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Freiburg, or more precisely Freiburg im Breisgau, is the southernmost major city in Germany and is located not far from the border with Switzerland. Due to the beautiful old town with the Freiburg Bächle or the cathedral, several million visitors come to the city every year.

Freiburg Things to Do: 17 Tips for Attractions & Activities

Freiburg is very popular for a city trip, often also in combination with a visit to the Black Forest, as it borders directly on the city. The myth that Freiburg is the warmest city in Germany is unfortunately not really true, but there are still many hours of sunshine and warm days there. What we experienced and saw there, you can find out in our Freiburg tips.

How to get to Freiburg

Freiburg is easily accessible from all over Germany. The city is connected to the air traffic network via Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg airport and can therefore be reached quickly by plane. Affordable tickets can be found, for example, on Skyscanner.

An alternative is the train, as the Rheintalbahn, one of the most important north-south connections in Germany, runs through Freiburg. Therefore, ICEs stop in the city every hour. Long-distance buses are also an option, traveling from many cities in Germany as well as from nearby areas in France or Switzerland to Freiburg. You can find tickets and departure times at Omio.

The last option would be to drive there yourself. Freiburg is located directly on the A5 highway, which leads to Frankfurt and, in connection with the A7, goes all the way to Hanover and Hamburg. The federal highways B31 and B3 also lead to Freiburg, making the city excellently connected to the road network.

Accommodation in Freiburg – our hotel tip

Due to the ideal location of the Motel One on the northern edge of Freiburg’s old town, the hotel is a good choice for visitors. The friendly staff at the 24-hour reception and the modern rooms with air conditioning, bathroom, TV, and free Wi-Fi contribute to the comfort factor. Additionally, there’s a delicious breakfast buffet before you can explore Freiburg on foot.

Room at the Motel One Hotel in Freiburg
Room at the Motel One Freiburg

You can find more hotels in Freiburg’s old town or even outside here.

1. Schwabentor and Martinstor

In the past, the old town of Freiburg was completely surrounded by a wall and had several entrance gates. Specifically, the Schwabentor, through which the Salzstraße (an old trade route) runs, and the Martinstor, through which the Kaiser-Joseph-Straße runs, are worth seeing as they are still well preserved today. Therefore, these are also our first two Freiburg things to do.

View of the Schwabentor in the old town of Freiburg

Both gates are great photo subjects, and inside the Schwabentor, there has been a small museum since 1969, in which over 9000 pewter figures depict some of the battles from the southern German region. Additionally, there is a pedestrian crossing at the Schwabentor leading to the Schlossberg (see points 10 and 11).

2. Freiburg Bächle

The Freiburg Bächle (small water-filled runnels) are a part of the old town and stretch over 15 kilometers through it. They are supplied with water from the Dreisam river, but long ago served as a water supply for the residents.

The small Bächle in the Freiburg old town

In the summer, many tourists and residents stop by the Bächle to cool their feet a bit. They are also a great photo motif and make the old town of Freiburg simply unique.

3. Konviktstraße

Today, Konviktstraße, with its many renovated old town houses, is a popular destination for tourists. However, when countless bombs hit here in 1944 and almost completely destroyed the street, it took until the 1970s for it to be rebuilt and renovated.

The beautiful Konviktstraße in the old town of Freiburg

A characteristic of Konviktstraße is its winding course, lined with small boutiques and restaurants. The old artisan street has become a real attraction in the old town of Freiburg. The wisteria, the climbing plant that hangs over the street, also contributes to its beauty, especially when it blooms in purple tones (around May to June).

4. Freiburg Minster

The construction of the Freiburg Minster (Freiburger Münster) took over 300 years, starting around the year 1200. It was meant to symbolize the wealth of Freiburg and remains one of the city’s landmarks to this day. The Roman Catholic church was completed in the Gothic and late Gothic style, given the extended duration of its construction.

The Freiburg Minster is also referred to as “Our Beloved Lady” because it is dedicated to Mary (the mother of Jesus Christ). If you want to learn more about the Freiburg Minster, a city tour is available where it is a part of the itinerary. Otherwise, the minster is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and on Sundays and public holidays from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Admission is free.

Top Freiburg thing to do: The Freiburg Minster

The tower of the Freiburg Minster, standing at 116 meters, is also noteworthy and has often been described as the most beautiful tower in Christendom. At 70 meters, there is also a viewing platform that you can reach via 270 steps. From the top, you have a fantastic view of Freiburg and as far as the Black Forest. Admission costs €4, and it’s open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. However, on Sundays and public holidays, it only opens from 1:00 pm.

5. Cathedral Market (Münstermarkt)

The market place around Freiburg Minster also hosts the cathedral market daily from 7.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. (except Sundays). You can explore up to 100 stalls, and even more on Saturdays, spread around the square surrounding the church. From food to flowers to local crafts, there’s a lot on offer for tourists and locals alike.

The cathedral market (Münstermarkt) at the Freiburg Minster

By the way, the Freiburg sausage Lange Rote (“The Long Red”, see point 17) is a must-try. But there are also many other local dishes from Freiburg and the surrounding area to sample.

6. Historical Merchants’ Hall

Located on Münsterplatz is also the Historical Merchants’ Hall, which you can recognize from afar by its red facade. Built in 1520, it has been redesigned many times over the centuries until it reached its current form. The large windows facing Münsterplatz belong to the Emperor’s Hall (Kaisersaal), the largest hall of the historical department store, which is still in use today.

The Historical Merchants' Hall of Freiburg at the Münster

The sculptures between the windows are replicas of Emperor Maximilian I, his son King Philip, and his sons Charles V, the Roman Emperor, and Roman King Ferdinand I. A fantastic photo motif that fits perfectly into the old town of Freiburg.

7. Market Hall

Located in the heart of Freiburg’s old town on Grünwälderstraße, you’ll find the popular market hall. A second entrance is located near the Martinstor. Inside, there are dozens of stalls offering both local and international cuisine at affordable prices. That’s why the market hall in Freiburg is often very busy around lunchtime and in the evening.

The market hall in Freiburg during dinner time

Except for Sundays, it is open daily from 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays even until midnight. It’s not only a great place for lunch or dinner but also for a coffee or snack in between.

8. Gerberau/Little Venice

A small part of the Gerberau is sometimes fondly referred to as Little Venice. It is located opposite the Feierling Beer Garden (see next point) when you follow the Gerberau towards Schwabentor. In the past, there were many craft businesses here that needed the water from the Dreisam, and thus these canals were constructed.

Little Venice at the Gerberau in Freiburg

A truly beautiful place that is often used as a photo motif and where it is claimed that a crocodile can be seen from time to time. If you look very closely, this is true, but only as a sculpture in the water. Additionally, there are nice cafes here where you can enjoy the atmosphere and linger for a while.

9. Feierling Beer Garden

Located on Gerberau, opposite the river (Little Venice), you will also find the Feierling Beer Garden, which you can visit to take a short break. It is the oldest beer garden in downtown Freiburg and is well-attended even at noon during the summer.

On-site at the Feierling Beer Garden, they offer house-brewed beer and a menu with a selection of Baden dishes, such as the Alsatian Sausage Salad (Elsässer Wurstsalat), which I tried. Highly recommended for a short break while exploring our Freiburg tips.

10. Kastaniengarten

Another beautiful beer garden is the Kastaniengarten, located on the Schlossberg of Freiburg. You can reach it via the pedestrian bridge mentioned at the Schwabentor, a short distance up the hill. It offers a great view as well as drinks and snacks and is especially popular in the late afternoon and early evening hours.

Visitors in the Kastaniengarten on Schlossberg in Freiburg

While most visitors go directly to the Kastaniengarten, you can also have a beer at the Greiffenegg-Schlössle. The restaurant is not very crowded and is located right next door. A bonus is the great view of the Schwabentor and Freiburg.

Tobi and the view of the old town of Freiburg

11. Schlossberg

Located directly to the east of the old town, Schlossberg is definitely one of the top recommendations for Freiburg. The nearly 456-meter-high hill offers fantastic views of Freiburg itself. On Schlossberg, there are many viewpoints, a wine-growing area, and a few hiking trails, as it is often used as a recreational area.

Visitors at the Kanonenplatz, Schlossberg, Freiburg
The Kanonenplatz on Schlossberg

You can reach the Kanonenplatz, for example, by a short uphill walk from the Kastaniengarten and it already offers a great view over Freiburg. It’s also very popular at sunset. However, you’ll have to bring your own drinks. It can sometimes be quite busy here.

View from the Kanonenplatz on Freiburg's Schlossberg

From the Kanonenplatz, a bit further up, you’ll reach the Ludwigshöhe. This viewpoint is a little higher and promises absolute tranquility. When we were there, no other visitors passed by. The view is truly breathtaking and highly recommended.

View from Ludwigshöhe over Freiburg
View from Ludwigshöhe

Tip: You can also take the Kanonenplatz railway (Schlossbergbahn) from the Stadtgarten in about 3 minutes to the hill, and then you’re roughly at the height of the Kanonenplatz. From there, it’s only a 15-minute walk to the Schlossbergturm, which promises a 360-degree panoramic view of Freiburg. Cost: €3,30 per trip or €5,50 for a round trip.

12. Town Hall/Town Hall Square

In 1845, the Town Hall Square was established in the heart of Freiburg. Popular in the summer for its fountain and the small streams, the Christmas market takes place here in the winter. The new town hall used to be a duplex and a lecture hall for the university. After the renovation, which lasted until 1901, the two houses were connected with a central building. It underwent further modifications with a terrace and windows until it became the seat of the city administration.

The Freiburg Town Hall (Rathaus)

13. Old Synagogue Square (Platz der Alten Synagoge)

After the Münsterplatz, the Old Synagogue Square is the second largest in Freiburg. It was reopened in 2018 and is covered with granite slabs. A fountain in the center commemorates the old synagogue, which burned down in 1938.

The light displays on site make this a popular meeting spot in the evenings in Freiburg. It is intended to remain a peaceful place and a memorial for the deported Jews during the Holocaust, which is why you also find a sign saying “Gurs 1027 KM”. This is a place in southern France where many of the Jews were taken.

14. Dreisam

The Dreisam is a 29-kilometer-long river that flows through Freiburg. Through diversions, it also fills the popular Freiburg Bächle (see point 2). In the summer, the Dreisam is very popular during the day and in the evening. While walkers, joggers, and cyclists are on the move during the day, in the evening, the people of Freiburg often sit together by the Dreisam with a cold beer and relax.

The Dreisam River in Freiburg

15. Bermudadreieck (“Bermuda Triangle”)

Not far from the Martinstor is a pub district that is sometimes referred to as the Bermuda Triangle. Spread over several streets, there are numerous bars, restaurants, and nightclubs here. Popular ones include the ShooterStars and the Agar. So, if you want to go out in the evening and see some of Freiburg’s nightlife, you should pay a visit to the Bermuda Triangle.

Bars and restaurants in the Bermudadreieck of Freiburg

16. Augustinerplatz

Augustinerplatz is located in the old town of Freiburg, and you’ll surely pass by it often if you check out our Freiburg tips. Especially in the evenings during summer, the stairs at Augustinerplatz are very popular. Sometimes, they are also referred to as the Spanish Steps of Freiburg.

People in the evening at Augustinerplatz in Freiburg

Here, friends meet up to have a relaxed drink or meal together. There are also many restaurants and bars nearby, making it a great evening starting point. Also located at the Augustinerplatz is the Säule der Toleranz (Column of Tolerance), which is illuminated in different colors in the evening and switches to red after 11.00 p.m. to remind visitors of the nighttime peace, so that the residents can sleep peacefully.

17. Trying the local cuisine

The Black Forest region has a lot to offer in terms of various dishes. Culinary-wise, Freiburg is also a highlight. Many visitors are familiar with well-known dishes such as Käsespätzle (cheese Spätzle) or Flammkuchen (Tarte Flambée). You have a vast selection at the Harmonie Flammkuchenhaus, where there’s also an affordable lunch menu.

Käsespätzle, a dish of the local cuisine in Freiburg

A classic in Freiburg is also the Lange Rote, which you can especially find at the Münstermarkt. A grilled sausage without casing, which has been around since about 1949. You should definitely try this traditional grilled sausage.

The original Lange Rote sausage from Freiburg
Sales stand at the Münstermarkt

Furthermore, there are many dishes from the Baden cuisine such as Bibbeleskäs, Alsatian sausage salad (Elsässer Wurstsalat), Brägele, Schäufele, and many more. If you like trying out local cuisine, then Freiburg is the right place for you.

Plan your trip to Freiburg now

More hotel recommendations for Freiburg:

Freiburg: Tours and Tickets

Do you prefer to travel with a guide who knows the area very well? Then we recommend a guided tour with a local. This way you can get to know Freiburg’s sights in a completely different way. GetYourGuide offers a wide selection of exciting tours for Freiburg’s sights.

Have you visited Freiburg before? What was your highlight from the Freiburg tips? Let us know in the comments.

Photos: Photo 1 (hotel recommendation): Motel One