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Organic hippies in medieval alleys. High-tech students on Black Forest trails. Veggieburgers in the Bermuda Triangle. Germany's greenest and sunniest city is a pleasant place to live. Our author Harald Braun agrees and lists what he would recommend to visitors in the city in Breisgau.


The old town of Freiburg

In Freiburg's old town, you can experience the best of both worlds: From the outside, the architectural ensemble looks like a medieval village that no modern water can spoil. From the inside, however, the many individual stores create an exquisitely appointed modern city with a high standard of craftsmanship. Especially on and around the lively Convict Street around is worth an extended afternoon of strolling. My favorite place to enjoy art and caffeine is the Art Shop and Coffee Bar Bollhorst - friendly people, interesting art, great coffee. 


The Bermuda Triangle

Freiburg is a young city. This is also due to the fact that there are around 30,000 students among the 220,000 inhabitants. They shape the city's life ecologically, politically and culturally and mostly ride bicycles. The wonderful Judith Holofernes of the band "Wir sind Helden" rightly greeted her fellow citizens of Freiburg with "Dear bongo players, Jack Wolfskin jacket wearers, dear low-energy house owners and five-children makers"... Of course, in such a city, one also occupies a large public celebration space. It's unofficially called the "Bermuda Triangle" and refers to the area between Martinstor, Werderring and Bertoldsbrunnen - where the city's nightlife hums. My favorite place here: The "Slippers", a kind of mix of Cologne pub and French bistro with piano in a building from the Middle Ages.



That's what you call quality of life. Freiburg is the Copenhagen of Germany. In no other city do citizens love their bikes as much and use them as extensively as here. (Well, maybe in Münster...) In which city will you be met at the train station with a real bike? Bicycle parking garage where you can of course borrow one right away. The bike lanes in Freiburg are significantly wider than the sidewalk and not infrequently than car roads. Only logical that one here also a City tour by bike can book to actively get to know Freiburg's sights. Of course, this is also possible with an e-bike. Sure. As one once read in a gazette: "The people of Freiburg are not only enthusiastic cyclists because it is environmentally friendly. But because it would be sheer madness not to spend most of their time in the fresh air in this landscape and climate."

Bicycle parking Freiburg
In a real bicycle city, a bicycle parking garage is a must. For just one euro per day, you can safely store your bike here © Adobestock/simonwhitehurst


Lonely, two-spirited, Dreisam: If you're looking for a romantic place to relax in a horizontal position with a book, your partner of choice or your friends when the weather is nice in Freiburg, you'll probably end up on the banks of the Dreisam, the Lifeline of the city, as the official tourism experts call it, not without pathos. Soberly reported, the Dreisam is only a 29.7-kilometer-long river in Baden-Württemberg that rises in the Black Forest from two headwater streams and ripples through Freiburg. But anyone who has ever sat on the adjacent meadows of this idyllic body of water at 30 degrees knows better: more chill-out area in the middle of the big city is hard to find. Those who want to be catered to at the correct gastronomic level are well catered for at the "Cafe Extrablatt"A café with an idyllic beer garden directly on the banks of the Dreisam. 

Better than any park: In summer, the Dreisam is a particularly nice place to relax © Shutterstock/Uellue

The Blue Bridge

If you haven't visited it, you haven't really been to Freiburg: The "Blue bridge", also known as the Wiwili Bridge, is one of Freiburg's most popular landmarks. If you stand on it, you know why: The blue curved steel arches are real eye-catchers. From there you can also enjoy the sunset.

The blue bridge in Freiburg
The Blue Bridge, which is closed to cars, is a popular meeting place for Freiburg residents © Shutterstock/tichr


What at first hearing the word reminds one of a bizarre theme park is in fact the most popular local recreation destination of the people of Freiburg. It is his so-called local mountain in the Black Forest, just 10 kilometers away, and at 1283 meters high is well worth a short climb. For the stretch between Freiburg and the mountain, the Schauinsland Railway which overcomes 746 meters in altitude over a distance of just under four kilometers. Reason enough to leave the bike behind for once. Two more tips: There is a 20-meter-high observation tower on the mountain - best photo spot on the mountain. In addition, the "The top station" with schnitzel and delicious tarte flambée. 

Freiburg's local mountain Schauinsland
In good weather you can see from Freiburg's local mountain Schauinsland to the Alps © Adobestock/stefanasal

Freiburg University Library

No city without an architectural bone of contention: In 2015, Freiburg treated itself to a new, futuristic building in the middle of the city, between the municipal theater and the Old Synagogue Square, for 53 million euros. There, the building, shimmering in matte black glass, looks like a spaceship from a galaxy far far away and is accordingly controversial. Nevertheless - or perhaps because of this? - it is worth paying a short visit (free admission!) to the Library quite, if only to look at the fancy furnishings and the red "parking discs" that students have to put on their workstations when they want to take a short break. For all the beauty, there are a few too few workstations to accommodate the legions of students in Freiburg. But then you can talk about that in the elegant lounge area on the chic designer chairs from Vitra debate.

The Freiburg University Library
Controversial and beloved: the futuristic-looking Freiburg University Library © Adobestock/Endrik Baublies

Freiburg Cathedral

Of course, I don't know the art historian Jacob Burkhardt personally, but I assume that he must have been a real Freiburg local patriot: About 150 years ago, he called the 116-meter-high west tower of Freiburg Cathedral "the most beautiful tower on earth." Of course, it is difficult to refute such a statement, since such things are known to be a matter of taste, but the fact is: The Freiburg Cathedral is the number one landmark in Freiburg. It watches over the entire city in a central location. The Roman Catholic church alone was built between 1200 and 1513, starting in Romanesque style and ending in Gothic and late Gothic. I recommend to visit the tower of the cathedral to get a good overview of the old town, but note: There's no elevator there. But there are 333 steps. Probably runs under the motto "Steps & Spot". 

Freiburg Cathedral "Our Lady
Freiburg Cathedral, whose full name is "Unserer Lieben Frau", is the city's landmark © Adobestock/Sina Etter


If you like to look at the world from above, but don't necessarily want to climb the church tower to do so, Freiburg offers a wonderful alternative option: The Schlossberg above the city is the favorite place of many Freiburg residents, who can celebrate here in the beer garden, feast in the restaurant and dream of a beautiful life in the summer evening light. The Schlossberg got its name from the Zähringen Dukes, a Swabian princely dynasty that built the Burghalden Castle there almost 1000 years ago. Today, only ruins of this castle remain. However, they have been turned into a spacious area that is also used for cultural purposes in the summer: On five different floors of the castle hill, live bands and DJ's provide this idyllic location for a turbulent spectacle.

View over Freiburg from Schlossberg
Whether you want to stroll in the greenery or enjoy a drink above the city's rooftops, the Schlossberg is the place to be © Shutterstock/ Simon Dux Media

Freiburg brooks

The cathedral, museums, a fine old town - all of this can be found in Freiburg, just like in any self-respecting city. However, if you think about what makes Freiburg unique, one thing comes to mind - apart from the amusing Alemannic soccer coach Streich who talks about the state of the world - above all else: the Freiburg brooks. The small water channels are fed with the river water of the Dreisam and ripple through many alleys of the old town. Since the 12th century, the bubbling channels have supplied the city with drinking and fire-fighting water, and today they are the source of fabulous stories and amusing customs such as the legendary Bächleboot race. One more piece of information for desperate singles: If you accidentally step into one of the gutters, it is said that you have to marry a Fribourg man or woman. 

By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Freiburg: Plan arrival.

The Freiburger Bächle
Singlebörse and perfect for cooling off: The Freiburger Bächle ©Adobestock/ riebevonsehl/christiane65

Cover photo: The beautiful city in view: The Schlossberg is one of the favorite places of the people of Freiburg © Shutterstock/ Simon Dux Media

Geschrieben von Harald Brown

Travel and culture journalist Harald Braun, a native of the Rhineland, lives in the countryside of Schleswig-Holstein, regularly escapes to Australia in winter, likes FC St. Pauli, South Tyrol and, increasingly, selected corners of Germany that he has recently discovered - such as the "Greif" harbor crane in front of the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, where you can spend an excellent night.

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