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When I lived in the capital of Baden-Württemberg for one year, unsure if I would continue to live in my beloved Germany thereafter, I went all out to see as much as I possibly could. After doing so, I can without a doubt personally recommend to you almost everything on this list of over 100 things to do in Baden-Württemberg. A wonderful thing about living in Stuttgart is that there are so many places in Germany’s third largest state which are within reach via public transportation just as day trips. Because a year is only so long, the few things which are mentioned that I haven’t done are still on my to-visit-list (these are marked with a *). Important German words to know for this post are:

  • die Burg – castle
  • das Schloss – palace                                          
  • die Altstadt – old town               
  • das Kloster – monastery/convent           
  • das Jagdschloss – hunting residence
view over Lake Constance
sunset on Lake Constance

Trip map created using Wanderlog, for itineraries

Table of Contents

Palaces and Castles

I. LOVE. CASTLES. Castles, palaces, fortresses, ruins – I love them all. The history, architecture, design, old furniture and treasures, and gardens make me feel like I am visiting a fairy tale. We don’t have 800 year old buildings in the US, and even though I’ve lived in Germany for nearly 6 years, visiting this old stuff doesn’t get old for me. I’ve visited many of the castles below, some more than once. And the ones I haven’t visited yet, are just that – not yet visited. But I will!

1) Complete a Schloss Card

This. Card. Is. Fantastic! The Schloss Card is a tourist card which grants you access to 26 of the state-owned palaces, gardens, and churches. I love this card so much that I have written an entire post about it. This ticket pays for itself if you visit more than 3 of the 26 attractions and you have one whole year to do so (although it would also be worth it if you were visiting Germany for a week). Many of the sites available on the card are listed below (the following Schloss Card attractions are not covered in this post: Festung Hohentwiel, Kloster Wiblingen, Heuneburg, Kloster Alpirsbach, Kloster Schussenried, Kloster Ochsenhausen). Much more information on many of the castles and gardens listed below can be found on the State Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg website.

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2) Heidelberger Schloss and the Altstadt

The castle in Heidelberg is an impressive one, naturally making it one of Germany’s top tourist attractions. I’ve done the tour 3 times and it’s always amazing! If you’ve ever wanted to know what life in a palace was like throughout the centuries, then the castle in Heidelberg is the place for you. You can either take over 300 steps to the top or the tram, as the palace towers above the picturesque Altstadt. Speaking of which, the baroque Altstadt has luckily remained intact through the Second World War. The Altstadt contains many important and impressive works of architecture such as the world’s oldest bridge, Hotel zum Ritter, Universität Heidelberg, and several churches including Heiliggeistkirche and Jesuitenkirche. I’ve been to Heidelberg several times and I wouldn’t say no to another visit (this castle is on the Schloss Card).

Schloss Heidelberg

3) Burg Hohenzollern

This is exactly how you picture a fairy tale castle: located high upon a hill, surrounded by greenery, with more towers than you can count. You can see it from a distance before you arrive. To keep the floors intact, everyone has to put on giant Pantoffeln (slippers) over their shoes before entering the castle for the tour. The inside matches your expectations from the outside: elaborate paintings cover the walls, exquisite jewels and silverware on display, chandeliers hang from the ceilings, and detailed windows let in the light. A perfect day trip from Stuttgart.

Burg Hohenzollern
Burg Hohenzollern

4) Schloss Lichtenstein

I fell in love with Schloss Lichtenstein. It’s actually literally from a story book. The 14th century castle ruins were reconstructed to match the knightly construction of Wilhelm Hauff’s novel for Count Wilhelm of Württemberg in 1840. Although it’s no longer much of a secret, Schloss Lichtenstein gives you that Neuschwanstein feel without the massive lines. We took public transit to Honau and then hiked up the zigzagging path to the castle. Hanging dangerously to the edge of a cliff, the tiny castle presents just a handful of rooms. But they were enough to house the armory and weaponry collection of its patron, which help the Jagdschloss that man-cave feel. After our tour, we hiked onward to the Nebelhöhle, listed below (69) in Outdoors.

Schloss Lichtenstein
Schloss Lichtenstein

5) Schloss Solitude

This beautiful little palace on the outskirts of Stuttgart make for a lovely Sunday afternoon. Although the tour is only available in German, it’s worth taking to get a peek at the inside. This castle sits high on a hill and overlooks all of the city. The view is really incredible. You could make a whole day of it by wandering through the paths in the overgrown gardens, now mostly forest, or picnic by the Schloss with a view of Stuttgart (this palace is on the Schloss Card).

6) Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg

The palace area in Ludwigsburg built for Eberhard Ludwig is incredible. The ticket may feel expensive because you have to pay an extra ticket to enter the garden complex called Blühendes Barok (or via a combiticket), but it is so worth it! The gardens are extensive and beautiful, so be sure to go when the weather is nice in order to be able to enjoy the vibrant colors. Behind the castle is where the annual Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is held (more on that below (71)). For another ticket, you can visit the Märchen Garten or Fairy Tale Garden on the grounds. I went with a summer camp I worked for and it is wonderful for small children. The Grimm fairy tales and many more are portrayed in various moving displays which tell the stories.


Oh! Oh yeah, and then there’s the castle. It’s one of the largest in Germany and one of the largest I have been to. The tour is comprehensive although it only visits a seventh of the over 450 rooms. This was the first castle tour that I had been on in which you also get to see the servants’ quarters within the walls! I have been on the tour twice, and while both were very good, it definitely depends on your tour guide. So, I know it seems like it could cost a fortune to visit the Ludwigsburg Palace complex, but it just means you could make multiple fabulous day trips out of this (this palace is on the Schloss Card, the gardens are not included).

Schloss Ludwigsburg

7) Ludwigsburg Schloss Favorite

Oops. Did I forgot to mention that there’s not one but TWO castles in Ludwigsburg? Schloss Favorite was designed to be the relaxing summer palace away from duty. The Jagdschloss is much smaller and less visited than the main castle, although also worth seeing the baroque interior (this palace is on the Schloss Card).

Favorite Palace – Schloss Favorite Ludwigsburg

*8) Kloster and Schloss Salem

The monastery and palace in Salem are attractions that I definitely should not have missed. It is the oldest Cistercian monastery and one of the most outstanding cultural monuments of the state. Photos from a bird’s eye view of the landmark show how impressive this building is (this monastery and palace are on the Schloss Card).

9) Schloss Bruchsal

Another palace in baroque style, Schloss Bruchsal is well-known for its grandiose staircase in its entryway. Our tour guide informed us all about the illusions created through technical painting. The ceilings were made to look taller and more rounded, while the columns were splattered to appear like marble. Although the architecture is baroque, the interior design is rococo – typically there is so much going on, you’re not really sure where to look. Also inside is the Deutsche Musikautomaten-Museum – the music box museum! It was quite interesting to see so many old music- and jukeboxes at once. Many of them are still in operation and their interiors can be admired as well (this palace is on the Schloss Card).

Bruchsal Palace
Schloss Bruchsal

10) Residenzschloss Rastatt

The Residence Palace in Rastatt built for Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden Baden, the father of Eberhard Ludwig who built Ludwigsburg, is designed in the baroque style inside and out. The idea was to create another Versailles. There are impressive paintings and wood floors throughout (this palace is on the Schloss Card).

Residenzschloss Rastatt – preparing for a concert

11) Rastatt Schloss Favorite

Not only did Ludwig Wilhelm erect the Residence Palace, but also Schloss Favorite, this time for his wife Sibylla Augusta. She had amassed an impressive amount of porcelain from Asia and Europe, giving this palace the nickname of “porcelain palace.” As the vacation palace, the grounds are impressive containing beautiful gardens and ponds (this palace is on the Schloss Card).

Rastatt Schloss Favorite

*12) Schloss Sigmaringen

Another one from the Hohenzollerns, Schloss Sigmaringen also sits mightily on high, this time upon a cliff which overlooks the town Sigmaringen and the Danube River. The castle site itself dates back to the 11th century. I passed by this one on my bike tour of the Euro Velo 6, but didn’t have the time (or energy!) to go inside. I will definitely have to get there again someday.

Schloss Sigmaringen
Schloss Sigmaringen

13) Residenzschloss Urach

This castle-like palace is from the late middle ages. It looks like a giant half-timbered house, located in a town full of such houses. The construction in the 1400’s was enabled by Count Eberhard III’s rich marriage to an Italian bride, Antonia Visconti. Built on a peninsula, the palace is also known as the “Wasserburg” or water castle. I visited this castle while “supervising” a group of Duke of Edinburgh students who were hiking in the nearby forest. This trip also enabled us to visit the Uracher Wasserfall (38), listed below (this palace is on the Schloss Card).

Half-timbered wonderfulness in Bad Urach – on Germany’s Half-Timbered Road

14) Kloster and Schloss Bebenhausen

This is an impressive site to visit. The monastery began in the 12th century and continued in operation for various denominations until the 19th century. Starting in the 14th century, some of the buildings were turned into a Jagdschloss by the Counts of Württemberg.  Today, both parts (monastery and castle) are open for visitors. I spent a day exploring this attraction with my childhood neighbor, Lydia, who came to visit me in Stuttgart (this palace and monastery are on the Schloss Card).

Kloster and Schloss Bebenhausen
Kloster in Bebenhausen

*15) Schloss Schwetzingen and garden

What began as a tiny water castle in the middle ages was turned into a beautiful summer palace for the electors of Pfalz (Palatinate) in the 18th century. At this time, the garden was also transformed into something magnificent. This is somewhere I still need to visit (this castle and garden is on the Schloss Card)!

16) Barock Schloss Mannheim

Well, I’ve seen the palace in Mannheim from the outside, but haven’t yet had the chance to go inside. Although it was pretty destroyed during the Second World War, the palace was rebuilt and several rooms were reconstructed. Much of the castle is used today for the Universität Mannhiem (this castle is on the Schloss Card).

*17) Schloss Weikersheim

Originally a water castle, the palace was rebuilt into the baroque style in the 18th century. Only parts of the original castle remain, like the iconic tower. Interestingly, the palace was built in the shape of a triangle, something I have yet to experience on all of my castle visits (this castle and its garden are on the Schloss Card).

*18) Residenzschloss Mergentheim

The Residential Palace Mergentheim began as the seat of the Deutscher Orden, an order of knights in the 13th century. Over the years, the former water castle transformed into a renaissance palace. Today the palace houses a museum about the Order, city history, early Stone Age, and more (this castle is on the Schloss Card).

*19) Tettnang Neues Schloss

It’s called “new palace” because the first one burned down in the middle of the 1700’s. From the 12th century the area around the palace belonged to one of the oldest families of Upper Swabia, the counts of Montfort. Despite the long ruling family, the palace was rebuilt with enormous debt. Not far from Lake Constance, this palace would be a great day trip from the lake (this castle is on the Schloss Card).

*20) Schloss ob Ellwangen

Yet another castle dating all the way back to the 13th century which was renovated during the renaissance. The painted and decorative baroque ceilings have been well-maintained until today in the dining room and in the staircase. On a tour it is possible to visit extra rooms such as the castle kitchens and the cellar.   

*21) Schloss Kirchheim

For centuries, the palace Kirchheim unter Teck was for the widows of the dukes of Württemberg. Before that it was a military fortress during the 16th century and a Jagdschloss for the men. Today, a large portion of the castle is used for seminars on teaching, but you can still visit the upper floors (this castle is on the Schloss Card).

This is just a handful of the hundreds of castles and palaces which exist in Baden-Württemberg. Have I missed your favorite? Tell me in the comments below!

Around Stuttgart

As much as I think everyone enjoys castles the same way I do, I know that there are also other sights worth seeing. Below are several attractions, museums, and experiences which are located in Stuttgart.

garden in Killesberg
beautiful garden in Killesberg Park

22) Fernsehturm

Believe it or not, the TV tower in Stuttgart was the first of its kind in the world! Yupp! In 1956 they invented a new method of construction which allowed the tower to be built to 216.6m (710 ft). You can visit the multilevel viewing platform at the top or eat at the restaurant/café inside. It’s very windy outside, but you get a fantastic view of the whole city.

23) RitterSport Chocolate museum

Ritter Sport is the classic chocolate for Germany. A colleague of mine, Eva, told me that Stuttgart’s postwar architecture is exactly like RitterSports’s tagline: quadratisch, praktisch, gut. Square, practical, good. It’s curious that the chocolate is not advertised as “the very best, creamiest chocolate you ever had,” but “square, practical, good.” Well, I think RitterSport is more than these three adjectives. They have dozens of delicious flavors, with new ones coming out every season. At the museum you can learn all about the chocolate making process and the history of RitterSport, including its square design. At the end there’s a shop full of discounted chocolate! Whoo hoo!

*24) Mercedes Benz Museum

If you are a car fan, well then Stuttgart is THE PLACE for you! The city boasts not just one, but two fancy, futuristic-looking car museums. The Mercedes Benz museum holds over 150 cars on display while you learn about the over 100 year history of the company.

25) Porsche Museum

I’m not a huge car fan, so I only made it to the Porsche Museum of the two. This museum has over 80 iconic cars on display and leads you through the company’s history, showing its spirit and passion along the way. My favorite part was that I got a selfie with Sally from Cars!

Sally at the Porsche Museum
Sally at the Porsche Museum

26) Stadtbibliothek – Stuttgart City Library

When you approach the Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart, you might not think that it’s all that impressive. From the outside, it looks like a white cube jailhouse. The windows are small and evenly spaced forming a grid around the exterior. Inside is another story. Stupidly, locating the central room which occupies the upper half of the building took me a while, but it was worth it. This futuristic hall looks like it could be the library on an enormous spaceship. The whole room is white with clean lines and the staircases seem to float in the air. This is an excellent free rainy day activity.

Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart
Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart

27) Ride in the Zacke

The what? Zacke is short for Zahnradbahn, or cog-wheel train. It’s one of the remaining 4 in Germany which are still in operation, the only one located in a German city, and one of the very few still operating in the world. I rode the Zacke every day to work when I lived in Stuttgart – all the way from its start in Marienplatz up to the end station Degerloch. There are only two trains, one going up and one going down. And there’s only 1 track for most of the way, except for the station where the two trains pass one another. You can access the Zacke with a normal 2-zone ticket. It’s worth the experience!

28) Königsstraße

Stuttgart is home to Germany’s longest Einkaufsmeile, shopping mile, in Königstraße. The 1.2 km pedestrian zone is not quite a mile, but close, and is the third most frequented shopping zone in Germany. Nearly all of the shops on Königstraße are chains, and there are plenty of cute shops and restaurants in the side streets to explore too. Walking from the train station, you’ll pass by several important Stuttgart attractions including the Schlossplatz, Neues and Altes Schloss, Königsbau shopping center, and the cube Kunstmuseum (art museum).

29) Killesberg Park and Tower

Killesberg was another summer camp trip for me. This park has some great playgrounds for kids and the top attraction is the Killesbergturm (tower). The four story, 40.4m high tower resembles a double helix and gives you a great view of the city.

Killesburg Tower
Killesburg Tower

30) Mineralbäder

At the far end of the Schlosspark lay two wonderful spa and pool complexes – Mineralbad Leuze and Mineral-Bad Berg. These “mineral baths” are supplied with fresh thermal mineral water from 9 springs in the area. Both baths are over a hundred years old. I’ve spent a nice relaxing day at Berg and can recommend it!

31) Grabkapelle auf dem Württemberg

This is attraction is a great picnic spot. After Queen Katharina von Württemberg passed away, King Wilhelm I built this sepulchral chapel for her. He held a competition to select the best design. Built on top of the Württemberg at 411m, the views of the city and Neckar River are excellent (this attraction is on the Schloss Card).

Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill – Grabkapelle auf dem Württemberg

These are just a handful of the wonderful experiences Stuttgart has to offer. There are many museums, churches, pools, and parks – something for everyone in BW’s capital.

Lake Constance

I managed to make three trips to Lake Constance during the one year that I lived in Stuttgart. It’s such a wonderful region that I always jumped at the opportunity to go back. It’s got the lake as well as mountains – such a beautiful setting! And the fact that it’s co-surrounded by three different countries make day trips to a new culture easy-peasy.


32) Swim in the Bodensee

Bodensee is the German name for Lake Constance, which is technically Germany’s largest lake, although Müritz is Germany’s largest inland lake. If you’re in Konstanz then the place to go for a dip is the Hörnle, or Strandbad Horn. I was a bit surprised (as a Jersey girl would be) when I went to the beach that it was all grass! It would be the first of many European sand-less “beach trips” for me.

33) Friedrichshafen Zeppelinmuseum

I was mightily impressed with this museum in Friedrichshafen, housed in a former train station. The Zeppelin Museum is highly hands-on with tons of interactive science experiments for you to play around with about aerodynamics and air pressure and wind. If the real deal is your thing, you can experience what it was like to have been on a Zeppelin by walking around a partially reconstructed Hindenburg.

34) Mainau  

Mainau is known as the “flower island” because somehow this little island was blessed with a subtropical climate, allowing all sorts of exotic plants to grow there year round. Getting there might be expensive (we took a boat!) but it is worth it. There is plenty to see on the island – gardens full of tulips, rhododendrons, azaleas, roses, fuchsias, and dahlias; the Schloss erected during the 500 year reign of Teutonic Knights; and a butterfly house, palm house, tree-lined pedestrian boulevards, an arboretum, a church, terraces, and romantic garden architecture.

gardens on Mainau
rose garden on Mainau

35) Reichenau

The entire island is a dedicated UNESCO World Heritage Site for its authentic monasteries and resulting culture which date back to the 8th century. By the 10th century, the Benedictines had transformed the island to a place of considerable knowledge in Europe, known for its libraries and stunning Monk-copied texts. There are three churches on the island: Münster/monastery St. Maria and Markus, St. Peter and Paul, and Church of St. Georg. The island isn’t only for history buffs – there’s plenty of hiking, biking, and fishing to be done too.

Insel Reichenau
Insel Reichenau

Ok, I’m cheating a bit with the next two because they’re not in BW, but if you’re at Lake Constance, you might as well hop on over. 🙂

36) Day Trip to Bregenz, Austria

I can’t remember if we took a boat or the train to Bregrenz, but it is literally just over the border from Germany. There are plenty of things to see and do in Bregrenz, but the two most popular are the Bregrenzer Festspiele and the Pfänder. The Festspiele is a yearly summer-long theater performed on a stage set up ON THE LAKE! Google image it, you will be amazed. The Pfänder is the 1064m mountain behind the city. You can take the Pfänderbahn up to the top for wonderful views. We hiked down from the top, which takes about 2 hours. The views of both sides of the mountain are incredible.

view from the top of the Pfänder in Bregrenz
view from the top of the Pfänder in Bregrenz, complete with a blimp!

37) Day Trip to Lindau, Bavaria

If Bregrenz is just over the German border, then Lindau is just over the BW border and the only bridge between Baden-Württemberg and Austria. The train takes you directly to the old town in Lindau, which is located on an island in Lake Constance. The harbor houses a statue of a giant lion and the pre-lighthouse Mangturm. The Rathaus (town hall) dates back to the late 14th century and the Altstadt is a conglomerate of fairy-tale cuteness. 

Rathaus in Lindau

38) Konstanz

For the lucky fact that Konstanz is so close to Switzerland, it and its Altstadt were preserved during WWII. Aside from the picturesque seaside promenade and old town, Konstanz boasts many museums about architecture, Jan Hus, and town history, a 12th century Münster, a tiny island with nothing but a hotel, and an aquarium. I would also recommend Konstanz as an excellent base for exploring the whole region.

39) Meersburg

This tip is 3 for 1. Meersburg is one of the many towns on Germany’s Fackwerkstraße or Half-Timbered Road, meaning it is full of fairy tale-like houses that will have you drooling over their adorableness. Not only that, but there are TWO castles here. The Altes Schloss and the Neues Schloss, old and new palaces respectively. I loved the Altes Schloss, which is really more of a castle. The self-guided tour through the thirty-odd rooms of the 7th century castle is like following a maze through dungeons, halls, towers, and medieval armor. Then there’s the Neues Schloss, which doesn’t seem SO new considering it was built in the middle of the 1700’s. The best thing about this palace is the view (the Neues Schloss is on the Schloss Card)!

view out of a window in the Altes Schloss in Meersburg, a city on the Half-Timbered Road

Have you been to Lake Constance? What was the best part? Let me know below in the comments 😉

The Black Forest

Many of the 16 Geman states are made up of two part names, like Baden-Württemberg. This is because two regions have been smushed together to form one state. The Black Forest is the “Baden” region of Baden-Württemberg, which has its own traditions, attractions, and dialect.

40) Baden Baden

So nice, they named it twice! Baden Baden is probably one of the most famous spa towns in Germany, with an over 200 year bath culture. Like Konstanz, its border proximity helped Baden Baden to make it out of WWII with no damage. The Trinkhalle (literally “drink hall”) is a 90m arcade established for the guests to be able to drink the thermal water, which you can still do today. Located in the Kurhaus is the casino, often described as “James Bond-esque,” which requires fancy attire for entry.  And of course, there are the spas: Friedrichsbad and Caracalla Therme.

Trinkhalle in Baden Baden
Trinkhalle in Baden Baden

*41) Bad Wildbad

If Baden Baden is too schickimicki (the German equivalent of “fancy schmancy”) for you, then Bad Wildbad might be up your alley. There’s the over a century old Sommerbergbahn, a funicular which will take you to the top of the Sommerberg mountain. Once at the top, you have a plethora of activities awaiting you: several trails for mountain biking, hiking, and skiing. The Palais Thermal is one of the oldest bath houses in Europe, going back to 1847. The Vital Therme is friendlier for kids and even has an outdoor pool. 

42) Freiburg

Also called Freiburg in Breisgau to distinguish it from Freiburg on the North Sea, Freiburg is a tiny university town close to the border of France. Despite that fact, it was devastated in the Second World War. I visited Freiburg on a university trip and only really remember going hiking to a lookout tower somewhere nearby. I also remember the funny Bächle, or “little streams”, which make crossing the street a challenge if you’re not paying attention. The small gutters are deeper than you expect running between the sidewalk and the road. I’ll have to visit again and take a better look at the Münster, several museums, and the Rathaus, as well as take a ride on the Schlossberg-Bahn and Schauinslandbahn.

43) Day Trip to Strasbourg, France

Yes, Strasbourg is not in the Black Forest, but it’s a hop, skip, and a jump away, and very worth a visit. I visited several times when I lived in Saarbrücken and really loved the Christmas market there. Strasbourg is huge and there are a ton of things to do. Just wandering around will take up the whole day. Anyone will fall in love with Le Petit France (a half-timbered dream!) or going for a canal cruise and the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg.

Strasbourg at Christmastime

44) Lake Titisee

Titisee is the touristy town situated on the lake with the same name. You can go boating, walk around the lake, hike or cycle in the region, or cross-country ski in the winter. The lake is located along Germany’s oldest long distance hike, the Westweg.

*45) Wutachschlucht

The descriptions I’ve read about Wutachschlucht sound magical and include water falls, cliff formations, wooden bridges, mills, and dense greenery. The 33km-long gorge can be hiked from end to end with the aid of local busses.

*46) Europa Park

I’m not sure how it compares to American theme parks (one area we’re definitely hard to beat in), but the Europa Park is a top theme park in Europe, receiving nearly 6 million visitors in 2019. It boasts over 100 rides in 18 themed areas, including 15 European countries/regions as well as adventure land and Grimms’ fairy tale forest.

*47) Schwarzwälder Freilichtmuseum

The Black Forest Open-Air Museum portrays the life, home, and work of people in this region throughout the last several centuries. Built on an old farmstead from 1570, the Vogtsbauernhof contains 26 more buildings to create the feel of a village.

*48) Triberg

If you want a classic Black Forest Cuckoo Clock, then Triburg is the place to visit (although the whole town can feel overrun with tourists). The clock shops are clustered together in one portion of town above the Altstadt. To learn more about clocks you can visit the Deutsches Uhren Museum or the Schwarzwaldmuseum, which also contains other information about local dress and tools.

49) Schwarzwaldhochstrasse

This one requires being able to drive a car, which after 7 years in Germany I still am unable to do. Described as being one of the most magnificent routes from Baden Baden into the Black Forest, the 60 km along highway B500 could take you a whole day if you’re stopping here and there for various parks, picnicking, hiking, and viewpoints.


There are many noteworthy places to visit in Baden-Würrtemberg, but here are a handful that I’ve visited. I’d love to hear about any other special places in the comments!

Schwäbisch Hall
Schwäbisch Hall

50) Schwäbisch Hall

You arrive at the train station overlooking the city, and then walk down to the river around which the town was built. There’s the New Globe Theater, historic Altstadt, covered wooden bridges, and enough half-timbered houses to make your eyes pop out. A big highlight in the city is the yearly open-air theater which is performed on the enormous steps of St. Michael from June to August.

51) Maulbronn Monastery

Dating all the way back to 1140 as a monastery for Cistercian monks, the UNESCO protected complex was later turned into a school. It’s like being in a mini town. A funny anecdote comes from here about a monk trying to save/hide a good piece of meat during lent (which was forbidden to be eaten). While cooking the evening meal for his brothers, he chopped up the meat and sticks it in with the vegetables. To hide it further from his fellow monks and God, he packages the mix up into little dough pockets, known as Maultaschen. This story gives the traditional meal another name – Herrgottsb’scheißerle, meaning “little God cheaters” (this monastery is on the Schloss Card).

Maulbronn Monastery

52) Limes Roman Defense Wall

Ever heard of Hadrian’s Wall in England? That wall continues down for a total of 550km through Germany. The Limes (which is Latin for border path) was built by the Romans from the first to sixth centuries which stretched across Europe, through the Middle East, and across northern Africa. You can hike the entire extent of the UNESCO protected wall in Germany. I was fortunate enough to hike a portion near Osterburken, while on a Duke of Edinburgh training course for my students.

Limes Defense Wall
remains of the Limes Defense Wall near Osterburken

53) Ulm and its Münster

Ulm is situated on the Danube on the BW side, and Neu Ulm directly across the river on the Bavarian side. Even though Ulm faced great destruction during WWII, the Münster survived and still steals the show today. The Gothic church was built in the 15th century, although its sky scraping tower was not completed until the 19th. Going up the nearly 800 steps, you might wonder if it is ever going to end, but it is worth it! On clear days you can see as far as the Black Forest and the Alps. Another reason I came to Ulm was to see the Lichterserenade (listed below in 78)

view over the city of Ulm from the Münster

54) Karlsruhe

Only come into existence in 1715, Karlsruhe has a lot to offer any visitor. There are plenty of art museums including the Badisches Landesmuseum (located inside the Schloss), Staatliche Kunsthalle, and Stadtmuseum, and Zentrum für Kunst. While in Karlsruhe for the day, friends and I visited the Botanischer Garten and Großherzogliche Grabkapelle (both of which are on the Schloss Card).

55) Tübingen

I need to go back to Tübingen because I was only there for the chocolate festival (listed below (66)) and didn’t actually get the chance to see its main attractions. This university city dates back to the 11th century, although the university first came about nearly 400 years later. Many well-known scholars studied here or worked here including Goethe, Hegel, Keppler, Pope Benedict XVI, and Hesse. Tübingen is full of half-timbered houses and cute market squares. Some famous sights include the Hölderlinturm (tower), the Karzer (prison), and Schloss Hohentübingen.



With over 23,000 kilometers of marked hiking trails and 19 state maintained distance biking trails, BW is not a bad place to get outdoors. There’s Lake Constance, the footsteps of the Alps, the Schwäbische Alb; the list goes on and on. Here are just a smattering of tips I’ve come across, as to be exhaustive would be impossible.

Danube Valley
somewhere in the Danube Valley

*56) Baumwipfelpfad (Bad Wilbad)

I am dying to visit this place! The Baumwipfelpfad (tree-top path) is a 1.25 km long walk up in the trees. Year round, the boardwalk brings you 4-20 meters above the ground to experience the forest in a whole new way. Along the way there are interactive info stations to teach you more about the forest. At the end is a spectacular viewing platform which looks like a marble going around a giant funnel. If that wasn’t enough fun, you can slide to the bottom in the 55m long slide.

57) Hike Birkenkopf in Stuttgart

Created with the city’s resulting debris from the Second World War, Birkenkopf at 511m is now 40m higher than it originally was after adding 15 million cubic meters of rubble to the top. On your way to the top, you’ll pass old facades of destroyed buildings. Known to locals as Mount Scherbelino, Birkenkopf’s peak gives you wonderful views over all of Stuttgart. This is a great Sunday afternoon trip.

Birkenkopf in Stuttgart

58) Hike to the Uracher Waterfall

There’s more to see in Bad Urach (13) besides its castle. The town is also a part of Germany’s Fachwerkstraße. And there’s a fantastic 37m tall waterfall in the Maisental valley just a couple of kilometers away. Be sure to hike the correct path to see the falls. We hiked to the top and could only hear the water roaring over the top of the falls and splashing on the rocks below.

Bad Uracher Wasserfall
The view from the top of the falls.

59) Bike/Hike the Neckar Valley

On my very first trip to Germany, my friend’s parents, Monika and Norbert, took us on a hike in the Neckar Valley. We started somewhere near Heidelberg and went by several ruined castles, finally ending in Dilsberg where we checked out the castle there and had something to eat. I was getting worried about having to walk all the way back to the car when we had already come so far, and was totally relieved to hear we would return by bus! I had so much fun and was captivated by the views and castles. There are many more hiking and cycling paths like this in the Neckar region.

Dilsberg in the Neckar Valley
Dilsberg in the Neckar Valley

60) Bike the Danube Valley

The Danube is Europe’s second largest and second longest river, passing by or through 10 countries along its way to the Black Sea. I biked the whole of the classic Donau-Rad-Weg in BW while on the Euro Velo 6, starting in Ulm and ending in Tüttlingen (although the Danube officially begins in Donaueschingen) before heading south towards Lake Constance. This over thirty year old trail stretches 2850 kilometers from source to mouth. We’re planning to do more of the Donau-Rad-Weg heading eastwards towards the Black Sea soon! (We cycled from Ulm to Croatia in 2020!)

on the Euro Velo 6 through the Danube Valley
on the Euro Velo 6 through the Danube Valley

61) Hike the Westweg

Following 285 km through the Black Forest is Germany’s oldest thru-hike, and the longest of the three through the Forest (which includes the Ost- and Middlewege). This hike has been on my to-do list for ages, and I finally completed it in September 2020. Starting in Pforzheim and ending in Basel, Switzerland, the trail is also part of the E1 route from Nordkapp to Sicily. The path, which is a certified Quality Hike and Top Trail of Germany, is renowned for its breathtaking culture and nature.

Find out more about Quality Hikes and Premium Hikes in Germany.

*62) Bike around Lake Constance

260 km around the Bodensee-Radweg through three different countries in such a beautiful region sounds like an excellent vacation to me! I was on a tiny bit of this cycle path from Radofzell to Stein am Rhein but didn’t see much of the Bodensee on that trip. On this route, you’ll get to see everything I mentioned and more of the Lake Constance region.

63) Climb in the Danube Valley

One of my favorite things about living in Stuttgart was the easy proximity to climbing crags. Having lived in St. Louis, where driving 2 hours for a day trip to climb was the norm, the ability to be at the cliff in 20 minutes after work in Stuttgart was a dream. Driving an hour away led you to many a weekend climbing paradise. The views over the river valleys are incredible. A must for every climber visiting Germany 🙂

*64) Bike the Southern Black Forest

There’s something for every level of biker in the Schwarzwald. The Bähnle-Radweg is a 27km rail trail which can be knocked off by any cyclist in a day. The Südschwarzwald Radweg is advertised as an easy route for your typical bike-packer with 270 km. For more extreme cyclists, the Black-Forest-Ultra-Bike-Runde is a 113 km day trip originally designed for a mountain bike competition.

bikes on train
taking your bike on the train in the summer can be complicated. Book well in advance! or take regional transport

65) Siebenmühlental

This valley used to be known as Reichenbachtal after the same stream which runs through it. The name “seven mills valley” comes from the mills (eleven actually) which have been there since the late 14th century. My friend, Bernd, took me there when I came back for visit in Stuttgart. We hiked over some beautiful hills to the Eselsmühle which was still in operation as a restaurant and Hofladen (farm store). We had some delicious Käsespätzle (see 98) and were on our way again. There are various trails in this valley and would make several good day trips (by car!) form Stuttgart.

*66) Visit the Blautopf

The Blautopf is located in Blaubeuren, a town which is on Germany’s Half-Timbered Road. Not only are the houses in this style, but an entire monastery, Kloster Blaubeuren, and the old mill, Hammerschmiede, are also half-timbered constructions. The lake on which they are located is the highlight. Literally translated as “blue pot,” this spectacular lake has various shades of blue and green which melt into one another and form the source of many myths, legends, and fairy tales.

*67) Hike the Philosophenweg near Heidelberg

Although this famous trail is only two kilometers long, it is very steep. The trail begins in Neuenheim in Heidelberg and leads the hiker upon the Heiligenberg with views over the Heidelberger Schloss and Königsstuhl across the valley. The trail got its name from the professors who would walk this way and discuss their intellectual ideas together while enjoying views of the Neckar River. An oddity of this trail is that it has its own warmer climate in comparison to the area around it, so that spring begins earlier here.

hiking in BW
hiking in BW

*68) Cross Country Ski in the Black Forest

This is one of those things that I was dying to do, but just couldn’t get it to work out. There are over 700 Loipen (cross-country skiing routes) in the Schwarzwald. With distance trails up to 100km long at various difficulties, there’s skiing for everyone at every level.  

69) Nebelhöhle

We came upon the Nebelhöhle by accident when we went to visit Schloss Lichtenstein (4). After visiting the castle, we continued hiking and just happened to come across the attraction. First stumbled upon sometime in the 15th century, the literal “fog hole/cave” became popular in following centuries especially when it was lit up with candles for the annual “Nebelhöhlenfest.” Up for anything, my friend, Ashleigh, and I hiked down over 140 stairs to visit the stalactite-filled cave. A great combi-day-trip!

inside the Nebelhöhle

Are there other must-see natural phenomena in Baden-Württemberg? Let me know in the comments!


While doing extra research for this article, I learned that there are TONS of festivals in BW throughout the year. Below is just a taste of the many celebrations taking place, all of which I was able to see in person!

70) ChocolART Tübingen

Chocolate. Do I need to say more? This festival happens every year at the beginning of December in Tübingen. There are chocolate tastings, praline courses, chocolate paintings, and other chocolaty events. I remember going through the streets eating lots of chocolate-themed items and going inside the Rathaus to have a view from the balcony over the jam-packed market square. This is a really fun way to spend the day in Tübingen!

at the chocolate festival in Tübingen

71) Ludwigsburg Kürbisausstellung

This pumpkin festival in Ludwigsburg is so much fun! I have been to it several times over two different years as it lasts for several weeks during the fall. This festival takes place in the Blühende Barok gardens at the Ludwigsburg Palace (6). There are pumpkins pretty much everywhere. There are pumpkin exhibits, pumpkin-themed food, pumpkins to purchase, and pumpkin competitions. All around are sculptures created out of hundreds of pumpkins related to the year’s theme. Something I’ve always wanted to see is the Kürbisregatta – the pumpkin regatta – where contestants raft down the river in their giant pumpkin bowl-boats!

Kurbisausstellung Ludwigsburg
Kurbisausstellung Ludwigsburg

72) Esslingen Mittelaltermarkt and Weihnachtsmarkt

Esslingen is a beautiful little town just outside of Stuttgart, which is also on Germany’s Half-Timbered Road. The Christmas market here is particularly special because it has a medieval motif. People are dressed up in costumes, the typical stalls are designed as medieval huts and smiths, and street performers swallow fire, tell fairy tales, or play medieval instruments. The city’s half-timbered houses only add to the theme. If you visit outside of the Christmas season, the medieval Burg is also worth checking out.

looking up at a half-timbered house in Esslingen
looking up at a half-timbered house in Esslingen. Since owners were only taxed on how much land the building sat on, building OUT was a way to get more space for less money.

73) Cannstatter Wasen

Ever heard of Oktoberfest? Well, this is Baden-Württemberg’s version. Established in 1818 on 25 hectors in Bad Cannstatt, a district in Stuttgart, the festival takes place for two weeks in September and October every year. 7 beer tents and 2 wine tents welcome the over 4 million visitors each fall. Usually a ticket into a tent includes a roasted chicken and several liters of beer. There are rides, games, sweet treats, and a traditional costume parade. This tip is 2 for 1 because in the spring, this happens all over again, but it’s called the Frühlingsfest, or spring festival.

74) Dinkelacker Brauereifest

In Tübinger Straße, not far from Marienplatz in Stuttgart, is where the Dinkelacker Brauerei is located. On some days, you can smell hops in the street from the brewing process. One weekend per year (usually in September), the brewery opens house and invites everyone to a party with beer tasting, dancing, bands, and brewery tours. This was a Wasen-like event complete with dancing on the tables while singing German Schlager hits!

festival at Dinkelacker
the Brauereifest at the Dinkelacker Brewery

75) Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt

The Christmas Market in Stuttgart is one of Europe’s largest and oldest Weihnachtsmärkte, dating back to the 1500s. It takes place mainly around the Schlossplatz by the Altes and Neues Schloss, but the stalls stretch their way into other sections of the city as well, including near the Rathaus and Schillerplatz. There are wooden toys, nativity figures, handicrafts, art, jewelry, and sweet treats to wonder at. For little ones there is a mini-train ride, fairy tale land, carousels, and kids’ bakeries and workshops.

76) Stuttgarter Weindorf

Imagine a Christmas market, but for wine and you have the Weindorf. Every year for twelve days at the end of August, over thirty taverns take over downtown Stuttgart. There’s traditional food, décor, and most important: wine!

77) Hamburger Fischmarkt (in Stuttgart)

Each summer for 10 days in July the wonderful fish market of the renowned Hanseatic city comes to give Stuttgart a taste. Nearly 10 tons of fish are consumed each year during this festival. Regardless of if you like your fish fried, smoked, roasted, on bread, on a plate, or in a soup you can find it here!

Hamburger Fischmarkt in Stuttgart
Hamburger Fischmarkt in Stuttgart at Karlsplatz

78) Lichterserenade in Ulm

This is one of the many summer festivals in the city, and my initial reason for visiting Ulm. It’s part of a bigger festival which celebrates a mayoral address to the city from 1397. The “light serenade” kicks off the festival by sending thousands of candles down the Danube. A sight to see for sure!

Lichterserenade Ulm
Lichterserenade sending thousands of tealights down the Danube River in Ulm

Deutsche Fachwerk Straße – Germany’s Half-Timbered Road

Alright, some serious cheating going on here. I recently learned about Germany’s Fachwerkstraße which stretches from Stade, near Hamburg, in the north of Germany all the way down to Meersburg at the Bodensee. Sadly, I’ve been able to visit only a handful of these towns (31, 39, 58, 66, 72). Never fear! There is a cycling path which connects them all, so you know, I’ll be on it soon. Below are brief descriptions of some of the towns, as well as a list of all (not-yet-mentioned) Fachwerkstraße towns in Baden-Württemberg. Have you been to any of them? Let me know what you thought of it below in the comments 🙂

*79) Schiltach looks like a postcard! The half-timbered houses here only date as far back as the mid 1500’s due to a “witch” who burned down the town in 1533.

*80) Haslach is home to the Schwarzwälder Trachtenmuseum which showcases local dress of people in the Black Forest.

half-timbered houses in Tübingen
half-timbered houses in Tübingen

*81-94+) Wetheim am Main, Walldürn, Mosbach, Bönnigheim, Besigheim, Eppingen, Bietigheim-Bissingen,  Vaihingen an der Enz, Markgröningen, Waiblingen, Marbach, Backnang, Schorndorf, Kirchheim unter Teck, Sindelfingen, Calw, Altensteig, Dornstetten, Gengenbach, Sasbachwalden, Nehren, Trochtelfingen, Riedlingen, Biberach an der Riß, Pfullendorf

view of Lake Constance out of the Altes Schloss in Meersburg, a town on the Half-Timbered Road

95) Herrenberg

Herrenberg was created in the 13th century out of two hamlets. This adorable town is just full of half-timbered houses. Even the iconic Stiftskirche von Herrenberg church and the Rathaus are in this style. I visited Herrenberg on a spring day when the market was happening at the Marktplatz. Picture perfect! I would love to visit again at Christmas for the Weihnachtsmarkt.

Essential Things to Eat

So this last section isn’t exactly things to visit, but they definitely fit in to the category of things to do while in Baden-Württemberg. You can’t leave without having tried these regional specialties. Being a vegetarian has made my meat knowledge awful, so you can be sure that there are a few essentials for meat-eaters missing from this list. Though all of these can be vegetarian, many can also include some Fleisch, so be aware!

96) Zwiebelkuchen

Zwiebelkuchen translates to “onion cake” which, at first, sounded gross to me. But the onions are cooked on the stove until they are a bit sweet. I’ve only had the cake one time, made by a friend in Berlin who is from BW. It was so delicious that I ate a second slice despite how hefty this yeasted cake is. For meat lovers: this savory cake is often made with Speck (bacon bits). There’s a recipe for this in Classic German Baking, which I adore.

97) Maultaschen

We learned the story of Maultaschen above in 51. You can think of them like German ravioli (although I’m not sure how much of a compliment the Swabians would view that as). These dough filled pockets are quite large, usually served 1 or 2 at a time in a broth-y soup. “Authentic” Maultaschen are made with ground meat and onions, but can be prepared vegetarian with vegetable and cheese fillings.

98) Käsespätzle

Spätzle are egg noodles formed from a batter which is pressed through tiny holes and dropped into boiling water and then fried. Käsespätzle is the vegetarian friendly meal with the noodles. The Spätzle are cooked with cream and cheese and then topped with delicious caramelized onions. The portion always looks so tiny, but in the end I’m never sure if I’ll get those last bites in. Don’t worry, it’s way too delicious; I always finish it! Spätzle is often served with Fleisch. The most common way I’ve seen the meaty-version prepared is with lentils and two hotdog-like wursts.

C and I made Spätzle and cooked them in the oven with a ton of cream and cheese, then topped it with green pea pesto.

99) Schupfnudeln

Also known as “Fingernudeln” or “finger noodles” (which explains exactly what they look like), Schupfnudeln are made out of flour and egg or potatoes. There are many regional varieties of Schupfnudeln in terms of ingredients and how they are prepared – sometimes boiled, sometimes fried. Often they are served with Sauerkraut but I have usually had them served with sautéed vegetables.

100) Brezel

Brezel is the German spelling for pretzel and it is pronounced “BRAY-ztel.” One of my first memories in Germany is when my friend’s mom and I were at the train station and we got Brezel. She took a bite and said, “oh sorry, these ones aren’t so good.” I couldn’t really understand what she meant by that until I moved to Berlin after living a while in BW. I tried several different bakeries, but found that I was just never satisfied with the pretzels in Berlin. And that’s when I realized that I had could tell the difference between good and bad Brezel (OK, I had become a pretzel snob!). So get your fix while in Baden-Württemberg – the Brezel won’t be as good anywhere else.

101) Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

How could a list of eats in BW be complete with Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte? It is one of Germany’s most famous cakes (perhaps to the dismay of many other regions). This cake is made out of layers of chocolate cake which have been soaked in Kirsch, cherries, and cream. The cream-coated cake is topped with cherries and chocolate shavings. It is basically a meal in a slice of cake, but the chocolaty-cherry-goodness you experience is worth the food coma you will have for the afternoon. (Also in Classic German Baking)

Well, that’s it. Over 100 things to do in Baden-Württemberg. Are you convinced to visit now? Which places are you most excited to go to? What places did I miss? Are any of your favorite spots in Baden-Württemberg on or absent from this list? Please let me know in the comments below!

* Things with stars I haven’t yet experienced 🙂

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