarket across the road if you’re looking for a quick picnic fix.
The hostel is modern, clean, comfortable and has lots of light. The beds come equipped with your own private reading light and power point. All the rooms have excellent ensuite showers and toilet facilities. Standard feature of all the Jugenherberge’s is the excellent breakfast. You have a good selection of cereals, fresh fruit , cold cuts of meats and cheese plus a nice choice of freshly baked bread.
Room prices start at 25.60 euros for a bed in their dorm rooms. Couples have to pay a 4 euro supplement per person. Wifi is additional- 3 euros per hour or 5 euros for 24 hours.
4:30 pm Perfect afternoon at Mercedes Benz Museum
A 20 minute walk or just another stop on the S1 is the superb museum of automotive giants : Mercedes Benz. Time your visit perfectly between 4:30 and 6pm to take advantage of the reduced price of €4.
Even if you are not an auto junkie, the Mercedes Museum is a fascinating drive through 125 years of automotive history intertwined with all the key historical events that have marked the evolution of the world’s great car.
A great feature of the place are the pictures of key events that have shaped the history of the world ( including a humbling apology and frank admission of the company’s significant involvement in supporting the Third Reich). Pictures include poignant memories like the time when people would have picnics by the autobahn in the 60’s or the empty autobahns of the winter of 1973 when due to oil shortages , a car free Sunday was imposed over 5 weeks.
Then there are the stars of the show to say hello to- from Gottlieb Daimler’s motorized carriage to the world’s first 4 wheeled auto mobile to the ‘Gullwing’. Then you can see the dream car of the 1950’s: the 300 SL Coupe to the machine that set the standard for racing cars: the Mercedes Benz W196 2.5 litre that then world champion, Juan Manuel Fangio powered to victory in the 1954 Formula One race in Reims.
Combined with the stunning architecture, the Mercedes Benz Museum is a great afternoon for people of all ages and definitely a must-see.
Opening hours: 9am till 6pm. Mondays closed Entrance price: €8, €4 reduced price from 4:30-6pm
Hop back on the S1 (Direction: Herrenberg ) to Hauptbahnhof and then go for a walk through the city centre to catch some of the city’s key landmarks.
Walking out of the station, 500 yards north brings you to the regal, beautiful Schlossplatz where you can really feel the pulse of this city.
The dominating feature of the Schlossplatz is the towering Konig Wilhelm Jubilee column with the surrounding fountains representing the 8 rivers of Baden Wuttenberg.
On your immediate right is the impressive Corinthian columns of one of the city’s key shopping arcades- Konigsbau Passagen.
Also on the eastern corner in front of the stunning glass cube structure of the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart you’ll spot the weird geometric shape and primary colours of sculptor Alexander Calder’s ‘Mobile.’
7pm Traditional Swabian dinner at the Weinhaus Setter
Afterwards definitely worth going for a ramble around Bohnenviertel – the city’s bohemian district that is packed with a ton of cool bars and traditional restaurants. You’ll discover places like Weinhaus Stetter where you can sample the best traditional Swabian cooking. I enjoyed some Linsen und Saiten ( lentils and sausage) with Spatzle- a traditional thick egg noodles that is typical of the region With a glass of the local Durrenzimmerner ‘Trollinger mit Lemberger ‘ red wine, this has the makings of a great meal.
9pm Nightcap at Matahari
If you’re looking for nightcap or enjoy a few beers in a sociable but too frenetic atmosphere then you got to check out Matahari ,one of the coolest bars and nightlife hotspots in Stuttgart. It’s a kind of a meeting point in Stuttgart where friends meet for a few beers, catchup before hitting a club or rolling into one of the clutch of bars nearby in Hans-Im-Gluck.
9:30am Visit Esslingen- a medieval city with a city
Next morning zip off early morning to the dreamy medieval city of Esslingen which is just 4 stops from Bad Canstatt on the S1 ( Direction :Plochingen )
Esslingen escaped the WWII bombing raids and as a result visitors can enjoy 1200 years of perfectly preserved medieval architecture.
It’s the perfect place to wonder aimlessly and get lost in it’s not too distant past.
Sit at one of the cafes like the Lavazza cafeteria like I did ( Cappuchino €2.40) to enjoy the beautiful half timbered houses and observe the passage of the locals.
To get the perfect view of the medieval panorama it’s worth climbing the odd 370 steps to the ancient fort that dominates the skyline of the city.
Tip: After wondering the compact medieval core of the city, I recommend popping into Kessler for a glass of Sekt, the oldest producer of this fine tipple in Germany.
12pm Lunch at the Markthalle
Zipping back into Stuttgart, head towards the Aldstadt to the Markthalle ( S-Bahn: Rathaus ) This is the perfect place for a quick tasty bite on the go. Choose from a number of gourmet delicatessens where you everything from local Swabian homecooking to a range of international cuisine. I plumped for an excellent toasted Bocadillo ala ‘Alicante’ which was stuffed with a grilled aubergine, cheese and rucola salad. For €3.90 not a bad deal.
12:30pm Friday lunchtime concert at the Instrument museum
Markthalle is perfectly placed for the next little adventure-just around from the Markthalle is the local Instrument Museum. Every Friday lunchtime ( 1230pm on the day I visited) they run a half-hour lunchtime classical music concert. On the day I visited they had a mezzo Soprano from St Petersburg and she sang a bunch of opera classics ranging from Verdi, Wagner to Puccini. Opera and classical music may not be everyone’s cup of tea but for €3 fee (which also get you a ticket to the museum itself) it’s worth the experience.
1:30pm Afternoon of art at one of the greatest galleries of modern art
Germany is blessed with the best modern art galleries in the world and few are better than the Staatsgallerie. ( Wed, Friday, Sat + Sun: 10am till 6pm, Tuesday + Thursday: 10am till 8pm. Mondays closed. Entry cost: €7, Free on Wednesdays and Saturdays )
You can find works by Monet, Rembrandt and Dali plus lovers of Pop Art will enjoy the works of Lichtenstein and Warhol.
3:30pm Perfect for people watching: Deli in Hans-Im-Gluck
If it’s a nice day I recommend winding your way back to Hans-Im-Gluck Platz. While you are there you will see a beautiful fountain with the caged character of Lucky Hans from the Grimm’s fairytale. There is a hive of excellent bars here. I grabbed a chair at Deli Café + Bar enjoying a bottle of the local Wulle Biere ( €2.80 ) Great place for people watching.
6pm Dinner at Todis, Stuttgart
(Just off Theodor-Heuss-Straße)
Before leaving Stuttgart for Munich on the evening train, I want another fill of traditional Swabian cooking so after a bit of poking in an around the city I discover Todi’s -a local , home grown fast food chain that offers a nice mix of local and national cheap eats.
Order at the bar and within minutes the food is at your table.
From currywurst with three sauces to choose from, schnitzel and Maultaschen ( stuffed ravioli, delicious stuff) with potato salad (what I ordered) and regional Swabian spatzle with lentils –there’s good range of choice here.
Or if you’re in the mood for quick trash food, you can have some French fries with Kölsch beer.
Tip: Everyday between 17:00 – 19:00 they have a happy hour where you can enjoy Gaffel Kölsch for €1,00 and between 21:00 & 23:00 hours you can sip on Wulle Bier for 2,00€
Here’s the total cost of my 32 hours in Stuttgart
1 night stay at DJH Stuttgart Neckarpark: €25.60
2 day tickets on Stuttgart Public Transport network €11.20
Mercedes Benz Museum €4
Lunchtime concert at Instrument Museum €3
Lunch at Markthalle €3.90
Dinner at Weinhaus Setter with glass of red wine €9.60
Dinner at Todi’s with Kolsch beer €9.20
Beers (3) at Matahari & Deli €8.40
Big thanks to the German National Tourism Office , their partners for the ‘Youth Hotspots’ campaign – Jugendherberge : The German Youth Hostelling Association and Deutsche Bahn for sponsoring my ‘German Wanderlust’ tour.
I’m touring Germany as part of an effort to highlight and discover the country’s emerging ‘Youth Hotspots.’
Please note: While my trip has been sponsored, the views and thoughts represented in this article are my own.