By | 16th January 2018

Should you rent a car in Stuttgart?

Do you need a car in Stuttgart > Should you rent a car in Stuttgart Germany > Stuttgart ( STR ) Do you need a car in Stuttgart? Is it worth hiring a car in Stuttgart? Should you rent a car in Stuttgart?

Stuttgart Car hire summary

Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]


  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Stuttgart but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
  • Cost factors include - price of car hire (peak and off peak season), car hire extras, fuel, tolls and parking costs.
  • Quality factors include - scenic drives, road quality and upkeep, general safety and congestion levels.
  • A complete index of all 10 factors will be uploaded shortly.

Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]



  • This is the very lowest price we could find for a one week car rental period in Stuttgart during the quiet season.
  • You will almost always end up paying more than this figure, but any extra costs or supplementary charges are usually determined by the renter, so we cannot easily compare like with like.
  • In many cases, rental companies will offer a cheap rental and then expect you to take out expensive insurance waivers. There are always ways to avoid this!

How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]



  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "why not" section for more suggestions.
  • For most featured destinations, the peak season will be during the summer, typically July and August for northern hemisphere destinations. However, peak demand might occur at different times, for example in some ski resorts or winter sun destinations etc.

Free parking score

Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking. Total 182 - of which 42 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • Free hotel parking is very useful to have when you are hiring a car, and it's always worth checking ahead beforehand.
  • If free hotel parking is not available, you might want to consider renting a car for a single day, rather than for your whole trip.
  • The availability (or lack of) free hotel parking can be a really important factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Stuttgart, as it can be a significant extra daily cost which you won't usually be paying at home!
  • Parking costs play a very major part in our consideration of whether or not it's worth hiring a car in each destination.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

Stuttgart public transport quick facts

Train score

Higher scores go to the systems which don't just take you to the most amazing places, but also to the ones which are easy to use, fast, reliable and frequent. A good train system on its own is usually enough to determine that you don't need to hire a car in many destinations.


  • [full notes trains]
  • Trains include all kinds of urban rail system from trams up to metro and suburban networks.
  • Trains also include mountain railways and cable cars.
  • Generally, places with a good rail network will automatically mean that you don't "need" to hire a car, but you can still might find that on balance you are better off by having one.

Water travel score

This is a general rating for all types of water travel, including scheduled ferries, sea / rivers cruises and excursions in Stuttgart


  • [full notes - water score]
  • The water score looks at means of transport on water - it does not consider water based activities like surfing or kayaking.

Overall public transport score

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel, and also including ferries and other boat services, where they are part of the public transport network.


  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Stuttgart good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?
  • Even if public transport is cheap and reliable, you might still feel that you should hire a car in Stuttgart because it will still give you more flexibility to reach out-of-the-way places, especially in rural areas.

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Stuttgart. It includes factors such as the quality of the street environment, and whether you are likely to feel safe walking or cycling, together with the availability of bicycle hire and the ease of linking walking or cycling routes with public transport.


  • [full notes - active score] walking (city) | hiking | cycling (city /  country).
  • A high active travel score means that you might not need a car in Stuttgart, because you can see everything you need to see using a combination of your own two feet and the public transport system.

Car rental in - Stuttgart Need v worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Stuttgart", "is it worth hiring a car in Stuttgart", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme. Here we break each one down according to the criteria we use for each question. This is a weighted score based on the values above. These are explained further in the text which follows - [#why] [#whynot]. Do you need a car in Stuttgart?

Do you need a car in Stuttgart?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city. For the lowest "need" score, the destination should have a combination of excellent all-round public transport, great opportunities for walking and cycling, together with poor value car hire or generally poor quality roads. 
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "do I need a car in  Stuttgart " will swing towards a strong no, because you can do absolutely fine without one).
Is it worth hiring a car in Stuttgart?

Is it worth hiring a car in Stuttgart?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares? This question mainly looks at issues of cost and practicality.
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "is it worth hiring a car in  Stuttgart" will swing towards whichever option offers the lowest overall cost for a group of 2-4 people travelling together.
Should you rent a car in Stuttgart?

Should you rent a car in Stuttgart?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
  • The final "carometer" swing is much more opinion based, and it takes into account which options will give you the truly best travel experience (n our humble opinion of course). Where a destination offers an excellent score with or without a car, the swing will go towards whichever option we feel gives the most truly unforgettable experience.
  • Ultimately, it's your choice whether or not you rent a car here. We're trying to give you something that's sufficiently far enough away from a "maybe" to help you make that choice. Ultimately, people only come to us because they are uncertain, but we don't really know what each person's preferences are. Whether we say you should or you shouldn't rent a car in  Stuttgart, you might also want to look up some of our other cities to see how  Stuttgart compares with other destinations in  Germany or  Europe.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

What does everyone else do?

Do most people hire a car in Stuttgart?

This is based on our observations of (a) car rental facilities and (b) what we think most people will do here. It's not an exact figure, just an estimate of how likely people are to get hold of a rental car here.
  • his is based on the percentage of people "in the market" who we think are likely to hire a car. This includes anyone arriving on holiday here who would usually hire a car on their travels, so it doesn't include people who don't usually drive (or don't drive), people staying with friends etc.


Visitors per year (million)

  • Cities with more visitors are more likely to have more complex airport car rental arrangements, and generally they will also have better public transport, but this is not always the case, especially in North America.


  • [full notes - do as everyone else does?]
  • You may wish to go with the flow, or you might prefer to avoid doing the most popular or obvious option. This will vary according to the range of choice available. This tends to be much higher in destinations which are closer to the middle of the car or no car scale.

Who is travelling?

Your group size and travel budget has a major impact on whether or not getting a rental car is good value compared to using public transport as your main means of getting around. Ultimately, these are all "worth" questions:

Is it worth renting a car in Stuttgart if I am a solo / budget traveller?

Generally, hiring a car is not good value for solo travellers for multiple reasons, especially as most of the costs of renting apply to the car, not the occupants. With public transport, the reverse is usually true! However, there are always some places where you will need a car, simply because they are almost impossible to reach using public transport.

Is it worth renting a car in Stuttgart for 2 people travelling together?

A rental car can be good value for couples or for friends travelling together, but since most cars come with at least four seats, it's often still better value to use public transport. However, if you prefer to keep yourselves to yourselves, then you might still want to rent.

Is it worth renting a car in Stuttgart for families?

Families of groups of 3-4 people travelling together will always get the best value from a rental car. However, you may also be burdened with extra costs for car seat hire, and you well also prefer to use local trains and buses, if they are quicker than getting stuck in heavy traffic.

Where are you staying?

The place you are staying, together with the sort of places you want to see, will have a large impact on whether or not you "need" to rent a car:

Do you need a car in Stuttgart if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

Most large towns or purpose built holiday resorts will have some kind of public transport, whereas parking provision will vary greatly from one place to the next. 

Do you need a car in Stuttgart if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

Typically you may be staying in an apartment or hmall house on the edge of a resort or urban area. These places usually have some level of public transport, but not as much as city / resort centres.

Do you need a car in Stuttgart if we are staying in a rural area?

Rural proprties might include larger villas or apartments, but they can still be within a short walk of a bus stop or local railway station, and the opportunities for hiking and cycling might also be substantial, depending on the destination.

What is your attitude towards driving?

We can give you suggestions based on whatever we consider to be a "typical" visitor to Stuttgart, but ultimately your decision is also going to be influenced by whether or not you ususally prefer to hire a car in the first place.

Should I hire a car in Stuttgart if I prefer not to drive?

This is especially the case when there is only one main driver in the group, and it's based on the attitude of the driver rather than their passengers! The main driver may also simply prefer to use public transport, or they may prefer to take scenic train journeys where available.

Should we rent a car in Stuttgart if we are easy either way?

This is more aimed at the typical visitor who isn't that bothered about how they get around, as long as it is the most convenient / best value option.

Should I rent a car in Stuttgart if I prefer to drive?

For people who usually prefer the freedom and flexibility of having a hire car. Is it still best to rent a car in Stuttgart, or are there good reasons not to?

Stuttgart might not have quite the same profile as top German city break destinations like Berlin, Cologne and Munich, but the home of Mercedes and Porsche still has plenty to offer. So does this motor city naturally lend itself towards a car-based holiday, or can you get around perfectly well without one?

Do you need a car in Stuttgart? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in Stuttgart?", this often breaks down to two key questions:
  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in Stuttgart? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?
Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in Stuttgart as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in Stuttgart?
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Why should you rent a car in Stuttgart?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Stuttgart?
  • Romantic Road – the Romantic Road is a well marketed modern creation, based around touring by car. The route runs in a roughly north-south direction for some 300 km, with Stuttgart being a natural place from where to start. If you pick up a hire car at Stuttgart airport and work your way down from the north, then you will save the best ’til last, concluding at the spectacular folly that is the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein. Travelling between the different stopping off points by car, you can take as little or as much time as you want, either staying overnight at hotels along the way, or breaking the journey into two or three days and returning back to Stuttgart each night.
  • Black Forest – heading south-west towards Basle, you can hit the top of the Black Forest within a couple of hours of leaving Stuttgart airport, and there are some great driving opportunities to be had.
  • Baden-Baden – they say New York is so good that they named it twice, but that only happens in song. Baden-Baden quite literally means The Baths – The Baths! With imposing leisure palaces such as Caracalla evoking the spirit of the original in Rome, Baden-Baden is one of those towns where indulgence is strictly top of the menu.
    Think of this as the German equivalent of, well, Bath, and you can’t go too far wrong, although the Roman references here are strictly of a more modern variety. Whilst it is perfectly possible to reach Baden-Baden by train from Stuttgart, you need to allow a couple of hours, and you have to change to get here. The spas in Baden-Baden can stay open as late as 10 p.m., and after this there is plenty of entertainment from casinos to shows. The last train back to Stuttgart leaves that 11 p.m., so if you don’t plan to overnight here, a hire car is a much better idea.
  • Slow public transport – if there was an award for the slowest train from an airport to the city centre it serves, then Stuttgart would be a very strong contender. The combination of stopping at each suburb on the way and a very circuitous route mean you should allow a good half an hour to get into town by train, whereas the drive can take as little as 15 minutes. Of course, there is no point in getting a hire car in Stuttgart just to drive around the city, but for a mix of city attractions and getting out into the countryside, the hire car is just a lot more flexible.

Why not? Visiting Stuttgart without a car

What is public transport like in Stuttgart? What about local conditions for walking or cycling? Can you rely on public transport and maybe a few taxis for most or all of your trip? Are there some times of year when it's easier to get by without a car than others? When should you rent a car in 4?
  • Excursion to Ulm – a quick sprint from our to the East of Stuttgart will take you to the dramatic city of Ulm, which has one of Germany’s most impressive churches, although technically there is no bishop here, so it isn’t officially a cathedral. In addition to a delightful historic centre, Ulm also has a number of impressive modern buildings, including a pyramid shaped library and a cleanly designed cultural centre with the instantly recognisable signature of Richard Meier.
  • City connections – although Stuttgart can be a good base in its own right, for many people it is the sort of city to pass through and dwell perhaps for one night, before carrying on elsewhere. Stuttgart makes a natural break between the better-known cities of Frankfurt and Munich, and it is also well-connected with destinations to the South West such as Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Karlsruhe and then into Switzerland via Basle. Jumping around between major cities is always much easier to do by train, because you arrive directly into the heart of each destination, and you don’t have to worry about parking costs. Additionally, Stuttgart makes a great stopping off point on the type of multicity tour where you fly into one destination (perhaps Cologne or even Amsterdam) and fly out from another (let’s say Munich or Zürich). Even if you stay within the boundaries of one country, doing this sort of journey as a road trip is likely to land you with hefty one way car rental fees, when there’s just no need to bother.
  • Cultural attractions – the most famous cultural attraction in Stuttgart is the starts Gallery, designed by British architect James Stirling, which is regarded as one of the leading examples of post modern architecture. Whilst the collection inside is as impressive as any other major European cultural centre, the real beauty of this building is the way you can wind your way over it on the path that runs up the hillside from one end to the other. This is very much a walking experience par excellence!
  • Pedestrian central – you might be reminded that Stuttgart is a car town when you are greeted with a huge Mercedes logo on acting the main railway station, but the centre itself is actually heavily pedestrianised, and all of the main points of interest are within an easy 10 to 15 minute walk of each other. This network is backed up by several suburban (s-bahn) railway routes which run underneath the city at this point, and it is very easy to orientate yourself around the main station anyway.
  • Hiking and mountain biking – many of the scenic areas mentioned above can be enjoyed even more on foot, or from a mountain bike, which can easily be hired at various different locations. Although having a hire car means you can set the pace, public transport in this part of the world is still perfectly adequate, and this can give you the flexibility to walk between different locations and returned from a different stop.
  • Romantic Road by bike – although primarily marketed as a road trip, the Romantic Road is also a very popular destination for cycling holidays. Starting from the UK, you can look at flights to Stuttgart and then either take your own bikes or hire ones locally, or you can reach this part of Germany by train from London, changing at Brussels and Cologne.
  • Public transport network – apart from the slow train to and from the airport, the network of public transport in Stuttgart is excellent, with plenty of buses supplementing the substantial local and suburban train network.

Conclusion: Should you rent a car in Stuttgart? As with any other German city, there is no firm advice about whether or not to get a hire car in Stuttgart, you can get by perfectly well, whether you have one or not. Yet on balance, there must surely be more places of interest outside the city than there are within, and the best way of exploring the scenic areas is to do so with a car. Therefore, a hire car is recommended, but it is by no means essential.


Verdict – yes

Useful links relating to Stuttgart car hire and transit:

  1. Map with key landmarks.
  2. Stuttgart transport map.
  3. Neuschwanstein.
  4. Caracalla Baths, Baden-Baden.

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Would you hire a car in Stuttgart?

Have you driven in Stuttgart? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Stuttgart}? Do you need a car in Stuttgart? For some or all of the time? Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

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