A couple of months ago, I entered a contest held by Stuttgart Tourismus where they were giving away 2 tickets for a Stuttgart Citytour, a hop-on, hop-off bus trip around the city. I entered on a whim and completely forgot about it until I was notified a few days later that I had won! The bus stops off at 9 major sights around the city where tourists can hop off the bus, check out the attraction, then hop back on the bus again when it returns on its scheduled route. I hadn’t gone on any hop-on, hop-off bus tours before during my travels as I generally opt to take a guided walking tour or visit individual sights on my own with public transportation. However, after taking part on this bus tour, I can definitely understand the appeal of these types of efficient city trips.
S and I started our bus trip at the Tourist Information i-Punkt right off of the Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof (main train station). We were lucky to take our city tour on a beautiful autumn day, one of the last sunny days of the season with clear blue skies and golden autumn foliage surrounding us; it truly was the perfect day to go on an open-air bus trip. We were lucky to snag 2 seats on the top of the double-decker bus since it was pretty packed when we got on. In each seat there were headphones with 9 different languages of audio to listen to during the ride, including German, English, and Swabian (the local dialect). There was even a kids’ channel (in German) to keep little ones entertained.
Since we started our tour in the afternoon, we knew we wouldn’t be able to get off at too many stops so we picked a few select ones that were of particular interest to us. As we drove along to the various stops, we learned lots of fun facts about the city of Stuttgart. Even after living in Stuttgart for 3 years, I discovered that there are still lots of things I don’t know about the city! For example, did you know that Königstraße, the main shopping street in Stuttgart, is Germany’s longest pedestrian street with a length of 1.2km? Or did you know that the bra, the spätzle press, and Ritter Sport chocolate were invented in Bad Cannstatt, Stuttgart’s oldest borough?
After a quick stop at the Schlossplatz (Palace Square), we decided to get off at the SchweineMuseum, the largest museum in the world dedicated solely to pigs. I’d never been before and heard it was quite a sight. Since pigs used to be my favourite animal when I was a kid, I thought it would be fun to check out. There are 25 themed rooms spanning 3 floors featuring over 50,000 different pig figurines and displays—it’s quite a boggling sight! We learned about the cultural significance of pigs in many different countries, their symbolism, various pig breeds, their life cycle, and much more – pretty much anything to do with pigs you can learn about at this museum.
Unfortunately we couldn’t stay at the museum as long as we would have liked because the next bus was coming in 40 minutes; we didn’t want to wait an hour and 20 minutes for the next bus. We also only had a few hours left before the bus stopped running along the designated route. Tip: Start the bus tour early in the day if you want to take your time at the various attractions and stops along the tour.
Once we hopped back on the bus, we drove past several more sights including the Mercedes-Benz Museum, the Wilhelma zoological-botanical garden, and a wine-tasting spot. We would have liked to have gotten off there, but we decided to get off at the next stop instead, a vineyard in Burgholzhof, for a little vineyard walk. We also walked up to the top of the Burgholzhof for stunning views of the city below.
We hopped back on the bus where we drove past the last two stops, Killesberg Hill Park (a sprawling park with a 42m high tower offering panoramic views over Stuttgart) and the Linden Museum (a leading ethnological museum in Europe). Again, we would have liked to have stopped off at the Linden Museum since it came highly recommended to us, but unfortunately we ran out of time.
We finished the 100-minute round-trip bus tour at our starting point at Tourist Information and hopped off for the last time that day. Tickets are valid for 24 hours, so if you want to split your sightseeing into two days, you’re certainly welcome to do so. The bus schedule varies throughout the year depending on the season, so be sure to check out their schedule online beforehand so you can plan your sightseeing accordingly.
In addition to the Stuttgart Citytour, you can also purchase a StuttCard Welcome Ticket, available as a 24-,48- or 72-hour ticket which includes free admission to 27 museums as well as discounts on tours, shopping, attractions, and restaurants in the city. For more details about the StuttCard, visit the StuttCard website or check out this helpful review of German city passes by blogger Nicole from City Pass Project.
In hindsight, I wish I had taken this city tour shortly after moving to Stuttgart, not 3 years after living here! It was a great introduction to the city and I discovered some lovely areas that I had never seen before. If you are new to Stuttgart, want to show off your new home to out-of-town visitors, or are only touring the city for a few days and want to see some of the best places the city has to offer, then I can definitely recommend taking a city tour. Regular price tickets cost €15 per person for 24 hours (or €12 with a StuttCard) and can be purchased at Tourist Information at Königstraße 1a or on board the bus.
Note: I was not required to promote the Stuttgart Citytour or the StuttCard by Stuttgart Tourismus in exchange for the tickets I won – I just really enjoyed our bus trip and I wanted to share it with readers!
Have you ever done a hop-on, hop-off bus tour? In which city? Do you generally find them to be good value for money?