About Freiburg im Breisgau
Thanks to an extraordinary location in southern Germany, the city of Freiburg is considered the gateway to the Black Forest and one of the top tourist destinations in the Baden-Wurttenberg region. Visitors to Freiburg can look forward to enjoying a relaxed holiday, as the city offers plenty of opportunities to get away from it all and enjoy a well-deserved break. On the other hand, if you rather go for a city break, Freiburg offers a vibrant urban environment where it is virtually impossible to be struck by boredom. No matter which kind of holiday you are looking for, you will find it in Freiburg.
When To Visit
Freiburg’s geographical location means that the city is blessed with mild weather all year round. In fact, Freiburg is known as the sunniest city in the whole of Germany, and boasts an impressive average of 1,740 hours of sunshine every year. The best times to visit are usually late spring and autumn, when daytime temperatures stay at around 20 degrees. The sunniest month is July, with an average of 240 hours of sunshine, and the driest month is March. If you are planning on doing any outdoor activities, April, May and October are good times to visit too.
Getting There And Around
Getting to Freiburg from other German towns or from other European countries is easy. The nearest airport is Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (also known as the Euro Airport), which is located 75 kilometres south of the city. To reach Freiburg from the airport, you can use shuttle buses (bus line number 50 or the new FlixBus, which offers tickets starting at 8.5 €) or trains. Travel time is approximately 1 hour for both trains and buses.
Freiburg is well served by national and international trains, as other European cities like Milan, Paris, and Amsterdam are between 3.5 and 6 hours away. There are also direct trains to Basel, Berlin, Zurich, and Cologne.
Once you are in the city, you can use the local and efficient public transportation system to get around, although the majority of tourist landmarks are located in a compact area that is easily walkable. If you decide to use public transport and are planning to stay in the city for a few days, the best option is the Regio 24 ticket, which gives you unlimited rides in city buses and trams for approximately 6 € per person per day. Another cost-effective option is the Welcome Card, which is valid for 3 days and includes access to the city’s scenic cable car.
What To See And Do
Freiburg was a bustling market town in the Middle Ages and has managed to preserve its traditional charm to this day. All over town you will come across beautiful examples of Gothic architecture, although the Old Town is by far the most picturesque area of town. Start your voyage of discovery by picking up a map from the Tourist Information Centre, located near the Archaeological Museum, and make sure you visit the following landmarks:
- Historical buildings: the medieval cathedral, the old Merchants’ Hall, the town hall, the courthouse, St Martin’s Church, the city gates (known as Schwabentor, Martinstor, and Breisachertor), Colombi Palace, and the Whale House
- Museums: Natural History Museum, Modern Art Museum, and Archaeological Museum
- Charming little alleys and public squares: Konvikt Street, Cathedral Square, and Rathausplatz
- Theatres and art galleries: Freiburg theatre, Wallgraben theatre, Galerie Meier, Albert Baumgarten Gallery, and E-Werk Freiburg
- Parks and gardens: the Botanical Garden, Seepark Lake and Gardens, Colombi Park, and Schlossberg Hill
While you can easily explore the city on your own, it is strongly recommended to hire a tour guide who can show you hidden gems and tell you more about the city’s past and present. Alternatively, you can join the daily free walking tour of the city that departs from Rathausplatz. And how about arranging a themed guided tour? There are many to choose from, ranging from environmental tours to culinary walks or special guided visits for families with children. Enquire at the Tourist Information Office for more details.
Freiburg has a vibrant events calendar that keeps locals and visitors entertained throughout the year. In fact, there is always an interesting event on! Here are some of the top events in the city:
- January: Night Flea market
- February: Carnival parades
- March: Philarmonic Orchestra concerts
- April: Freiburg Festival
- May: Spring Festival
- June: Midsummer solstice bonfire
- July: Freiburg Wine Festival
- August: Wine Tasting Festival
- September: Freiburg Jazz Festival
- October: Oktoberfest
- November: Festival of Illustration
- December: Freiburg Christmas market
Where To Stay
The price of a room at one of the city’s many three star hotels often ranges between 100 € and 120 €, although you can certainly find cheaper rooms, for example at the three-star Hotel Barbara or at Hotel Hirchengarten.
If you are looking for upscale accommodation, Freiburg has plenty of options to suit your needs. The Best Western Premier near the train station is a popular option for travellers looking for comfort and a central location. In fact, the area between the train station and the city’s cathedral is home to a large number of 4-star hotels, including boutique establishments and those belonging to well-known chains like Novotel or Mercure. Hotels like The Alex or Schloss Reinach are a popular options for travellers who appreciate conteporary design, whereas the best accommodation options for a romantic getaway are Park Hotel Post, the Rheingold, or the exclusive Colombi Hotel, the only 5-star accommodation venue in the city.
For visitors on a budget, a popular alternative is to stay at a fully equipped apartment or at a bed and breakfast, which can be booked for 50€ – 60€ / night.
Note: Something you should be aware of is that Freiburg charges a compulsory accommodation tax of 5% for the cost of a room, unless you are travelling for business.
If you are looking forward to indulging in some retail therapy during your stay in Freiburg, your best bet is to hit the downtown area. Here you will find everything from well-known fashion chains to independent boutiques and specialist shops selling clothing, jewellery, accessories, and souvenirs. Department stores are clustered around the area between Friedrichring and the university.
For a local shopping experience, head to Munsterplatz, where you will find a large farmers market selling snacks, flowers, and locally grown produce. Every Saturday morning, a flea market is set up in Petersplatz. This is a great place to go bargain hunting for antiques, toys, handmade items, and other unique souvenirs.
Note: Shops in Freiburg usually open between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., but are closed on Sundays.
Thanks to its impressive selection of regional food, Freiburg is a fantastic choice for gourmets. The local cuisine relies on simple but wholesome ingredients, and although there are dozens of local specialties to sample during your time here, you just can’t leave without trying the following dishes:
- Spätzle (sometimes called Knopfle), soft egg noodles served with a good sprinkling of cheese and / or vegetables
- Brägele, a side dish of sauteed potatoes, the perfect accompaniment to meat dishes
- Flammkuchen, the local version of pizza consisting of a topping of thinly sliced onions, bacon, sour cream, and cheese. A great snack any time of the year!
- Black Forest gateau, one of the most famous sweet treats from the Baden Wurttemberg region
- Kirschenmichel, another mouth-watering dessert similar to bread pudding. This treat is served warm, topped with berries or nuts in a vanilla sauce.
A good meal in Freiburg is always accompanied with a glass of local wine. The vineyards that surround the city have been producing excellent wines since the 14th century, and today the Baden wine-growing region is one of the largest in Germany. Local wines can be sampled during a vineyard tour, at wine bars, at restaurants, and of course, during the Freiburg Wine Festival.
Freiburg has a sizeable student population, which means that the city’s nightlife scene is as exciting as it gets. Beer gardens, pubs, breweries, clubs, and bars are dotted all over the city, so your only problem will be deciding where to spend the evening.
You can’t visit any German town without spending some time at a beer garden. Kastaniengarten is Freiburg’s most popular hangout for beer lovers, partly due to its privileged location high up on Schlossberg hill, and partly due to its extensive selection of local and imported beers. Only a few minutes’ walk and overlooking the river is Cafe Atlantik, another popular bar featuring live music and a great range of reasonably priced beers. By far, the highest concentration of nightlife and entertainment venues is located near the university. You won’t have to wander far to find a cosy little cocktail bar, an Irish pub, or a live music venue that suits your entertainment preferences and budget.
Day Trips and Excursions
There are enough things to see and do in Freiburg to keep you occupied for a few days on end, but being the gateway to the Black Forest, the city also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the beautiful outdoors.
For the best views of the city and its surrounding scenic beauty, take the Schauinsland cable car. The area is also perfect for cycling and mountain biking – there are over 400 kilometres of bike paths in and around Freiburg! Further east is the picturesque Hell’s Valley, where you can go hiking, swim at alpine lakes, or treat yourself to a relaxing break at the Badeparadies wellness centre. Other natural highlights within easy reach of Freiburg include the waterfalls at Todtnauer and Zweribach, and the spectacular forested landscapes of Nonnenmattweiher.
Welcome to Freiburg, and get ready to enjoy an unforgettable stay in the heart of Baden Wurttenberg!