Living in Stuttgart: The pros and cons

Moving to Stuttgart has pros and cons, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Find out more about the good and bad of expat life in Stuttgart!

Ellie Whyte

5 minute read
Updated on 14 Jul 2023

Not only is studying in Stuttgart affordable but the city is also a gateway to great career opportunities. Thousands of expats are moving to Stuttgart to make the most of its opportunities, culture and lifestyle. But like any city, there’re pros and cons to living in Stuttgart, some of which you may not expect- read on to find out!

Pros of living in Stuttgart

  1. Stuttgart is an economic hub with lots of job opportunities
  2. Stuttgart has efficient and reliable public transport
  3. Stuttgart has affordable universities in a centre of economic activity
  4. You’ll live in a city that embraces nature
  5. Stuttgart has one of the most diverse populations in Germany

Stuttgart is an economic hub with lots of job opportunities

Stuttgart contributes to almost 15% of Germany’s GDP. Naturally, this creates a lot of job opportunities.

The city’s well known as the automotive capital of Germany, with approximately one-third of the population working in the automotive industry. Stuttgart also has a strong tech and finance sector, with plenty of job opportunities for those in engineering, IT, or communications. And besides being home to large, well-known companies, Stuttgart is also a popular location for startups.

For non-EU expats, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve got a job seeker or work visa before you move to Stuttgart. EU expats will need to register if you plan to stay longer than 3 months.

Stuttgart has an efficient & reliable public transport

As is expected for a large German city, Stuttgart has an excellent public transport system. You can easily navigate this city or the outskirts with a combination of trains, metros and buses. There’re also night buses throughout the night. So no matter which neighbourhood you live in or even if you want to travel after midnight, you’ll be able to travel safely and easily.

Do you plan to travel a lot? Get the monthly travel pass. The price of a monthly travel pass in Stuttgart will vary depending on the zone you live in. Check out the VVS website to calculate your monthly pass cost. Typically, there’re discounts for students, young people and employees of certain companies.

Stuttgart has affordable universities in a centre of economic activity

Like other German cities, Stuttgart is popular among international students as the universities are affordable and offer plenty of English courses. But Stuttgart also has its unique appeal. Students in Stuttgart have access to plenty of great internships and job opportunities as the city is an economic powerhouse. This makes studying in Stuttgart a great city to kickstart your career in.

One of the biggest concerns any student has when moving to uni is deciding where to live. Check out our guide to student accommodation in Germany to decide where to live!

You’ll live in a city that embraces nature

Stuttgart has a unique landscape for a city with a bustling city centre. The city is based at the bottom of a valley and is surrounded by hills, woodlands and vineyards. Best of all, these breathtaking views are just outside the city limits.

Within Stuttgart, many parks and gardens link to form the “Green U”. Because of the open spaces, nature and lack of tall buildings, people often describe the city as seeming larger than it is. In Stuttgart, you’ll get the convenience of navigating around a smaller city with the wide open spaces of a much larger city.

Stuttgart has one of the most diverse populations in Germany

More than 25% of the population still hold a foreign passport and more than 44% come from migrant backgrounds. For a city with a smaller population than some large German cities, Stuttgart is bursting with multiculturalism. This is abundantly clear when looking at Stuttgart's roster of festivals and events throughout the year.

Such a diverse population also makes it much easier for expats to fit in and make friends. The best way to make friends and create connections is to join groups, classes, or sports organisations that interest you. While befriending expats is easier, integrating with Germans can be tricky when you don’t speak German and when they’ve already got their social circle.

Cons of living in Stuttgart

  1. If you settle in Stuttgart, you’d better learn German.
  2. Finding a rental will be a challenge.
  3. You’ll need a decent income to live in Stuttgart.
  4. The automotive capital has heavy traffic and pollution

If you settle in Stuttgart, you’d better learn German

Despite being multicultural, Stuttgart doesn’t have as many English speakers as other German cities such as Munich or Dusseldorf. The level of English proficiency in this region is about 62%. As a result, important processes such as finding a place to live or a new job can be tricky if you don’t speak German.

Of course, there’re ways around these problems. HousingAnywhere provides all listings in English, making finding a place to live a little easier. When it comes to finding a job, there're plenty of international employers based in Stuttgart, such as Bosch, Hewlett Packard and Porsche.

There’re also day-to-day interactions with locals that’ll probably require some German. Southern Germans tend to be quite traditional and proud of their language, so it’s best to learn some phrases before you move.

So while you can work around the language barrier, you’ll also be better off socially if you learn some German.

Finding a rental will be a challenge

There’s a huge demand for rental properties in Stuttgart, and not enough available properties. So it can take time to find an affordable rental. On top of that, many German landlords prefer to deal in German and with Germans, leaving you with fewer options as an expat. HousingAnywhere addresses this challenge as it particularly aims to support expats find English-speaking landlords who are more than happy to rent to expats.

When looking for housing in Stuttgart, don’t be afraid to look a little outside the city centre as the S-Bahn train makes travelling into the city centre very easy. Naturally, the further out of the city, the more affordable it is. Be sure to get familiar with Stuttgart’s neighbourhoods too. There’re affordable options within and outside the centre when you give yourself the time to look and prepare.

You’ll need a very good income to live in Stuttgart

One of the downsides to living in Stuttgart is the cost of living. The biggest expense you’ll likely face is the cost of your rent. You’ll probably find the price of food and public transport slightly higher than average — but nothing too crazy. Likewise, for entertainment and nightlife costs, Stuttgart ranks pretty averagely for a European city. On the other hand, Stuttgart has one of the highest average gross salaries in Germany, so the big prices will often come with a big pay cheque.

The automotive capital has heavy traffic and pollution

Unsurprisingly, Stuttgart residents are proud of their automotive industry. About half of the population is estimated to own and drive their cars daily. The city isn’t designed for such traffic with its narrow streets and construction work. This causes noise and air pollution in the centre and even makes cycling difficult.

Many expats advise not cycling in the centre as it can be dangerous at times because of the motor traffic. Not only that, the city has plenty of hills, so your daily cycling commute can be a bit of a workout. Thankfully, plenty of options exist for safer and more scenic cycle rides outside the centre.

So yes, while there’re cons to living in Stuttgart- they’re very manageable. If you decide to move to Stuttgart, you’ll certainly find more pros than cons to living in a beautiful city with plenty of opportunities.

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