It may not be a name as internationally recognizable as Berlin or Munich; but being the sixth-largest city in Germany, and home to a variety of natural, architectural, and historical wonders, Stuttgart nonetheless draws a high number of visitors every year, and chances are, you’re reading this because you’re thinking of becoming one of them.
Moreover, likely, you’ve also already started thinking about hiring a car for your trip. A car hire, we can assure you, is the best approach. After all, while the public transport system in Stuttgart, as in most of Germany, is perfectly functional, it’s also costly, often taking a sizable bite out of your travel budget every time you need to go anywhere. By hiring a car directly from Stuttgart Airport, you’ll have access to transport for a set, regular, agreed-up rate that’s much easier to factor into your travel budget…and, perhaps, more importantly, you’ll be able to choose precisely when and where you drive, freeing you up to explore the nooks and crannies of this remarkable city far more quickly.
Basic info and car hire in Stuttgart
Population: over 620,000
Official language: German
Weather: Generally quite mild, though it can grow quite warm in the summer months.
Public holidays in Stuttgart: New Year’s Day (1 Jan), Epiphany (6 Jan), Good Friday (19 Apr), Easter Monday (22 Apr), Labour Day (1 May), Ascension Day (30 May), Whit Monday (10 Jun), Corpus Christi (20 Jun), Day of German Unity (3 Oct), All Saint’s Day (1 Nov), Christmas Day (25 Dec), 2nd Day of Christmas (26 Dec)
Internet coverage: Expansive
Road conditions: Generally good, but traffic is known to be unusually heavy at peak hours
Driving in Stuttgart
Germany and Western Europe, in general, are among the safer regions of the world for driving, and the roads of Stuttgart are no exception in this regard. Nonetheless, as with any new city, there are many rules, regulations, and facts that any visitor ought to keep in mind should they choose to hire a car for their Stuttgart visit.
- Driving age: 18
- International driving permit: Not required if you have a valid driver’s license from your home state
- Additional papers & requirements: German license needed if staying for more than six months
- Children in the car: Children up to 12 years old who are less than 1.5 meters tall must be in an approved car seat or booster
- Driving side of the road: Right
- Lights: Dipped headlights required in poor daytime visibility. Fog lights must be on at any time of day when driving through fog, mist, snow, or rain.
- General speed limit: 50km/h
- Parking: Limited on the streets, but widely available in designated parking areas.
What to see in Stuttgart
As with many German cities, Stuttgart is a fascinating place rich with breath-taking sights for visitors to take in. Also, since you’ve chosen to travel the city in a hired car, you’ll have far freer choice than most as to precisely which places you visit. So to help you decide, we’ve listed below some of our favorite Stuttgart sites.
Our favourite spots
The German-born Mercedes-Benz brand served as the bedrock of Germany’s worldwide reputation for quality automobiles; and at the Mercedes-Benz Museum, visitors can peruse 160 vehicles and more than 1,500 exhibits which trace the history of this iconic brand, all the way back to Karl Benz’s invention of the world’s first petrol-powered car in 1886. Multi-story car parking is available to visitors.
One of Germany’s many impressive museums of art, the Staatsgalerie’s extensive collection of paintings and sculptures from across the centuries includes a wide variety of pictures from noted 20th-century masters and some striking specimens from the German Renaissance. The museum consists of an extensive underground car park accessible at ground level.
In this lush square, visitors can relax as they take in some of Stuttgart’s most spectacular historical monuments, including the Jubilee Column, and the New Palace with its blend of Classical, Baroque, Rococo and Empire styles. The Schlossplatz is accessible from the road, with extensive private and public parking in the region.
Another testimony to Stuttgart’s reputation as a birthplace of some of the world’s most celebrated automobile brands, this museum’s fascinating displays trace the development of this luxury car brand over the decades, all the way back to its Stuttgart birth in 1931. Parking is available in the museum’s own extensive underground parking lot.
Hotels in Stuttgart
When staying anywhere, the first order of business is finding a place to stay, and like most places in Germany, Stuttgart offers several high-quality hospitality establishments from which to choose. Below, we’ve listed some of the most well-regarded.
Le Meridien Stuttgart
Steigenberger Graf Zeppelin
Mercure Hotel Stuttgart
Drive your rental car around Stuttgart
Any trip—even one to the most remarkable place—is rarely restricted to the boundaries of a single city. After all, if you’re genuinely going to experience the area, checking out what lies beyond it is just as important. Moreover, since you’re driving a rental car, you have a whole lot more freedom of movement beyond the boundaries of Stuttgart. Below, we’ve listed just a few of the places you might want to check out within driving distance of Stuttgart.
Lichtenstein Castle – Despite the name, this striking piece of architecture is located not in the country of Lichtenstein, but about an hour’s drive south of Stuttgart. Built-in the mid-19th century, this gorgeous Gothic Revival-style castle, perched on the rim of the lush Echaz valley; and despite its relatively young age—as castles go—it has been deemed a fairy-tale castle for its ability to make visitors feel as if they are stepping into another world.
Treetop Walk in the Black Forest – Germany is a nation primarily known for the sprawling greenery of its lush and beautiful forests; and the little town of Bad Wildbad, located about an hour’s drive west of Stuttgart and nestled deep within the Black Forest, is one of the best places to experience it. Here, visitors can access the Treetop Walk, a winding 1,250-metre walk through the greenery up to 20 feet above the Black Forest floor, culminating in winding trek up to a 40-foot observation tower that allows you to take in the expansive beauty of the whole forest.
Maulbronn Monastery – Located in the city of Maulbronn, forty-five minutes’ drive northwest of Stuttgart, Maulbronn Monastery, first founded nearly 900 years ago, might well be one of the most well-preserved examples of a Cistercian abbey in all of Europe. Now a designated UNESCO Heritage Site, this magnificent structure, with its stone walls, towering arches, and crisscrossing groin vaults, offers visitors a step back across the centuries.
Where to eat, drink and party in Stuttgart
On any trip, no matter where it may be to, sampling some of the local drinks and cuisine is always a must. Also, below, we’ve gathered just a few of our favorite spots to try the Stuttgart flavors.
Celebrated chef Anton Gschwendtner serves up Asian-influenced French cuisine in this gourmet establishment.
Classic Rock Café
The place to indulge in American-style grills against a rustic backdrop, while taking in the rock and pop classics of bygone eras.
Weinstube am Statgraben
The perfect spot to sample some truly authentic German and Central European recipes.
An authentic gourmet experience, with a selection of elegantly-presented dishes crafted from the most high-quality ingredients.
Major events and festivals in Stuttgart
Stuttgart is a major urban hub with a deep and rich history behind it. As a result, it’s the site of a great many annual events and festivals, all of which are bound to bring even greater life to your visit. Here are some of our favorites.
Well, it’s not a trip to Germany without a beer festival, is it? For more than two centuries, this event has brought funfair attractions and a great variety of brews to the city of Stuttgart every year from late September to early October.
Stuttgart Spring FestivalApril
From late April to mid-May, the sunny season of spring is rung in by one of the largest spring festivals in Europe. For three weeks, the old fairgrounds of Cannstatter Wasen come alive with carnival rides and spectacular shows.
Esslingen Medieval Christmas MarketDecember
Should you happen to arrive in the region between 26 November and 22 December, there’ll be no better way to ring in your Stuttgart Christmas than here, where you can peruse over 200 booths of traditional arts, crafts, and Christmassy treats.
Every year from late August to early September, those with a taste for exceptional vintages head to the annual Wine Village in the heart of Stuttgart, where they have the opportunity to taste some of the most excellent examples of the local produce.