Stuttgart is one of the largest and most historic cities in Germany and can place its origins far back to the days of Roman conquests in the region. There’s a lot to discover in this charming, southern German city, and even more to discover in the surrounding region. Stuttgart’s perfect location in the southwest offer visitors the chance to explore the beautiful nature of the Black Forest, the fairytale castles of the German nobility, and colorful, small towns and villages, nestled amongst gorgeous scenery.
Stuttgart is just a short drive away from France. It’s not even too far from Switzerland, and there are plenty of great cross-border excursions to enjoy from the city too. Visit Strasbourg, the spectacular environs of Lake Konstanz, the big city of Frankfurt, and the multitude of beautiful spots waiting to be discovered nearby.
Here are our favorite day trips from Stuttgart.
1. The Black Forest
The Black Forest is an extensive area of natural beauty that’s easily accessible from Stuttgart.
There are many small towns to discover and a wonderful array of landscapes and hiking trails that will leave you speechless.
A great place to begin your journey into the Black Forest and to get a great feel for nature here, explore the recently created Black Forest National Park, found in the northern part of the region.
This is a protected area of wilderness that encompasses vast areas of forest that is home to an array of wilderness.
Hike to the tallest peaks to enjoy the rolling vistas, where you can see nothing but a sea of green for mile upon mile.
2. Hohenzollern Castle
Hohenzollern Castle is one of Germany’s most iconic castles.
Found just to the south of Stuttgart, the dreamy spires reaching for the sky will leave you as much in awe as the dramatic, cliff-top location that offers incredible views out over the surrounding area.
The Neo-Gothic architecture dates back to the early 19th century when the Prussian King began construction of the high walls and magnificent turrets that you see today.
Historically, though, there have been castles and fortifications on the same site for centuries – far back into the middle ages.
It’s a great place to not only photograph but learn more about the local nobility and houses of Germany.
Tubingen is found just outside of Stuttgart and is an excellent place to visit to see small town German life in what is a predominantly university associated area.
Like much of the region, Tubingen can trace its origins far back – thousands of years – but most of the elegant houses and ramshackle streets that you will discover here are from more modern times, but still incredibly historic.
There’s a beautiful, vibrant and multicolored waterfront that is alive with students and locals throughout the year, while in summer, the beer gardens are loud and busy and the waterways abound with small rowing boats.
Another iconic university town that’s perhaps much more well-known is Heidelberg.
This is one of the most beautiful towns in Germany and it’s just a day trip from Stuttgart.
Here, you will find an elegant bridge spanning the Neckar River and rolling hills covered in green trees surrounding the historic town.
Heidelberg is home to one of the oldest universities in the world – a university which is very much still active and dates back to medieval times.
Walk the old streets, enjoy the marvelous architecture, and explore the distinctive walls of the Heidelberg Castle.
Triberg is a quaint German town that’s found tucked away in a corner of the Black Forest.
Triberg itself is lovely to wander around, however, the real attraction lies not in the town, but in the surrounding forest, where you can easily hike to some of Germany’s tallest waterfalls.
The Triberg Waterfalls are a spectacular sight; the town is located at the bottom of the river that flows over the falls.
Reaching a maximum height of just over 150 meters, this is a beautiful sight; there are many layers cascading over rocks to form a tier of cascading waterfalls.
Freiburg is a small city that’s found right on the border of Germany within easy reach of France and Switzerland.
It’s set amid beautiful surroundings, and despite its proximity to neighboring countries, is distinctly German in character.
The Black Forest surrounds Freiburg and there are many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.
The city itself, being fairly secluded, doesn’t tend to receive the same number of tourists as other areas within the Black Forest, making it an ideal off the beaten track place to discover.
Ulm has some quirky sights to enjoy.
This is the hometown of world famous German physicist Albert Einstein.
Although he moved out very early on in his life, today you can see his presence in the museums and university.
The old streets line the River Danube and it’s a beautiful city.
You can visit the world’s tallest church, marvel at the rickety, lopsided beerhaus that was built centuries ago, and wonder how the city’s very own leaning tower has still not fallen over.
Schorndorf lies just a few miles down the road, to the east of Stuttgart, and makes for an easy day trip from the city.
It’s known for its charming, old-fashioned, wooden houses and a quiet, relaxed atmosphere.
Enjoy the local castle, the museums, and the museum devoted to Gottlieb Daimler – a pioneer of motor vehicle technology who was born in the town.
9. Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle quite literally looks like it has been transplanted into the real world from a fairy tale.
It’s a bit of a long day trip from Stuttgart – the castle is found to the south, on the border with Austria – but it’s well worth the trip to see this iconic landmark in all its glory.
Neuschwanstein Castle is found on a high cliff top and its spires and turrets are the stuff of legend.
The castle dates back to the 19th century, when a German king built this grand premises as his home, away from the world, in as romantic a surrounding as he could envision.
The castle gets very busy, but it’s worth the queues and the crowds just to marvel at this stunning piece of architecture.
10. Lichtenstein Castle
Lichtenstein Castle is another beautifully romantic castle in the region.
It’s found much closer to Stuttgart.
Compared to the more famous castles such as Neuschwanstein, it’s much quieter and hardly as well known.
It’s definitely not understated though, as it’s just as fairytale-like and equally as lavish.
An ornate bridge leads over a precipitous void to the castle gates, where the turrets and walls are seemingly perched, as if by magic, on a high, rocky cliff that looks over a scenic valley.
The huge German city of Frankfurt is just a few hours up the road from Stuttgart and it offers visitors a great day trip.
It might be one of the busiest cities in the country, but that means that there’s also a lot to do.
Enjoy the skyline, visit the many museums, and sample some of the best German food in the region.
Nuremberg is one of the Danube River’s most famous cities.
Although much of it was destroyed in World War II and the name of the city became synonymous with the trials that were held here after the conflict, today the city has recovered and regained its position as a tourist destination that it has long held historically.
The Bavarian capital is found to the south of Stuttgart and is a must-visit city.
Experience the beer halls, the beer gardens, and the great local food that is found all over the city.
It’s an exciting place to explore.
When staying so close in Stuttgart, it would be a shame to miss out on one of Germany’s best city destinations.
14. Lake Constance
Lake Constance is found where Germany meets both Switzerland and Austria.
It’s a wonderful destination to visit and you can explore the lengthy lakeside walks, the small waterside towns, and even cross the lake by boat to explore the neighboring countries.
Strasbourg is found just over the border in France and makes for a great day trip from Stuttgart if you want to experience a location less German.
Strasbourg, though, is still decidedly multicultural; it’s always been at the center of the crossroads of Germany and France, and today is the home of the European Parliament too.
Found on the banks of the River Rhine, there are influences to be seen from both sides of the river, and a great array of historic buildings and sights to entertain.