We arrived in Stuttgart early in the morning. Far too early to check into a hotel and even the festival in Bad Wimpfen was not in progress yet, so we drove about 40 minutes west to the town of Maulbronn. The original fortified town is a bit of a tourist draw now. It's all terribly picturesque and a good place to wander around with jet lag.
Although it's gated, this portion of the town is free to park at and stroll about in. There's a couple of museums on the history and geology of the area and a couple of restaurant/beer gardens which we ignored.
There is also a Cistercian Monastery which is why all of this is here in the first place. There is an admission fee to the monastery. Once inside, you can pretty much wander around at will.
The monastery dates from the 12th century and has a nice mix of Romanesque and Gothic sections. There are a handful of minimally informative signs around in German.
Outside surrounding the fortified town are the steep vineyards which seem to be everywhere in this part of Germany. Hiking trails leave from here to a nearby lake as well as along several nearby ridges.