Stuttgart is famed for Mercedes-Benz and Porsche cars, but if it's your first visit, you might want to explore the Mitte district, home to the 14th-century Old Palace. Back for more? Make time for the State Gallery's European art collection and the ethnographic exhibitions at the Linden Museum. And be sure to sample Baden-Wrttemberg's fine red Trollinger wine, produced on the vineyard-covered hills surrounding Stuttgart.
You'll see the Neckar River twisting north-east of Stuttgart on your flight into the city, but rolling vineyards shield the Neckar from view when you're in town. The Old Palace, New Palace and Stiftskirche in Stuttgart's Mitte district will remind you of the city's history as the seat of 14th-century Wrttemberg kings. In the city's outskirts, you'll discover the city's more modern, industrial past at the Mercedes Benz Museum and the Porsche Museum.
Stroll through the Castle Gardens in Stuttgart's Mitte district to get your bearings, and stop to take in the Renaissance Old Palace and the elegant 18th-century New Palace at the city's centre. Knigstrasse and Calwer Passage lead you into the heart of Stuttgart's shopping district, including the Jugendstil Market Hall. Pick up fresh local produce and international foods here for a picnic. It's a short train ride from the city centre to the outskirts, where you can take a tour round the Mercedes-Benz Museum or the Porsche Museum. Then it's back to the Mitte, where you can enjoy authentic Schwbisch (Swabian) dishes such as sptzle noodles or maultaschen (meat-filled pasta pockets served in broth), accompanied by local Trollinger wine.
Look out for the bronze statue of German poet and dramatist Friedrich Schiller in Schillerplatz, which shows that Stuttgart has been home to literary as well as engineering greats. Just behind Schiller is the Stiftskirche, a combination Romanesque and Gothic cathedral. Make time for some culture at the State Gallery, home to a wide collection of European masters, and the Linden Museum, an ethnological museum with exhibits from Latin America to Asia. If the weather is nice, spend time outdoors in the botanical and zoological gardens of vast Wilhelma Park, near Bad Canstatt.
One of Germany's busiest airports, Stuttgart Airport transports over 10 million passengers a year from its four terminals. Stuttgart airport is eight miles from Stuttgart city centre and the direct SBahn train service takes you there in just 27 minutes.