Situated among the rolling hills of Germany's premiere wine-growing region, Stuttgart is capital of the state of Baden-Wurttemberg in southwestern Germany. Dotted with beautiful buildings, impressive parks, and fantastic art museums, this modern city is a good touristic stopover due to its undulating wine estates, annual beer festival, mineral spa culture and acclaimed ballet, opera and philharmonic companies.
Stuttgart © halbag
Charming olde worlde quarters like the Bohnenviertel (Bean District), with its sidewalk cafés and cobbled streets, meet the modern pedestrianised precincts of contemporary Stuttgart, such as Königstrasse, one of the longest shopping streets in Germany. A big city with a small-town atmosphere, visitors will find the bustling art nouveau Market Hall transports them to former, countrified years. Nowadays, this is where organic fruit and vegetables, aromatic cheeses and fresh fish from the North Sea can be found. Another must for any visitor to this city is a trip to one of Stuttgart's reputed mineral baths, be it the modern and luxurious Mineralbad Cannstatt or the Mineral Bath Berg, which exudes a wistful fifties charm.
In beautiful weather, view the city from atop the Fernsehturm (Television Tower), a 712ft (217m) tower with an observation deck and restaurant at the pinnacle, where on a clear day you can see the Black Forest. Head to Schlossplatz, a famous landmark and meeting place for locals and visitors, its green lawns littered with youths soaking up the summer sunshine. Alternatively find your own sanctuary in the dappled shade of the 'Green U' park, a five mile (8km) natural haven in the city centre.
Stuttgart has a reputation as the 'cradle of the automobile'. Both the motorbike and four-wheel car were invented in Stuttgart and one of its most famous attractions is the enormous Mercedes-Benz Museum, with scores of immaculate vehicles on permanent display, including their new luxury models, racing cars and reputed antiques. If that doesn't whet your appetite, head across town to the Porsche Museum, also a delight for petrol heads.