If you arrive at Stuttgart’s main train station, climb the 10-storey tower before anything. The viewing platform up top grants panoramic views over the city centre and beyond – on a clear day, you can see as far as the Swabian Alps.
Head back down and follow Europe’s longest pedestrianised shopping street, Königstraße, until you reach Schlossplatz. You’ll find yourself in the midst of Stuttgart’s historic centre – an excellent starting point for a tour. Now whether you opt for a guided walking tour or decide to explore the city at your own pace, that is up to you.
Dominating the plaza are the Jubilee Column and the New Palace, built as the residence for the Kings of Württemberg in the 18th century. The three-winged Baroque building now houses several government offices. Public tours are only announced on short notice and require booking in advance.
Schillerplatz, which is named after the German philosopher and poet Friedrich Schiller, lies across the road. A monument in his honour stands at the centre of the plaza, framed by the Old Castle, classicist and late Gothic buildings and the red-roofed Stiftskirche.
Continue your walk south until you reach St John’s Church. The church is picturesquely set on the fringe of the Feuersee, and at nighttime, spotlights illuminate the building. The church was heavily damaged by a World War II bomb but was reconstructed afterwards – except for the tower, which remains unfinished as a memorial of the war.
Head back to the city centre. Stuttgart’s Markthalle is on your way and the perfect spot to grab some lunch. Sheltered by the landmarked Art Nouveau market building, some 30 vendors sell international specialities, organic produce and home and garden accessories.
Browse the rest of the stalls before making your way back towards Schlossplatz. This time, walk through the Palace Gardens, you’ll pass the Stuttgart State Theatre after a while. If you’re interested in art, you can head next door to the Staatsgalerie. The postmodern structure is a sight on its own, but the museum holds a collection of more than 5,000 pieces of art.
If cars are more your thing, Stuttgart is the right place for you. The city is the home of both Mercedes and Porsche, and both car manufacturers each run a museum just outside of Stuttgart. They’re both a 30-minute train ride away, but in opposite directions, so you’ll have to choose between either the Mercedes museum or the Porsche museum.
Exploring either of the museums will take a couple of hours, and by the time you’re back in the city centre, it’s time for dinner.
Now as you know, Stuttgart is good for three kinds of people: history fans, car enthusiasts and foodies. The city is virtually littered with excellent restaurants, including several Michelin-starred gourmet establishments. If that’s a bit too highbrow for you, the Weinstube Fröhlich restaurant might win you over with their typical Swabian food and excellent wines from the region. COA does fantastic Asian food; Bocca Buona is known for their Italian plates, and Liebreich brings you the best Croatian food in the region.
Finish the day with a couple of delicious cocktails at the Schwarz-Weiß-Bar.
Time for a quick breakfast. A top tip is Poffers Café, which serves divine sweet and savoury treats from French toast to omelettes. Before you leave Stuttgart, take some time to visit the City Library just around the corner from Stuttgart’s main station. The beautiful minimalist interior is kept in white and doesn’t leave much room for distraction. Sofas are scattered across each floor for those who want to browse the books stacked on the shelves. Head to the roof terrace for a last glance over the city before you head home.