Large, cosmopolitan cities offer many exciting ventures for tourists that come to visit. But there is also life outside a city and frequently, these towns and villages can offer a glimpse of life very unlike the hustle and bustle of a busy urban center.
Stuttgart, Germany is situated in the State of Baden-Württenberg, famous for the Black Forest, some of the best driving roads in all of Germany, and home to many universities and research facilities of international caliber. The city itself is a business hub and home to a few of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers such as Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. But say you’re kind of done with the city, the Black Forest doesn’t interest you too much, and another automobile museum or tour just might push you into celebrating your own Oktoberfest this afternoon. Where do you go now?
I offer you the small town of Herrenberg, located about 30minutes south-west of Stuttgart.
How do I get to Herrenberg?
From Stuttgart, take the A81 toward Singen and exit 27 toward Herrenberg-Nord. Keep left at the fork and follow the road straight down and you will find yourself in the urban center of Herrenberg. From here you will want to park and walk into the center where there is the city’s Old Town and famous church.
Another way to get here is by train. From Stuttgart’s central station, take the S1 S-Bahn line south. Herrenberg lies at the end of the line and because the city is so small, you won’t have any trouble walking everywhere you need to go.
What’s to do in Herrenberg?
Herrenberg is known for its church, which houses one of the largest bell collections. Every hour a different bell chimes the time and no two sound the same. Even if you aren’t in the mood for museums and history lessons, go to the church anyway. From there, you can get a great view of the city and the German landscape.
From the church there is also a short and easy hike that wraps all the way around the mountain and will eventually take you back to the main square. The walk is paved and flat with many trees that offer nice shade during the summer. And because it is all downhill, it’s a nice walk nevertheless.
Where can I eat?
The Old Town is home to a variety of restaurants from Greek, Italian, Chinese, and of course, German. In the main square there is also the Café La Piazza, recognized by their yellow umbrellas, that serves coffee, tea, ice cream specialties, as well as omelets, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, and salads, all for a very reasonable price.
Another good alternative is the restaurant at the Hotel Hasen which has an outdoor patio and serves delicious traditional German dishes. It will cost more than grabbing something in the Old Town, but is well worth it.
When is it best to visit Herrenberg?
Summer brings the most tourists and locals into Herrenberg for the annual town festival in July. The city’s main square is transformed into a performance venue and live music, food booths, and cold beer can be found throughout the Old Town. The festival runs all through the day and on weekends into the night as well and is a fun way of experiencing German living at it’s most traditional.
However, if you come during the spring, the fields around Herrenberg bloom in bright yellow buds and invite nothing less than a frolic through. The yellow fields make for a picture-perfect moment and will make you glad you left the smog and concrete of the city.
Herrenberg is an ideal getaway from Stuttgart and will give you a real taste of a Germany of so long ago.
Picture of Herrenberg Old Town by C.O. Gumela