Western Europe can intimidate people because it’s perceived to be an expensive place to visit. While it’s really easy to spend a ton of money in any place you travel, if you do your research before hand you can save a lot. One example is the intra-state train tickets that Germany offers. If you travel within one state you can buy a single day ticket that is good on all trains, light rails and buses and allows up to 5 people to travel on it for a small additional fee. It starts at 30 euro and goes up a few euro with each person you add. It’s a great deal and if you are traveling with a friend or two, it’s a perfect way to have fun day trips from your main sleeping hub without breaking the bank.
Tübingen is a small town with a big university, a few hours south of Stuttgart by train. It’s on the Neckar, which is the same river that runs through Stuttgart. It’s easily walk-able and there is plenty of beautiful German architecture to look at.
Not all cities have castles, I swear, but this one does. Here is the gate at the castle. Inside the gate, the hilltop provided a great view of the city.
Fun Fact: Germans invented the study of ancient civilizations. They basically went to Italy and said, we like your culture and history. We are going to study it. Italy was like “not sure why you are so interested but, do what you want.” Weird, but there ya go.
One place to always find the most traditionally German buildings in a city is to go to the Altstadt, or old town. This is just as it sounds, the original city before it was expanded with more modern buildings. The houses where you can see the wooden beams on the facade are refered to as half-timbered houses and common in towns all across Germany as well as parts of France, Switzerland, and Austria.
If you’re the kind of person who both wants to instagram your view and get a quick cardio work out in, I suggest you find the church with the tallest bell tower and climb that bad boy.
Tubingen is just one of the great day trips from Stuttgart. Some others are Ulm, which has the tallest church in the world, and Heidelberg, one of the most picturesque cities in Germany.