Top 5 Best Offbeat Things to Do & See in Stuttgart, Germany
By: Laurel Robbins
Many tourists to Germany whiz through Stuttgart, if they even bother to stop at all. Along the way they hit the most obvious sites: the New Castle, the Old Castle, the Collegiate Church, and perhaps one of the car museums. Stuttgart is home to both the Mercedes-Benz Museum and the Porsche Museum. While these are certainly worthy tourist attractions, tourists looking for something more offbeat are sure to enjoy these top 5 best offbeat things to do and see to in Stuttgart written by an expat living in Stuttgart:
1 & 2) Drink, Eat and Be Merry on a Wine Walking Path (Weinwanderweg) while Eating in a Swabian Besen
This is a great way to experience two of Stuttgart’s offbeat attractions at the same time! Stuttgart is one of the largest wine producing regions in Germany. There are several Weinwanderwegs in Stuttgart but I would recommend the Obertürkheim-Uhlback-Rotenberg-Untertürkheim route. On this unique walking path you pass through vineyards, and then by Swabian besens where you can sample the wine from the vineyards you’ve just seen while devouring traditional Swabian cuisine (the local cuisine) .
Dining or drinking wine in a Swabian Besen is one of my favourite way to dine in Germany. Besens are temporary restaurants set up in someone’s home, usually the vineyard owner’s actual house. You will usually be dining or drinking wine from their personal vineyard in the family dining room or living room that has been temporarily turned into a restaurant. Besens do not require a licence to operate, but can only be open a few months of the year and many of them are open at different times of the year. The menu is usually small and limited to Swabian food. The tables are close together creating a cosy environment and camaraderie among guests and the hosts and on occasion resulting in an impromptu sing along. The Besens are well marked on the Obertürkheim-Uhlback-Rotenberg-Untertürkheim route.
Photo: Weinweg Stuttgart Once your belly is full, continue on and take a moment to catch your breath at the top of the hill and enjoy the view overlooking Stuttgart. Then take in the Rotenberg Chapel, perched nicely on the hill top, where King Wilhelm I, his wife and daughter are buried. More vineyards and Besens await and it’s worth a stop at the Uhlbach Viniculture Museum where you can learn more about the art of making wine while imbibing in yet another sample or two of wine.
3) Stop in at the Pig Museum (Schwein Museum)
Stuttgart is home to the world’s largest pig museum featuring over 40,000 pig exhibits. Surprisingly it is not well known, even by locals and I think it’s safe to say it’s one of the most offbeat museums I’ve ever been to anywhere in the world. Each room has a theme and the Piggy Bank Room has more than 2000 piggy banks! There’s also a Pigs in Art Room, Pigs in Story Books Room and even a Pig Sexuality Room! I
4) Climb the Birkenkopf
The Birkenkopf is the highest point in inner Stuttgart sitting at 511m, affording a vast view of Stuttgart and on a clear day even as far as to the Swabian Alps and Black Forest. The view in itself is worth going for, but the real reason you should go to the Birkenkopf is for the history. The Birkenkopf is a “Schuttberg”, an artificial hill built from the ruins and rubble of World War II. At the top of the Birkenkopf you will see some of the more memorable rubble including columns and broken statues.
5) Visit Stuttgart’s Only Castle Ruin (“Burgruine Hofen”)
Surprisingly Stuttgart’s only castle ruin in the Hofen Neugereut area of northeast Stuttgart is not well known, even among locals. The castle, which is now a ruin, dates back to at least 1120, but possibly earlier. It was built to protect the village from attacks from the Neckar River. Although Burgruine Hofen is not the most impressive castle ruin you will see in Germany, what I like about it is how modern life and history are so intertwined. The nearby church walls are built from the castle ruins, but modern day apartments and houses are within meters of the ruin. How would you like to live next to a castle ruin?
About the blogger:
Laurel is a Canadian expat living in Germany. She is an online instructor of Adult Education courses and a free lance travel writer and blogger. You can follow her adventures of expat life in Germany and the rest of Europe at Expat in Germany
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*ALL photos on this article are copyrighted by Laurel Robbins*