Some 40km to the south of Stuttgart, the university town of Tübingen lies on the Neckar River, a famously stretch for punting in summer. Although it was at times ruled by the Swedish and the French, the town’s architecture is classically German in style. The finest gabled and half-timbered houses are set beneath the turreted 16th-century castle, amid them some excellent cafes and beer gardens. Thanks to its student population, it’s a lively and laidback place. For those following the European Route of Cistercian Abbeys, it’s just a ten-minute drive on out of town to Bebenhausen Monastery and Palace.