If you are visiting the capital of Baden Württemberg, you might feel a bit overwhelmed with all the things you can do in Stuttgart or the day trips around Stuttgart you can do. Fear not, here is a quick one day itinerary you can do to get a good idea of what the city has to offer.
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Where to Spend a Day in Stuttgart?
If you are spending two days in town and want to fill one day in Stuttgart with heavy sightseeing and chill the other, then pick between the following Stuttgart itineraries. Depending on your personal interest.
How to get Around Stuttgart
The best way to get around Stuttgart is by public transport. Get yourself a (multi) day ticket and jump around freely on the metro, local trains and buses. The city has an excellent network and you can reach all the typical Stuttgart sights through it.
If you get the StuttCard, you have free or discounted entry to the main attractions. (You can order it online here). The Hop on Hop Off bus ride is not included in the StuttCard but you’ll get a discount with it.
I tried out the Hop on Hop off ticket and loved it! With it, you get dropped off at your desired tourist attractions. I used it to tour both the blue and green lines as they reach different stops all over the city. Get and print your bus ticket here. (A phone receipt isn’t accepted.)
I wanted to see as much as possible, so I planned my trip for a weekend in Stuttgart. This way I could do both lines. The blue line runs every day from 10AM to 4PM, but the green line only leaves under the week from April to October.
Now that you know how to best master a Stuttgart day trip without wasting too much time on walking everywhere (which costs time), here are two examples for a Stuttgart itinerary depending on whether you prefer to see more of the city centre or the greener spaces of the state capital.
Which option is best? Option 1 is good if you arrive a little later in the mornings on your day out in Stuttgart. Option 2 is great if you’re in town early during the week and want to fill your day with lots of things to do. Please note that shops are closed on Sundays in Germany and many museums are closed on Mondays.
Day Trip to Stuttgart Option 1
10AM – City Centre & Bus Tour
Most shops in Germany open at 10am, so if you arrive earlier than that, why not take a stroll through the city centre before the madness begins? Start at Palace Square (Schlossplatz), which is a 10 minute walk from the train station and is the central meeting point in Stuttgart.
At 10:05 AM sharp, the first Hop On Hop Off bus leaves at the main bus stop between the New Palace and the State Museum (Landesmuseum Württemberg). Have your ticket ready to get stamped and then pick a seat downstairs or upstairs.
The headphones have channels in various languages, which you adjust at the back of the seat. I really liked the information that were provided as there are a lot of really interesting historical and fun facts. Definitely give it a try!
With the bus, you can choose to do the full tour, which takes a little less than 2 hours or to get off at various stops along the way. Be aware that the last bus leaves the tourist information at 4:05PM.
10:27AM Pig Museum
Did you know that there’s a pig museum in Stuttgart (Schweinemuseum Stuttgart)? It’s a certainly unique attraction and well worthy of a look. Out front, you can see an old tram painted in pink and with a head of a pig. Perfect for selfies!
Inside, there are three floors and 29 rooms dedicated to the pig. There’s a permanent exhibition with collection items from all around the world and it’s educational too. You can learn about different types of pig, about hog hunting and it’s not just interesting for kids. Plus, there’s a restaurant if you feel peckish.
11:27AM – Cars!
Even if you aren’t an utter car enthusiast, Stuttgart’s Mercedes-Benz Museum is certainly an experience. It looks straight out of the future in its sleek round design and shiny new cars. But it’s not just to show off the design.
The car museum in Stuttgart will take you back in time when cars were seen as devil’s work and the locals kept hounding the innovators and throwing stuff at them to stop. They didn’t and now cars are the new normal.
Are you a football fan as well? Check out the training facility for VfB Stuttgart football club right opposite.
Moreover, the museum also hosts events, such as outdoor cinema screenings, which really are worth a visit as well. Check out the event calendar to see what’s on in Stuttgart.
1:34PM – Wine and Dine
Are you into wine? Then take the bus up to the vinyards and enjoy a glorious view while sipping on a world-class red. Marvel at the fact that even the Old Romans grew wine in the exact same location back in the day. Note that the vineyard is closed on Sundays.
Alternatively, you can also get off at the next stop to enjoy an epic view over the city from the viewing tower (Aussichtsturm Burgholzhof). There are various trails down the hill (Aktivpark Bergheide) and through the vinyards in case you want to stretch your legs.
1:58 Architecture and Landscaping
To really top off a great day exploring the main Stuttgart attractions, get off at Killesberg. It’s one of the most modern and liveable areas in Stuttgart. There’s excellent examples of modern architecture paired with parks, easy access to shopping and dining.
But as a tourist you might not care all that much, so just pass all that and check out the Weissenhof Museum (Weißenhofsiedlung). It was revolutionary back when it was first conceived by a set of non conforming architects, including Le Corbusier, P. Jeanneret , Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Mart Stram.
Many houses were destroyed in WWII but luckily renovated and the Le Corbusier house is now an official museum. Entry is included in the StuttCard and you will learn much more about the area’s history and struggles inside.
Afterwards, walk back to the modern residential area and to the park landscape on the Killesberg mountain. Take a seat on a park bench to just do some people watching, to listen to the wid go through the leaves and shake the flower petals.
Then walk on to the view tower, which is 40.4m high and was built in 2001. There’s a small box where you can pay the 1€ entrance fee before heading up. It’s not for people who have vertigo and gets a slightly shaky at the top.
But the views are glorious. You can see 360° around Stuttgart and really spot the green U-shape of interconnected parks and gardens. Did you know that you can basically just follow the park trail up the hills? Stuttgart can be scenic like that.
When you’re done, you can take the S Bahn from the station Killesberg or walk down to Schlossplatz, which is an hour walk away.
Haven’t quite gotten your museum fix yet? Get to Linden Museum. You only have an hour here before it closes, but it’s like a quick tour to peoples around the world.
This anthropological museum has artifacts and exhibitions on Africa, Asia, the Orient , North and South America as well as Oceania. There are temporary exhibitions too, such as on the Old Aztecs, Hawaiian culture or Japanese cuisine.
After the museum closes, step into the nearby cemetery. I personally love visiting cemeteries in foreign countries as they are all so different and really give you a unique insight into local cultures.
The Hoppenlau-Friedhof is one of the old, weathered kinds and actually the oldest cemetery in Stuttgart’s centre. Take a breather among the weathered plates and worn down details on the intricately carved headstones. The cemetery is from 1626 and was closed in 1880. Now, it’s a park.
6PM Stuttgart Mitte
In Stuttgart’s city centre (called Stuttgart Mitte); many shops close at 8pm instead of 6pm like in many other German towns. So you can go on a quick shopping spree or just do some window shopping to see what is there.
Once you’ve had enough, settle down and replenish your energies. There are plenty of food options in Stuttgart to be had, ranging from international to typical local cuisine. Should you have the StuttCard, you can get an extra dessert if you dine in selected restaurants.
Time your visit right and you can attend a theatre performance, concert or show in town. There’s always something happening in the capital of Baden Wurttemberg, so check before your trip. You can buy tickets online or at the tourist information by the main train station.
Day Trip to Stuttgart Option 2
Start your day fresh with a dip at one of the local thermal baths. Soak in all the healthy minerals, sweat out toxins in the sauna and then refresh in the cooling pools.
Early in the morning, you might find yourself in the midst of water yoga sessions for pensioners (as most people are at work or still sleeping on the weekend). But that also means that the other pools aren’t as crowded either.
Note: With the StuttCard access is included. The chip you get at the entrance, you will use for the lockers inside. If you have a bag with you, skip the small lockers in the front and head straight to the dressing area and then lock your stuff in the large lockers and wear your wrist band with the coin key. Somehow this process confused me a lot and I got it all wrong…
Since you are nearby, why not pay a visit to Wilhelma, the zoological botanical garden in Stuttgart? It’s open early and you might even have it mostly to yourself that way. Take a stroll among the lush gardens and admire animals from all over the world.
If you are really keen on seeing sea lions trained, stay until 11am. Of special interest are the young snow leopards and cimitar oryx, which were born in 2019. Plus, there’s a monkey house and wonderfully lush gardens to admire.
In case you want to retake the blue tour of the Hop On Hop Off bus, you can take the bus from Wilhelma at 10:41AM. Or, you can get back on the S Bahn to Schlossplatz and catch the green line (only operating on weekdays and holidays).
With it, you are taken straight to the famous TV Tower (Fernsehturm). You don’t need a lot of time up here, as there is only the epic view to be had. There’s a small café up on the top if you want to have a coffee too. Should you not have the StuttCard, you can pay and print your TV Tower ticket here so you can skip the line.
After that, wait for the bus or – like I did – walk through the forests and to the rack tram Zackenbahn, which is the next bus stop anyway. The paths are even, the forest is beautiful and the train is regular public transport, which means it’s included in the StuttCard Plus and can be used with a regular ticket as well.
From there, get to the Marienplatz (the end stop). In summer, the Italian Renaissance gardens of the Municipal Lapidarium are open to the public. They feel like a fairy tale landscape with enchanting sculptures in the midst of green trees and colourful flowers.
Then, either take the Hop On Hop Off bus up on the hill or walk up the stairs yourself. It takes only 20 minutes. Welcome to the city park Karlshöhe. There’s a café up on the top with glorious views and trails to walk around the park with some more sculptures.
From here, you can walk down to the statue of Athena and onwards to the church of St John by the lake (Johanneskirche am Feuersee). It’s a pretty little spot to rest before deciding where else to go. Alternatively, you could wait for the Hop On Hop Off bus at the Karlshöhe and take it to the stop of the Furnicular Railway for another unique experience and the second renowned cemetery.
It’s lunch time! Look for a restaurant in town or grab a sandwhich from asupermarket or bakery if you want to stay on the move. Can’t decide? Go the the market hall in the centre and then make your pick with whatever tickles your fancy.
There are several museums begging to be explored in the city centre. Do you feel like looking at art? Hit up the Art Museum. More of a history buff? Visit the Stuttgart State Gallery. A fan of stunning libraries and lots of books? You need to get inside the Stuttgart Library.
It’s sunset time and what better place to see it than from of the viewing points of the city. The Killesberg Tower is a great spot for that but should you not want to make your way up there, walk to the main train station.
The tower is free to visit and has great views too. It’s open until 9pm in summer. In winter, it closes mostly at 6pm. Up on the 9th floor, you can have a drink at the Skybar to settle into the evening.
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