If you’ve ever enjoyed a slice of Black Forest cake or found yourself looking at an authentic German cuckoo clock, chances are you’ve wondered about where they came from! The answer lies in one of Germany’s most beautiful municipalities, Baden-Württemberg. It’s a haven of traditional German culture, unique dialects, beautiful mountains and lakes, history, and much more.
This region is known for its rich culinary traditions, fantastic museums and castles, artwork and craftsmanship, and so much more. Visitors to Baden-Württemberg can find Wilhelma, a once royal estate now turned zoo and gardens, as well as the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz and Porche in Stuttgart.
There is so much to see in Baden-Württemberg. Fortunately, traveling to and from the city is easy thanks to the trains that connect to the capitol and the Black Forest areas.
If you’re thinking of traveling to Europe, you should absolutely consider making a stop in Baden-Württemberg. You can head to Heidelberg, Mannheim, or any of the other baroque towns or cities nearby for plenty of traditional German adventures and experiences. We promise you won’t be disappointed!
What We Cover
- TL;DR: Things to Do in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
- 1. Explore Stuttgart’s City Center
- 2. Be Captivated By The Heidelberg Palace
- 3. Rev your engines at the Mercedes-Benz Museum
- 4. Discover the Allure of Solitude Palace
- 5. See History Up Close at Schlossplatz
- 6. Enjoy a Scenic Boat Tour of Neckar River
- 7. Discover the Ludwigsburg Residential Palace
- 8. Visit the Pig Museum
- 9. Embark on a Wild Adventure at Zoological Gardens Karlsruhe
- 10. Dive Into the Wonders of the Technik Museum Sinsheim
- 11. Step Back in Time In The Historische Altstadt
- 12. Have an Adrenaline-Fueled Adventure at Europa-Park
- 13. Dive Into the Refreshing Waters of Titisee Lake
- 14. Step into a World of Luxury at the Porsche Museum
- 15. Discover the Magical World of the Karlsruhe Palace
- 16. Step into the Enchanting Green Oasis of the Killesber
- 17. Venture Into the Ancient Fortress of the Hohenbaden Castle
- 18. Celebrate the Holiday Season at the Stuttgart Christmas Market
- 19. Explore the Iconic Weissenhof Museum
- 20. Experience the Best Festivals in Baden Württemberg
- Where To Stay In Baden Württemberg
- Time-saving and Budget-Friendly Tips when Visiting Baden Württemberg
- What is the best time to visit Baden Württemberg for a day trip?
- What are some popular one-day trips in Baden Württemberg?
- How can I reach Baden Württemberg from major German cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, or Munich?
TL;DR: Things to Do in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
- Most significant landmark – Mercedes-Benz Museum
- Best park – Killesberg Park
- Best free activity – Hohenbaden Castle
- Best activity for kids – Zoological Gardens Karlsruhe
- Best activity for adults – Europa Park
- Best food – Maultaschen (Swabian-style dumplings)
- Best nightlife – Cannstatter Volksfest Festival
- Best place to stay – Hotel Schloss Hornberg
1. Explore Stuttgart’s City Center
Kick-start your journey to Baden-Württemberg by visiting the city center of Stuttgart, its bustling capital. Here, you can immerse yourself in the culture and atmosphere of the city center. Stuttgart has numerous art galleries, parks, museums, and world-renowned dining experiences.
Two of the most interesting destinations in Stuttgart are the Mercedes-Benz and Porche Museums. They attract both car enthusiasts and people who enjoy modern architecture due to their unique steel and glass design.
Stuttgart is also famous for its 18th-century Baroque architecture and medieval palaces. The “Old Castle” in town dates back to the 10th century and is now home to the Landesmuseum Württemberg
The city center is perfect for getting a real European shopping experience. You can find everything from thrift stores to luxury fashion shops along King’s Street, which is one of the top shopping streets on the continent.
2. Be Captivated By The Heidelberg Palace
Address: Schlosshof 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Germany is renowned for its stunning castles, and Heidelberg Palace is one of the country’s best. This iconic landmark is a testament to the town’s rich history and should not be missed during your visit. Visiting Heidelberg Palace is not only a chance to witness its stunning beauty but also an opportunity to delve into its history.
Construction of the castle started in the 14th century. Over the years, it went through many changes and grew in size thanks to additions to the lower parts of the castle. It was used as a stronghold in wars, especially in the 19th century, by both the Austrian and French Armies.
The old town (altstadt) of Heidelberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight and is located at the base of the hill below Heidelberg Castle. Make sure to include a visit to the castle and the surrounding town on your trip to Baden-Württemberg.
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3. Rev your engines at the Mercedes-Benz Museum
Address: Mercedesstraße 100, 70372 Stuttgart, Germany
Car enthusiasts will enjoy a day in Germany’s most notable car museum, the Mercedes-Benz Museum. It is an iconic attraction in Germany, with Stuttgart being the home of the famous German car brand.
The exhibition center offers numerous possibilities for visitors to learn more about the car manufacturer, its automobiles, and the company’s long history. It is a massive car museum that totals nine stories and occupies a floor space of 16,500 m².
As you walk through the museum, you’ll see more than 1,500 items and 160 cars. There are fun, interactive displays with lots of information about how the Mercedez-Benz changed transportation and car history.
You can also see a lot of unique cars with significant historical precedence, like famous race cars and future concept cars. A visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum is a day full of history and science, all presented in a modern art setting.
4. Discover the Allure of Solitude Palace
Another UNESCO World Heritage site tucked within the outskirts of the city, Solitude Palace, known as “Schloss Solitude” in German, was initially built as a private royal retreat for Duke Carl Eugen of Wurttemberg in the late 18th century. The palace’s style combines elements of Rococo and Neoclassicism and was originally intended as a retreat thanks to the architecture’s remarkable integration with nature.
Aside from the rich cultural and architectural history present on the inside of the Palace, the grounds feature open, sprawling gardens that offer an escape from the noise of the city. The surrounding area is marked by rolling hills and lush forests that are iconic to the Stuttgart region.
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5. See History Up Close at Schlossplatz
Address: Schloßpl., 70173 Stuttgart, Germany
One of the coolest places to check out in Stuttgart is Schlossplatz. It’s a historic place and the most significant square in town. Neues Schloss, a palace built from 1746 to 1807, is a hallmark of the square. When the palace was established, it was not open to the public and was used as Germany’s military parade ground.
During World War II, Schlossplatz bore witness to significant events that shaped the course of history. Because of its location and Stuttgart’s prominence as an industrial manufacturing center, especially for vehicles, Schlossplatz saw lots of Allied air raids and bombings.
Most of these occurred in the latter stages of the war. The castle and surrounding buildings had taken significant damage during the war, so an effort was put in place to restore it in multiple stages from the late 1940s to the 1960s.
The Palace Square serves nowadays as the city’s heart and is an ideal spot for the community and tourists to detour and unwind. Open-air concerts, festivities, and several celebrations are held in Schlossplatz.
The palace square is a beautiful gathering place. There is also a Jubilee Column built in 1841 in the middle of the square that’s topped by the Roman goddess of harmony, Concordia.
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6. Enjoy a Scenic Boat Tour of Neckar River
If you want an activity that places you more in the center of nature than in the city, definitely book a scenic boat tour along the tranquil Neckar River. The Neckar River is a major waterway flowing through the state of Baden-Württemberg and is one of the Rhine’s ‘tributaries,’ or smaller off-shoot rivers.
There are a bunch of different types of boat tours you can embark on, including themed tours for wine tastings, private charters for quieter experiences, boat parades during river festivals, and much more. The most popular, however, are sightseeing cruises since the natural beauty of the Neckar River complements the vineyards, hilltop castles, and old towns that dot the river’s edge.
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7. Discover the Ludwigsburg Residential Palace
Address: Schlossstraße 30, 71634 Ludwigsburg, Germany
Baden Wurttemberg is known for castles. Among these is the architecturally and historically significant Ludwigsburg Residential Palace.
The castle is among the town’s main attractions and iconic landmarks – it’s not to be missed. It is an ideal spot to explore, see the palace’s beauty up close, and learn about its history and fascinating highlights.
The Ludwigsburg Residential Palace has many highlights that make a visit worth it. Explore 32 hectares of historic grounds. It features fashion displays, a play pavilion, a ceramic museum, and a grand castle theater.
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8. Visit the Pig Museum
Perhaps one of the most unique attractions in the Baden-Württemberg region, the Pig Museum is a true gem among attractions, offering a unique and delightful experience for visitors of all ages.
This lighthearted tourist attraction features–unsurprisingly–a sizeable array of pig-themed memorabilia, artwork, vintage artifacts, postage stamps, and much more. There are also interactive stations where you can participate in pig-themed games and even dress up as a pig yourself!
The museum also has a cafe where you can order bacon-themed items, sausages, pork roast, and much, much more. While it’s not the center of architectural history, automotive engineering, or natural beauty found in other areas around Stuttgart, it’s still fun and is quite an interesting experience.
9. Embark on a Wild Adventure at Zoological Gardens Karlsruhe
Address: Ettlinger Str. 6, 76137 Karlsruhe, Germany
The Zoological Gardens Karlsruhe is among the best attractions in Baden Württemberg and one of the most family-friendly places to see and explore. It is an ideal stop for families to visit, where children can have fun and see a range of animal species up close.
The zoo is among the oldest zoos in Germany, as it first opened its gates to the public in 1865. About 4,000 animals and 250 species are looked after at the Zoological Gardens Karlsruhe.
The zoo also features theme park spaces, plenty of food and attractions, interactive exhibits, and more. This wonderful attraction attracts over a million annual visitors from across the globe and should definitely be on your list of top things to do in Karlsruhe!
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10. Dive Into the Wonders of the Technik Museum Sinsheim
Address: Eberhard-Layher-Straße 1, 74889 Sinsheim, Germany
Technik Museum Sinsheim is an awesome attraction that exhibits an extensive aircraft collection, locomotives, and historic automobiles while hosting a bunch of events and shows each year. It’s also among the great museums in Germany.
The museum not only has one of Europe’s most significant Formula One collections but also houses the world’s largest permanent collection of American Dream Cars. It also has a unique display with two of the world’s most interesting commercial airliners, namely the supersonic Tupolev Tu-144 made during the Soviet era, as well as the Concorde. It’s roughly an hour’s drive south of Frankfurt and is located near many attractions in town, like the Technik Museum Speyer, which makes this cultural institution accessible to detour when in Sinsheim.
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11. Step Back in Time In The Historische Altstadt
Address: Marktpl. 7, 77761 Schiltach, Germany
Walk in the past and experience a delightful historic visit to Schiltach, Germany’s historic landmark, Historische Altstadt, which literally translates to ‘Historic Old Town.’ It is among the most beautiful places to visit and explore in Baden-Wurttemberg. The city where the landmark is situated is within the lush Black Forest, a town filled with half-timbered houses and historical establishments.
This historic landmark center retains many architectural displays, houses, and buildings from times past, such as meticulously restored Renaissance and medieval-era constructions. The old-time emphasis on community in the center of the city has been maintained, too, and guests can explore the town’s city halls, market squares, and Gothic cathedrals.
Like many old cities, Stiltach is excellent to explore on foot. You can find cobblestone alleys and pathways that take you from old to new and back again, while finding plenty of cafes and shops to stop at on the way.
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12. Have an Adrenaline-Fueled Adventure at Europa-Park
Address: Europa-Park-Straße 2, 77977 Rust, Germany
Europa Park is Germany’s most extensive theme park and is another family-friendly attraction that’s worth a visit. The park is in Rust, close to Freiburg im Breisgau and Strasbourg, and is a fascinating town in Germany’s southwest with numerous attractive sights.
It’s a fantastic location that, after Disneyland Paris, is considered one of Europe’s most famous theme parks. Covering 95 hectares, Europa Park offers over a hundred rides, several shows, thirteen roller coasters, and places for camping. There is also a cinema and conference center.
When hungry, there are over 45 theme restaurants and bars across the park. Aside from the attraction of rides, landmarks, and shows, Europa Park also has accommodations for its visitors to spend the night.
13. Dive Into the Refreshing Waters of Titisee Lake
Address: Seestraße, 79822 Titisee-Neustadt, Germany
The Titisee Lake is a lovely body of water in the southern part of the Black Forest, within the Titisee-Neustadt, Germany. Checking out the lake is among the best things to do in Baden-Württemberg, as you can swim on the lake, go for boat rides, and explore its seasonal water festivals.
Titisee Lake is a beautiful destination to stop by and enjoy its spectacular views and relax for a while. The lake is very close to France and Switzerland, making inter-European travel very easy since the French border is only 60 kilometers away.
Visitors to Lake Titisee can also hike several pathways around the area or ride bikes through Neustadt, the local ‘spa town.’ Ice skating and cross-country skiing are two other popular winter pursuits for travelers during the colder seasons. There are also multiple cafes and stores around the lake.
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14. Step into a World of Luxury at the Porsche Museum
Address: Porscheplatz 1, 70435 Stuttgart, Germany
When planning to explore Stuttgart, adding the Porsche Museum to your itinerary (as well as the Mercedes-Benz Museum we covered earlier) are two great destinations. It’s a fascinating car museum that every car enthusiast will certainly enjoy! This particular automobile museum is situated in the district of Zuffenhausen in Stuttgart.
Every dream about sports cars is within reach in the exhibition center. Visiting the Porsche Museum offers an opportunity to immerse and savor the exciting world of sports cars and automotive history. This cultural institution houses over 80 vehicles and over 200 small exhibits in its massive complex.
Visitors can take a solo tour or join a museum tour. The Porsche Museum also has a restaurant, an event venue, and a conference room. One of the most interesting bits about the Porsche Museum is that customers can place orders online for pickup and even test drive them at the exhibition center’s Porche Drive Rental.
15. Discover the Magical World of the Karlsruhe Palace
Address: Schloßbezirk 10, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
Karlsruhe Palace is among the best ‘castle-palaces’ to visit in Baden-Württemberg. Nowadays, it’s a combination museum and palace built from 1715 to 1718 by the supervision and request of Margrave Charles III William of Baden-Durlach.
Originally a lonely complex, since it was built after a dispute with citizens regarding the capital of Durlach, the town of Karlsruhe has since grown around it. This makes the palace the spectacular centerpiece of the town with its 32 radial streets.
Karlsruhe Palace was constructed in the Baroque style and design when renovated in the 18th century by Balthasar Neumann and the renowned architect Albrecht Friedrich von Kesslau. The palace is also the home of the Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe, one of Germany’s most fascinating regional museums of history and culture that features items dating back to the region’s early Roman history.
16. Step into the Enchanting Green Oasis of the Killesber
Address: Stresemannstraße, 70191 Stuttgart, Germany
Stuttgart’s Killesberg Park is a charming half-square-kilometer urban park. It’s known as Höhenpark, and it’s an exciting destination to visit if you want to be surrounded by nature and relax in a cultured European setting. The park is viewed as among the most outstanding gardens in town and is a renowned getaway destination.
Killesberg Park offers a serene and well-manicured setting that features lake terraces, beautiful flower beds, forests, and multiple social attractions. A playground, a meadow, a café, a watchtower, and animal enclosures are among them.
The park is a haven for people of all ages, particularly children, making it another excellent destination choice for traveling families. The playground at Killesbergpark is 3,000 square meters, providing plenty of space for kids to run, interact, and enjoy.
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17. Venture Into the Ancient Fortress of the Hohenbaden Castle
Address: Alter Schloßweg 10, 76532 Baden-Baden, Germany
Hohenbaden Castle is a fascinating tourist and historical attraction in the northern part of the lovely town of Baden-Baden, Germany, and rests within the Black Forest’s Crowning Hills area. This old castle is among the most beautiful historical spots in the city and was originally built around 1100 by Herman II, the Margrave (a hereditary title of princes from the Roman Empire) of Baden.
As such, it became the ancestral home of the Baden Margraves for around 400 years. The Gothic Lower Castle was then built by order of Margrave Bernard I. This historic fort also occupies an excellent location on a hill, providing spectacular overlooking views of the stunning and captivating sceneries of the Black Forest countryside.
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18. Celebrate the Holiday Season at the Stuttgart Christmas Market
If you’re visiting Baden Württemberg during the holiday season, make your way to the magical Stuttgart Christmas Market. Let the delicious smell of traditional mulled wine (Glühwein) and gingerbread cookies (Lebkuchen) introduce you to the festivities of Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt!
The market is one of the largest and oldest Christmas markets in all of Europe and usually occupies a 4-week period between November and December 23rd each year. It’s famous for its festive atmosphere, delicious treats, gifts, and more against a backdrop of Stuttgart’s historical architecture.
Aside from food and gifts, families with children can enjoy live music, a nativity scene, traditional crafts, and many other events and activities for kids.
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19. Explore the Iconic Weissenhof Museum
The Weissenhof Museum is a somewhat hidden find in Baden-Württemberg that is a ‘social monument’ to people who appreciate innovative architecture and the influential Bauhaus movement. It’s part of the Weissenhof Estate, which is a housing development and cultural hub that was designed back in the 1920s as part of the Werkbund Exhibition.
The museum features designs and buildings by the leaders (and founders) of the Modern Movement, like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. The historical significance of both the gallery and the movement it represents is one of legacy, as the Modern Movement inspired much of the architecture we see around us today.
The designs of that era showcased a new visual and utilitarian theory of urban living, with sleek designs, new materials, and an emphasis on simplicity. It’s an interesting destination and is definitely a break from the Baroque extravagance of many of Stuttgart’s castles and palaces, that’s for sure!
See Related: Best Museums in Germany
20. Experience the Best Festivals in Baden Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is a lively area rich in culture and architectural tradition, as it has been for many centuries now. One of the best-continued traditions of the area, however, is the festivals! We can’t touch on every festival in the area, but here’s a quick overview of some of the festivals you can find in Baden-Württemberg:
Stuttgart’s Cannstatter Wasen:
Perhaps the most prominent festival in the area, the Cannstatter Wasen is the region’s largest beer festival that takes place every autumn. It’s a two-week-long event that features lots and lots of local beer, live music, tons of traditional German food, and keg-tapping ceremonies. It began as a small agricultural fair almost 200 years ago in 1826 and has since grown to be the second-largest beer festival in all of Germany!
Baden-Württemberg hosts many other beer festivals throughout the year, including the Historic Beer Festival in Zwiefalten and the Ganter Oktoberfest fair in Freiburg. Each of these festivals (and there are many more, too!) highlight local brewing traditions across Germany, as beer has been an important part of German culture for centuries. While it wasn’t invented in Germany, the modern-day brewing process has been perfected in Germany, and much of the traditions held in the West regarding beer brewing can be traced back to mid-millennial monasteries.
Stuttgart Spring Festival (Frühlingsfest):
A festival first initiated in 1818 in the Bad Cannstatt region, the Spring Festival marks the beginning of the warmer months to come and includes Ferris Wheel rides, lots of beer, traditional markets, and other local traditions.
Music Festivals like Southside, Blacksheep, and Keep It True:
If there’s one thing Germany loves besides expertly engineered race cars and beer-brewing, it’s music. These three festivals play a mixture of genres like German rock, metal, pop, punk, rock, and more. These festivals are usually held in April and late June and can last from a few days to a week.
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Where To Stay In Baden Württemberg
There are plenty of hotels and Airbnb’s to stay at in Baden-Württemberg, ranging from top-tier luxury hotels to cozy cottages and quiet, nature-themed getaways found deep in the Black Forest area. But if you’re in search of a more intimate accommodation with your family, there are also a lot of vacation rentals that suit every budget.
Here are some of our top picks for accommodations and hotels in Baden-Württemberg:
Time-saving and Budget-Friendly Tips when Visiting Baden Württemberg
- Plan Ahead: As is the case with any destination you visit, you want to make sure you’ve carefully planned in advance with plenty of time to get refunds and make schedule changes. Do some research on the highlights, festivals, and events happening during the time of your visit since many (like the beer festivals we mentioned) are seasonal. When you plan ahead and do your homework on advanced booking services, you can also score discounted rates on hotels and other experiences, so make sure to look around.
- Explore Public Transportation: Baden Württemberg has a very efficient public transport network, especially the InterCity Express (ICE) trains that can reach every corner of the Black Forest. If you aren’t renting your own car, use buses, trams, and train stations to get around the region quickly and affordably.
- Seek Free Attractions: Baden Württemberg is home to tons of free attractions that are both fun and engaging. Not everything needs to be super exclusive! Take your time and visit public parks, gardens, and nature reserves to enjoy the region’s beauty.
- Pack Snacks and Picnics: Save money by packing snacks and having picnics in scenic spots instead of eating out. Baden Württemberg offers beautiful parks, lakeshores, and mountainside views that are perfect for enjoying a tasty and memorable meal.
- Take Advantage of City Passes: Many cities in Baden-Württemberg offer city passes or discount cards that provide access to popular attractions, public transport, and even special deals at restaurants and shops.
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What is the best time to visit Baden Württemberg for a day trip?
It depends on what type of activities you’re looking for. However, the best time to visit Baden-Württemberg for a day trip, in terms of when most venues and festivals are open, is June through August.
This is when the weather is warm and the region is in full bloom. This season allows you to take advantage of the longer daylight hours to explore charming towns, indulge in outdoor activities, and enjoy the natural beauty of the countryside.
What are some popular one-day trips in Baden Württemberg?
Some popular one-day trips in Baden-Württemberg include visiting the picturesque town of Heidelberg with its historic castle and historic old town or exploring the Black Forest region with its dense forests and villages like Triberg and Freiburg. You can also take a trip to Stuttgart and see its world-class museums, beautiful parks, and impressive architecture.
How can I reach Baden Württemberg from major German cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, or Munich?
Reaching Baden-Württemberg from major German cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, or Munich is convenient and well-connected. If you’re traveling from Berlin, you can take a direct train to cities like Stuttgart or Karlsruhe, in 4-6 hours, while traveling from Munich to those same destinations is closer and takes around 2-3 hours. Frankfurt is farther away though, so both train and flight options are available, with frequent connections to major cities in Baden-Württemberg.