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This city guide is an introduction to Stuttgart and will help you start planning your visit to this vibrant city north of the Black Forest. Keep reading this page for an overview of what to do and see in the Stuttgart area. Or check out one of our more in-depth guides below:
What to Do and See in Stuttgart
With the Black Forest to the south, the Schwäbish Alb (Swabian Alps) to the northeast, and France to the west, Stuttgart has a lot to offer.
Home of the legendary Cannstatter Volksfest (better than Oktoberfest!), a huge historic Christmas market, and vineyards right in the city, you’ll find plenty to do, see, and experience in and around this off-the-tourist-path city. Whether you’re into food and drink, history, architecture, nature, art, or spontaneous adventures. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
TIP: if you’re only in Stuttgart in for a day or two, maximize your time by starting with the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour. In just a couple hours you can see a lot of the city (including vineyards), which then leaves you time to zero in on the sights you want to explore in more depth.
- BMW Museum
- Porsche Museum
- Schloss Solitude
- Die Seilbahn & die Zacke
- Wilhelma Zoo
- TV tower (great view!)
- Killesberg Tower
- Neues Schloss
- Vineyard walk
TIP: if you have our Germany Travel Planner be sure to check out the interactive planning map so you can see where the best sights are located. Seeing where these sights are on the map, along with our up-to-date photos and tips, makes planning your trip SO much easier. If you don’t yet have it, click here to get access.
Where to Stay in Stuttgart
You’ll find a wide variety of accommodation options in Stuttgart, including hotels, B&Bs, and apartments. If you’re only in Stuttgart for a couple days, I recommend a hotel in downtown near Schlossplatz, the train station or Königstrasse pedestrian area because nearly everything you’ll want to see will be within walking distance. You can also easily catch public transportation to other parts of the city from this area.
Three hotels we’ve stayed at and recommend: Motel One , Hotel Unger and Maritim Stuttgart. All are near the Königstrasse shopping area, museums, and the Christmas market. I highly recommend these hotels! All 3 are an easy walk to the train station and many downtown sights, yet they’re quiet, comfortable, have A/C, and offer breakfast.
If you’re looking for an apartment in Stuttgart, do a search on Booking.com. We’ve found several great apartments there (less than what we saw on Airbnb for the same apartment) and it’s SO nice to have all hotel and apartment reservations in one place.
Tip: if you have our Germany Travel Planner you’ll find recommended hotels on our interactive planning map. Seeing where these hotels are in relation to the top sights makes it a lot easier to find the perfect place to stay. If you don’t yet have it, click here to get access.
Book your Stuttgart accommodations in advance! They tend to fill quickly during peak travel times (summer, Volksfest, Christmas, etc) so I recommend seeing what’s open for your travel dates.
Stuttgart Tours & Tickets
Stuttgart has many guided tours and special tickets to make your visit extra fun. Book in advance so you don’t have to scramble once you’re in town and potentially miss out on an activity or tour you’re looking forward to.
Stuttgart Day Trips
One of the best things about making Stuttgart your home base while visiting Baden-Württemberg is that you have countless day trip options. You can plan your own day trips for maximum flexibility or book a guided tour for maximum relaxation and convenience. Here are some ideas to get your planning started.
Beuren Open Air Museum
Swabian Forest Railway
TIP: If you have our Germany Travel Planner/Bundle look at our interactive planning map to see do-able day trips. Seeing the castles, towns, and other must-see sights on the map (along with our photos and up-to-date tips) makes it much easier to decide what to add to your itinerary. If you don’t yet have it, click here to get access.
Know Before You Go
Airport: Stuttgart International Airport (STR)
Language: the official language of Germany is German (Deutsch)
Time zone: Centra European Time (CET / GMT+ 2 / 6 hours ahead of US EST)
Germany Visa: tourists from the US, Canada, and several other countries do not need a visa to visit Germany for under 90 days
Germany Electricity Socket: Germany uses different voltage and sockets than in North America, the UK, and other parts of the world. Read our guide to adapters and converters so you can safely use your tech in Germany.
Germany SIM card: Read our guide here to SIM cards and other ways to use your phone in Germany.
Germany Car Rentals: We find great deals on rental cars here. You can also check out our scenic Germany road trips article here.
Stuttgart Travel FAQ
Where is Stuttgart on a Map?
Stuttgart is located in southwest Germany in the German Bundesland (state) of Baden-Württenberg. It’s south of Frankfurt, north of the Black Forest, and just a few hours away from France to the west and Switzerland to the south.
Is Stuttgart, Germany in Bavaria?
Nope! Stuttgart is in Baden-Württemberg, which is the state west of Bavaria. Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria are the 2 German states that comprise the southern part of Germany.
What is Stuttgart, Germany Famous For?
Stuttgart is known for having vineyards within the city limits, beautiful hills surrounding the city center (so lovely at night!), BMW and Mercedes, a huge Christmas market, and lots of delicious regional food and drinks.
How to Get To Stuttgart, Germany
Stuttgart is easy to reach via train, bus, car or plane. Consider flying directly into Stuttgart International Airport as an alternative to Frankfurt. I often fly in and out of Stuttgart because it’s so easy and stress free (Delta has a direct flight from Atlanta and it’s a quick hop from other European hubs).
You can then take the S-bahn into downtown Stuttgart in 40-ish minutes, a bus to Tübingen if you’re heading in that direction or you can book an an easy airport transfer ahead of time and a driver will pick you up at the airport and drive you right to your hotel or apartment (about 30-40 minutes).
If you’re arriving via train or bus, you’ll arrive at the central train station downtown (Hauptbahnhof). From there you can walk to many downtown hotels (check out our Stuttgart hotel guide here) and tourist sights, take public transportation or grab a taxi.
Getting Around Stuttgart
If you stay in the city center, you should be able to walk to most sites. For the sites that are further away (e.g., TV tower, vineyards, BMW museum) you can hop on a tram, bus, U-bahn or S-bahn or use the Hop On Hop Off bus.
Best Germany Travel Guides
These are our two favorite travel guides. We typically buy a Rick Steves guide whenever there’s one available. His Germany guide doesn’t include Stuttgart but if you’re traveling to the Black Forest or elsewhere in Germany, you’ll find it useful.
We also highly recommend the Culture Smart books. I always read one before visiting a new country because they have so much useful cultural information (I usually read it on the plane) that gives me much-appreciated insight into what I’m doing, seeing, eating, and experiencing.
You can get a hard copy or Kindle version for each book.
Stuttgart is capital of and the largest city in the German state of Baden-Württenberg.
Stuttgart International Airport
Train Travel Times to Stuttgart
Berlin ➔ Stuttgart = 5.5 hrs
Frankfurt ➔ Stuttgart = 1.5 hrs
Munich ➔ Stuttgart = 2 hrs
Strasbourg ➔ Stuttgart = 2 hrs
Paris ➔ Stuttgart = 3.5 hrs
Zurich ➔ Stuttgart = 3 hrs
Prague ➔ Stuttgart = 7.5 hrs
Brussels ➔ Stuttgart = 5 hrs
Stuttgart’s name comes from its horse breeding past. The area around which the city was developed was originally a site for breeding cavalry horses. This all makes sense when you see the Porsche logo!