Situated among the rolling hills of Germany's premiere wine-growing region, Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Wurttemberg in southwestern Germany. Dotted with beautiful buildings, impressive parks and fantastic art museums, this modern city is a good touristic stopover thanks to its undulating wine estates, annual beer festival, mineral spa culture and acclaimed ballet, opera and philharmonic companies.

Charming old world quarters such as the Bohnenviertel (Bean District), with its sidewalk cafes and cobbled streets, meet the modern pedestrianised precincts of contemporary Stuttgart, such as Königstraße, one of the longest shopping streets in Germany. A big city with a small-town atmosphere, visitors will find the bustling Art Nouveau Market Hall, especially, transports them to simpler times, where organic fruit and vegetables, aromatic cheeses and fresh fish from the North Sea are sold in abundance. Another must for any visitor to this city is a trip to one of Stuttgart's reputed mineral baths, be it the modern and luxurious Mineralbad Cannstatt or the Mineral Bath Berg, which exudes a wistful fifties charm.

Travellers can indulge in gorgeous city views stretching as far as the Black Forest from atop the Fernsehturm, a 712ft (217m) tower with an observation deck and restaurant at its pinnacle. Or head to Schlossplatz, a famous landmark and meeting place for locals and visitors, its green lawns littered with younger crowds soaking up the summer sunshine. Alternatively, there's sanctuary in the dappled shade of the Green U park, a five mile (8km) natural haven in the city centre.

Stuttgart has a reputation as the cradle of motor vehicles. Both the motorbike and automobile were invented in Stuttgart and one of its most famous attractions is the enormous Mercedes-Benz Museum, with scores of immaculate vehicles on permanent display, including their new luxury models, racing cars and reputable antiques. The Porsche Museum is also just a short trip away.

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