Best Day Trips from Stuttgart Germany

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Day Trips from Stuttgart Germany

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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Day Trips from Stuttgart Germany

Looking for some great day trips in Germany and things to do near Stuttgart? We’ve lived near the city long enough to ask the question, what to do in southern Germany many times. My family and I enjoyed doing quite a bit of sightseeing near Stuttgart, Germany. I’ll share all of my favorite places to visit around Stuttgart Germany and some across the border. All of the locations are 2.5 hours or less (one way). Check out the map below to see the locations for the best day trips from Stuttgart. 

So get ready to explore some fabulous places to visit near Stuttgart, Germany! 

Day trips from Stuttgart, Germany
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Castles near Stuttgart, Germany

I’m not sure about you, but I absolutely love castles. Castles are where the royal families and wealthy live and raise their children. They are full of power and strength with their towering walls and rich interiors. Nestled deep in valleys and perched on towering cliffs, with unique historical stories. Anywhere I travel, I always look for castles to visit and learn about their history. 

1. Hohenzollern Castle 

The current version of Burg Hohenzollern castle was finished in 1867 and is still owned by the family, but the original castle foundation dates back to 1061. If you want to see the Hohenzollern castle interior, you’ll also hear the impressive history and see the Hohenzollern family tree painted on the ceiling that shows the ancestral seat of the Prussian Kings, German Emperors and Princes of Hohenzollern. The castle stands high on “zoller” mountain overlooking the valley below. The Emperor William II proclaimed: “The panorama from the Hohenzollern Castle is truly worth a journey”. 

  • Cost: Be sure to buy your tickets at the ticket booth in the car park. Exterior tickets are 7 euros for adults and 5 euros (6-17 year old). If you want to see the inside, sign up for a guided Hohenzollern castle tour. It is 12 euros per adult, 10 euros for seniors and those with disabilities, 6 euros for children (6-17) or 28 euros for a family ticket. 
  • Fun for kids: If you take a tour of the inside, the guide will have a royal cloak to wear. There is also a coffee/cake shop in the courtyard with plenty of space to run around. 
  • Things to note: There is a fee to park (2 euro per car). It is also a steep climb to the entrance of the castle. Consider the shuttle up to the castle: 2 euro for adults, 1 euro for children (4-14). You’ll still have to climb the final ascent once you reach the castle entrance, something to note if you have limited mobility. The castle also hosts a Christmas Market for two weeks in November/December
  • Hours: Open most days from 10 am-4:30/5:30 pm
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 1 hour drive 
  • Address: 72379 Burg Hohenzollern, Germany
Hohenzollern castle interior
Burg Hohenzollern Castle as seen in the distance
Hohenzollern castle tour

2. Lichtenstein Castle 

Schloss Lichtenstein castle was built in 1892 by Count Wilhelm of Württemberg after he was inspired after reading the novel  “Lichtenstein” by Wilhelm Hauff’s. It is a fairy tale castle with a chapel, hunting lodge and various other buildings inside its courtyard. One of my favorite features is the wooden drawbridge that leads into the castle perched 817 meters over the valley below.
 
  • Cost: The ticket booth is just inside the castle walls. To visit the inside courtyard and grounds, it is 2 euros for adults and 1 euro for children. If you want to take the German only guided tour, then it is 8 euros for adults and 3.50 euros for children. *Ask for an English handout*
  • Fun for kids: Explore the courtyard, check out the cannons and dream about which Disney movie this castle would fit best in! Also note, the guided tour is only 30 minutes, so doable for some kids. 
  • Things to note: There is a fee to park (2 euro per car). It is also a steep climb up the hill to the entrance of the castle (150 meters). There are no shuttle options. The guided tour is 30 minutes long and is only in German. Be sure to ask for an English handout. Also no photos are allowed inside. There is a small biergarten by the castle parking area. The castle grounds are dog friendly and if you can hold your dog during the 30 minute tour, they are welcome. 
  • Hours: Closed January-February. Open March-December from 9 am/10 am – 4/5:30 pm (longer hours in the summer)
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 1 hour drive 
  • Address: Schloß Lichtenstein 1, 72805 Lichtenstein, Germany
Burg Lichtenstein dragon peering over the edge of the castle walls.
Liechtenstein castle

3. Neuschwanstein Castle

Fondly known as the Disney princess castle, Neuschwanstein is also a bit of a mouthful to say. It was built as a fanciful retreat for King Ludwig II, where he only spent 11 nights before his untimely death. It was never meant as a castle for the royal court, but as a private residents for King Ludwig and his servants. It had not been fully completed, thus six weeks after the death of King Ludwig, it was opened to the public. Neuschwanstein welcomes 1.3 million visitors per year making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. I always highly recommend a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle. 
 
  • Cost: The ticket booth is located near the car park area, just follow the signs. I highly suggest purchasing your tickets ahead of time. If you wait until the morning, you’ll end up with tickets much later in the day or possibly no tickets at all since they sell out in the busy season (July-September). Use the link below to reserve online!
      • Reserve your tickets ahead of time using this link to the official ticket page. They must be picked up from the ticket booth 1.5 hours before your reserved time. 
      • Adults: 13 euros, children under 18 are free.
  • Fun for kids: The hanging bridge overlooking the castle is a highlight. There is also a horse drawn carriage that you can take either up or down to the castle grounds, which is a delight for kids. The tour lasts 30 minutes, which is doable for most kids. Be sure to play a fun game of eye spy inside the castle.
      • Note: No hiking carriers are allowed inside the castle. Soft structured carriers are OK. There is a coat check area for strollers and unapproved carriers.
  • Things to note: There is a fee to park (7 euro per car) and parking does fill during the busy season.
      • Best Strategy: Pick up your tickets at least 2 hours before your scheduled visit from the ticket booth. Take the shuttle (2.50 euros per person one way) up to the top of the hill. The bus will drop you off right next to the entrance to the bridge overlooking Neuschwanstein  castle. Enjoy the views, then head back towards where the bus dropped you off and walk downhill to the entrance of the castle. Wait for your entrance time and tour. Once the tour is complete, continue downhill to the little restaurant and where the horse drawn carriages wait. You can either take a horse drawn carriage (3.50 per person downhill) or walk back down the hill to your car. If you are the first visit in the morning, then 1.5 hours is plenty of time, otherwise, give yourself time to wait for the bus.
  • Hours: Open everyday, except Christmas Eve/Christmas and New Years Eve/New Years.
      • April to 15 October: 9 am-6 pm & 16 October to March: 10 am-4 pm.
          • Ticket booth opens 1.5 hours prior to the castle. Guided tours are provided in German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Czech, Slovenian, and Japanese. Self-guided tours are not available.
    •  
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 2.5 hour drive
  • Address: Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany
Neuschwanstein tour interior
Neuschwanstein castle tour

4. Hohenschwangau Castle

The lesser known twin to Neuschwanstein, Schloss Hohenschwangau is where King Ludwig II spent his childhood and dreamed up his fanciful castle on the hill across the valley and town of Hohenschwangau. This recent castle was built in the 19th century, but it’s history dates back to the 12th century.  It opened to the public in 1913 and has more than 300,000 visitors each year. 
 
  • Cost: The ticket booth is located near the car park area, just follow the signs. I highly suggest purchasing your tickets ahead of time. Tickets for Hohenschwangau do not sell out as quickly, but planning ahead is always best because the lines will be long and there is no separate line if you only want to see Hohenschwangau Castle. Use the link below to reserve online!
      • Reserve your tickets ahead of time using this link to the official ticket page. They must be picked up from the ticket booth 1.5 hours before your reserved time. 
      • Adults: 13 euros, children under 18 are free.
      • Want to visit both Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein? Buy a combo ticket for 23 euros per adult, children under the age of 18 are free
  • Fun for kids: This castle is best for older children as there are 90 steps to climb and it is a 35 minute guided tour. If you do bring your little one, no stroller or hiking carriers are permitted and you will be told to keep little ones quiet so others can enjoy the tour. 
  • Things to note: There is a fee to park (7 euro per car). I wouldn’t recommend walking to the Castle Hohenschwangau entrance unless you allow plenty of time to walk the 1.2 km uphill (approximately 20 minutes). Alternately you can take a horse drawn carriage which picks up directly in front of the ticket office. Cost is 4.50 euros per person uphill and 2 euros per person downhill (or you can walk).  
  • Hours: Open all  year (except Christmas Eve/Christmas Day and New Years Eve/New Years Day). Opening hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (April through September) and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (October through March). Guided tours are provided in German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Czech, Slovenian, and Japanese. Self-guided tours are not available.
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 2.5 hour drive
  • Address: Alpseestraße 30, 87645 Schwangau, Germany
Hohenschwangau Castle
Castle Hohenschwangau

5. Stettenfels Castle (Medieval Festival)

Burg Stettenfels is an 11th century medieval castle above the town of Untergruppenbach in Heilbronn. It has passed through many families, as well as the Nazi’s and Americans before being turned into a cultural property used to host events after it’s last renovation with a modern interior. This castle is not open for regular tours, so visiting during one of their festivals and events is the best way to enjoy it’s courtyards and grounds. I highly recommend their medieval festival, which takes place on one weekend every April/May. Check this website for dates. They also have a Christmas market.
 
  • Cost: Tickets of the medieval festival are 12 euros for adults, 8 euros for children (free under 1.20 meters).
  • Fun for kids: Kids will love the medieval festival. There are games to play, a playground area, lots of space to run in the biergarten and the shows are wonderful (juggling, acrobatics, horse jousting and more)! The grounds are stroller accessible for the most part. I’d park the stroller once you reach the bridge into the castle walls (interior castle). 
  • Things to note: Parking is free and there is also a free shuttle to the event entrance. Strollers are allowed on shuttles. You can bring your dog, but they are not allowed on the shuttle, so park nearby and walk along the trail to the entrance. 
  • Hours: The Medieval Festival takes place in April/May. Check the website above. 
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 40 minutes
  • Address: Burg Stettenfels 4, 74199 Untergruppenbach, Germany
Stettenfels castle medieval festival

6. Château du Haut Kœnigsbourg (France)

This 12th century fairy-tale castle looks down majestically across the Alsace valley in France from its rocky perch. Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg was occupied from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years’ War when it was abandoned. Early in the 20th century it was rebuilt by the German kaiser Wilhelm II to reflect what it would have looked like in the 15 century. Towering at 757 m over picture perfect villages and colorful vineyards, it is one of France’s most widely visited castles with over 500,000 tourists each year visiting Chateau Koenigsbourg.
 
  • Cost: Adults: 9 euros, Children: 5 euros (6-17 years old) Kids under 6 are free.
  • Fun for kids: This castle DOES NOT require a guided tour, which is great for families because you can explore at your own pace. Audio Guides are available and there are sign with information. Medieval castles are often fun for kids and there is a little store at the end with little swords and souvenirs.
      • No strollers are allowed due to stairs and narrow passageways. Bring a soft structured carrier for little ones. 
  • Things to note: Parking is free around the castle grounds and it is a short walk to the entrance. There is a also a shuttle bus from the Sélestat railway station. You can either take a guided tour, or grab an audio guide and go at your own pace. Allow at least an hour to view all the rooms. Dogs are not permitted on the tour (not even in a bag). Between April and October there is a small snack shop (sandwiches) for a bite to eat. 
  • Hours: Open 9:30 am -5 pm from March and October, open till 6 pm June-August. Slightly shorter hours the rest of the year. The castle is open all year round except 1 January, 1 May, 10 July (Tour de France 2019) and 25 December.
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 2.5 hours
  • Address: 67600 Orschwiller, France
Haut Koenigsbourg Castle
Chateau Koenigsbourg

Theme Parks

Ready for some high flying roller coasters? Want to take the kids to enjoy some family fun? The following theme parks have something to offer for everyone, including plenty of beer and delicious German food. We are adrenaline junkies and so is our son, so we were frequent visitors to each park. We will share our top tips for each park and which park is best for which ages. 

1. Europa Park, Germany

Europa Park Germany is Europe’s second most popular theme park (after Disneyland Paris) and one of the largest! The park is split into 13 different areas that each represent a different country, so it’s easy to navigate and try foods from around the globe without ever stepping foot on a plane! The park is meant for everyone from wobbly toddlers to daredevil teenagers and grandparents. The Silver Star is the park’s biggest roller coaster with top speeds of 127 km/h, it will certainly knock your socks off! Looking for something a bit laid back? Find a show to watch with anything from circus acts to ice dancing and musical entertainment. The entire park is a delight for the senses with playground, manicured gardens and plenty of places to rest in the shade. With over 53 eateries throughout the park, you will be hard pressed to decide where to eat!

  • Cost for a one day pass: Summer/Winter
      • Adults (Age 12 and up): 52 euros/ 47 euros
      • Kids (Age 4-11 years old): 44.50 euros/ 39.50 euros
      • Kids under the age of 4: Free
          • Additional discounts for seniors, Visitors with disabilities. 
  • Best for Ages:
      • There is certainly something for everyone! Little kids can enjoy many family friendly Europa park rides and playgrounds throughout the park. From boat rides, trains, bumper cars and hot air balloons to bobby cars, indoor/outdoor play areas and water play areas. 
      • There are 14 coasters in the park! They vary from water log rides to virtual reality and adrenaline educing coasters.
  • Things to Note: 
      • Don’t miss the fun parades, indoor 3D and 4D theaters, the water fountain shows and music to take a break from all the rides. 
      • I highly recommend eating at Food Loop in Luxembourg. The line may look long, but people cycle through pretty quickly. You’ll order your food digitally and then it will go on a roller coaster of it’s own to your table! It’s a delight!
      • The park opens earlier than the listed hours. Be sure to show up an hour early to park and walk to the gate, then head towards your desired area. 
      • Be sure to visit in the winter to enjoy their Christmas Market. (Tip: they highly discount their items at the end of the season!)
      • Want to escape the crowds? Jump the tram to the back of the park and then work your way out. 
  • Hours:
      • Summer: April-November 9 am-6 pm (later in the peak season)
      • Winter: November-January open from 11 am-7 pm (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 1 hour 45 minutes via Car
      • 2.5 hours via Flixbus
  • Address:
      • Europa-Park-Straße 2, 77977 Rust, Germany
Europa Park Germany
Europa Park Roller coaster
Europa Park is best enjoyed over two days. Consider booking a place to stay near the park. I can personally recommend Gästehaus Milella for an inexpensive place to stay near the park. 

2. Tripsdrill Park

Tripsdrill amusement park is part theme park and part wildlife park and was Germany’s 1st theme park that opened over 90 years ago! You won’t even realize you’ve arrived because park Tripsdrill is located among beautiful vineyards, woods and meadows. With over 100 attractions ranging from roller coasters to playgrounds and water slides, there is something in the park for everyone to enjoy. 

  • Cost:
      • Adults (12 years and older): 33 euros
      • Kids (Ages 4-11): 28 euros
      • Kids under the age of 4: FREE
          • Additional Discounts for seniors, pregnant women and visitors with disabilities. 
  • Best for Ages:
      • Little Kids: There are over 15 attractions that kids under 4 can enjoy either alone or with an adults. Kids over the age of 4 have many options as well. There are only 5 rides they can’t go on. 
      • Big Kids: There are 6 big rides including two water based rides, so still plenty to enjoy.
  • Things to Note:
      • Parking is FREE
      • Dogs are welcome in the theme park, but they must stay on leash and you must purchase a dog hygiene kit and keep it with you.
          • Sorry pups, no rides for you!
      • The layout of the park isn’t the easiest to navigate, so grab a map and be sure to peak into various buildings because many attractions are a bit hidden. 
      • If you have time, be sure to visit the wildlife park next door or look into staying in one of their tree houses for the weekend to enjoy both the theme park and the wildlife area. 
  • Hours:
      • Open Daily from April till November from 9 am – 6 pm (Theme Park and Wildlife Park) 
      • In the Winter, only the wildlife park is open.
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 40 minutes by car
      • A little less than an hour via public transportation (R4 & 567)
  • Address:
      • Erlebnispark Tripsdrill, Straße 1, 74389 Cleebronn, Germany
Freizeitpark Tripsdrill
Park Tripsdrill
Park Tripsdrill Theme Park

3. Legoland Germany

Legoland Park Germany is a delight for LEGO fans and one of six around the world! Legoland Deutschland offers more than 50 family attractions from rides to attractions, shows and LEGO building zones. It is best for ages 3-12 years old, although there are a few rides for older children and play spaces for under 3 years old. Be sure to save some time to explore the LEGO shop before exiting the park. 

  • Cost:
      • Adults (12 years and older): 41.50 Euros 
      • Kids (3-11): 37 euros
      • Kids under 3: FREE
          • Get discount legoland tickets on many German cereal boxes. Just check out your local grocery store. There are also coupons in the LEGO magazines that are free in stores. Typically buy one, get one free. 
          • If you don’t have a coupon, buy your ticket online to save up to 25% (buy at least 7 days ahead of time).
  • Best for Ages:
      • This is one of the few parks that is best for kids aged 3-12 years old. Older and younger siblings would also enjoy their visit, but that is the targeted audience. 
      • The rides are much more tame and fun is centered around the joy of building and exploring LEGOS. There are a few coasters that will delight the older ones including Flying Ninjango, LEGO Bionicle Power Builder (a stand alone simulator), Fire Dragon and Project X.
  • Things to Note:
      • Parking is 6 Euros 
      • Visit Miniland to see over 25 million LEGO blocks turned into recognizable locations. Kids love to press the levers and buttons to control various LEGO lights and boats. 
      • Visit the LEGO store to buy bulk LEGOS, sets and unique pieces.
      •  Start at the back of the park and hit the Flying Ninjango ride first (if you want to ride it). 
      • Pack a swimsuit and towel if your kids like to play in the water, there are quite a few areas throughout the park to stay cool and get wet. 
      • Consider staying at one of the park hotels to get in an hour early and extend the fun! We stayed in the Castle for my son’s birthday and had a blast!
  • Hours:
      • Legoland is open from the beginning of April until the first weekend in November from 10 am until 6 pm.
          • *Longer Hours during peak season.
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 1.5 hours via car
      • About 2 hours via the flixbus
  • Address:
      • Legoland-Allee 3, 89312 Günzburg, Germany
Legoland Germany
legoland deutschland
Atlantis Sealife Legoland

4. Traumland (Dreamland on the Bear Cave)

If you are looking for a beginning theme park for the littlest ones in your family, then Traumland is a perfect choice. Discover a fairy-tale forest complete with interactive displays and dancing fountains to delight visitors. Then enter into a wonderland of children’s rides, playgrounds, slides and more! Tucked into the forest, you’ll quickly fall in love with this magical theme park. 

  • Cost: 
      • Adults (12+): 15.90 Euros
      • Children (3-11): 14.90 Euros
      • Under the age of 3: FREE
          • Visit on your child’s birthday for a free entry!
  • Best for Ages: For families with children ages 0-10 years old. 
  • Things to Note:
      • Dogs are allowed in the park
      • Parking is FREE and located at the entrance. You’ll need to head up a steep hill to the entrance for tickets. 
      • Bring a stroller for the little ones because the park is large.
      • Bring cash for food and pony rides
          • Pony rides start at 12 pm. 
          • Feel free to bring a picnic or items to barbecue (there are open fires available for use). 
          • There are plenty of options for meals to purchase including typical German fare, crepes, pizza and coffee.
      • TIP: Want to skip the magical forest (German only audio)? Once you enter, go left past the tower and enter by the fountain, this will drop you off at the left side of the park and closest to the rides!
  • Hours:
    • Open 10 am – 5 pm from April till November
        • Open till 6 pm in the summer
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 1 hour
  • Address:
    • Auf der Bärenhöhle, 72820 Sonnenbühl, Germany
Freizeitpark Traumland (Sonnenbuehl)
Freizeitpark Traumland auf der Bärenhöhle

5. Ravensburger Spieleland

Ravensburger Park is located near Lake Constance and is a mix of theme park and playground wonderland with over 70 attractions! You won’t find huge roller coasters here, but you will find rides, a maze complete with stamping stations, backhoes to scoop rocks, jumping pillows, smaller kids rides and massive slides. The park is expansive with eight different themed zones, so plan to spend the entire day exploring and playing!

  • Cost:
      • Adults (15+): 35.50 Euros
      • Children (3-14): 33.50 euros
      • Children under the age of 3: FREE
          • Children under 14 can get into the park FREE on their birthday (up to 6 days after). 
  • Best for Ages: 
      • Best for ages 2-14 years old. It is meant to be a park where families can play together.
          • There are a few attractions for older children to enjoy.
  • Things to Note:
      • Parking is available, but not free. Pay for parking before you leave.
      • The park is spread out and there is quite a bit of distance between different rides and attractions. Bring a stroller or wagon for the little ones. (You can also rent a wooden wagon.)
          • Most of the paths are gravel and some are uphill, so make note of the type of stroller you bring
      • There are plenty of food options throughout the park and range from Italian to German.
      • Our favorite attractions
          • Fun slides & Playgrounds
          • Water playground with stream and sand
          • Firefighters Game
          • Construction Site
          • Brio Water Police Boat Ride & Brio Metro (rodelbahn)
          • Bosch Car Service wheel change facility

  • Hours:
    • The park is open April till early November from 10 am till 5 pm
        • Open until 6 pm during summer
        • Open until 4 pm in late October/Early November
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Address:
      • Am Hangenwald 1, 88074 Meckenbeuren, Germany
Ravensburger Park rides
Ravensburger Land Rides
Ravensburger Spielpark

6. Playmobil Fun Park

PLAYMOBIL Park, is located in Zirndorf just outside the town of Nuremberg, where you can play all year in it’s 90,000m² of indoor and outdoor areas. You’ll find everything from a pirate ship, a medieval castle, a jungle ruin, an American Indian village, a gold/gemstone mine, a farm with tractor trail, a dinosaur discovery trail and a tree house with a magical fairy well. In addition, explore inside to play with every playmobil set offered in the 5,000 m² center with adjacent indoor climbing zone. 

  • Cost:
      • Peak Season (9 am – 7 pm)
        • May-Early September
          • Visitors Ages 3+: 11.90 euros
          • Kids under 3: FREE
      • Low Season (9 am – 6 pm)
        • September-early November
          • Visitors Ages 3+: 9.90 euros
          • Kids under 3: FREE
      • Winter Season (10 am – 6 pm)
        • November till March
          • *Indoor Section Only*
          • Visitors Ages 3+: 6.90 euro
          • Kids under 3: FREE
  • Best for Ages:
      • Playmobil Funpark wants children of all ages to come and play! During our visits, we saw children aged 0-12 years old having the most fun. 
  • Things to Note:
      • There are no rides! However, there are structures to climb, hidden tunnels, towering slides, play areas with water/sand, cars to drive and boats to steer. 
      • Don’t miss the huge play area inside (HOB center)! Parents an enjoy a coffee and snack as well. 
      • Favorite areas include the sand/water playgrounds, Gold Mine (pan for free gems in the sand), Knights castle and Treehouse in the Dinosaur zone.
          • Take your time to explore and play!
  • Hours:
    • Open all year, see seasons and times above
        • Closed Christmas Eve- Day after Christmas and New Years Eve/New Years Day
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 2 hours
  • Address:
      • Brandstätterstraße 2-10, 90513 Zirndorf, Germany
Playmobil castle
Playmobil fun park
Playmobil park
Playmobil shop

Nature Inspired Adventures

Ready to explore the beauty that Germany offers? Explore the following options and get ready to be in the great outdoors! From the nature trail just behind the small towns, to the barefoot walks tucked in the forest and waterfalls scattered in the countryside, you can easily find the motivation to get out and explore! 

1. The Treetop Walk at Bad Wildbad (Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald)

The Baumwipfelpfad, Bad Wildbad (Treetop Walk) is a must visit on a day trip from Stuttgart! You’ll walk along an elevated platform and discover some fun obstacles along the way, as well as information about the area (in German). Finally, you’ll reach a spiraled 40 meter high observation tour overlooking the beauty of the Black Forest. Gaze upon the beech trees, firs and spruces and then decide if you want to descend via the ramp or the baumwipfelpfad slide for a thrill! The Bad Wildbad Baumwipfelpfad is great for visiting family and we were frequent visitors.  

  • Cost:
      • Adults: 10 euros
      • Children 6-14 years: 8 euros
      • Children under 6: FREE
      • Baumwipfelpfad Slide: 2 euro (minimum age 6 years)
  • Things to Note:
      • No dogs allowed 
      • Parking is located at the bottom of the hill, it is paid parking. Then head up the hill and to the right to find the ticket booth. 
      • The ramp up to the observation deck is at a 6% gradient, making it doable for wheelchairs and strollers
      • The obstacles along the route are optional, but fun! Balance on balance beams, climb moving platforms and traverse wooden obstacles. 
      • The walk takes around 1-2 hours to complete. You’ll return back through the forest. 
      • Feeling hungry? Head over to Waldgaststätte Grünhütte for some delicious pancakes! (Cash only)
  • Hours:
      • Opens at 9:30 am year round, closes between 4 pm -7 pm depending on the time of year.
        • Last admission one hour before closing. 
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Address:
      • Peter-Liebig-Weg 16, 75323 Bad Wildbad, Germany
Treetop Walk Black Forest - Baumwipfelpfade
Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald

2. Triberg, Germany

Triberg im Schwarzwald, or Triberg for short is a beautiful town in the black forest in Germany. It is well known for its famous black forest cuckoo clocks (kuckucksuhren Triberg) and features the world’s largest cuckoo clock within it’s town. In addition, the Tiberg Waterfalls are not to be missed with their multi-tiered falls over wooden bridges and gravel paths to view them from many angles. Discover one of the highest waterfalls in Germany at 163 meters tall. Be sure to visit in the winter as well where the town puts on a festival of lights complete with an evening show featuring fire breathing, music, dancing and pyrotechnics!

The Schwarzwaldmuseum or Black Forest Museum is also worth a look with it’s history about the area, the evolution of the making of cuckoo clocks and some really neat music machines that were made. Bring some coins to play the music and see the movement. 

  • Triberg Wasserfall:
      • Cost:
        • Adults: 5 euros, Children (8-17 years), 4.50 euros, Children under 8: FREE
        • Purchase peanuts to feed the squirrels
      • Parents: Bring strollers able to tackle hills and rough terrain (it’s all uphill)
      • Open year round, don’t miss the Triberg Christmas Magic!
      • Location: Center of town, near the house of 1,000 cuckoo clocks
            • Schönwälder Str. 2, 78098 Triberg im Schwarzwald, Germany
  • Black Forest Museum:
      • Cost:
        • 6 Euros, or get a combo ticket with the waterfall for 9.50 euros
      • Bring coins to play the mechanical music
      • Open year round from 10 am – 5 pm (6 pm April-September)
      • Kids will enjoy the underground gem mine with various rocks and minerals. Operating music machines and discovering what life was like in the black forest. Strollers not recommended due to stairs. 
  • Triberg Schwarzwald Favorite Shops and Restaurants:
      • Cuckoo Clock Shop: Oli`s Schnitzstube
      • Black Forest Cake: Landgasthof Zur Lilie
        • Location of the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock:
          *Be sure to visit on the hour or 1/2 hour, it is located 5 minutes drive from Triberg.
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Address for Parking:
      • Kreuzstraße 21-1, 78098 Triberg im Schwarzwald, Germany
Triberg waterfalls
Triberg Black Forest Cake
black forest cuckoo clock

3. Lake Konstanz

Lake Constance, Germany is a beautiful outdoor paradise located in Southern Germany near the Swiss border. It features a beautiful crystal clear blue lake with three countries on it’s borders. Well known for cycling, boating, family friendly farm stays, quintessential German towns and a place to relax, it is well loved by the locals. Lake Constance is also known as Bondensee, Lake Konstanz and Lake Bondensee, but they all refer to the same Alpine Lake. 

  • Things to Do:
      • Explore the town of Konstanz and the harbor – stroll the cobblestone Old Town, visit the 11th-century Konstanz Minster and see the sweeping vistas from the Konstanz harbor.
          • Take the Kids to SEA Life Aquarium
      • Enjoy the stunning views of the lake from Lindau’s harbor- climb 89 steps to the top of the Mangturm Tower for unobstructed views of the lake.  
      • Discover the history at Meersburg Castle – it is the oldest inhabited fortress-castle in all of Germany; dating back to the  7th century. 
      • Take a leisurely boat ride- Catamarans, ferries, car ferries and cruise ships operated by multiple companies connect the towns and islands surrounding the lake.
      • Visit Salem Monastery and Palace – former Cistercian abbey from the 1100s.
      • Visit the Isle of Mainau- More on that below!
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 2 hours
  • Address:
      • 78467 Konstanz, Germany
Bondensee
Lake Konstanz

Plan a weekend stay in Lake Constance below!

4. Mainau Island (Lake Konstanz)

Mainau Island, Germany is an absolute delight for outdoor garden lovers! Known as the “flower island”, with over 45 hectors, it is captivating destination with a butterfly house, sculpted gardens, sweeping views of the surrounding lake, an 18th century palace and greenhouse full of palms. Children will delight with the kinderland complete with petting zoo, pony rides, wooden marble maze, multiple playgrounds (water play included) and biergartens. 

  • Cost:
      • Summer Season (End of March till Mid-October)
          • Adults: 21.50 euros
          • Children (12 and under): FREE
      • Winter Season
          • Adults: 10 euros
          • Children (12 and under): FREE
  • Things to Note:
      • Paid parking area, arrive early on holidays and in Spring
      • Bring a stroller for young children, it is a vast island
      • Be sure to visit the Butterfly House (opens at 10 am)
      • I recommend staying left, visit the butterfly house, then continue up to the mansion, stroll back along the gardens and end in the children’s area near the biergarten, then exit to the right.
          • Bring coins for the animal food and wooden ball to use on the kugelbahn
  • Hours:
      • Dawn until Dusk
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 2 hours
  • Address for parking for Insel Mainau:
      • Unnamed Road, 78465 Konstanz, Germany
Island of flowers Mainau
Kinderland Spielpark Mainau Island
butterfly house hours 10 am
Flower Island of Mainau

5. Bad Urach Waterfall

This 40 meter tall waterfall is a poular attraction in Bavaria. Enjoy a nice dirt path through the woods along a stream until you reach the Bad Urach Wasserfall. This 1. 25 mile hike is easy with flat terrain (possible with strollers) before reaching the falls where you can climb up stone stairs to get up close with the Falls. 

  • Cost:
      • FREE
  • Things to Note:
      • Bring hiking clothes and plenty of water/snacks
      • Limited parking located at the trail head, arrive early on popular days (holidays)
  • Hours:
      • Dawn until Dusk
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 1 hour
  • Address:
      • 72574 Bad Urach, Germany
Uracher waterfall | Kurverwaltung Bad Urach
Bad Urach Urach waterfall

6. Barefoot Walk (Barfußpark Hallwangen)

What is a barefoot walk? Barfußpark Hallwangen is a 1.5 mile trail through the forest where you walk barefoot over a variety of materials, in water/mud and over stones, rocks, glass, pebbles and wood. Even soft toed participants will survive. It is a unique experience that is best enjoyed with an open mind. There are BBQ facilities and a small kiosk that sells food. The barefoot walk is best enjoyed in warmer weather. 

  • Cost:
      • FREE
  • Things to Note:
      • Bring a towel to dry your feet off, there is a foot washing station
      • Bring coins if you want to use the lockers to store your shoes and towels
      • There are two options for a shorter or longer trail. The longer trail includes the mud and straw.
      • Go slow and enjoy the experience
      • No strollers, so bring a carrier for little ones
      • No dogs allowed
  • Hours:
      • Dusk till Dawn
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 1 hour
  • Address:
      • Silberwaldstraße 22, 72280 Dornstetten, Germany
BarfussPark (Dornstetten)
Barefoot Park Hallwangen
Barfuss Park - Dornstetten

7. Sommerrodelbahn Gutach (Summer Tobaggan Run)

Looking for a fun outdoor adventure with a little bit of thrill? Look no further than a mountain car or rodelbahn! We’ve tried a few in the area and this is our favorite. You get to ride your “cart” up to the top before you go careering (at your own pace) down to the bottom. Smile for the camera and see who can get the fastest time! There is a viewing platform for little ones that can’t ride, in additional to trampolines (coin operated), playgrounds and ride on toys. Bring some cash for the biergarten. 

  • Cost:
      • 1 Ride
          • Adults: 3.50 euros
          • Kids (3-14): 2.50 euros
      • 6 rides
          • Adults: 16 euros
          • Kids (3-14): 11 euros
      • Children under the age of 8 must ride with someone over the age of 8. Kids under 3 are NOT allowed to ride. 
  • Things to Note:
      • Children over the age of 8 can ride alone
      • Children 3-7 must ride with someone over the age of 8
      • Bring coins for rides and trampoline
      • Bring cash for the biergarten
      • Parking is free, but limited
      • Go early to avoid longer lines
      • Purchase tickets past the Biergarten around to the right (before the bathrooms)
      • You can control your speed. If you want to go fast, slowly load your cart to space out the car in front of you. 🙂
  • Hours:
      • 10 am – 6pm
          • End of March till Early October
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Address:
      • Singersbach 1a, 77793 Gutach (Schwarzwaldbahn), Germany
sommerrodelbahn gutach
Summer toboggan run Gutach
Gutach summer toboggan run Gutach

Picturesque Cities

Europe is full of picturesque cities and Germany is no exception. From it’s half-timbered homes and shops to the intricate stonework on the churches and stained glass on the interior. Explore the following cities, peek into the medieval churches, enjoy a slow lunch while people watching in the town squares and soak up the local ambiance. I’ve visited all of the towns and cities on the list, so my tips are personal and my restaurant recommendations are based off where I’ve dined. 

1. Tübingen

We lived in close proximity to Tubingen and it was one of our favorite places to visit. It is a university town with half-timbered houses and a beautiful Old Town with many wonderful festivals that take place each year. Take a punt boat tour in the river and enjoy the views of the castle walls, German style homes and picturesque parks. You’ll also discover shops, farmers markets and museums. Have kids? Park over by the Alter Botanischer Garten Tübingen (Botanical Garden), which also features a huge playground and you can walk under a small bridge right into town. 

  • What to see in Tubingen
      • Old Town– Stroll the cobblestones lanes perusing various shops, cafes and churches. Enjoy the farmers market during the summer months on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. 
      • Hohentübingen Castle–  Hike up the hill to see the old castle ruins and a few open rooms with rotating exhibits. 
      • St. George’s Collegiate Church–  A 15th century church with bell tower that you can climb for views of the city.
      • Go Punting: Go on a punting boat tour of the Neckar River
      • Botanical Gardens – Have kids? Take them to this large green oasis complete with playground, sand play and grassy fields to kick a ball.
  • Favorite Festivals:
      • Provence Festival in September
          • Umbrisch Provencalischer Markt
      • Chocolate Festival in December
          • chocolART
  • Where to eat in Tubingen
      • Ice Cream near the park: Eiscafé San Marco
      • Cafe near the park: Piccolo Sole d’Oro
      • Along the River: Gasthausbrauerei Neckarmüller
      • Vegan Food: Vegi
      • German Fare: Liquid Bar Restaurant
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 45 minutes (Car)
      • 1 hour (train- 1 transfer)
  • Address:
      • Nonnengasse 14, 72070 Tübingen, Germany
          • Parking Garage
Tubingen Germany
Tubingen Germany Punt Boats

2. Esslingen, Germany

Looking for charm, medieval history and some of the oldest half-timbered houses in all of Germany? Then Esslingen should be high on your list. Esslingen was spared from damage during WWII and thus many of the houses and building are intact. Start up at castle hill for views over the Old Town and Vineyards. Taste sparking wine at Kessler, where is has been produced for almost 200 years. Visit the city church that dominates the plaza with two towers connected with a small bridge and peek inside to see its 700’s beginnings. It is a city not to be missed! Visiting during Christmas? The Esslingen Medieval Christmas Market was a favorite!

  • What to see in Esslingen:
      • Stadtkirche St. Dionys – Built in the middle of the 17th century. There is 14th-century stained glass windows, oak choir stalls carved with strange characters in 1518, a golden 16th-century tabernacle and a marvelous late-15th-century rood screen.
      • Altes Rathaus– Old Town Hall with its astronomical clock dating back to 1592
      • Frauenkirche– Esslingen’s newest church dating from 1515. It is a fine example of Gothic architecture with beautiful stained glass windows. 
      • Esslinger Castle – More of a residence for the royal family, then an actual castle, you can walk the interior courtyard and enjoy views over the vineyards and Old Town. Check out the many events including movie showings and tours. 
      • Marktplatz– Visit on Wednesday and Saturday mornings for a lively market.
      • Museum St. Dionys– Visit on Sunday afternoons to see the excavated crypt of the Stadtkirche
      • Kessler Sekt– Take a tour and taste their sparking wine.
  • Where to eat in Esslingen
    • Must Visit: Weinkeller Einhorn
        • Order some Keller sparking wine with your meal.
        • Reservations recommended
  • Favorite Festivals in Esslingen
      • July: Bürgerfest 
      • August: Zwiebelfest (Onion Festival)
      • December: Esslingen Christmas Market
          • Be sure to visit! It is unique compared to all the other Christmas Markets we’ve visited. 
  • Esslingen Tours
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 20 minutes (Car)
      • 15-20 minutes (train, no transfers)
  • Address:
    • Ebershaldenstraße 12 73728 Esslingen am Neckar
      • Parking Garage 
Esslingen Germany
Esslingen Castle

3. Nuremberg, Germany

The second largest Bavarian city, after Munich, Nurmberg is full of history and charm. Nuremberg was 90% destroyed by WWII, but it was rebuilt into the beautiful town you see today. Nuremberg became the venue for the Nazi Party Rallies and subsequently the Nuremberg Trials, so there is quite a bit of history and information to document the events. The people of the city are friendly, the restaurants are abound with delicious treats and the city is perfect for strolling. Don’t miss the famous Christmas Market in December. 

  • What to see in Nuremberg:
      • Toy Museum – Discover an array of antique toys and let the children play in the indoor and outdoor play area.
      • Gingerbread-Schmidt– A local souvenir is the Lebkuchen, a traditional German baked Christmas treat, somewhat resembling gingerbread.
      • Take a Tour– From a free walking tour, to a paid tour including the Nazi parade grounds, there is something for everyone.
      • Nuremberg Castle – walk through the castle grounds, admiring the half-timbered palaces and cobblestone courtyards or pay for admission to see the chapel, tower and apartments
      • Churches– There are many to choose from and they all have their different charms. Be sure to peek into a few of them during your visit. 
  • Where to eat in Nuremberg
    • Must Visit: Bratwurst Roslein
        • Local cuisine with a large outdoor garden
    • Grab and Go: Sausages
        • There are plenty of little street carts serving sausages in a bun. Nuremberg sausages are quite famous, so it’s worth a try!
  • Favorite Festivals in Nuremberg
      • December: Nuremberg Christmas Market (Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt)
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 2 hours (Car)
      • 3 hours (train, 1 transfer)
  • Address:
    • Augustinerstraße 4, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany
      • Parking Garage 
Nuremburg Germany
Nuremburg Germany

4. Heidelberg, Germany

Located less than an hour from Frankfurt and just over an hour from Stuttgart, it is a popular tourist destination with it’s Gothic churches, cafe-lined Marktplatz, Old Town and red sandstone ruins of the 13th century Heidelberg Castle. It’s easy to fall in love with the romantic and charming Heidelberg. About 1/4 of it’s population are students, which attend Heidelberg University, so it has a similar feel to Tubingen. Don’t miss coordinating your visit with one of the many festivals that takes place in Heidelberg.
 
  • What to see in Heidelberg:
      • Philosopher’s Walk (Philosophenweg) – Walk along a paved path along the hill for views of the city.This famous path was once the source of inspiration for scholars and great minds.
      • Heidelberg Castle– No visit to Heidelberg should miss the Heidelberg Castle. Construction of the castle started in the early 1200s, but it has expanded over the centuries to include a fortress, multiple towers, moats, and gardens all overlooking the Old Town below. 
      • Take a Tour– With any large city, there are plenty of tours to pick from. Rent a bike, join a free walking tour or jump on a segway. 
      • Historic Old Town – Heidelberg’s Altstadt is on the southern banks of the Neckar River, dominated by the Hauptstrasse (Main Street), longest pedestrian walkway in Europe and runs the entire length of the Old Town. Be sure to check out the Alte Brücke (Old Bridge), built in 1788.
      • Churches– There are many to choose from and they all have their different charms. Be sure to peek into a few of them during your visit. 
      • Student Jail (Studentkarzer)– Used from 1823 to 1914 for students that committed “crimes” such as public intoxication, drunkenness and other offenses, it became a bit of a “right of passage” for college students. 
      • Heidelberg Zoo- Have kids? Enjoy a visit to the zoo with over 250 species of animals.
  • Where to eat in Heidelberg
    • Must Visit: Vetter’s Alt Heidelberger Brauhaus
        • Local cuisine in a candlelit restaurant
    • Kulturbrauerei Heidelberg
        • Decorated with black and white photos of Heidelberg on its walls.
  • Favorite Festivals in Heidelberg
      • February: Vampire Ball
      • Spring: Heidelberg Spring Festival and International Music Festival
      • September- Old Town Festival with music, market and festival
      • October/November- Jazz Festival
      • December- Heidelberg Christmas Market
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 1 hour 15 minutes (Car)
      • 45 minutes (train, no transfers)
  • Address:
    • Hauptstraße 214, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
      • Parking Garage 
Heidelburg Castle Germany
Heidelberg Germany

5. Ulm, Germany

Ulm is most well known for it’s famous church that has the worlds’ largest church spire, but it also features a 16th century astronomical clock, half-timbered houses along the River Danube and the birthplace of Albert Einstein. Ulm’s history features stories of fishermen and tanners that use to call this medieval city their home. 
  
  • What to see in Ulm:
      • Ulm Minster – Ulm Minster has the highest steeple in the world, is officially the tallest complete church in the world. Don’t miss the 15th-century carved oak choir stalls and the 17th-century organ played by Mozart in 1763. You can also climb the spire for it’s panoramic views.
      • Schiefes Haus– A crooked inn from the 15th century that was used by Ulm’s famous shipbuilders and according to the Guinness Book of World Records it’s the most crooked hotel in the world.
      • Altes Rathaus– Visit Ulm’s Town Hall dating back to 1370 with an astronomical clock dating back to 1520.
      • Metzgerturm (Butcher’s Tower) – The medieval gate tower that gets its name from the pedestrian path to the city’s slaughterhouse. 
      • Museums– There are plenty of options from a sculpture museum to an art museum. Perhaps you fancy a bread museum?
  • Where to eat in Ulm
    • Crêperie Kornhäusle
        • Grab a savory crepe with a delicious glass of cider.
    • Barfüßer die Hausbrauerei Ulm
        • Popular for its beers and hearty plates for 10 euros of less!
  • Favorite Festivals in Ulm
      • June- Stadfest
        • For several weeks renowned artists will delight with music, theater, comedy, dance
      • December- Ulm Christmas Market
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 1 hour (Car)
      • 1 hour (train, no transfers)
  • Address:
    • Neue Str., 89073 Ulm, Germany
      • Parking Garage 
Ulm Cathedral, Germany
Ulm, Germany

6. Munich, Germany

Munich is the largest city in southern Germany and is well known for its annual beer festival, Oktoberfest, but the city has much more to offer. From its historic city center, to the Munich English garden complete with biergartens and surfing! It’s historical attractions include art collections, a palace, churches and it’s famous clock.   

  • What to see in Munich
      • Marienplatz  – Visit the Old and New Town Halls as well as the Gothic tower. It is also the site of the German Christmas Markets. 
      • English Garden– One of my favorite places to visit with its sprawling green lawns, multiple playgrounds, biergartens and artificial surfing wave. Outdoor enthusiast will enjoy the various gardens and paths in this 910 acre paradise.
      • Churches– From the Church of our Lady, a 15th century church, to the popular Asam church with its stunning frescoes.
      • Munich Residenz – A palace that was once inhabited by Emperors, Kings, and Queens. This is a sprawling palace that will take up the majority of your day.
      • Octoberfest– This is one of the main reasons that tourists flock to Germany. Oktoberfest is a massive festival and party complete with gigantic beer steins, delicious German fare, music and dancing. Outside the tents you’ll discover a treasure trove of rides, carnival games and local shops that sell their wares. 
      • Deutsches Museum – Everything from historic planes to astronomy, computers to recreated salt and coal mines.
  • Where to eat in Munich
    • Viktualienmarkt
        • Munich’s biggest outdoor food market that is part farmer’s market and part foodie paradise.
    • Liebighof
        • A favorite, especially during the Christmas season with its beautiful decor.
    • Augustiner Klosterwirt
        • A traditional Bavarian restaurant in Munich located in the center of town and a top pick for locals as well as touists.
  • Favorite Festivals in Munich
      • April/May-Frühlingsfest
          • The Spring version of Oktoberfest with similar beer halls, festivities, music, rides and shops seeling their wares. 
      • July- Summer Tollwood
          • A wide array of musical and circus performances
      • October- Oktoberfest
        • One of the most famous festivals with a fair like feel with huge beer tents, German food and rides. 
      • December- Munich Christmas Market
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 2 hours (Car)
      • 2 hours 15 minutes ( ICE train, no transfers)
  • Address:
    • Oberanger 35, 80331 München, Germany
      • Parking Garage 
Munich Germany
Munich, Germany

7. Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is known for it’s German ski resorts. Located in the mountains of Germany, it is a beautiful region full of grassy meadows, towering mountains (the tallest peak in German, the Zugspitz) and have a traditional Bavarian feel. Doable as a day trip, but best enjoyed as a long weekend, Garmisch has plenty to delight outdoor enthusiasts. 
  • What to see in Garmisch-Partenkirchen:
      • Zugspitze– Ride a cogwheel train or a cable car to the tallest peak in Germany.
      • Partnachklamm: The Partnach Gorge – A gorge with rushing water, waterfalls, and a meandering path to enjoy the views.
      • Olympiaschanze – a ski-jump hill that hosted the 1936 Winter Olympics. Lucky visitors can catch a training session
      • Michael Ende Kurpark – a garden oasis with barefoot trail, gardens and green space to enjoy. The summer features events and summer concerts.
      • Eibsee – A crystal clear lake at the foot of Zugspitze. It is a popular for outdoor recreation.
      • AlpspiX – Enjoy the panoramic vies from these cliff hanging platforms. 
  • Where to eat in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
    • Must Visit: Zum Wildschütz
        • Local cuisine with large portions
    • Mukkefuck
        • Everyone enjoys a good giggle at the name, but the food is great!
  • Favorite Festivals in Garmisch-Partenkirchen
      • July/August: Garmisch Festweek
          • Garmisch celebrates one full week in the beer tent with live music, stone lifting, parades and family nights.
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 3 hours (Car)
      • Public Transportation not recommended
  • Address:
    • Fürstenstraße 14, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
      • Center of Town
Garmisch Partenkirchen
Garmisch Partenkirchen

8. Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Rothenburg is Germany’s best-preserved walled town. Be sure you put Rothenburg ob der Tauber in the GPS, because there are plenty of other towns with a similar name. Located at the north end of the “romantic road”, it is easy to see why this pretty village is irresistible. Park below the walls and then walk up to explore quaint shops, stone walls and the famous Plönlein area with it’s well photographed half-timbered house with cobblestone streets and small fountain. 

  • What to see in Rothenburg ob der Tauber:
      • Market Square– Check out the TOwn Hall, do some people watch or browse the stalls during the Christmas markets in December
      • Town Walls – Explore 46 defensive towers and four kilometres of covered walls.
      • Exploring the cobblestone streets – Shoppers will delight with the variety of local stores. Photographers will never have a lack of inspiration and foodies will find plenty to wet their palate.
      • Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum – Read about the various form of punishments  and see the torture devices used during medieval times (in English)
      • Town Hall tower– Climb up the tower for some of the best views of the town.
      • Käthe Wohlfahrt – Love Christmas as much as I do? Don’t miss the flagship Käthe Wohlfahrt store. You can easily spend hours and pockets full of money here. 
      • Night Watchman’s Tour– Enjoy the panoramic vies from these cliff hanging platforms. Check the tour website here
  • Where to eat in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
    • Must Visit: Altfränkische Weinstube
        • Loved by locals and visitors alike. Dine in charming medieval decor.
    • Schneeball (snowball)
      • A local specialty made of strips of dough that are formed into a ball and deep-fried. Best for those that like pie crust style sweets. 
  • Favorite Festivals in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
      • December: Christmas Markets
          • The Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market isn’t huge, but it pairs well with the Kathe Wohlfahrt store and the entire town is beautiful and charming with its Christmas decorations.
  • Distance from Stuttgart:
      • 1.5 hours (Car)
      • Public Transportation not recommended
  • Address:
    • Mannstraße 1, 91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
      • Parking Lot
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Palaces, Monasteries and more!

Want to explore more of the history of Southern Germany. Add these destinations to your list. They are a mix of historical palaces, beautiful Monasteries and Klosters and somber concentration camps within a couple hours from Stuttgart. These locations can also be paired well with festivals, and nearby cities to make a perfect day trip from Stuttgart, Germany. 

1. Ludwigsburg Palace

Much more than just a palace, this sprawling complex spans 32 hectars, making it the largest palatial estate in the country. Ludwigsburg Residential Palace is a 452-room palace with beautiful gardens with a children’s area complete with boat ride, maze, fairy tale stories and more to discover. It was one of our favorites with an amazing pumpkin festival complete with pumpkin sculptures and foods offered with a spin of pumpkin flavor. 
  • Cost:
      • Adults: 8 euros
      • Children: 4 euro
      • Family Ticket: 20 euro
  • Fun for kids:
      • Don’t miss the gardens! Be sure to peek around each corner, you never know what awaits. I highly recommend starting at the top of the hill and working your way down to the boats. There is also a train ride tucked in the back (costs extra). At the back of the palace you’l find a small playground with water features to cool off in the summer heat.
          • Bring a stroller or wagon.
  • Things to note:
      • There is plenty of parking. My favorite place to park is along the right side and use the coin machine. There is also a ticket booth located just up the road and an entrance.
          • Mömpelgardstraße 14 71640 Ludwigsburg
      • You can tour the palace and various museums for an extra cost. Inquire at the Palace. 
      • Don’t miss the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival, it is amazing. 
  • Hours: Open 10 am – 5 pm
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 
      • 20 minutes (Car)
      • 30 minutes (tain, 1 transfer)
  • Address: 
      • Schlossstraße 30, 71634 Ludwigsburg, Germany
Ludwigsburg Palace
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

2. Bebenhausen Kloster and Palace

Bebenhausen Kloster , also known as Bebenhausen Abbey, is a Cistercian monastery located in the village of Bebenhausen. It was built by Rudolph I, Count Palatine of Tübingen, probably in the 12th century. Bebenhausen was also the last home to the monarchy of Baden-Wurttenberg .  The area includes a monastery, a residence, church, school, hospital and gardens.  Most of the design is reflective of Baroque and Renaissance style. 
  • Cost to tour the Interior:
      • Adults: 5 euro
      • Children: 2.50 euro
          • FREE to walk around the outside and some of the interior courtyards
  • Fun for kids:
      • Play outside below the monastery before heading in. Kids can check out the various rooms and “run around” in the small courtyard. 
  • Things to note:
      • There is a small parking area located at the bottom of the hill. 
  • Hours:
      • Open 9 am – 5 pm (April – October)
      • Open 10 am – 5 pm (October – March)
          • Closed Mondays
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 
      • 36 minutes (car)
      • 1 hour (train/bus)
  • Address: 
      • Im Schloß, 72074 Tübingen, Germany
Bebenhausen Kloster
Bebenhausen Kloster

3. Dachau Concentration Camp

Living in Germany, I knew I wanted to visit and pay my respects at a German Nazi concentration camp. Dachau is located 15 km northwest of Munich and was one of the first nazi prisons established. Its first prisoners included communists and social democrats, but expanded to include Jews. It features a memorial and museum with photographs and documents to help tell the story of it’s 12 year history. Over 30,000 prisoners were liberated from the camp on April 29, 1945 by American troops. A total of 41,500 prisoners lost their lives here at the Dachau Concentration Camp. Signs are in English as well as German. 
 
  • Cost: Free to enter
  • Is it appropriate for kids?
      • It certainly depends on the age of your children. I took my son when he was quite young and wore him in a carrier. He was too young to understand. For older children, I’d avoid going into the museum area with its large photos, but walking the concentration camp, peering into the recreated bunk rooms and walking to the chapel should be fine.  
  • Things to note:
      • You can tour on your own, rent an audio guide at the visitor center or schedule a tour
      • Parking is 3 euros (March- October)
      • No dogs are allowed at the memorial site
  • Hours: Open 9 am – 5 pm
      • Closed December 24th
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 
      • 2 hours 10 minutes (Car)
      • 3 hours (public Transportation)
  • Address: 
      • Alte Römerstraße 75, 85221 Dachau, Germany
Dachau Concentration Camp
Dachau Concentration Camp

4. Maulbronn Monastery

Maulbronn Monastery dates back to the 12th century Cistercian abbey and it also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.It is considered one of the most complete and best preserved monastery complexes in Europe. It is a wonderful example of medieval architecture and features a transitional Gothic style church. 

  • Cost:
      • Adults: 8 euro
      • Children: 4 euro 
      • Audio Guide: 3 euro (Recommended)
  • Fun for kids:
      • Kids will enjoy the courtyard which is surrounded by towers, living quarters, outbuildings, and a defensive wall.
  • Things to note:
      • Guided tours daily in German
          • Call ahead for tours in English
      • Be sure to see the unique carvings on the choir stalls.
      • One of the monks actually invented the Swabian dish “Maultaschen”
  • Hours: Open 9 am – 5/5:30 pm (later in summer)
      • Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve (shorter hours on New Years Day)
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 
      • 45 minutes (car)
      • 1 hour 15 minutes (public transportation)
  • Address: 
      • Klosterhof 5, 75433 Maulbronn, Germany
Maulbronn Monastery
Maulbronn Monastery

Across the Border

One of the best things about living in Southern Germany is the ability to travel to three other countries within a few hours drive. France to the West is about 1.5 hours away, Switzerland is a little under 2 hours to the south and Austria (the western border) is just 2 hours away. I’ve added a few of our favorite day trips to France and Switzerland from Stuttgart, but they also work well for stops along the way for longer weekend and road trips.

1. Strasbourg, France

Sitting close to the German border, Strasbourg delights its visitors with half timbered buildings that straddle the line between French and German influences. It is easily walk-able or hop on the train to zip across this canal lined town. The Gothic Notre-Dame Cathedral features an astronomical clock and beautiful views of the Rhine River. 

 
  • What to See
      • Walk around Strasbourg’s Petite-France district
      • The best views of Petite France are from top of Barrage Vauban, a 17th-century weir.
      • View the town from the water with Strasbourg sightseeing boat tour
      • Visit Strasbourg’s Cathedral and climb up to get views of the Black Forest
      • Try some famous Alsace Wines and eat Flammkuchen
  • Where to Eat
      • Restaurant Au Gurtlerhoft
          • One of the best restaurants in Strasbourg
      • Pâtisserie Kubler
          • Delicious french pastries. I love their strawberry tarts and chocolate croissants. 
  • Favorite Festivals
      • July-September
          • During the summer nights, Strasbourg’s cathedral and Barrage Vaubin are transformed into giant canvas for a sound and light show (shows last 10 mins)
      • December
          • Christmas Markets including local artisans
  • Fun for the kids:
      • Parc de L’Orangerie
          • Large park with playgrounds, pond with row boats, restaurants and paths. A great place to take a break from the city
      • Boat Tour of the City
          • Just a little over an hour with a children’s audio guide for older kids. Bring snacks and small toys for the little ones.
      • Find a playground, they are scattered throughout the city.
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 
      • 2 hours (car)
      • 1 hour 20 minutes (public transportation)
  • Address: 
      • Place de la Gare, 67000 Strasbourg, France
          • Train Station, a good place to park
Strasbourg France canals
Strasbourg Cathedral France

2. Colmar

Colmar is the sister city to the larger city of Strasbourg. It was the inspiration for the village in the Disney film Beauty and the Beast and it is easy to see why with it’s buildings dating back to the 14th century with an array of colors and styles. It is one of the most popular cities in France with its fairy tale cobble stoned streets, overflowing flower pots and charm like no other! Having passed hands between France and Germany over the years, it is no surprise that there is quite a bit of German influence on this French Alsace town. Colmar is also a great place to stay to explore the Alsace wine road where you’ll discover some really nice Rieslings. 

 
  • What to See
      • Stroll Colmar’s Petit Venice
          • A popular spot with buildings that date back to the 14th century. This was the old merchants area with butchers and fishers. 
          • Take a 30 minute boat tour on a flat bottom boat.
      • Peek your head into numerous churches such as St. Martin’s Church.
      • Wander the inviting alleyways and stroll around the various shops, antique stores and cafes
      • Visit the covered market and time your visit to dine on some dishes of the day from the various merchants. 
      • Visit the Bartholdi Museum where you can learn about  Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the creator of the Statue of Liberty. See the living quarters of his family, gaze upon his sculptures and drawings. 
  • Where to Eat
      • Similar to its sister city to the North, popular dishes include flammekueche (a thin-crust pizza topped with bacon, onion and crème), baeckeoffe (q meat and potato stew), and bretzels (buttery soft pretzels).
      • Restaurant La Soï
          • Be sure to order a tarte flambée
      • Caveau Saint-Pierre
          • If you are looking for a typical Alsatian meal, this is the place to visit
      • Gilg
          • This is the place to get your desserts and pastries. The problem is making your choice!
  • Favorite Festivals
      • March/April
          • Colmar’s Easter Market with stalls selling Easter crafts, live animals and festivities
      • July
          • Colmar’s International Music Festival
              • Classic Music
      •  December
          • Colmar Christmas Market, with market stalls, traditional gluhwein (hot mulled wine) and plenty of twinkling lights. 
  • Fun for the kids:
      • Champ de Mars park
          • Located a bit outside of town, this is a large green space with playgrounds and cafes.
      • Take the kids on the tourist train as it makes it’s 35 minute loop around the city while narrating the history of the city along the way. 
      • Visit the Toy Museum of Colmar. From vintage teddy bears to original Barbie dolls, board games and video games. Children will enjoy the interactive exhibits including train tables, puzzles and toys.
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 
      • 2 hours 20 minutes (car)
      • 2 hours 45 minutes (public transportation)
  • Address: 
      • Avenue de la République, 68000 Colmar, France
          • Parking Garage below the square
Colmar France in the Alsace Region of France
Colmar France Market Hall

3. Rhine Falls, Switzerland

Europe’s largest waterfall (by volume, not height) is located just across the border in Switzerland. View the falls from multiple angles, from the top along the edge on various overlooks, from the bottom looking straight on or on a boat where you can climb stairs to stand in the middle of the falls on a small island. The castles of Wörth and Laufen tower above the Falls with commanding

  • Cost:
      • Free year round, boat tour is extra
  • Fun for kids:
      • There is a playground with views of the Falls at the bottom with a crazy slide, rope bridges and lookouts. 
      • Kids will also enjoy the boat ride, multiple cafes serving ice cream or the popcorn machines!
      • Check out the Rhine Falls Adventure Park, where kids from the age of 4 can complete 170 obstacles. Or enjoy the Panorama Express, a 460 meter zipline over the Falls. 
  • Things to note:
      • I recommend starting on the southeast side of the falls near the parking lots, with the stairs and viewing platforms close to the falls. This is the best view and most fun. The boat also launches from the South side, then you can explore up to the Falls before circling back.
      • If you visit at night, you’ll enjoy a spectacular illumination of the Falls. 
      • Don’t forget that Switzerland requires a toll sticker on your vehicle to drive on motorways and highways, signposted in green. Pick one up at a gas station before you enter switzerland for 40 CHF
      • Don’t miss the  Rhine Falls big fireworks display that takes place every 31 of July at 9.45 p.m.
  • Hours:
      • Open 24 hours a day on the viewing platforms.

      • Ticket Booth Hours

        June / July / August08.00 – 19.00
        September / October / April / May           09.00 – 18.00
        November / February / March09.00 – 17.00
        December / January10.00 – 16.00
  • Distance from Stuttgart: 
      • 1 hour 45 minutes (car)
      • 2 hours 30 minutes (public transportation)
  • Address: 
      • Rheinfallquai, 8212 Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Switzerland
Rhine Falls Boat Tour in Switzerland
Rhine Falls Switzerland

Ready to get out and explore? With so many beautiful places to visit, castles to explore, outdoor adventures to experience, it is easy to see why Southern Germany is well loved. Now the hard part, what to visit first?

 Leave a comment with your favorite place to visit or if there is one I haven’t included that you love.

Do you live in Stuttgart and have kids? I have a whole post dedicated towards favorite things to do in Stuttgart with Kids. Click the button below to check it out.  

Looking for a guide to help with Germany? Check out some of our favorites and suggested books for kids about Germany. 

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Day Trips from Stuttgart Germany
Things to do in Stuttgart and the surrounding area

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