* Prices may differ from that shown
We always tend to think of camping as a rural pastime, and there's no doubt that that can be very enjoyable, but camping can also provide a low cost option for visiting a city such as Stuttgart. We spent a couple of weeks in Germany in our motor home in July/August 2013, and opted for a couple of days in Stuttgart, mostly so that the male half of the family could visit the Mercedes Benz museum and go on one of their factory tours. The Cannstater Wasen campsite in Stuttgart turned out to be the perfect choice.
The campsite is located between the river Neckar and the Cannstater Wasen itself - a massive showground which, when we were there, seemed to be in the process of disassembling one beer festival and readying itself for the next. The site is open all year round, and most of it is hard standing, with a small grass area for tents. It is a little difficult to find, and the postcode puts it on Mercedesstrasse, which is on the other side of the fairground. We had to lap it a couple of times before we managed to find and follow a campsite sign, but it was worth the trouble.
It's not the most organised site, there aren't numbered pitches, you just find a space you like the look of, and see if you can find an electrical point to plug into (you can pay less if you choose not to have electricity, so if you do want the hook up, one of the campsite staff will come along and unlock the electricity box for you so that you can plug your cable in). The facilities are unspectacular but all you need: a clean sanitary block, and a small café/bar which we didn't try out. There is a little shop selling the basics, and as at many european campsites you can order fresh bread and pastries for the following day from reception. The site is clean and well kept and the staff are all very friendly.
The price you pay is made up of different elements, for example each night you would pay Euro7.50 for a motorhome, Euro6.50 per person, Euro3.50 per child and Euro1.50 for electrical connection. You can find the site on the internet http://www.campingplatz-stuttgart.de and you can opt to read the site in English. It is also possible to reserve a place by emailing them.
The site is ideally placed for visiting Stuttgart. As already mentioned, it is just across the showground from Mercedesstrasse, home of the Porsche Arena and Mercedes Benz Arena, and at the end of that street is the amazingly futuristic Mercedes Benz museum. Check out their website, it is also possible to book two different tours of their manufacturing plants, and some of these are in English. You don't have to pick your way across the showground and then down the busy road to get to the museum, you can also get there by walking or cycling along beside the river.
Just a ten minute walk in the other direction, along the same green path by the river, you cross the footbridge to get to the Leuze Bad, an amazing mineral baths where we spent a lovely morning. Only another ten minutes on is the world famous Wilhelmina zoo, which is well worth visiting.
It is possible also to walk into the centre of Stuttgart and would probably only take 15 to 20 minutes, but the day we were going to do that it was raining so instead we took the modern efficient tram, whose station is only 5 minutes away. Cycle paths are also common and well-used.
Were the campsite a destination in its own right, I would probably only give it 3 stars, it provides everything you need, but it's nothing special, however it is very well placed for visiting the city.
I recently spent 8 days in Stuttgart as part of an exchange, and really loved the city and all it had to offer. Most of what I loved about it was the other towns and places that they had in the area, which I will talk about in more detail below.
*Stuttgart town centre*
To be honest, I didn't spend a great deal of time in Stuttgart itself, although I did spend a long time in one of the many Starbucks they had. The main shopping street, Koenigstrasse, had many German shops as well as internationally known ones such as H&M, along with a handful of restaurants. I went to the art museum one day, which was right in the middle of town and easy to get to, and really enjoyed it.
One thing that really impressed me about Stuttgart was the public transport and how clean and reliable it was. I live in Newcastle upon Tyne, and I thought that our Metro was good, but in Stuttgart their S-Bahn and U-bahn are much cheaper, run very often and go all over the surrounding area. The family I was staying with lived in a town called Marbach several miles out of Stuttgart, but it was easy to get to town everyday on the S-bahn. There was only one problem while I was there, where some trains were cancelled because of an accident, but the system was good enough that we could easily get home by changing somewhere else along the way and getting a short bus ride. We also got a S-bahn and bus to the Ritter Sport chocolate factory several miles out of town, which was simple to do and al buses arrived quickly and efficiently.
Ludwigsburg, on a couple of lines on the S-bahn, is a pretty town, but mainly famous for its palace. The palace in Ludwigsburg has a beautiful garden and grounds, as is especially nice in the summer, when the flowers are in bloom. The town of Ludwigsburg also has many nice shops and restaurants, and I had a really good day out there.
This is the town where my exchange family lived, and I absolutely loved it. It is a really old traditional German town, with old style buildings and lots of restaurants and cafes serving local food. There is also a bar called 'Wunderbar', which I loved on sight because of the name, but which also has a great atmosphere and really great cocktails. Marbach is also the birthplace of the writer Schiller, who was as famous as Goethe apparently, and because of this there is a Schiller museum and lots of information available about him.
Stuttgart is also the only place in the world which makes Ritter Sport chocolate, which is absolutely amazing and available in over 20 different flavours. The factory and its museum/centre is accessible by a frequent bus service from a nearby S-Bahn. People aged 18 and under can make their own chocolate here (well, pour liquid chocolate into moulds and add things) which was quite fun, as well as buy chocolate for insanely cheap in the shop. I saw lots of people there buying trolley fulls of it for about 20 euros or so.
I really enjoyed my stay in and around Stuttgart, and would recommend it if you fancy a short city break, though I have no idea what any of the hotels are like.
Let me introduce you to the city where I was born, raised and lived for the first 31 years of my live: Stuttgart, which is the capital of the German federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
Baden -Wuerttemberg itself was founded in 1952 and is a federation of the former duchy of Baden, the duchy of Hohenzollern and the former kingdom of Wuerttemberg.
Now for all these, who don't know were on earth this place might be found on the map:
Baden-Wuerttemberg is in the south-west of Germany, bordering to France in the west and Switzerland in the south.
The natives of Stuttgart are called Schwaben (Swabians). You can recognize them easily as soon as they open their mouth: The Swabians have a very strong dialect and even if you've learned German to a higher degree you might still find it hard to understand.
It seems to have effect on the way in which I am speaking your language too, as I have often heard comments about my "odd" accent, which many couldn't identify as German or generally European, at all.
Most of the younger generations and many of the older, are able to speak at least some English, so you shouldn't have too many problems with the language.
Stuttgart itself seems to the visitor often rather small and very green. The heart of the town is situated in a valley, nestled within lots of hills, so that you might not recognize at first how far it spreads beyond these.
There are some very pretty and huge parks in the middle of the city, some of which float into another and so create a green-belt in the middle of the city, which mounts up to many kilometres and mercifully they haven't forgotten to put the odd beer-garden in between.
Now, you might not fancy a massive hours-long walk through greeneries, so I'll concentrate on the more important issues for the occasional visitor.
As you all will have different interests, I'll try to find something for everyone, while we are on our journey to discover my hometown.
The trip might take a bit, this is a very long review, so if you are willing to come with me you'll better get yourself a cup of tea/coffee...
Your main feature for a visit to Stuttgart will probably be the main station as nearly all the relevant tram, over - and underground lines are passing from here, as well as the railway.
The Hauptbahnhof, as the main station is called, is a quite prominent feature of the city with its tower that bears a rotating Mercedes Star on the top.
Yes, for all those who haven't known so far, Stuttgart is the home of Mercedes.
Also of Porsche and Bosch, and you might start to guess why Stuttgart is one of the richest areas in Germany.
To get an idea about the history of the city and the region, I would suggest to start with a visit to the Old Castle ( Altes Schloss).
To reach it we can forget about the public transport, we just follow the pedestrian zone in front of the Hauptbahnhof, Koenigstrasse it is called and signed out, until we reach the Schlossplatz (Castle-place). This shouldn't take too long, 5 minutes I would say, unless you want to stop in some of the shops. I'd rather leave it for later as we don't want to carry our shopping bags for the rest of the day.
You might like to stop every now and then to watch the various street-musicians and artists though. Some of them are quite interesting and I always loved them. Don't waste your time on the architecture ! Stuttgart has been nearly totally destroyed during WW2 and the buildings that have been erected here are disgraceful concrete monstrosities. A real eye-sore.
When reaching the Schlossplatz we'll have a look around for a minute.
There will be two castles, so lets first have a look at the baroque style one that will be to your left.
This one is called Neues Schloss (New Castle). It was build for Duke Karl Eugen, the work on the building started 1746 and lasted for 40 years.
The castle was designed by the Italian architect Leopold Retti and it is huge. Now Stuttgart at that time was a very provincial city (some say it still is) and it must have looked very out of proportion then. Duke Karl Eugen had big plans and the Neues Schloss was only the beginning and several, also generously sized, gardens and parks followed. The good old duke certainly had an issue with size - I wonder what Freud would had made out of that...
In 1944 it was destroyed completely - like every other building around - and only a few of the foundations survived. It's outer shell is the exact replica of the original, while the inside of the castle has been totally remodelled. It contains now, apart from the replica of the Marble Hall and the White Hall , which are mainly used for representation in case an important foreign visitor shows up, a complex of modern office rooms, which belong to the Treasury of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
You still might like to take a picture and then, before we continue our trip to the Altes Schloss, which you will have spotted by now, we will have a quick look at our right:
You'll see something that resembles an old Grecian temple with massive columns.
This strange building is called Koenigsbau (King's Building) and was erected to commemorate the 25.Jubilee of King Wilhelm I.
Once known as "the big bazaar", it is now home to the Stuttgarts stock exchange and a few shops and cafes.
Attached to it is the worst monstrosity of all, a concrete platform that was constructed to regulate the traffic. It is called the Kleiner Schlossplatz (Small Castleplace) and is accessible over a wide staircase, that is usually filled with teenagers, punks and Japanese Tourists. Recently an art gallery has been build up there but I cannot comment on its interiors as I haven't been inside.
It's time now to concentrate on the Altes Schloss.
Originally it was a moated castle, that dates back to the 10th century. It was altered, extended and refurbished several times over the centuries, in 1931 it nearly burned down and after WW2 not much was left. Soon after the war, the works to rebuilt it started and lasted well into the mid-fifties.
Since 1971 it is the Museum of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg (Landesmuseum) and this it what we came for. We won't enter it through it's side entrance, that faces towards the Neues Schloss, but from the main entrance.
You reach this over the Schillerplatz, which is very delightful if it is a market day (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday), as you can find the flower-market here.
If not it is still nice enough, with the monument of Friedrich Schiller prominently in the middle and the Alte Kanzlei (old Chancellery) , now a restaurant with a nice beer-garden overlooking the scenery, the Prinzenbau ( Prince's building) right opposite of Daddy's dwelling, the Fruchtkasten, which was used to store wine (probably favoured tipple of both just named) and the Stiftskirche, a church.
After passing through the entrance we will find us in the inner courtyard. The entrance to the museum is right in front of us.
The museum itself has a remarkable collection of nearly every item that could be of any significance to the history of the state. It ranges from coins, sculptures, clothes, toys, clocks and scientific instruments, to china, furniture, paintings and armour and the oldest remaining deck of cards in Europe.
Finally, high up in one of the round towers, we will see the crown jewels of the Royal House of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
I have visited the museum often and never found it crowded, so we will be able to inspect everything that interests us peacefully and at our pace, without being pushed or having to queue up.
It is open from Tuesday - Sunday. Admission for adults is 3.00 , Disabled 2.00 , Kids under 14 go free.
After leaving the castle we will have a quick look into the Stiftskirche.
It was donated to the city of Stuttgart by Earl Ulrich I and became later the burial place of the Earls of Wuerttemberg. Ulrich I. and his wife Agnes are buried here.
From inside it is not as interesting as it seems to be after judging its exterior and we won't stay for very long.
Probably we will be hungry by now and there are many restaurants around. Of course I am not going to name them all, just 3 ideas how and where to spend our lunch break.
The first one takes us straight back to the Kleine Schlossplatz. Remember, the one with the stairs ? The restaurant is right under it and it is called Ochs'n Willy.
This is a steak-house with a quite big menu and they also offer some traditional dishes from the area such as Kaesspaetzle (Egg-pasta, baked with cheese) . They always have a lunch menu with very reasonable prices and the overall quality of food and service is good and they do have English menus too. Which can't be said about too many restaurants around.
The second one is a vegetarian restaurant that is called IDEN.
They can be found at Eberhardstr 1, not far from the Town Hall.
They offer a huge salad buffet with various dressings - the best I've ever seen - a good assortment of main courses and desserts and I have never heard any complaints about the food, not even from the most self-defined meat lovers. It does lack a lot in flair and is self-service, but the quality of the food is worth to give it a try.
The third option would be, preferably on a sunny day, to turn left when leaving the church, and pay a visit to the Markthalle (Market Hall).
This is an indoor market with food specialities from all over the world and, when I was working nearby, I often went there to get some fresh bread, cheese, olives and fruit for my lunch. I usually took it to the park in front of the New Castle and had a picnic there, which is exactly what I wanted to suggest for our lunch.
Just to walk around and smell the aroma of the foods and spices will probably make everyone feel hungry. The building itself is nice too, art nouveau style with a slightly rounded roof with inset glass windows. Even if you don't want to do any shopping there, its worth to go and have a look - or smell!
After the break we're straight of to see the Staatsgalerie (Gallery of the State).
The Staatsgalerie is divided in two sections, which can be found in connecting buildings.
To the left is the older part, which was build between 1838 and 1842. The old gallery (Alte Staatsgalerie) exhibits works from Rembrand, Frans Hals, Peter Paul Rubens, Capaccio, Albrecht Duerer, Lucas Cranach and many others.
The new gallery is a post-modern building that is seen as one of the highlights in Stuttgarts architecture.
It was build by the English architect James Stirling and opened in 1984.
I was 16 then and remember how we were taken there for a compulsory visit - a bunch of teenagers giggling at a masterpiece that consisted of a huge red canvas (which covered a whole wall !).
I fear that my understanding for modern art is still as underdeveloped as then. All those, who are less barbaric in their views about modern art will surely enjoy their time there, admiring the biggest Picasso collection in Germany and works by other famous artists such as Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, Kandinsky, Otto Dix and Anselm Kiefer.
The Staatsgalerie is open from Tue/Wed/Fr/Sa/Sun from 10 -18 and Thur from 10 - 21
Admission is free on Wednesdays, otherwise 4.50. Children under 12 go free.
Adress is Konrad Adenauer Strasse 30, to reach by public transport with lines U1,U4,U9,U14
By walk : behind the New Castle and Theatre, or when leaving the main station to the left
If you also think that your 3 year old makes better pictures then the ones in the gallery, then you can join me on a trip to the Frensehturm (TV-tower).
To reach this, we'll have to take either U 7, U8 or Tram 15. The stop is Ruhbank.
The TV tower in Stuttgart might not be the highest in the world, it measures 656 ft, but it is, being opened in 1956, the oldest.
There's a visitors platform up there, from where you will have, depending on the weather conditions of course, the best outlook over Stuttgart and the surrounding area. If you are lucky and it is very clear you might even spot Lake Constance, the Bodensee. There is also a restaurant, which makes a lovely background for a romantic dinner.
Admission is 3 for adults,2 for kids from 3 - 13
If all of this is not to your liking or you have more time to spare, then there is more to see.
Why don't we go and see some animals ?
Let's start with those that have been dead for a while...
We will take the U15 until Loewentor and follow the sign to Rosensteinmuseum.
The Museum follows the history of the earth back to 600 million years ago, and fossils, skeletons of Dinosaurs and the skull of a primitive men (Steinheimer) are on display.
This is another place, which I have visited on school-trips and I always found it fascinating.
There are enough activities to keep small visitors busy and our children, tiny as they are, made big eyes when they met their first live-size dino.
Admission for adults is 3.- and children over 6 years pay 1.50
After leaving the museum we take a short stroll through the park and follow the signs that show Wilhelma.
The Wilhelma is the zoological and botanical garden of Stuttgart.
Now this is a place, where I must have been nearly a hundred times and still love to come back.
The Wilhema is named after King Wilhelm I. of Wuerttemberg, who, in 1850, gave the order to have a summerhouse with a moorish-style garden build on the spot where you can find the Wilhelma now.
Since the 1950's it contains also a zoo and by now is home to around 10.000 animals of 1.000 various species. The botanical garden contains a collection of 5.000 different species. Both, animals and plants, cover a section from all climatic zones.
There are various shows, which are signed out with timetables, such as feeding the see-lions, the penguins and elephants... These can get very crowded, especially on a nice and sunny weekend day.
If travelling with children, the Wilhelma is a great place for a day out. There are some playgrounds too, as well as several baby-changing stations. The Wilhelma is quite big, so plan enough time and don't forget to bring a stroller for smaller children, as I do not think that you can hire them there.
There are possibilities to rent wheelchairs at the main entrance.
There are restaurants, but again these can get very busy, especially lunch-time, and you might like to bring a small snack with you and postpone your lunch until after 14.00 when it gets a bit calmer.
There are different entrance prices for summer and winter.
Adults pay 10.80 (S) and 7.40 (W)
Children over 6 years 5.40 (S) and 3.70 (W)
Family-tickets are available
The botanical garden and the zoo can't be seen separately, you'll have to pay for both of them, whether you want to see both or not.
With public transport you take the U 14 until Wilhelma.
With Stuttgart being the home of Mercedes and Porsche there is, of course, also something for the car freaks out there.
Both companies have museums of which I have only visited the Mercedes museum, which is located in the companies factory in Untertuerkheim.
I am not exactly interested in cars and certainly not very knowledgeable about them but even I was impressed at how they show the development of the automotive.
I loved the older models that look really quirky but can't relate to the newer ones or the formula I models they show. And the various engines they had on exhibit didn't tell me anything apart from the fact that they are a mystery to me.
My husband loved it and spend a lot of time photographing the cars while the kids and me where already sitting in the cafe. There is also a small gift shop which provided us with some toys to keep the girls busy until daddy had finished admiring the cars.
You can reach there with the U 11 until Schleyerhalle, from there on you'll take the little courtesy bus that Mercedes provides and will be dropped you right at the entrance of the museum.
The museum is open daily from 9.00-17.00 apart from Monday.
Admission is Free.
I hope everybody has found something to do throughout the day, so lets see what can be done in the evening.
Finding a restaurant in Stuttgart shouldn't be too hard as there are plenty, local cuisine and everything else from around the globe is catered for, so all that's left to do is how to spend the rest of the evening.
So why not try the Stuttgart Ballet ?
The Grosses Haus (Opera and Ballet) and the Kleines Haus (Drama) are a complex of two buildings which can be found in the Schlosspark behind the New Castle to the left hand side, right behind the lake. In the evening the illumination is beautiful.
With public transport you can reach it with U1,U2, U4,U9,U14 , station is Staatsgallerie.
When the South-African born Brit John Cranko left London's Saddlers Wells Theatre in 1960 to take over the Stuttgart Ballet, nobody would have guessed just how successful he would be. Within a short time he managed to establish his troupe, which included the dancers Marcia Haydee, Margot Fonteyn and Richard Cragun ,as one of the best in the world. For Ballet-fans this would certainly be a wonderful opportunity to see a performance during their stay in Stuttgart.
Tickets can be ordered before through www.staatstheater.stuttgart.de
For those who would like to visit the burial site of John Cranko : It can be found at the small cemetery, that belongs to Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart-Weilimdorf.
U6 until Bergheimer Hof and then a long walk up the hill to the castle.
If you don't like ballet, then you can always go to one or more of the numerous pubs and try some of the local beer. My favourite here would be the Stuttgarter Hofbraeu, but there are so many brands to try that you best check them out yourself.
The last thing to mention now would be the festivals/events.
Stuttgart has plenty of them and I will only name the most important ones of them. If you would like to visit any of them, a well advanced booking might be advisable, as they have many of visitors from all over the world and hotel-rooms might be bit harder to find as usual.
The most famous one will probably be the Volksfest ( peoples festival).
It usually happens end of September/beginning of October.
The Volksfest is a huge fun-fair with a small market, where you can find things like clothing, household items and souvenirs, lots of beer-tents, some of which can hold up to 5000 people, and fairground-rides for all age groups. Some of the rides do require a certain amount of bravery and I wouldn't recommend to obtain it through a prolonged visit in the tents, as they already are stomach-turning enough while being sober.
The beer in the tents is sold in 1-litre stein-tankards which are awfully heavy and I always struggle with the first sibs when the thing is still totally full. I absolutely admire the waitresses who are able to carry 7-10 of them in each hand.
If you plan to visit on a weekend and especially with a bigger group, I would recommend to reserve a table.
This can be done through www.canstatter-volksfest.de
The Volksfest is located at the Canstatter Wasen, which can be reached by S1 and S3 and the U11 which is called Volksfestlinie.
The Volksfest exists also in a smaller version, which is called Fruehlingsfest (Spring Festival).
It usually starts mid-April and lasts for three weeks.
Generally it is the same as the Volksfest, just with less rides and stalls and smaller beer-tents. It is still impressive enough and well worth a visit. The location is the same as for the Volksfest.
My favourite festival is the Weindorf (Wine Village).
This festival is, easy guess, dedicated to the wine of the region. It is conveniently situated in the heart of the city, with stalls reaching from Schillerplatz, in front of the Old Castle, all the way down to the Rathausplatz. There are around 120 wooden huts, most lovingly decorated, which provide in- and outside sitting areas - and they give the festival a quite rustic touch. There are around 250 different wines to be tasted each year.
To do so you'll have to buy your own glass which is yours to keep as a souvenir or can be given back at the end of your visit. Each hut has glasses with the owners own logo and they do make a nice collection, if you manage to sample drinks from various huts that is. I do have nearly one cup-board full - which took me some years of sampling.
Each hut also serves hot and cold food. These are usually local dishes and you'll certainly find the infamous sauerkraut here (but also much more palatable dishes) and I always like to have a cheese-plate with the wine.
The Weindorf is always starting in the last week in August and lasts for two weeks.
The Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas-market) starts end of November and lasts until 23. December.
Although not as famous as the Christkindlmarkt in Nuernberg, in my opinion the more attractive one. There are around 200 stalls, again in the same area as the Weindorf, from Schillerplatz down to the Rathausplatz, but also on the Schlossplatz, where you can find the children's market with some rides and the candle-market.
Apart from various eateries (don't forget to sample the hot spiced wine, if you don't like it is still good to warm up your hands) the stalls offer toys, clothing, household items, seasonal sweets and Christmas decoration. Especially the Christmas decoration is often hand-made and therefore a bit more expensive then the one from Tesco, but you can be sure that the item you have bought is unique and really something special.
The stalls themselves are worth a closer examination as all of them are extremely beautiful decorated.
There are, of course, several other big festivals, museums and attractions in Stuttgart, but these are the main ones for me and, as it is my review, the ones being mentioned here.
If you would like to have some more information concerning dates of events or help with finding the right hotel then visit:
Thanks for staying with me until here, hope you enjoyed it , Sandra
First off I am not going to claim that you are going to learn too much about Stuttgart itself from this review. If truth were told I could hardly remember half the time I spent in the City. That's not to say I didn't have a good time or enjoy the place - to the contrary. I shall explain.
My reason for visiting this fine city was not to explore the shops of Koenigstrasse, climb the TV Tower or find out the inner workings of a Porsche or Mercedes for that matter. No the reason was the "Cannstatter Volksfest".
Having decided around early summer we wanted a 'lads' trip to a beer festival Munich was naturally muted as the obvious choice. However the logistics of managing to book a hotel anywhere remotely near Munich made me look for other alternatives. It was at this point I heard about the Volkfest. The Stuttgart version happens at pretty much the same time, 2 weeks including the end of September into the beginning of October.
Now calling the Volkfest a beer festival is not entirely true, and the same can be said about Munich I am sure. At the end of the day a Volkfest is I guess a peoples festival with fairground type rides with the added bonus of (as it would appear at most German festivals) beer tents. So in an English way it is a beer festival!
I was told originally that this was the second biggest beer festival in the world although other figures show this may not be the case. Either way its big, with millions of visitors each year. Each year there are around 10 tents each with there own atmosphere, style and clientele. To give you an idea we spent most of our time in the Grandl tent which I would describe as the most likely associated with say Munich big, full of tables, perhaps not entirely traditional in some of the music played and with the most foreign visitors.
Other tents differ. For instance the Laub tent attracted an older clientele whereas one of the others had pretty much no tables and a large disco.
Part of the fun is of course exploring the tents but if you are a large group of people (say 8 or so) you would be well advised to book a table well in advance via the web sites of the tent owners. I booked us a slot starting at 3PM in the Grandl tent via their web site. To give you a rough idea of costs this cost 30 Euros each but included 3 litres of beer and a roast chicken each.
Whilst on the important subject of beer here are a few little facts learned from bitter although enjoyable experience. First the cost of a litre was fixed at about 7.20 Euros although normally rounded up to 7.50 with a tip. Second the strength and volume can catch you out. We drank 5 litres from 3PM until 6PM and where no use to anyone after this time.
In summary of the festivals itself then I haven't been to the beer festival in Munich so really cannot compare the two. What I would say is there are more than enough tents here to satisfy even the most die-hard beer fan. Add to that your chances of getting accommodation and actually into a tent I would highly recommend it.
Having done the beer festival it surprise you to hear we did manage to drag ourselves out of bed and have a quick look at Stuttgart itself. Here is a quick rundown of some of the things to do with that hangover -
Koenigstrasse A very long shopping street. Would appear to have more than its fair share of high street chains and eateries. You could spend a good day shopping down here.
TV Tower (Fernsehturm) Superb views over Stuttgart. Open from 9AM to 11PM (last ride up 10:30PM) so well worth a visit by both day and night. Has a restauarant too. 3 Euros per person. To get there take S-Bahn 15 to Ruhbank.
Mercedes Museum You can visit the factory and the museum. I believe the tour is free.
Porsche factory Again a factory tour but you have to book well in advance.
Transportation includes an extenstive network of s-bahn and u-bahn lines. You can buy various tickets including a 3 day pass from the tourist office. There is an office just outside the central station and also at the airport. Your ticket bought from the airport can then be used to get in to town from there (train every 20 minutes).
From a UK point of view we flew with Hapag-Lloyd Express from Manchester.
As well seeing the sights we also had to eat and yes drink some more. In an effort to combine both I can recommend Calwer-Eck-Brau a brewpub also serving food. As far as bars go we had a nice leisurely afternoon in Zeppelinos which can be found as part of a hotel right next to the main train station. If you are looking for an expat crowd Biddy Earlys Irish bar is the place to be.
All in all Stuttgart isnt the sort of city you would visit like London, Paris or Rome but certainly has enough to keep you going for a weekend especially if you are also there to sample the local brews.
Official site of the festival - http://www.cannstatter-volksfest.de
Stuttgart Tourism - http://www.stuttgart-tourist.de/english/index.html
Grandl beer tent - http://www.grandl.com
Hapag Lloyd Express - http://www.hlx.com
Calwer-Eck-Brau brew pub - http://www.calwereck.de
Biddy Earlys Irish Pub - http://www.biddyearlys.com
TV Tower - http://www.fernsehturm-stuttgart.com/
Today we’re going to get to know Stuttgart (about 580 000 inhabitants), the capital of the Land Baden-Württemberg in the southwest of Germany which was founded 50 years ago, on 25th April 1952. Celebrations and festivities everywhere! Before that time it had already been the home of the Kings of Württemberg who, as it is the habit with kings, had castles built in the city and outside, so there’s quite a lot to see. We’ve met in the main train station which isn’t only a good starting-point for our tour, but also worth seeing in itself as it was built in the 1920s in the style of New Realism. The tower is 56 metres high topped by a rotating Mercedes star which signals to all people arriving what Stuttgart stands for worldwide: car industry! On the one hand the Swabians are very proud of their reputation as the nation’s tinkers and inventors (Mercedes, Porsche, Bosch), on the other hand they want to stress that there’s more to the city, better: wanted to stress. Up to around 20 years ago the slogan for Stuttgart was: ‘City between woods and vineyards’ (You can see a vineyard right beside the station!), but then the city council found that was too plain and boring and changed it into: ‘Stuttgart - partner of the world’. I’m glad to see that our group is quite big. Now, I think not everybody is interested in everything so that I’m going to make different suggestions which you can follow or not and combine in this or that way. The astronomically minded visitors can leave us already and go to the Carl-Zeiss-Planetarium which is just beside the station (Willy-Brandt-Str. 25). An anniversary here, too! The building beside the station was opened 25 years ago on 22nd April 1977, the Stuttgart ‘Star Theatre’, though, as it was formerly called, had already been opened in 1928, one of the first worldwide (the first ever was in Munich). It was destroy
ed during the WW2. The first show starts at 10 a.m, you can meet us afterwards at the Pavilion on the Schlossplatz (Palace Square) at 12.15; you get there walking out of the station (cross the street parallel to it via the subway), the street in front of you is the Königsstrasse (King‘s Street), the main pedestrian precinct and shopping centre, to the Schlossplatz it‘s not even 200m; we won’t go there, it only has big and boring buildings with department stores and banks, we’re strolling through the Schlosspark (Castle Park) which runs parallel to it, to the left when we‘ve got the back to the station. It’s beautiful with a lake with a fountain and swans and ducks, and you’re allowed to lie on the grass! Something worth mentioning in this part of the world. We pass the Theatre consisting of two buildings, the Kleines Haus (Small house) (plays), and the Grosses Haus (Big House) (opera and ballet) which was built at the beginning of the 20th century, only the Grosses Haus survived the heavy bombardment of WW2, the Kleines Haus is a modern concrete building. Even more modern is the building of the Parliament for the Land Baden-Württemberg, so we’ve got quite an architectural mix on the short stretch. We then come to the heart of the city, the Schlossplatz (Palace Square), here the buildings are all big and majestic, as it is befitting for a former residence, and old. Or are they? On one side we see the Königsbau (King’s Building) which today houses the stock exchange among other things, a Neo-Classical buildings with a colonnade of 135 metres, rebuilt in 1950s. Opposite is the Neues Schloss (New Castle), late baroque, also rebuilt, some ministries are in it, the third side is formed by the Altes Schloss (Old Castle), a 16th century Renaissance building, badly destroyed as well and rebuilt. Not that the centre of Stuttgart looks exactly like the centre of other German cities, bu
t the history is more or less the same throughout the country. The inner cities were heavily destroyed, to get life going again, unimaginative buildings were built quickly in the first decades after the war, representative buildings were nearly everywhere rebuilt in the original style whatever that was. People obviously needed that then. Only today new ideas are realised, so Stuttgart, for example, is getting an ultra-modern glass cube on the Schlossplatz which is to house the Stuttgart City Art Gallery. I’d like to take you to the Museum in the Altes Schloss, not to start with the history of the Land from the Stone Age on, but to look with you at the crown and sceptre of the Kings of Württemberg. Have you seen the crown jewels in the Tower? If so, you’ve queued for a long time , only to be able to glance at them for a short time before you were pushed on! The regalia here may not be so glorious, but you can take your time, and admire them from all sides, as well as all the nice things the kings got as presents from their guests, and you can see the gold dinner service of the Russian Princess Catherine Pavlovna, wife of King William I of Württemberg. Keep that name in mind, some of us will ‘meet’ her again in the afternoon. Ah, there are the star watchers! It’s time for lunch, let’s all go to the vegetarian self-service restaurant ‘iden’, Eberhardtstr. 1. It’s so good, that many meaties eat there as well. We’ll go there crossing the Schillerplatz with a monument for Schiller, one of Germany’s literary biggies (1759 - 1805) and a Swabian. We have to pass the central market-hall, so why not peep in? It’s an art deco building with stalls offering mouth-watering specialties from all over the world, d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s! When we come to the Rathausplatz (City Hall Square), you’ll see one of the ugliest buildings of post-war concrete-ism, the city hall, so just walk by. <
br><br> The philosophers among you can drop the dessert and go to Eberhardstr. 53 to see the house the German philosopher Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel was born in in 1770 and where he lived during his first 18 years. How can we spent the afternoon? I’ve heard some of you mention the TV tower. If you like heights and looking down you can go there, of course (U-Bahn (tube) 7, tram 15, bus 70, all to the stop ‘Ruhbank‘), you can see up to the Swabian Alb and, if you’re lucky, even the Alps. You might like to know that you stand on a superlative there: the Stuttgart TV tower, built in 1956, was the first of its kind worldwide and is the father (or mother?) of all later towers which are all taller, as it is with the offspring. ;-) Only some of you want to go there, well, so now we can split up in groups. The car museums are waiting for you! They’re both not in the city proper, the Porsche-Museum is in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Porschestr. 42 and the Mercedes-Museum in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, Mercedesstr. 137/1 (both admisission free, tubes to both destinations). The Mercedes freaks can travel to Bad Cannstatt (5 minutes) together with the House & Garden friends who want to visit the Wilhelma, the Zoological and the Botanical Gardens, built by the then King in the Moorish style which was en vogue at the beginning of the 19th century. Well worth a visit. In case you’re already thinking of the evening: there’s a Volksfest going on at the moment, something Oktoberfest-like on the Cannstatter Wasen, the great field beside the river Neckar, just walk in the direction of the big wheel (the dictionary says ‘Ferris wheel’). I don’t have to tell you that German beer is good, do I? That would be carrying coals to Newcastle! I’m offering a visit to the Old and New State Gallery, anyone in for the arts? (Konrad-Adenauer-Str. 30-32, three minutes from the station, beh
ind the Theatre, on the other side of the road). The Old State Gallery has artefacts from the Middle Ages up to the 19th century, old German, Italian, Dutch paintings and sculpture from Classic up to Impressionists and a great graphic collection. Or do you prefer the New State Gallery built from 1979-1984 by the British architect J. Sterling and recognised today as one of the main works of Postmodernism architecture? I’ve been there many times before, but will go with you again, the artefacts are worth another visit. Just to drop some names: Matisse, Picasso, Beckmann, Schlemmer, Beuys, Newman, Pollock, Kiefer, Paik. For my arty, but not at all farty, friends I’ve thought of something very special to while away the rest of the day: Let’s take the tube S 1 to Untertürkheim, then Bus 61 to Rotenburg, one of the many villages which have become part of the city over the years. There we go to the hill named Württemberg, the cradle of the royal House of Württemberg. On the top there is now a very picturesque mausoleum with the grave of the Russian princess Catherine Pavlovna (you remember her gold service from the museum?). From there we look into the valley of the river Neckar, one of the most densely populated and industrialised areas of Germany (and one of the richest), from the other side we see rolling hills covered by vineyards, the area round Stuttgart is one of the most productive in Germany when it comes to viniculture. Let’s stroll leisurely down to the village of Uhlbach, one of the small, romantic, cosy villages full of half-timbered houses foreign tourists look for and find in Germany. We can just pop into the Wine Museum, where they show old wine presses, barrels, glasses and goblets and a corkscrew collection. Or we can go directly to a Weinstube (literally: wine living-room) and start tasting the different wines of the region, they are light, of course, we‘re not in Southern Europe here, b
ut quite tasty, more red than white wines are produced. Bus 62 will take us to Obertürkheim, tube S1 back to Stuttgart, so you don’t have to be afraid of your blood alcohol. The wines aren’t well known outside the region the reason being that the Swabians drink nearly all themselves. You can take some bottles with you as souvenirs or have them sent to your home address or just drink and take the memory with you. Let’s all meet at midnight at the hotel bar and exchange and share our impressions of the day!
Snugly between the rolling hills of Badern-Wuttemburg,lies Stuttgart capital of the state and home to Porsche, Stuttgart Zoo and VFB Stuttgart. Having just returned from an 11 day visit to the city, it seems right to give my opinion on the city. Stuttgart is a very pretty city. Due to the bombing in World War 2, in which Stuttgart was hit very badly, most of the buildings in the city are fairly new and attractive, though the city is not without history. Stuttgart was founded by a horse farmer, hence the horse on the cities crest. Stuttgart first became the capital of Baden Wurttemberg in 1495 and the city has two castles, Schloss Solitude (which the Kaiser used for hunting) and the Neues Schloss, a larger castle. Its a very clean city, possibly due to strict litter laws or maybe the Germans just care more than us Brits, as I saw hardly any litter anywhere. The public transport is also second to none, with all the trams running on time. The train stations are quite a pleasant surprise compared to here in England, much cleaner and more efficent. The city obviously has a very good public transport system, something which we could possibly learn from. What can you do there? - Well in the city centre theres the usual shops that you find in most European Cities - music, sports, tourist shops, restaurants, pretzel and crepe stalls - that kind of thing. There is a 'main' shopping street, and if you climb to the top of the 'Mercedes Sign' building, you can get a very pretty view of the street, with shops either side and parallel rows of trees down the middle. The city also boasts tourist attractions too - there is a very pleasant park in the city, not quite as large as Hyde Park, but just a pretty, with a neat arrangement of lawns perfectly trimmed and a statue at its centre. There is also a large but shallow lake with fountains and trees surrounding this small area of parkland, which compliment
s the beauty of the city well. Other than the city centre there is a whole load of things for tourists to occupy their time with. Schloss (meaning castle in German) Solitude lies on a hill and over looks a outer part of the city, a small distance from the centre. Well worth a visit, this beautiful castle is situated in the middle of a forest on the hill, and was used by the Kaiser (abolished after World War 1) for hunting purposes. Inside its very small and quite empty with only around 10 rooms, some of which are quite small, but its beautifully decorated with blues and reds and golds. You couldn't spend a day there, but its worth it to spend an hour or two on a short trip there. Mercedes Benz is also located in Stuttgart, and for car fanatics Stuttgart is definately worth your while, being home to both Mercedes and Porsche. You can visit the Mercedes Museum and see Mercedes Cars through the ages, as well as being given a talk on the founding of the company. Car fans will enjoy, though I must admit that I was not thrilled by the Museum, and spent quite a lot of time in the cafe and gift shop. If it doesnt sound like your sort of thing, best not to go I think and try something different. Though the Porsche Museum is not as big, I enjoyed this more. The museum itself is just one room, albeit a long room, but it is just a room with a variety of Porsche cars on either side ranging from the first ever car to hold the Porsche name to the F1 car the McLaren Team Drove to three World Championship Wins. There is also a much larger Porsche showroom which is the size of a warehouse, with three floors, and you can get in and sit in some of the cars. The Television Tower is something definately not to be missed. You can take a tram to the top of the large hill where it is placed and then walk a short distance to the huge tower. A lift will take you to the top where you can see the whole of Stuttgart for miles. Its like the vi
ew you get from an aeroplane on the assent. Very windy and cold, but the view is worth it. Something to definately do. The Stuttgart Zoo was actually something of a let down. Having heard it being described as 'The World Famous Stuttgart Zoo' etc... but the tag 'The Biggest Zoo In The World' is just wrong. If you've visited San Diego Zoo or something in America then Stuttgart Zoo is a let down, both in size, quality and variety of animals. Its not a terrible zoo - dont get me wrong, but we have better zoos in England and so if you want to experience Germany visit Woburn Safari Park when you get back. I also made a day trip to Heidelberg, a very picturesque town around 2 hours drive from Stuttgart. Its like a seaside town, only replace the sea with a river. The castle is a must-do when visiting Heidelberg. With 4 sections each built in different time periods by different Dukes in different styles. Most of the castle was destroyed during a religious war, but its still very interesting and hols the largest beer barrel in Germany (empty unfortunately!). You can then walk down the shop street, and then back along the river which is a pleasant walk. The town is placed at the bottom of a wooded hill, and is a beautiful German town. I also went to see Cats in German at a theatre which was a good night out, went to see Spy Game is German (a bit boring) and Ice Skating which was great fun but hurt the day after from all the falls I took. I spent alot of the time in the city visiting buildings and shops etc... Other things to do in Stuttgart could be, the Gottlieb Daimler Stadion home to the Stuttgart Football team for any sports fans out there, or The Wilhelma Zoological and Botanical Gardens if you're not a sports fan. Theres also Opera Houses and lots of new and old buildings around the town that want visiting. Theres also alot of technical museums with U-Boats and Aeroplanes which you can go in, around the o
utskits of the town and other cities in the state to visit. The weather? Well Germany can be very hot or very cold and for the majority of my stay, raining a lot, but on the last few days there wasn't a cloud in the sky so my message would be, to go prepared for any eventuality. Food? Normal German cuisine if you're not acustomed to it, I couldn't really describe it, its nothing radical compared to England, but there is a lot of sausages. Transportation? Very reliable and efficent. A welcomed change to Britain. Stuttgart was a brilliant experience - blending history and the presenbt day the city is built up into a beautiful state capital. Theres lots to do for us tourists - you won't get bored, and unlike in Munich every things fairly close together so it doesnt take an hour to get everywhere. If you're thinking of going to Europe this summer and havent decieded yet Stuttgart is a good choice for tourists who want activities and places to go - well worth a trip.
Since I was little I have visited this area many times as several family friends have chosen this beautiful area to settle down. Situated in the South of the Country in beautiful surroundings is the anceien city of Stuttgart. While some of the commercial area have now become busy and at times overcrowded there is still plenty of beautiful monuments and things to see and Do. My paricular favourite since I was little is the Stuttgart zoo. The huge polar bear enclosure always facinated me as a child as did the lions at feeding time!! The other major attractions include the television tower and the beautiful parks in the city centre. Some of the major hotels may be pricey but a simple guide will have plenty of listings of the more affordable places to stay. The people are all extremely friendly and as English is taught in most school's from an early age their knowledge of the language is excellent. Some of the local foods are somewhat on the large side, as for a plate of sausages and you are likely to receive enough to last you for a week. As well as the foods, in the summer several areas hold beer festivals which are definately not to be missed! Of all the holidays that we have had to this area the best were definately at Christmas time. It is a German tradition to hold Christmas markets at this time. All of the stalls are selling hand made gifts at very reasonable prices. While we were there we picked up a beautiful carved nativity set and merry-go-round for almost nothing. The scenery at this time of year is beautiful too. Snow is almost guaranteed unfortunately so is absolutely freezing temperatures so be prepared! The wide range of cultures and huge amount of places to visit makes this an ideal place for a short break of Germany!
I was going to be completely negative in this review of Stuttgart, but that would be a bit unfair. I shall explain.... I lived there for 3 months in the summer of '99. The weather was fantastic, never below 28 degerees Celsius, usually around 35 (though because it's in a valley there's no wind and it feels like your sitting in Grandma's oven). By the way, when it rains, it rains big-time, none of this light shower rubbish! I met a few cool people and visited a few cool sights. The TV tower is worth climbing, there are a couple of beautiful parks in the city centre and the local govt. buildings are quite impressive too. Now I'm not xenophobic, but I found in stark contrast to the locals in Dusseldorff and Cologne, that the people in Stuttgart (I refuse to label all Schwabians with the same brush) were among the coldest and rudest people I've ever met - rivalled only by the Viennese. The foreigners I met there, and there are thousands, were quite approachable - French, Scndanavian, Italian, Irish, British, etc. Just the locals were dismissive and unhelpful. Although I have a masters degree in German, I was refused entry into several clubs because the standard of my spoken German may somehow create trouble, or I was told that it was a private party only to turn round to see others walk in wothout having to produce "invitations." Having met a few other foreigners (of varying capabilities of speaking the lingo), I found my experience was not unique. The beer gardens are good, if you can stand the mosquitos, and the beer of course goes down a treat. There are a couple of good Irish bars and try Paul's Boutique if you do decide to visit the city. If the Radio Bar is still open, it's worth going to (it's owned by Die Fantastische Vier)as the music is uaually pretty funky. However, by far the best thing about Stuttgart is the outdoor swimming pools on the outskirts. Saturd
ays & Sundays are always mobbed, but check local guides that usually point out the less touristy ones. They're the best. You should also bear in mind that Stuttgart is one of the most expensive places in Germany. Being honest, I would only go back to visit friends.
Stuttgart, located in southern Germany, is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg with a population of 591,528 (as of April 2006) in the city, and 2.7 million in the urban area Stuttgart Region. Stuttgart is the sixth largest city in Germany and Stuttgart Region is the nation's fourth largest conurbation (behind Ruhr Area, Rhein/Main Area and Berlin). Neighbouring large cities are Frankfurt (210 km north of Stuttgart), Nuremberg (200 km northeast of Stuttgart) and Munich (220 km southeast of Stuttgart).