The city of Stuttgart, founded in the tenth century AD, is on the travel map of many Israelis, and many times they combine a stop there with a stop in other German cities. Stuttgart is a very large city with over half a million inhabitants and is located in the southwestern part of Germany, north of Munich and Freiburg, only 75 km from the border with France and 120 km from the border with Switzerland. The city is very prominent in its importance in the economic field and is known for its thriving automobile industry. Quite a few car manufacturing plants operate there, including Porsche and Daimler AG, which are responsible for the production of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
Stuttgart attracts many young people thanks to its two successful universities – the University of Stuttgart and the University of Hohenheim – as well as thanks to its seven colleges with the multitudes of students studying in them. It is a multicultural city, with 40 percent of its residents being immigrants. Tensions between them and the local population, the natives of the city, are hardly felt (compared to other cities) which makes it a very inviting and pleasant city. Stuttgart offers its visitors a wide variety of fascinating museums and many activities for all ages. The quality of life in the city is considered among the highest in Germany, but the cost of living there is also relatively high.
From a tourist point of view, Stuttgart is a center of attraction for many, including Israelis, who enjoy a short or long vacation there in almost every season. Being located in the Baden-Württemberg region, the city is surrounded by dense forests, charming green hills and quite a few vineyards, which decorate it from all sides. This is a city that has known many upheavals and changes throughout history, which are reflected, among other things, in the special buildings and interesting architecture.
In Stuttgart you can find a wide and varied selection of accommodation solutions, befitting a large, important and very touristic city. There are quite a few hotels in Stuttgart, scattered throughout the city, as well as holiday apartments, Airbnb apartments, hostels and other accommodation solutions, suitable for different styles of vacation. Most of them are right in the center of the city and allow very easy and convenient access to all the sites and attractions in it, and some are located in more distant areas. It is highly recommended to book accommodation in advance due to the high demand, both in the summer months, between June and August and around Christmas, when many visitors, Germans from other cities and travelers from other countries arrive.
The cuisine that characterizes the southern part of Germany is a very pampering and comforting cuisine. In many restaurants around Stuttgart you can find great dishes from the local cuisine, good traditional dishes that warm the stomach on the cold winter days that characterize the region. Like, pork together with potatoes, sausages of all kinds known as a traditional food all over the country, the famous lowland noodles and also hot and good soups. There are reputable and well-invested luxury restaurants in the city, Michelin restaurants, and also cheap fast food chains. In Stuttgart, you can find restaurants from various international cuisines, including Asian, French, Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, and even kosher Jewish food. The farmers’ markets in Stuttgart are an opportunity to try the excellent local dishes and also to purchase fresh ingredients, which come directly from the neighboring farmers.
Stuttgart is packed with tourists, who flock to it throughout the year to enjoy everything it has to offer. At many points around the city you can find interesting buildings, fascinating museums and stopping points that you should definitely include during your visit. Some attractions are suitable for families with children and some tell the long story of the beautiful city.
Tip – for those planning a short or long stay in Stuttgart, StuttCard is an excellent solution. This card gives you discounts and free entry to museums, the many leisure facilities in the city and even the mineral baths of Stuttgart. There are different types of cards, which differ from each other during their validity. The tickets provide a discount for guided tours in the city, to the selected cinemas there, for drinks and desserts in the leading restaurants there and more. Another option is the StuttCard PLUS card, which gives its holders free travel on public transport in the city, in any area of it. The card is valid for travel on both buses and trains. The card is valid for 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours. The price of the regular StuttCard, without the public transport ride, is €18, €25 or €30, while the price of the StuttCard PLUS is €27, €38 or €48. Please note: the card is not transferable and is only valid with an ID (passport or driver’s license). If the card is not used, no refund will be given.
Here is a short overview of attractions in Stuttgart that warrant a stop:
Mercedes-Benz Museum – it is considered one of the city’s favorite attractions and for good reason. The Mercedes-Benz Automobile Museum covers, and in a comprehensive manner, the long and rich history of the well-known Mercedes-Benz brand and its associated brands. The brand’s factory currently operates in Stuttgart, so there is nothing more natural than locating this museum there. The current museum building, located outside the factory gates in Stuttgart, was designed by UN Studios and is reminiscent of an engine in shape. The construction of the building was completed in May 2006, when it was opened to the public for the first time. The museum offers visitors free audio tours in a variety of languages and the possibility of going on an organized tour of the nearby engine factory. On average, this museum is visited by close to a million people every year.
Porsche Museum – this is also an important and prominent museum in the city, which glorifies the long history of the famous German automobile brand – Porsche. The original Porsche Museum was opened in 1976 and was located near the Porsche factories. A limited number of exhibits were shown there and the parking lot next to it was relatively small. After the reopening of the Mercedes-Benz Museum, it was decided to upgrade and expand the old museum, which opened in East Stuttgart in January 2009, when the cost of the renovations was about one hundred million euros. The museum presents a spectacular permanent exhibition and teaches a lot about the brand and its long history. The museum, which is located outside the Porsche headquarters, has a huge exhibition area of 5,600 square meters with over 80 different exhibits and rare cars, including a variety of extremely old car models.
Wilhelma – Wilhelma is a zoological-botanical garden in Stuttgart, considered one of the most popular destinations in Baden-Württemberg, with over two million visitors each year. The place has been operating since 1846, while its current design has existed since 1960. The garden itself includes an area of about 30 dunams and contains 11,500 animals from around the world, consisting of about 1,200 different species of animals. In addition, it also has about 6,000 different plants, which characterize a variety of climates. Among Germany’s zoos, the collection of animals in Buellhelme is second only to the Berlin Zoo. You can see gorillas in it, rejected by their mother and raised by local workers, when they reach the age of two or three, they are returned to their original zoo.
Ludwigsburg Residental Palace – This impressive palace, also known as the “Versailles of Swabia” (being a little reminiscent of the famous Versailles Palace) is, in fact, a large complex of palaces, which includes 18 buildings in all together 452 rooms. The total area of the complex, including the gardens adjacent to the buildings, is about 79 dunams, making it the largest estate in the country. There are four different wings in the palace complex, the oldest of which was used for residential purposes, the eastern and western wings were used by the court and also for guest quarters, while the southern one was for the storage of various officials in the court and later also as a residence. The construction of the palace complex began in 1704 and over the years various personalities lived there. The gardens on site are an attraction in themselves, which add glamor and color and include, within its framework, many elements that contribute to the atmosphere.
The New Palace (Neues Schloss) – This palace is a baroque palace from the 18th century and is one of the largest palaces built in southern Germany. The new palace is located in the center of Stuttgart and it is possible to go on guided tours of it by special arrangement, as it contains several government offices. In the past the palace was the residence of the kings of Württemberg and today it is considered a very prominent attraction in the city. After Wilhelm II of Württemberg abdicated on November 20, 1918, the palace became the property of the state. In 1918, the German Foreign Ministry used the ground floor and its garden wing to house its offices and exhibition halls, with some of the floors (the first and second) becoming the headquarters of the local police in the early 1920s. In April 1920, the future president of Germany, Richard von Weitzker, was born in the attic of the palace and when the German Foreign Ministry left it in 1928, the unused parts of the palace were converted into military museums with various ancient finds. In 1926, the police headquarters also left it. The place burned almost to the ground following aerial bombings in February 1944 and only its facade remained standing. For many years the preservationists fought to rebuild it until in 1957 it was finally decided that it would be completely rebuilt. Since the restoration that began in 1958, the building has been used by the state government, with the only part of the palace not fully restored being an air raid shelter located underneath the building. Today, the place is used by the ministries of finance and education and is open to the public as part of guided tours.
The Stuttgart Art Museum (Staatsgalerie Stuttgart) – The Stuttgart Art Museum, also known as the “State Gallery” was opened to the public for the first time in 1843. The place itself was designed by James Sterling, planning and design that made it one of the leading museums in Europe. Originally, the building served as the Royal School of Art, but after the building was severely damaged during World War II, it was rebuilt between 1945 and 1947 and reopened in 1948. The museum displays a wide variety of spectacular art collections: paintings by German artists from the 1300s 1550, paintings by Italian artists from the years 1300-1800, paintings by Dutch artists from the years 1500-1700 and also art from the Baroque period and Impressionist and Romantic art.
Killesbergpark – This is a lovely public park in the city, considered a wonderful green bubble to escape from the daily hassles and the noise and chaos typical of big cities. The length of the park is about half a square kilometer and it attracts many visitors. The park was first opened in 1939 and stood on a large area that was a quarry. Over time it became a permanent park, with exhibitions and events that took place there throughout the week. In 2007 the park moved to new land near the airport of Stuttgart. Every year, in the month of July, the park hosts a spectacular event – Lichterfest, which includes the lighting of thousands of lanterns around it and spectacular decorations. In addition, after dark, there are fireworks shows accompanied by music as well as many activities for the whole family.
The city library of Stuttgart (Stattbibliothek Stuttgart) – this special library is an attraction in itself for various reasons. It belongs to the city’s Ministry of Culture and it includes the central library and 17 municipal district libraries. In 2017 it received the National Award as Library of the Year and for good reason. Between 1965 and 2011, the central library was located in Wilhelmsplais, which was built between 1834 and 1840 and served as the residence of the King of Württemberg. In 2011, the library was moved to the new Stadtbibliothem am Mailander Platz, designed in the form of a cube and designed by Un Yang Yi.
The Museum of Modern Art (Kunstmuseum Stuttgaet) – this special museum, which was first opened to the public in 2005, is a museum of contemporary and modern art. The museum building looks like a large glass cube, the limestone walls of which are lit from the inside, and it has an exhibition area of 5,000 square meters. The place was designed by the architect Hatcher Vajela and contains particularly important art collections by the artist Otto Dix as well as works by the artists Wiley Baumeister, Adolf Holzel, Dirt Roth and more.
It is very easy to get around the city using regular and accessible public transportation, but many travelers choose to do so by renting a car. Renting a car in Stuttgart can suit mainly all those who wish to leave the city and travel in nearby areas or in more distant destinations and enjoy great independence. The rented car can be picked up at one of the offices of the car rental companies or directly at the airport, after landing.
As of today, there are no direct flights from Israel to Stuttgart, however, for those who wish to visit it, a very wide variety of flights with intermediate stops are offered. These flights depart from Ben Gurion Airport in Israel and continue to other European destinations for a short stopover, followed by a direct flight to Stuttgart Airport. The flights are offered throughout the year and in a wide range of prices. The airlines that operate these flights are Swiss, LOT, Pegasus, Air France, Lufthansa and more. The airport of Stuttgart is known as a large and very busy field and every year more than 10 million people pass through it. It is only 13 km from the city and is connected to it through convenient and available transportation solutions.
Stuttgart is suitable for a visit in any season of the year. In the summer months, between June and August, many tourists arrive there who want to enjoy the warm and pleasant weather and the many events held there during this period. In the winter months, and similar to other European cities, the city offers an unusual winter charm, which you can find in its charming Christmas markets. Although it is very cold in the city, this festive atmosphere warms the heart and so do the preparations for the holiday.
For those who choose to fly to Stuttgart, you should take into account special events, which are recommended to include during the visit:
Every year during the months of August and September, and for about two weeks, Stuttgart attracts crowds of visitors, local residents and tourists, to a great wine festival, which includes a variety of events. In the square – Stuttgarte Windorf, retailers, confectioners and winemakers present their products and serve them to visitors. This wine festival is considered one of the best wine festivals in Germany, with regional specialties and a very wide selection of excellent wines from the region. During the 12 days of the event, guests are presented with a wide-ranging program, which includes family fun days, talks about wine and local tradition, wine tastings and more.