Best Day Trips & Weekend Trips from Stuttgart, Germany in 2024

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If you’re planning to spend time in or around Stuttgart, you’ve got so many options for easy day and weekend trips! There are many cute little towns, castles, hiking, waterfalls, and much more for you to explore. 

Stuttgart Day Trip Transportation Options 

The trips listed here are accessible by car or public transportation (S-bahn, bus or regional train from Stuttgart). All are within about 30-90 minutes from Stuttgart. 

Looking for a place to stay in Stuttgart? Check out our best Stuttgart hotels guide!

1. Esslingen 


Just a 15 minute S-bahn ride from Stuttgart, Esslingen is a delightful town with some of the oldest half-timbered houses in Germany. Having more than 200 of these beautiful homes definitely adds a sense of history and wonder to your time here. Esslingen is one of my favorite Stuttgart area towns to visit!   

I recommend allotting a minimum of a half day in your itinerary for Esslingen. That will give you enough time to travel there and back, leisurely explore the city, and get a bite to eat.

How to Get to Esslingen from Stuttgart

From the Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof (main train station) you can take S-bahn 1 towards Kirchheim(Teck) or a regional train. The S-bahn will stop at several stations before arriving in Esslingen. Regional trains typically don’t stop between the Hauptbahnhof and the Esslingen station so they’re a little faster.  

Esslingen is in transit zone 2 (assuming you’re starting in the city center). You can buy a single ticket, a day pass or a group day pass for 2 zones at any ticket machine. If you have a StuttCard with the transit option, you can travel to any of the transit zones!

What to Do and See in Esslingen

1. Stadtkirche St. Dionys 

This beautiful church, built in the style of High Gothic architecture, is a memorable part of the skyline in Esslingen. One of its most notable features is footbridge that connects the two towers. 

2. Frauenkirche 

Construction for this church was completed in 1515 and took almost 200 years to complete! 

3. Esslingen Castle 

More of a defensive post than a residence for noble families, make sure to check out this castle!  Take a walk along the covered wall linking the Powder Tower and the Big Tower (Dicke Turm) to see a nice view of Esslingen itself. 

4. Klein-Venedig 

Wander through this picturesque quarter of Esslingen to pass by half-timbered homes and windmills dating back to the 15th century.  This area is known as “Little Venice” due to its location near the confluence of three rivers, the Neckar, Rossneckar, and Wehrneckar. 

5. Medieval Christmas Market 

For almost four weeks leading up to Christmas, merchants dressed in medieval garments sell their crafts to customers at one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany. There’s a nice sized traditional Christmas market but it’s the medieval market that charms visitors.

2. Ludwigsburg


North of Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg is a quick 15 minute S-bahn ride from the city center. A short walk from the train station is the delightful downtown, market square with baroque churches, and then the grand palace.

I recommend allotting a minimum of 3 hours to half a day in your itinerary for Ludwigsburg. A half day will give you enough time to travel there and back, leisurely explore the downtown, palace, and gardens, and get a bite to eat.

If you have a full day available, you can also combine your trip to Ludwigsburg with a stop in the cute town of Bietigheim-Bissingen (that’s what I did).

To get there, take the S4 towards Marbach, the S5 towards Bietigheim-Bissingen or a regional train. The S-bahn will make more stops than the regional train so it will take a bit longer.  

What to Do and See in Ludwigsburg

1. Ludwigsburg Residential Palace (Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg) 

This Baroque palace was constructed from 1704 to 1733 during the rule of Eberhard Ludwig, Duke of Wurttemburg.  

Admission: Adult 8€ / Reduced 4€ / Family 20€ / Groups of 20+ 7.20€ Admission to the residential palace includes a guided tour. 

2. Schloss Favorite 

A Baroque hunting lodge and summer residence built by Ebehard Ludwig for his mistress Wilhelmine von Graevenitz. This structure is surrounded by a wildlife park and is decorated inside by murals. It’s located just a short walk from the Residential Palace. 

Open Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 12 noon and 1.30 pm to 5 pm. 

Admission: Adults 3,50€ / Children 6+ 1,80€.
Guided tour is about 20 minutes. 

3. Fairy Tale Gardens 

Let your imagination go in this fairy tale-themed garden! The garden is filled with statues and shrubbery depicting famous stories from fairy tales. This garden is located right next to the palace.

4. Baroque Christmas Market 

Imagine drinking mulled wine and snacking on roasted chestnuts while strolling through a town square decorated in glittering lights. Located between two baroque churches, the Christmas market in Ludwigsburg contains more than 170 vendors selling traditional Germany arts and crafts. 

The Ludwigsburg Christmas market is open ever day (generally 11am – 9pm) during the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas Eve. This market is gorgeous at night, so definitely plan to stay until after sunset!

3. Bad Urach Waterfall  

Bad Urach Waterfall

Bad Urach is considered the most beautiful waterfall in the Schwabian Alb!
Walk to the waterfall, then continue hiking to enjoy the views, and then head to the town of Bad Urach to explore its historic half-timber houses and enjoy a meal.

Bad Urach is a 45 minute drive from Stuttgart. To get there by public transportation, you can take a regional train. The fastest connection will get you to the waterfall in just over an hour. To get from the waterfall to the town, you can hop on the train (3 minutes) or walk (30 minutes).

The waterfall is open year round.

4. Hohenzollern Castle  

Hohenzollern Castle 

Located approximately 50 km south of Stuttgart and constructed upon a hilltop, Hohenzollern Castle is a fun day trip any time of year. It’s one of the most visited castles in Germany, receiving approximately 300,000 visitors per year!

What to Do & See at Hohenzollern Castle

In addition to an extensive art collection, numerous events are held at Hohenzollern Castle, including concerts, an open-air cinema, exhibitions, and a royal Christmas market. 

There are two dining options while at the castle: Café Restaurant Burg Hohenzollern and a summer-time Beer Garden. The Beer Garden offers a small selection of cakes, ice cream, and drinks. 

How to Get to Hohenzollern Castle

You can reach the castle in about an hour by car. If traveling by train from Stuttgart’s main train station, you’ll ride to Hechingen Station, then catch a bus to the parking lot, and then either walk up to the castle or take the shuttle. It takes about 1.5 hours to get to the castle via public transportation.

5. Lichtenstein Castle 

Lichtenstein Castle

Inspired by a novel, this small castle is actually a hunting lodge built near the ruins of a knight’s castle. The castle is surrounded by parklands, making it a great place to hike! Try hiking one of the trails in order to get a different view of the castle. Enjoy the beautiful views!

Guided tours (30 minutes) are in German but an English-language brochure is available to help you follow along with the tour. Children are allowed on the tour. Pictures are not allowed. 

Hours of Operation: 
January – February: Closed 
March: Mon – Sun (10:00am – 4:00pm) 
April – October: Mon – Sun (9:00am – 5:30pm) 
November – December: Mon – Sun (10:00am – 4:00pm) 

Food: Near the car park, The Castle Tavern is available for you to grab a quick beer, coffee, or snack. 

Located 50 minutes from Stuttgart, you can reach Lichtenstein Castle in just under an hour by car. The castle is best reached by car.

6. Tübingen 


Tübingen is a delightful university town 45 minutes from Stuttgart. I lived there for a month before moving to Stuttgart and loved every minute of it. It’s cobblestone streets are such a contrast to busy city Stuttgart! You can easily spend a full day in Tübingen. If you have a car, you could combine a morning in Tübingen with an afternoon at the Hohenzollern Castle, Lichtenstein Castle, Bad Urach or Esslingen.

What to Do and See in Tübingen

1. If you arrive in Tübingen by train, you can walk along the Neckar river on your way to the Altstadt (historic old town). Stop to see Holderlin’s Tower (Holderlinturm), and during the warmer months, you can also go for a punting boat ride on the Neckar.

2. Then walk to the Altstadt (historic old town). Here you’ll find the Rathaus (town hall), some university buildings, the market square (Marktplatz), and St. George’s Collegiate Church (Stiftskirche), and many delightful half-timber buildings and cobblestone alleyways.

3. After that, walk up to the Hohentübingen Castle for great views of the city.

4. If you’re in Tübingen in early December, be sure to check out the chocoLART Festival! It’s like a Christmas market except that it’s all chocolate.

How to Get to Tübingen

A regional train from the main Stuttgart train station (Hauptbahnhof) will get you to Tübingen in 45-60 minutes. There is a bus that goes to Tübingen but the train is faster, and in my opinion, easier. If you have a car, driving is quick and easy 45 minutes.

7. Black Forest Open Air Museum

Cate in historic black Forest farmhouse

Wonder what life was like in the Black Forest 100 years ago? If so, you’ve got to visit the Black Forest Open Air Museum! This museum was recommended to us on our last trip to Stuttgart, and so we visited on our last day in Germany.

We love historical museums like this and spent a good 3-4 hours there touring each of the Black Forest houses and learning all about Black Forest farm life. We also enjoyed a slice of Black Forest Cake and German iced coffee in the restaurant before heading back to Stuttgart.

How to Get to the Black Forest Museum

Driving there from Stuttgart took about 2 hours each way so leave by 8am and plan a full day for this trip. Part of the drive was a beautiful 2-lane road through the Black Forest. The fastest train connection will get you there in just over 2 hours. You’ll arrive at the train stop Gutach Freilichtmuseum, which is right outside the museum entrance.

This museum is open daily from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. 
*last admission at 5:00pm 

Admission: 10€ adults / 9€ reduced / €5.50 children 6-17 years / children under 6 are free

Stuttgart Day Trip and Weekend Trip Combonations

You could do the following day trip/weekend trip combonations in one full day if you leave early and arrive home in the evening.

  • Ludwigsburg and Bietigheim-Bissingen
  • Ludwigsburg and Esslingen
  • Tübingen and Hohenzollern Castle
  • Tübingen and Lichtenstein Castle
  • Tübingen and Bad Urach
  • Hohenzollern Castle and Lichtenstein Castle
  • Bad Urach and Hohenzollern Castle
  • Bad Urach and Lichtenstein Castle
Image of Best Day Trips from Stuttgart

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Here’s how we can help you plan your perfect trip in 2024

GERMANY TRAVEL PLANNER: Just getting started? Have questions about Germany’s confusing train tickets or how to find the best guided tours? Not sure which parts of Germany should be in your itinerary (and what to leave out)? Our Germany Travel Planner answers those questions and more via how-to videos, our interactive Germany Planning Map, City Cheatsheets, and MUCH more. Click here to unlock the best of Germany the easy way!

GERMANY TRAVEL CONSULT: Feeling overwhelmed? Itinerary just not coming together? Wonder if a few tweaks would take your trip to the next level? Book a Mini or Full consult with Cate! She’ll help you create or tweak your itinerary, recommend train tickets/passes, hotels, things to do, guided tours, show you how to buy train tickets, orient you to specific cities, help you plan out day trips, and answer your Germany travel questions.

ACCOMMODATIONS: We recommend using since they have widest range of accommodations available from hostels, boutique hotels, luxury chains, aparthotels, at the best prices. Check out our accommodation guides for specific recommended hotels.

WHAT TO PACK: If you’re bringing your phone, be sure to bring this plug adapter, this power bank, and this wrist strap. They’ve been lifesavers for us! You can see our other packing essentials here and here.

TICKETS & TOURS: For guided tours, day trips, private tours, and skip-the-line tickets, Get Your Guide is our go-to!

TRAINS & BUSES: To research train schedules and buy tickets or a Germany Rail Pass, we recommend the official Deutsche Bahn (German Rail System) website (and download their DB Navigator app). For buses, look at FlixBus , which offers tickets for routes within Germany and to other European countries. FlixBus is often cheaper than trains but can take longer.


  1. Holly Kirby says:

    Hi, You have a terrific site, full of good information.
    We are planning two weeks in Germany. Thinking we would start in Berlin and do day trips- Potsdam, Dresden, Leipzig. Then onto Hamburg and do day trips-Lubeck. Move to Bavaria. Here is where we are not sure the major town to stay in and take day trips. Nuremberg-Bamburg,, Regensburg and Rothenburg. Stuttgart-Tubingen, Lichtenstein and Hohenzollern castles. We will only be traveling by train. Not sure if these towns are the best ot saty in. Can you suggest the towns to stay and take the day trips? Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Holly, you’ve got a lot of great places on your travel agenda! 🙂 It’s a lot to see in 2 weeks, especially if you also want to see Berlin and Hamburg. If you have 2 full weeks (14 days) on the ground in Germany you can see quite a bit but if your int’l travel days are included in that 2 weeks it gets harder (plan 3 days for int’l flights to/from Germany, so 2 weeks of travel would give you 11 days in Germany…maybe 11.5 if your flight arrives in Germany early in the day and you can manage to get out and sightsee).

      If you can fly into Berlin and out of Stuttgart that will make things easier. I suggest Berlin/Potsdam/1 other day trip, then Hamburg/Lübeck. Then down to Nuremberg/Bamberg (and maybe Regensburg or Rothenburg ob der Taube if you have time, and if you add either of those, stay in Nuremberg). Then over to Stuttgart/Tübingen/Lichtenstein/Hohenzollern and fly out of Stuttgart. You could stay in either Stuttgart or Tübingen. You can get to Stuttgart airport and both castles from either city. Tübingen is a smaller, more picturesque university town and Stuttgart is more of an everyday kind of city with fun things to do.

      After factoring in international and in-country travel days, it could be difficult to fit all of that in to 2 weeks! It’s a good idea to choose 3 “bases” for your trip (Berlin, Hamburg, and then either Nuremberg or Stuttgart/Tübingen) but you might need to narrow down the day trips.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

  2. Nurit Givoni says:

    We are planning to be in Germany on April’ start from 10/4. We will land in Frankfurt and then take a car to travel. Stutgart and around is one option’ but could be other places as well’ as long as it it not to far from Frankfurt for 2 days trip. If it Stutgart, can you recommend what can we do around stutgart, more nature and not only cities.
    Thanks in Aadvance

    1. Hello! There are lots of places around Frankfurt you could visit with a car. The Mosel area is beautiful and has small towns, castles, and nature. Here’s a guide we have on castles around Frankfurt – Burg Eltz and the castle in Cochem are very nice and in beautiful areas ( The Rhine area has nice small towns, opportunities for hiking, etc, too. Or you could drive down to the Heidelberg area. There you’ve got a cute old town, a castle on the hill, and lots of walking/hiking trails close by.

      If you go to Stuttgart, here’s our guide on things to do: You can also visit Esslingen, and there are lots of walking and biking trails through the vineyards in the area. Tübingen is a lovely university town near Stuttgart and there are a couple of castles not too far away that are set in beautiful natural areas (Hohenzollern castle and Lichtenstein castle).

      Hope that helps!

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