Stuttgart

Stuttgart is the capital of the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg in Germany. With a population of approximately 591,000 in the immediate city and more than 3.5 million people in the metropolitan area, Stuttgart is the 6th largest city in Germany.

Stuttgart is known as a centre of mechanical and automobile engineering with the headquarters of the world famous Bosch, Mercedes and Porsche within its metropolitan area. That said, it does not resemble most other industry hubs, as it is a rather sparse city spread over many hills and valleys, with forests, parks and even vineyards within the city.

Understand

The subdivisions of Stuttgart

Stuttgart consists of 23 districts (Stadtbezirke), which are further divided into no less than 152 localities (Stadtteile). The five inner districts are quite obviously named Mitte, Nord, Ost, Süd and West ("centre", "North", "East", "South" and "West", respectively). The outer districts are mostly former towns with their own names - of note are Zuffenhausen (Porsche headquarters and museum) and Bad Canstatt (headquarters of Daimler-Benz and Mercedes-Welt, as well as sports arenas sponsored by both Porsche and Mercedes).

Despite being one of the smaller and most densely populated among major German cities (when looking at the statistics), Stuttgart appears anything but. This is because the population is not concentrated in the, relatively small and hardly "metropolitan", centre, but is quite evenly spread over the hills contained within the city area, with multiple population centres stemming from the small towns that were incorporated into the present-day Stuttgart. Therefore, you will find many points of interest quite far away from each other and the use of Stuttgart's very convenient public transport system quite necessary.

Language

Stuttgarters are amazingly friendly people who will forgive you if German isn't your first or second (or any) language. If you do speak German well: beware that many people speak the local Schwäbisch dialect natively, which may somewhat affect their standard German. They love to practice other languages (especially English) and will try to help you. Stuttgart is a big city with a small-town atmosphere.

Get in

By plane

Plan of Stuttgart Airport and adjacent fairgrounds (Messe Stuttgart)

  Stuttgart Airport (IATA: STR) (Flughafen). is the 6th busiest airport in Germany, reflecting the city's size and importance. It is situated on the southern outskirts of the city and connected via local rail (S-Bahn) and in the future will also be connected to mainline high-speed railway.

Airlines and destinations

The airport is a base for Lufthansa's low-fare sister airline Germanwings and a major focus city for airBerlin. Moreover, most major European carriers have connections to Stuttgart from their main hubs, so there is a wide choice of direct flights to other German and European cities, and even if there is no direct flight from your origin, you will easily find a connection through any of the hubs.

Moreover, Stuttgart's main railway station (Hauptbahnhof) is just an hour away by high-speed train (ICE) from Frankfurt Airport, which is one of Europe's major aviation hubs. Many airlines offer flights to Frankfurt with a connecting train to Stuttgart instead of direct flights to Stuttgart, and as this is very quick and convenient (landing you in the very city center), you should consider this option as well.

Delta Air Lines has non-stop service from Atlanta to Stuttgart. United Airlines has daily non-stop service from Newark / New York City. American Airlines offers codeshare service from Frankfurt Airport on the ICE high-speed trains to the Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof (IATA: ZWS). These tickets are often cheaper than buying a flight solely to Frankfurt, despite having the additional segment.

Additionally, there is a significant charter/holiday traffic between Stuttgart and the popular holiday destinations in southern Europe and North Africa, mostly served by dedicated carriers such as TUIfly. On balance, there is relatively small presence of low-fare carriers other than Germanwings - neither Ryanair, Easyjet, Wizz Air or Norwegian fly to Stuttgart.

Ground transportation

The best way to get from Stuttgart airport to the city centre is by using public transport which is clean, cheap and safe.

The concourse of Terminal 1
Terminals and orientation

Stuttgart Airport nominally has four terminals (numbered 1 to 4), but in fact Terminals 1 to 3 share a common airside - the number of the terminal indicates in which concourse the check-in and luggage drop-off is located in the main hall (1 is the westernmost concourse area, the 3 is the eastern one and the 2 is between the main concourse). Terminal 4 is separate, although connected by a walkway on the landside (NOT on the airside, so you have to make sure you go through security there if you fly from Terminal 4).

Departures are one level above arrivals and two levels above the S-Bahn station. See the airport's terminal guide for detailed floor plans.

Hotels

There is a Moevenpick and a Wyndham Hotel at the airport. For nearby hotels, some with shuttle service (for a fee) see Leinfelden-Echterdingen and Filderstadt.

The main building (Bonatzbau) of Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof, with the tower and the rotating Mercedes-Benz star atop it

By train

see also: rail travel in Germany

  main station (Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof). is in the very center of Stuttgart. Timetables for trains and booking are available on the webpages of Deutsche Bahn AG. Stuttgart main station is currently being redesigned (while still running) for the somewhat controversial "Stuttgart 21" project. Once the project is completed Stuttgart main station will have transformed from a terminus to a through station with faster connections in most directions. For getting on from Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof and around in the city of Stuttgart itself, see Public Transportation below.

By bus

The long-distance bus market is exploding in Germany, since a new law was passed in 2013. There are dozens of daily services from most major cities, which are often significantly cheaper than trains. Most buses offer amenities like Wi-Fi and power outlets and some can even transport bicycles. The best resource for checking connections is this German website. The central bus station (ZOB) in Stuttgart is closed, because of the construction of the railway station, so the buses stop in different suburbs with access to the public transportation:

By car

Stuttgart has the inglorious title of being Germany's traffic jam capital, so try to avoid the rush-hour as car traffic can easily break down. Also parking is definitely a problem in most inner city areas. Expect a lack of parking facilities and high parking fees. Stuttgart is connected by the two major autobahns, the west/east-highway A8 to the south and the north/south-highway A81 to the west as well as smaller autobahn-like highways B10, B14, B27. Generally, follow the sign "Stuttgart Zentrum" to get to the center of Stuttgart.

Get around

Orientation

Stuttgart has a very compact city center with most destinations in walking distances. Nearly all visitors arrive at the main train station (Hauptbahnhof). From there the remarkable 1,2 km long pedestrian shopping street called “Königstraße” leads through the heart of the city, passing the Schlossplatz with the amazing New Palace, to the Rotebühlplatz (Stadtmitte). Other main sights (e.g. museums, opera) are just around the corner.

A map of the S-Bahn and U-Bahn networks in Stuttgart

Public transportation

Stuttgart's public transportation system comprises two light rail system - the Stadtbahn (or U-Bahn) and Schnellbahn (S-Bahn), as well as a city bus system. It is managed by VVS and is fully integrated in that there is one fare and ticketing system for all forms of transit, so that a single ticket can be used on any mixture of buses and trains that may be required to complete the journey

The VVS's network called is divided in zones. The city of Stuttgart is only Zone 10 (inner city) and 20 (outer city). Most lines will lead via Hauptbahnhof, ending in a layout that is pretty centralized: If you want to go somewhere, chances are, you have to ride via Hauptbahnhof. The following Stadtbahn or S-Bahn stations are located in the heart of the city: Hauptbahnhof, Schlossplatz, Charlottenplatz, Stadtmitte (Rotebühlplatz), Feuersee, Rathaus, Staatsgalerie and Berliner Platz (Liederhalle). For a complete description see the official map of VVS-network

From Sunday to Wednesday public transportation stops around 1AM in the night. On the weekend the S-Bahn is running hourly the whole night on all lines. So the inner city route from Hauptbahnhof to Schwabstraße is connected frequently. Additionally there are several night buses running, all starting from the Schlossplatz. On Thursdays there are night buses at 1:20, 2:30, 3:40. Be careful if you have a very early airplane since there are no connections weekdays to the airport in the early morning between 1 and 5.

A Stadtbahn train on a tram-like section of line U4

U-Bahn (Stadtbahn)

Stuttgart's Stadtbahn is a combination of suburban light rail, tramway/streetcar system and underground metro (subway). In the very centre of the city, the tracks run underground, and the overground sections run along city streets, partially grade-separated and partially integrated into city streets like tramways. That way, the yellow carriages of the Stadtbahn can travel all the way from the suburban hillsides to the central hub by the Hauptbahnhof, allowing convenient commuting with minimal amounts of changes.

To distinguish the Stadtbahn from the suburban trains of the Schnellbahn, it is referred to as U-Bahn, and its lines numbered from U1 to U15. U-Bahn stands for underground/metro/subway in most other cities in German-speaking countries, even though in Stuttgart it runs underground over only a small portion of the network.

All of the U-Bahn lines go through the underground section in the city centre, stopping at either the Hauptbahnhof, Charlottenplatz or both - with the exception of line U3, which goes from Vaihingen to Plieningen in the south of Stuttgart without crossing the city centre. The numbers U11 and U19 are reserved for special lines only operating during major events in the Neckarpark. The U10 moniker is reserved for the Zahnradbahn (see below).

The red S-Bahn train in Plochingen

S-Bahn (Schnellbahn)

The Schnellbahn (or S-Bahn), literally meaning "fast railway", is a system of regional trains operated by the Deutsche Bahn for VVS. They run over mainline and railway track sections separate from the Stadtbahn, with fewer stops/stations and reaching farther beyond the city that the Stadtbahn. As the S-Bahn is separate from the U-Bahn, not all stations are integrated - there are S-Bahn stations with no connections to the U-Bahn system. That said, they are covered by the same ticket/fare system and compliment itself well.

You will most probably find the S-Bahn most convenient to use when covering larger distances or getting to locations not served by the U-Bahn, like the airport or Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen. The S-Bahn lines are numbered from S1 to S6, plus the extra line S60.

All of the lines travel through the so-called Stammstrecke (common track) in the city centre, between the Schwabstrasse station and the Hauptbahnhof. From there, the lines extend in all directions towards the extremities of Stuttgart. Of particular interest are the S2 and S3, which extend to the Airport. Both go through the city centre to Bad Canstatt and split in Waiblingen towards their separate termini. Do note that while the airport station (Flughafen) is the terminus for S3, the S2 continues to Filderstadt beyond the airport.

Zahnradbahn and Seilbahn

The Zahnradbahn arriving at its terminus in Marienplatz

There are two fascinating transportations in Stuttgart, which are worth riding just because of the vehicle. The rack-railway (Zahnradbahn, commonly called Die Zacke) is the only urban rack-railway in Germany and comes with an amazing view over Stuttgart. It has 8 stations and runs between its termini:

The historic cable-car (Standseilbahn) line connects Stuttgart-Heslach with the Waldfriedhof cemetery on the hill. It only has two stations - one downhill and one uphill:

Both rack-railway and cable-car do not require a special ticket, instead all normal tickets valid in Zone 10 (including day tickets) are valid.

Tickets and fares

Several Ticket option are available: 2015

Note that in the Stadtbahn and the buses stamping machines are available inside the cars, while on the S-Bahn they are located at the entrances of the stations and there is no possibility to stamp once you are in the train. (If you do forget to stamp your ticket in the S-Bahn, either get out at the next station, stamp and wait for the following train, or write the current time and location on the stamping field with a non-erasable pencil – this will also be accepted by the inspectors most of the time.)

Fare-dodging is severely frowned upon and plain-clothes inspectors are on constant patrol. Fines are steep, starting at €40 per person for the first offense.

By car

Pedestrian zone in Stuttgart

If you intend to drive by car inside Stuttgart, the only possibility to park are parking blocks at about €1.50 per hour. Some parking blocks are closed during late night, providing no way of getting your car out. The street layout and numerous tunnels in Stuttgart can be confusing for tourists. Driving by car is not recommended.

By taxi

Taxis are expensive. For €10 you will get about 4 minutes of a taxi drive. With two or more people, getting a taxi together at night (when public transportation has stopped) can make sense. Call a taxi in Stuttgart: Phone Nr. 0711/55 10 000 - Taxi-Auto-Zentrale Stuttgart

See

Stuttgart, once owned a reputation of the conservative capital in the south-west, turned into a bustling metropolis with world-class culture, great shopping and night-life. The capital’s architecture is an appealing mixture of historical and modern buildings with green parks and even vineyards throughout the city. The unique cauldron-shaped landscape offers plenty scenic outlooks and formed a dense city center where nowadays fortunately most of Stuttgart's main attractions are located. In the heart of the city center the Palace Square is a must for visitors and an ideal starting point for a tour.

City Centre

Neues Schloss seen from across the Schlossplatz
Panorama of the courtyard of Altes Schloss
Panorama of the Schillerplatz

Close to centre

Johanneskirche at Feuersee
Neue Bibliothek at night

Farther out

Schloss Solitude
The Kursaal in Bad Canstatt's Kurpark

Museums

Stuttgart is home of a wide range of very good museums including 5 state museums and two automobile museums.

The glass box of the Kunstmuseum is an architectural highlight in itself
Lindenmuseum in Hegelplatz
Mercedes Benz Museum
Porsche Museum by night

Towers and scenic outlooks

The Fernsehturm in full moon

Stuttgart is picturesquely located in a valley surrounded by green hills, which the locals call Kessel, or a cauldron. Therefore, one of the main attractions are the views from the hillsides and hilltops around the city. There are several options to enjoy an extraordinary view over the Swabian capital:

Parks and gardens

"Das Grüne U": Most of Stuttgart's many parks and gardens are usually referred to by locals as "das Grüne U" (the green "U") because of the U-shaped form in which they are located around the city centre. They form a long and beautiful path around the city, starting at the Schlossgarten at the northern façade of the new palace (Neues Schloss), continuing through Rosensteinpark with the natural history museum and a rear entrance to Wilhelma (the zoo), and ending in Killesberg Park. Walking at a reasonable pace, you can walk the entire circuit in about 2 hours. There are beer gardens (look for Biergarten signs) and restaurants along the way, and the Killesberg Park is a real treat. It was designed for a huge botanical expo several years ago and remains a truly stunning park, especially in spring when in full bloom. If you're interested in architecture, be sure not to miss the structural engineering wonder Killesberg Tower, a minimalistic steel construction composed of one central support and a cable outer support system.

Rail transport systems

Stuttgart Cable Car

Do

The picturesque Wilhelma

Culture

Stuttgart Opera House

Sports

Porsche Arena, home of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix and other events

Seasonal Festivals

Cannstatter Volksfest

Around Stuttgart

From Stuttgart you can arrange many nice day trips:

Buy

Königstraße, seen from the Bahnhofsturm

Shopping around the Königstraße

The main shopping street in Stuttgart is the Königstraße which starts at the main railway station. Left and right of Königstraße are interesting shops, too, but Königstraße is a good startpoint for navigation in the inner city. Stores and shops usually open their doors from 10AM to 8PM Monday to Saturday.

Big department stores/shopping malls

The main building of Breuninger may not be beautiful, but its brutalist glory became one of the symbols of Stuttgart's wellbeing

Clothing

Music stores

Inside the Markthalle

Food markets

There are weekly food markets in almost every district. Days and opening times vary a lot. To get an overview on the website of Stuttgarter Wochenmärkte

Eat

There are restaurants all over Stuttgart. The traditional Swabian cuisine with onion-topped roast pork, think noodles called "Spätzle" or Maultaschen (stuffed noodles) is very tasty. Of course there are also restaurants serving styles from many other parts of the world.

Stuttgart publishes a book annually entitled "Stuttgart geht aus" (Stuttgart goes out). This is available at most book stores on Königstrasse (e.g. Wittwer). This book, published in German, is a great guide to restaurants in the city.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Breakfast

In the morning, locals definitely want to get some fresh bread (and brezels and broetchen [bread rolls/buns]) from the baker's shop and serve them with butter, cheese, ham, honey, jam and eggs from the fridge. Many locals and visitors will enjoy breakfast at the bakery itself, in the "Stehcafe" - literally, "standing cafe". These are usually a corner of the shop with tall tables which you stand at rather than sit at. Orange juice together with coffee or tea or hot chocolate will fit nicely. The breakfast in hotels will also look more or less that way.

You can also order this breakfast setup in some or the other cafe or pub, but you'd have to know the good places at first, if you don't want to end up with a poor dish. There are 2 Starbucks Coffee Shops along Königstraße (a 3rd to open soon on the high-end districk on Calwer Straße). But don't look for low-fat muffin or cream cheese options.

Drink

In the past years Stuttgart has developed a vibrant nightlife with many clubs and pubs in the heart of the city. The most popular street for clubbing is the Theodor-Heuss-Straße ("Theo"). Several bars, clubs and lounges have opened here. During the summer, there are also many opportunities to have a drink outside. In the "Theo" you can listen to good house, drum'n'base, hiphop and other kinds of electronic music. However it is not always easy to get into most clubs because of the restritictive door policy!

For a more laid back atmosphere try the area surrounding the "Hans-im-Glück" ("Lucky Hans") fountain just a stone's throw from Königsstraße. In this charming quarter in Stuttgart's old town centre many pubs and bars are crammed next to each other. Especially in the summer months a unique southern flair mixed with a great party scene with open-minded people make this area special.

Concerts, Nightclubs and Events are covered by local magazines (generally not in English). Try Lift and Prinz.

Because drinking in public is still legal in Germany budget-travellers can save some money if they buy their drinks at a supermarket. A beer is there e.g. only 0.50€ compared to 3€ and more in pubs. There are two of the REWE supermarkets at the beginning and the end of the Königstraße. There you can buy cheap snacks, softdrinks and alcoholics from Monday to Saturday up till 10PM. Lots of young people do so and hang around the beautiful Schlossplatz.

Bars and Pubs

Clubs

Gay & Lesbian

Sleep

Old Town Hall in Stuttgart-Plieningen

To stay in the city centre (Mitte) around the Königstraße is probably the nicest, but also most expensive option. Still in walking distance are the beautiful districts of West and Süd. Other accommodations further out in the districts Nord, Canstatt, Feuerbach or Vaihingen are perfectly reachable by public transport. If you intend to arrive by car check at the hotel for parking possibilities. If you have an early morning flight, it is possible to spend the night in the airport, as check-in areas stay open at night.

Budget

Haus der Wirtschaft, a conference centre and seat of the Ministry of Economy of Baden-Wurtemberg

Mid-range

Panorama of the Börsenplatz

Splurge

Connect

The main telecommunications provider in Germany is Deutsche Telekom which trades under the names of T-Home (for landline phones), T-Online (for Internet connections) and T-Mobile for mobile communications. Anything relating to these companies are easily identified by the bright pink "T" logo. There are often shops in German towns called "T-Punkt" (Literally T-Point) where you can buy cell phones and get other information.

Net

Stay safe

Stuttgart is quite safe. Even at night one may walk alone through the city without fear. One rare exception is the central city park, which should be avoided during late night hours. Of course, always use common sense when walking in a foreign city at night. The biggest danger for a pedestrian in Stuttgart is probably the cars.

Go next

By train

For connections and timetables see webpages of Deutsche Bahn AG.

For connections to nearer cities in the area which may be worth a visit (e.g. Esslingen, Ludwigsburg with their historic centres), you may also try the "S-Bahn" commuter trains which will take you there and back at least every half an hour. See Public transportation above for more information and timetable links. Other nearby cities that may be of interest include Tübingen and Reutlingen.

Take the superfast ICE trains to get to other German cities quickly

Fast inner-German connections

From main station Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof:

The Hauptbahnhof of Stuttgart is undergoing a massive redevelopment to change the direction of tracks and allow even faster long-distance connections

Fast European connections

From main station Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof:

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 28, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.