Schorndorf im Remstal is sometimes referred to as Daimlerstadt, Daimler Town, because Gottlieb Daimler was born here in 1834. Only half an hour east of Stuttgart, the home of the man, who pioneered the internal-combustion engine and developed the car, is now a must-see museum. But the whole of the historic city centre is like a film set. There are cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered houses, a fine market place and fountains wreathed in flowers. Add in 40 sculptures on the town’s Sculpture Trail, museums, entertaining walking tours, cheerful taverns and outdoor cafés – and you have the perfect spot for a short break.
Focusing on the town’s history, the English-language tour includes the main sights, from the grand market place with its half-timbered-houses and city museum to the art gallery and castle. The walk takes 90 minutes. That allows plenty of time to go back and see it all in greater depth. Don’t miss the Galerien für Kunst und Technik, an old factory building that now displays modern art, cars and planes.
Remstal wines; international cocktails
Schorndorf does not live in the past. The town has a wide range of independent shops and boutiques, modern department stores, as well as restaurants and cafés, where the tables spill out on to the pavements in sunny weather. These are the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine from the Remstal valley. Or, high above the rooftops, you can have cocktails at the cool TA OS Skybar (10th floor; 1-3 Karlsplatz).
Schorndorf at a glance
- Where: 30 minutes east of Stuttgart, in the Remstal Valley vineyards
- Population: 39,700
- Climate: Mild and sunny
- Landmarks: Birthplace of Gottlieb Daimler; fine old town centre
- Weekly Market: Tuesdays, 7 am to 1 pm; Saturdays 7 am to 1.30 pm
The Gottlieb Daimler Birthplace
Local hero Gottlieb Daimler perfected a petrol engine that was used for motorbikes and boats before revolutionising transport with the four-wheeled car. Much of the house looks as it did in Daimler’s day, while the fascinating exhibits, models, drawings and documents explain the life and work of this automotive pioneer (free; 7 Höllgasse).
Traditional Swabian dishes are delicious; order them in atmospheric taverns all over town. Typical is the Becka-Kurze, with favourites, such as Zwiebelrostbraten (steak and onions) and Käsespätzle (pasta with cheese). Partner them with local wines and beers. In summer, the beer garden has grand views of the half-timbered houses (26 Hetzelgasse).
Shop till you drop
When Schorndorf designer, Jürgen Buckenmaier, created the “Bucki” trouser in 1968, he started a fashion phenomenon. Ten years later, he launched the RIANI fashion label, now sold worldwide. The company headquarters are on the outskirts of town; the stylish flagship store is at 22 Höllgasse. Close by is Bantel, a traditional department store, owned by the same family for 80 years (23 Johann-Philipp-Palm-Strasse). Hidden down a little side street is Schorndorfer Wein & Tee Lädle, tempting gourmets for 40 years with a vast selection of teas, wines, liqueurs and fun gifts (6 Hetzelgasse).
The Remstal Valley
Explore the Remstal by bike or on foot. Enjoy great scenery on the century-old Swabian Forest narrow gauge railway from Schorndorf to Welzheim (23 km/ 15 miles). Or stay in town and splash about in the Oskar Frech SeeBad, with its pools, slides, saunas and the Ziegelei Lake.
In August, the Weintage is a spectacular wine festival on the market square. Celebrate local Remstal wines; relax at long tables; listen to live bands; eat Swabian food. A more modern highlight is SchoWo (Schorndorf Week), with 100 events in five days in mid-July. Enjoy free lunchtime organ concerts at the late-Gothic Evangelical Church.