Stuttgarter Stäffele (Steps of Stuttgart)
Up and down Stuttgart’s steps: Nobody knows exactly how many flights of steps – known locally as “Stäffele” – Stuttgart actually has, but certainly few other towns can compare. It’s estimated that there are between 400 and 600 of these stairways. Originally they were built to access the vineyards on the slopes of the valley basin.
They’re certainly good for keeping fit, as the Swabian dialect poet Friedrich E. Vogt well knew. He wrote: “Wenn Stuagert koine Stäffel hätt, (…) no wäret seine Mädla net so schlank ond net so schee!”, meaning “If it weren’t for Stuttgart’s steps, the girls here wouldn’t be nearly as slim and pretty.”
STÄFFELE up to KARLSHÖHE
You, too, can climb some of Stuttgart’s steps and earn yourself the name of “Stäffelesrutscher”, or “step slider”, as Stuttgart’s inhabitants are known. From Marienplatz just turn left into Hohenstaufenstraße and mount the stairway called Else-Himmelheber-Staffel. On reaching the top, continue up the Willy-Reichert-Staffel from Mörikestraße to reach the top of the popular hill called Karlshöhe. You’ll be rewarded for the approximately 10-minute climb by a fantastic view over the centre of Stuttgart.
Return via a short walk along Humboldtstraße and from there down the steps of the Oscar-Heiler-Staffel to reach Hohenzollernstraße. Following in the footsteps of the dialect poet Friedrich E. Vogt, go down three more flights of stairs to Böblinger Straße. Turn left to arrive back at your starting point on Marienplatz. Walking time for this little Stäffele detour, not counting breaks, is around 30 minutes.