Stuttgart Mini Guide
About the City
Stuttgart is the 6th largest city in Germany and famed as the birthplace of the motor car. Porsche and Mercedes Benz have their roots and factories here. For such an industrialised city, many people are surprised at the parkland and open spaces of the city. There are even vineyards within the city limits. The locals speak a dialect of German called Swabian.
A Brief History Lesson
In the first century the Romans built a fort at Cannstatt which became the seed for the city. The name of Stuttgart doesn’t appear until 950 AD when the city was developing close to the old Roman fort. In World War II nearly 70% of the city was destroyed in Allied bombing raids. In the post war period the city became infamous as the operational ground for the Bader-Meinhof terrorist group, the Red Army Faction.
Stuttgart Airport is 8 miles away from the city and provides easy access to the city via the rail link at the airport to Stuttgart’s main railway station. The airport is a key hub for budget carrier German Wings, and Air Berlin, another no-frills carrier have many flights to Stuttgart.
Is There Much to See in the City?
Attractions around the city centre on the history of the motor car with the Porsche Museum being a firm favourite. For those uninterested in fast cars there’s the beautiful Wilhelma Zoo, a favourite with children for the antics of the monkeys that live there. A good day out with a picnic can be had at Killesberg Park close to the city centre.
What About Outside the City?
The Mercedes Benz Museum is found outside the city centre and is another excellent visit although for a tour of the factory you’ll need to book in advance. The oldest building in the city area is the Altes Schloss which means ‘Old Palace’. Here you’ll have the chance to see the architecture and interiors from the 14th and 15th century.
How to Spend Time in Stuttgart
An excellent visit is to the Carl Zeiss Planetarium. Undoubtedly the best lens manufacturers in the world, the Zeiss Planetarium use their lenses to produce a spectacular and clear display of the night sky. For a relaxing time, go to Bad Cannstatt where Europe’s second biggest thermal spas are located. Treatments are available here using the spa waters.
For Shopping Addicts
Shopping in Stuttgart is centred around the malls of Konigstrasse with the upmarket Galeria Kaufhof and the Konigsbaupassagen. You will rarely find shops open on a Sunday in the city.
What Sort of Things are There to eat?
Stuttgart has many speciality foods such as the Brezel bread roll, usually served with coffee early in the morning. Dinners tend to be very filling, especially when they are served with side plates of Spatzle or Knodel, pasta or potato based dishes. Many dishes are heavily meat orientated meaning a scarce time for vegetarians.
Stuttgart has many and varied festivals. One of the most important is the ten day wine festival in September. The city also has the ubiquitous Christmas market with associated traditions and parades. There is a Fish Festival, organised and run by the fishing industry of Hamburg and in the summer, the Stuttgart Festival combines all that is good there, music, food, wine and beer for a week long party.
Stuttgart is a large and busy city and a great place if you’re interested in cars. The car and motorbike were invented there by Daimler and Maybach in 1887. Today, cars are still made there and you can visit the Porsche Museum for an insight into the history of the iconic car.
You may even want to consider hiring a Porsche for your time in its home city and then use it for exploring the area. Along the same lines is the Tram Museum which details the history and development of this form of transport which still remains popular today.