The birthplace of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche is still a hub of the Deutsche auto industry, and the autobahn ring road circling the city duly throbs day and night with the purr of powerful engines. But look past the petrolhead appeal, and the centre of this metropolis – the capital of Germany’s south-western state of Baden-Württemberg – is comparatively serene.
Indeed, Stuttgart claims to be one of the greenest cities in Europe, with an abundance of parks and gardens, and its wonderful pedestrian backbone, the Königsstrasse is, ironically, the longest car-free thoroughfare in Germany. The street is packed with boutiques, beautiful post-war architecture, museums, galleries and some excellent bars and restaurants.
The city’s 600,000 inhabitants take their food and drink seriously and have given the local Swabian cuisine a reputation as one of the country’s finest. The beer’s good – Stuttgart’s annual autumn ‘Cannstatter Wasen’ festival gives Munich’s infamous Oktoberfest a good run for its money – and the wine is renowned, with vineyards stretching along the surrounding Neckar valley right into the city centre.
With just a couple of hours drive from the Black Forest and the world-renowned Neuschwanstein Castle, (AKA the model for Disney's Cinderella Castle), Stuttgart really does shine as a great all-round destination.