Stuttgart may be an industrial powerhouse – it’s home to Mercedes Benz and Porsche - but it still feels old, leafy and almost village-like, and you can see green hills even from its centre.
Known in Germany for being inconspicuously rich, Stuttgart’s region is the home of the “Swabian housewife”, a mythic ideal of thrift Angela Merkel has held up to all Germans. The city is nonetheless more interesting than this prim reputation suggests. Capital of an independent duchy-turned-kingdom until 1872, Stuttgart’s history as a power centre has left it two city centre castles and the vast, baroque Ludwigsburg Palace in its suburbs. More recently, it built the Neue Staatsgalerie, the James Stirling-designed gallery that’s become perhaps post-modernist architecture’s best-known European example. These monuments aside, Stuttgart is best enjoyed out of doors, in the summer beer gardens of its Schlossgarten Park, or at the mineral baths of suburban Bad Canstatt.