From hiking one of Germany’s wine routes and checking out the city’s spectacular library, to enjoying its food and festivals, find out all the fun things to do in Stuttgart – perfect for a city break.
We’ve just returned from a busy few weeks in Germany, As mentioned on my first post all about Düsseldorf, we split our time across three key cities – Düsseldorf, Stuttgart and Berlin. We were invited by Visit Germany to create a few videos for their #GermanSummerStories campaign, so we spent our time racing around each city seeking out the best things to do, places to eat, and found some quirky spots too (3D crazy golf – who knew?!)
We hopped on a Eurowings flight to Stuttgart and from then on, everything was a bit of a surprise! All I knew before visiting was that it was a city famous for cars, with both the Mercedez-Benz and Porsche Museums located there. But hey, I’m no petrol head!
I was SO pleasantly surprised. Stuttgart is a really buzzy city with a vibrant restaurant scene, plenty of great things to do PLUS it’s home to the second largest beer festival in Germany after Oktoberfest.
From spa trips and its Insta-worthy library, to festivals and food, I have a feeling you’ll want to follow in my footsteps after reading my guide to Stuttgart.
Watch the video for a flavour of the city, then scroll down to read more about the fun things to do in Stuttgart.
Fun Things To Do In Stuttgart
We happened to visit Stuttgart at one of the most exciting times of the year. Frühlingsfest (Springfest) is Stuttgart’s equivalent of Oktoberfest. It’s more compact, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun.
If you’ve never been to a festival like this, then let me explain a little of what to expect. People visit for two reasons – beer and funfair rides. There are several large beer tents, and when I say large… well, they’re absolutely massive with rows and rows of benches. At the front there’s a band playing fun singalong style songs. Some will be familiar, others will be German classics. Most people in the beer tents dress up in lederhosen and dirndls, swigging from steins and dancing on the benches. The atmosphere in the beer tents is amazing atmosphere, and it’d be very easy to lose several hours inside.
But that’s not all. Outside there’s a big funfair with a mix of rides (suitable for kids and adults), food and drink stalls, along with traditional funfair games. The vibe was great, and while it’s a youngish crowd in the tents (18-28), we saw people of all ages enjoying the funfair. Also, it’s free to enter the park, so you just pay for rides, food and drink once you’re there.
Incase you’re keen to time your trip for next year’s festival, Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest 2020 is taking place from 18th April 2020 – 10th May 2020.
I’d seen photos of Stuttgart’s library circulating on Instagram over the last few years, and wondered if it was as mesmerising in reality as it looked in photos. YES is the answer!
Created by South Korean architect Eun Young Yi, the library opened in 2011. From the outside it has a cube-like appearance, with symmetry a key to its design. The inside is the most impressive part though. The main library area is five storeys high, topped by a glass roof, with books displayed neatly in shelves around the edge. Several staircases connect the floors, but the part that makes the design seriously appealing?
IT’S COMPLETELY WHITE! What?! How they keep it so spotless is anyone’s guess, but it’s as bright and clinical as the photos.
It’s a stunning space, and if you visit, make sure you check out the cosy reading rooms tucked off to the sides. There were some lovely spots you could go and curl up with a book for a few hours. It’s also worth knowing there’s a café on the top floor and a roof terrace too. Oh, and while you might think it’s strange to visit a library if you’re not a member or looking for a book, many people stop by just to appreciate the architecture.
I’m a total foodie, so visiting markets is a favourite pastime. This market hall is right in the centre of the city, moments from Schlossplatz and the old town’s monuments. The building itself is very pretty, but once inside you’ll be taken on a culinary journey around the world. There are over 40 different vendors, plus a few sit-down restaurants within the building too.
From tasty German bread and Spanish ham to Italian arrancini, Middle Eastern dips and locally made truffles, there’s something for everyone. We loved that you could create a meal of exactly what you fancied: grab a glass of wine from one stall and a snack from another and congregate around one of the tables.
I’ve never shown a huge interest in cars, but I do appreciate the beauty of motors past and present. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this museum as much as I did, but it was genuinely fascinating.
The exterior is sleek, silver and almost cylindrical, and once inside, you’ll realise the shape is perfect for the layout of the museum. A lift whizzes you up to the eighth floor, and then you work your way down, following a circular route all the way.
The museum celebrates Carl Benz’s motor, designed in 1886 and charts the history of the brand right up to present day… actually beyond, as there are also cars of the future in the museum.
I particularly liked the way the museum set the scene for what else was going on in the world, as each vehicle was developed. It was the context of history and popular culture that made it feel more relevant.
All in all, I’d say it’s well worth a visit. If a non-car lover can come out singing its praises, it must be good! The only downside – no cars you can hop in for a quick photo. I feel like they’ve missed a trick there!
Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill
This beautiful chapel is located a little way out of the city, but is easily accessible on the 61 bus. It was one of my favourite views of Stuttgart, as on one side of the building you can see rolling hills peppered with pretty vineyards, and on the other you can take in the scale and architecture of the city.
The chapel was built by King Wilhelm I in the 1820s for his beloved wife who passed away at the age of 30. Many people consider this to be the most romantic viewpoint in Stuttgart, and with that story adding to the meaning, it feels like a powerful spot.
To add to the adventure, the hill is also on the route of the Weinwanderweg – a series of trails through the area’s key vineyards. Squeeze in a few tastings and it sounds like a really fun day out! Or you could book onto a guided hike through Stuttgart’s wine regions.
Das Leuze Mineral Spa
We had a few hours free on our final day in Stuttgart, and after such a busy schedule, we decided to reward ourselves with some spa time. If you’re doing a lot of sightseeing in Stuttgart, I’d recommend picking up a StuttCard. It gives you access to all the public transport you could need, including to and from the airport, plus entry to many of the city’s attractions.
You can visit Das Leuze Mineral Spa for two hours with the StuttCard. It’s a huge public bath with several swimming pools, Jacuzzis, saunas and steam rooms. There’s a mix of designs and temperatures, and while the majority are indoors, there are a few outdoors – perfect for summer in Stuttgart!
We had a lovely time – I’d say a visit to this spa is one of the most fun things to do in Stuttgart! The only part that wasn’t so relaxing was the discovery that German saunas and steam rooms are mixed and naked… very different to back home! If you’re a little self conscious, stick to the pool areas.
Stuttgart’s modern art museum sits right in the heart of the city, moments from the Palace. The glass cube is home to several exhibition spaces along with a top floor restaurant viewing space to look out over the Schlossplatz (where Stuttgart Christmas Market is held in the winter months).
Along with several special exhibitions which change throughout the year, you can see highlights from the municipal art collection. Oh and it’s another attraction you can enter free with a StuttCard too!
Where To Stay In Stuttgart
Looking for a great place to stay in Stuttgart? Check out the hotel map below…
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this guide to the fun things to do in Stuttgart! Our trip was sponsored by Germany Tourism and Eurowings along with several regional partners. For this blog post, I’d like to say a big thank you to Stuttgart Tourism. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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