"Pure Horsepower" Top 5 Page for this destination Stuttgart by antistar
Stuttgart Travel Guide: 622 reviews and 1,675 photos
The world has many cities that can claim the title Autostadt, especially in the manufacturing giant of Germany. But few can boast not one, but two marques of the caliber that Stuttgart possesses. Detroit might be the biggest car city in the world, but the marques of Porsche and Mercedes are probably more esteemed than all that city's manufacturers combined. Stuttgart itself is nothing special - a pleasant, affluent city with friendly locals but no real stand-out sights. But in the Mercedes and Porsche museums it has two world class offerings that draw in autophiles from every corner of the globe. If anything about driving entices you, then you cannot miss this city.
But if you could only visit one of these magnificent museums, which one would it be? When I first visited the museums twelve years ago the answer was simple: Mercedes. Porsche was little more than 20 cars crammed into a workshop. Now both museums have undergone major transformations and situation has changed dramatically, as have the prices. Porsche has less cars and a shorter history than Mercedes, so this meant less variety in the cars on show. But that also meant that my favourite cars were shown twice or three times over, in different liveries and different formats: street, rally, race, etc. The breadth of Mercedes exhibits meant that I missed some of my favourites, or they were squeezed into poorly lit corners of the museum.
The Mercedes museum was brilliantly designed, extremely efficient and organised. Porsche on the other hand was more open and relaxed, which made it perfect for kids. At Mercedes my son was told "no backpacks", "no sweet drinks" and "no standing on the turntables". He was on edge before we'd even started the visit he'd looked forward to so much. At Porsche he was allowed to sit in two Porsches, there was a huge interactive wall with pictures, and a busy, well staffed children's corner stacked with toy Porsche cars, simulators and drawing books (Mercedes had something similar but it was empty of staff and children). Porsche is definitely a winner with the kids.
Mercedes is the big name and the most popular of the two museums, and definitely the biggest, but despite its efforts to turn itself into an "experience", it felt much more the museum of the two. Porsche was a loosely organised collection, whereas Mercedes forced you to walk past all the horseless carriages that started the company whether that interested you or not. If I was to sum it up: the two museums reflected their marques. The Mercedes museum was grand, impressive but a bit stiff. The Porsche museum was more freedom and style. If I could only choose one museum, it would be Porsche. But only just.
It wouldn't be fair to say Stuttgart doesn't have anything else to offer apart from the two museums. The city centre itself is a delight to wander around, and retains much of its character despite the heavy bombing it received during the last great war. It also has a number of great attractions on the outskirts of the city, like the Fernsehturm (TV Tower) and the palaces of Schloss Solitude and Ludwigsburg. There's so much to see and do around the city, and it is such an important part of the German landscape, that it has to be considered one of the top destinations for anyone visiting Germany.
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