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Explore the European Charm of Germany's Hidden Gem: Freiburg im Breisgau


| 6 mins read

Located in the southwestern corner of Germany, Freiburg im Breisgau is a balanced mix of old-world charm and a vibrant modern lifestyle. Hence, the city often finds its place among those who wish to discover the undiscovered- every corner of the city, from the stunning architecture of the Munster Cathedral and the lively Münstermarkt to the serene escape of Schlossberg, has its own appeal and story. 

For those looking to go offbeat, you must check out Freiburg. Here, we have curated the city's top experiences that will not only expose you to the larger beauty of the place but will also introduce you to an undiscovered treasure!

Marvel at the Architecture of Freiburg Cathedral

When in Freiburg, be prepared to be amazed by the fantastic architecture of the Freiburg Cathedral. The towering spire touching the skyline, the blend of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles, stunning stained glass windows (some dating back to the 13th century) with carvings of Biblical stories, and the intricate designs inside the cathedral- all showcase the finesse of its craftsmanship. Beyond the architecture is the astronomical clock dating back to the 16th century, which shows the time and the positions of the sun, moon, and planets and calculates religious dates like Easter. Thus, a visit to the Freiburg Cathedral is not just a way to familiarise yourself with the religious practices of the city but also to learn about the impressive work of art and science that finds its place in this renowned architecture. 

Interesting Tit-Bit: Known as the Hosanna Bell, the bell on the cathedral is believed to have been cast in 1258, making it one of the oldest and largest bells in Germany. Initially, it was rung during the Feast of the Annunciation; today, the bell is rung on special occasions as per the Christian calendar. 

Freiburg Cathedral

Take a Serene Escape by the Bachle

Imagine walking in a foreign city, where dipping a toe in the local waters can get you a spouse! Sounds crazy, right? Well, believe it or not, that is a legend across Freiburg. The local name for little water streams in Freiburg, Bachle(s), dates back to the Middle Ages. They were created to serve daily life purposes like supplying water to feed livestock, preventing fires, etc. Today, these streams have become a charming characteristic of the city and are regularly fed by the Dreisam River. You can take a stroll along the stream, take a relaxing break by dipping your toes or simply enjoy the views from a nearby cafe. 

As for the legend mentioned before, it is said that if you accidentally step into a Bächle, you are destined to marry a local Freiburger, a favourite myth of locals and tourists that brings so many smiles! 


Discover the City's Historical Gates

Since Freiburg was once fortified with walls and towers, a must-do tour is that of its two standing historical gates (out of the five)- Martinstor and Schwabentor. Each of these gates boasts its own architecture and story. Martinstor has a blend of old and new. It is the popular one for two reasons- first, its architecture of the 13th century and second, a McDonald's restaurant right beneath it! Looking at Martin's Gate, one can see the striking contrast and coexistence of the old and the new. The second one, Schwabentor, is often referred to as an artistic gateway. This gate contains murals depicting the local legend of Schnewlin, the city's knight. Although it is a contemporary of Martin's Gate, the murals were added in the 20th century to add an artistic touch to the structure. 


Indulge in the Local Wine Culture

Another unique experience in the city is opting for its quite popular wine tours. The city's unique location, at the edge of the Black Forest and near the Rhine Valley, creates an ideal microclimate for viticulture. Further, Freiburg is a part of the famous Baden wine region, which allows it to offer a delightful experience for wine lovers. Although the Baden region specialises in a variety of grapes, it is particularly renowned for its high-quality Pinot varieties. To learn more and make the most of your visit, you can choose from simple interactions with the winemakers to wine-making workshops, which will take you deeper into the process of fine wine-making and sampling the best variety! In fact, many local wine festivals take place throughout the year, more of which you can get to know from a local guide


Bask in the Scenic Beauty of Schlossberg

A forested hill rising above Freiburg, Schlossberg offers panoramic views of the city and its beautiful scenery. The hill once served as a strategic point for defence, and today, it has become a popular recreational spot for both locals and tourists alike. While hiking up the hill, especially during the early mornings and evenings, you can expect to meet the warm residents who come to witness the sunrise or the sunset. For those who do not wish to hike, a funicular ride is also available, which gives you a scenic ride to the summit. As you ascend, you will see a change of scene from the bustling cityscape to the beauty of the hill, with the Black Forest in the backdrop. Moreover, on clear days, a glimpse of France's Vosges Mountains can also be spotted from here. All of this makes it a perfect spot for taking a break as well as getting the best Instagrammable pictures. 

Schlossberg Winter Landscape

Enjoy Shopping at the Münstermarkt

Just outside the Munster Cathedral, stroll through Münstermarkt, the vibrant central market space in the city that introduces you to the true art and culture and their products. The experience of walking through the market street with stalls of fresh fruits and vegetables, traditional clothing, ceramic products, and the air filled with the fragrance of local cuisine will surely satisfy the wanderlust in you! You can buy the perfect souvenir from here and taste the best dishes, of which here are a few that you must try- Bratwurst (grilled sausages; no trip to a German market is complete without tasting this staple German cuisine), the Black Forest Cake, German pretzel, Käsespätzle (the German version of macaroni and cheese), and regional cheeses. 

Black Forest Cake

Be it the historical gates, the crazy legend about the Bachle or the stunning pathway to Schlossberg, be assured that the city will enchant you every step of your way. Interestingly, these recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg! To make the most of your trip, explore more of the land with the help of an expert local guide.