Baden-Württemberg is the stuff fairytales are made of. Germany’s southern state is studded with enchanting castles and forests, idyllic rivers and lakes, and picturesque cities which all offer a whole bunch of activities for solo travellers, couples and families. Here’s an overview of the best things to do in Baden-Württemberg.
You could argue that Hohenzollern Castle is Baden-Württemberg’s most magical place. Perched on the hilltop of Mount Hohenzollern, about an hour’s drive from Stuttgart, the fairytale castle oversees the surrounding valley and in the early hours of the morning often emerges from thick wafts of mist. Guided tours lead you through the fortifications, palatial rooms, gardens and the on-site chapel and allow you to catch a glimpse of what life for Prussian royalty must have been like.
Heidelberg may be Germany’s most romantic city and in the past has cast a spell on some of history’s greatest philosophers, poets and writers. They all roamed the cobbled streets of the old town, watched the sunset over the Neckar river and marvelled at the medieval castle ruins which have miraculously survived the wars and quarrels of the past. Apart from the historic sights, Heidelberg’s long tradition of being a university city has helped establish a vibrant café culture and nightlife.
Be charmed by idyllic river views
Tübingen University ranks among Germany’s oldest, and for centuries, students have bragged about studying in this magical town at the heart of Baden-Württemberg. The city stuns with a row of pastel-coloured houses at the riverfront, a handful of imposing architectural landmarks and the hilltop Hohentübingen Castle. You could easily spend a couple of days exploring this gem of a city.
Car enthusiasts won’t get around stopping in Stuttgart to visit two of the city’s most popular museums. Both Mercedes and Porsche call Stuttgart home and have each established a fascinating exhibition dedicated to their brand. The Mercedes-Benz Museum celebrates its history of car-making by showcasing more than 160 past designs and futuristic concept cars. Porsche takes a similar approach and has visitors ogle at their iconic sports car prototypes and guides visitors through the halls with the help of multimedia installations.
For more fairytale feels head to Lichtenstein Castle near Tübingen. The 19th-century castle looks as if it’s straight out of a Disney film, so it’s not much of a surprise that the serene setting has drawn German filmmakers to the site to shoot a remake of Sleeping Beauty. You can join a guided tour of the castle and explore the armoury, chapel, tavern, the large knight’s hall and the lavishly decorated royal chambers which are still equipped with the old furniture.
This list wouldn’t be complete without adding Lake Constance to it. The beautiful lake does not only border Germany but also Switzerland and Austria and offers a plethora of activities, whether that’s water sports, comfortable ferry rides or sightseeing adventures in one of the waterfront villages and cities. On the German side, Konstanz, Meersburg and Lindau stand out from the crowd and lure with idyllic views of the lake, outdoorsy fun and historical sights.
Germany’s renowned woodlands are synonymous with extensive hiking trails, wellness retreats and delicious foods, and that pretty much sums up the experiences that wait for you on a trip to the Black Forest. Depending on what you’re after, you can base yourself at Titisee-Neustadt for a few active days on and by the water, Bad Wildbad for a relaxed spa day, Freudenstadt for outdoorsy adventures and Baiersbronn if you want to eat at some of the best gourmet restaurants Germany has to offer.