5 Things I Loved about Stuttgart

Stuttgart is not the kind of city that would appear on a Europe-in-20-days itinerary. It’s not exactly the prettiest city and it’s not really famous beyond the borders of Germany.

But still, it might come up on the advanced traveler’s radar for two reasons: It has two airports that might be cheaper to fly into if you want to go to Munich or Frankfurt, because both cities can easily be reached from Stuttgart by train. And speaking of Munich: Everyone and their mother wants to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, but many Bavarian locals actually stopped going in the last years, because the once family-friendly fair was turned into a rather gross giant booze fest by drunk tourists. If you want to experience an authentic Southern German fair though, Stuttgart has the perfect alternative to crowded Oktoberfest: Canstatter Wasen — obviously, including dirndls and those infamous large beers.

Stuttgart, Germany

But even if you hadn’t heard about Stuttgart’s airports or the Oktoberfest alternative, it’s still a great place to visit in Southern Germany. I know, I might be biased as I was born in Baden-Württemberg, the state that has Stuttgart as its capital. Although I only lived there for the first seven years of my life, I have very nostalgic feelings for the adorable local dialect and the food from the Swabia region of Baden-Württemberg. I only return to Swabia every other few years now, but I every time I visit I leave with happy memories and bags full of pretzels (because they are SO much better there!).

Stuttgart, Germany

Stuttgart, Germany

The hearty Swabian comfort food alone is a brilliant reason to visit Stuttgart — Käsespätzle, Maultaschen, Flädlesupp to only mention a few — but as I learned recently, the wine is another highlight: The best (!) glass of white wine I had in 2015 was the Riesling I had on my getaway to Stuttgart three weeks ago! Accompanied by cheesy traditional Swabian pasta, of course.

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

And in other things I loved about Stuttgart:

1. The library of dreams

I stumbled upon a list of the most beautiful libraries in the world a while back and was half-shocked to find Stuttgart on that list. It seemed like a bit of a random place for such a gorgeous library — but yes, it’s really true, Stuttgart has the most stylish modern library I have ever seen and I basically want to move in now. Isn’t it SO gorgeous?

Stuttgart City Library

Stuttgart City Library

Stuttgart City Library

Stuttgart City Library

Stuttgart City Library

Stuttgart City Library

2. Coffee at Eight Days a Week

Coffee is the only thing I meticulously research before visiting a (new) city. And I was thrilled to learn that the third wave is slowly arriving in Stuttgart as well: Eight Days a Week is a tiny whole-in-the-wall coffee shop, but with flat whites on the menu and beans roasted by my favorite coffee shop in Berlin, size really wasn’t an issue — especially since it was sunny enough to sit outside! (Another advantage of Southern Germany: They have so much more sunshine down there!)

Stuttgart, Germany

3. Feuersee

Although the German name translates into “fire lake”, this place is only a tiny pond in the western part of Stuttgart. But as there is the most gorgeous neo-Gothic church built on a small peninsula, this little pond is the perfect spot photograph and take a little break, watching the reflections change and the ducks and swans swimming by. I loved visiting in the fall and I can only imagine how gorgeous this spot must be in the spring or on a snowy winter morning.

Stuttgart, Germany

Stuttgart, Germany

4. Café Moulu

This cozy café has everything you’d want a neighborhood corner café to have: Window seats, a book swap, newspapers, huge café au laits, and a very local feel. Only a short walk from the Feuersee, it’s a great place for an afternoon treat and a little break from the busy city center in a more residential area of town.

Stuttgart, Germany

5. A Day Trip to Esslingen

Like many of Germany’s bigger cities, Stuttgart was severely affected by the war and was then quickly rebuilt in the age of concrete. So to be honest, although Stuttgart has a castle and a few neat houses, it’s really not too pretty as a city. But that’s nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a little day trip to the adorable neighborhood city of Esslingen. I feel like I could have written an entire blog post just a about Esslingen alone, and I might not do Stuttgart justice by writing about the beautiful city next door, but I just wanted to include it in this list, because it was such a highlight of my 48 hours in Baden-Württemberg.

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen is just the charming little city you have in mind when dreaming of Southern Germany: Cobbled lanes, crooked half-timbered houses, quaint cafés and all that surrounded by stunning vineyards. It’s the perfect place for a Sunday stroll — and a glass of delicious wine in the sun! Also, I totally have to come back for the (medieval!) Christmas market, it almost looks too magical to be true!

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Esslingen (near Stuttgart), Germany

Has Stuttgart ever been on your travel radar?

 

More helpful Germany city guides (and coffee favorites): My favorite places in Berlin and how to see Berlin in a day, the best places to drink coffee in Hamburg and other great things to do in Hamburg, sightseeing highlights in Bremen, things to love about Frankfurt, sightseeing in rural Lower Saxony, oh, and everything you need to know about German Christmas markets

 

  • My family spent a night in Stuttgart years ago when we were traveling from Salzburg back to Paris on our big European vacation. We didn’t get to see much of the city then, but this is making me really wish we had had more time there – your pictures are so gorgeous!

    • JulikaSarah

      Thanks so much, Kaity! I love that you randomly ended up in Stuttgart on your travels already! 🙂

  • THAT LIBRARY. I want to go to there!

    • JulikaSarah

      I know right!!

  • Veena

    That library looks amazing! I stumbled across that same Travel & Leisure list earlier this year and have been plotting how I can visit a few of them. And trust me, Stuttgart, Germany, is a lot prettier than Stuttgart, Arkansas! Lovely photos 🙂

    • JulikaSarah

      I had no idea there is a Stuttgart in Arkansas, so random! Hope you make it to (German) Stuttgart soon, Veena! 🙂

  • Gorgeous photos! Oh man, that library looks unreal.

    • JulikaSarah

      Thanks Edna! It’s even better in real life!

  • food_photo_rtw

    I had no idea Stuttgart is so beautiful!! And seriously this library?? I move in with you 🙂

    • JulikaSarah

      Library roomies, I love it 🙂

  • Prathap Nair

    Beautiful pictures Julika! I hope to be in Stuttgart someday 🙂

    • JulikaSarah

      Hope you make it there one day, Prathap!

  • I am in love with your photos of that library!! So futuristic and clean and bright.

    • JulikaSarah

      Thanks Trevor, my photos don’t even do it any justice! 🙂

  • Jac

    I really like the water reflection photo! And Julika I’m likely to be spending more time in Europe in 2016, and I do want to explore places which are less on the tourist radar, am keeping an eye on your posts and maybe we can meet up some time 🙂

    • JulikaSarah

      Ahh so exciting, Jac! I would love to see you again! I live right in-between Hamburg, Berlin, and Frankfurt, so I really hope you end up somewhere close by 🙂

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  • Hannah

    Your photos are so beautiful they make me want to book a flight immediately! What camera are you using these days?

    • JulikaSarah

      Thanks Hannah! I’m still using my old set-up with a Nikon D3100 and a 50mm lens 🙂