"No WIFI - Talk to each other" is written on a sticker on a lantern at St. Johanner Markt. Here, in Saarbrücken's "good parlor," you can get a good first impression of the Saarland capital over a latte and croissants. In addition to long-established traditional restaurants such as La Bastille, Zum Stiefel or Tante Maja, there are cool stores around the market, such as Kalinski's Wurstwirtschaft or Henry's Eismanufaktur, where young restaurateurs serve bold creations made from regional products. An ideal starting point to get to know the city on the Saar in more detail.


Underground museum and murals as big as houses

Only a few minutes from the old town, right on the banks of the Saar, lies the Modern gallery of the Saarlandmuseum, which is one of the leading museums in southwestern Germany thanks to its large collection of important works of art from Expressionism to the present. Highlights such as Oskar Schlemmer's "Blue Group of Women," Franz Marc's "Little Blue Horse" and many more await you in the bright rooms. An outstanding institution for contemporary art is the City Gallery Saarbrücken. Unique and experimental exhibitions are regularly shown here in a baroque city palace. Since 2017, large-scale murals have graced the facades of all kinds of buildings in the city. As part of the Colors of Pop festival, internationally renowned artists have created thirteen of these impressive murals which have since graced the cityscape as a colorful facet as Urban ArtWalk.

On the Ludwigsplatz rises one of the most beautiful and worth seeing Protestant Baroque churches in Germany, the Ludwigskirche. Together with the surrounding palaces and civil servants' houses, it forms a unique Baroque ensemble that was completed in 1775. Rebuilt true to the original after its destruction in World War 2, the city's landmark now shines again in new splendor.

The Historical Museum Saar has found its home in Saarbrücken Castle. The eventful history of the Saarland is shown in an exciting journey through time from the Middle Ages to the early modern period and into the 20th century. A highlight of the museum are the fortifications of Saarbrücken Castle, which lie 14 meters below the castle square and can be visited underground. Changing special exhibitions also cover a wide range of cultural and historical topics.

Among the other advantages of Saarbrücken belongs its proximity to nature. Forests, streams, meadows and numerous parks make for a wonderfully green cityscape. 73 public parks with a total area of about 120 hectares, 22 hectares of green city, festival and village squares, about 14 kilometers of avenues and about 150 public playgrounds and soccer fields are distributed throughout the city. The city forest, the "green oasis" of the state capital, is never more than a 20-minute walk away. On the outskirts of the city is Bürgerpark Hafeninsel, the only major park in Germany that is typically postmodern in its design. Other parks include the Schlossgarten, Ludwigspark and the German-French Garden.

Large mall and creative shopping zones

Saarbrücken is a great shopping city. Already at the train station the shopping mile begins with the Europa-Galerie. The former mine management building was converted into a light-flooded shopping mall while retaining many historical details. Other shopping areas can be found along Mainzer Strasse, whose Wilhelminian-style houses offer fancy fashions and antiques. Great culinary souvenirs can be found in the Nauwieser Viertel, for example at Saar-Lor-deLuxe or Fruchteria.

Alternative and independent The Nauwieser Viertel, located in the immediate vicinity of the city center, presents itself in a unique way. Between natural and organic food stores, second-hand stores, art and antique stores, and trendy hangouts, you're in the right place if you're looking for an original gift or something more exotic.

Specialty stores for Brand clothing as well as chic accessories, books and unusual gift ideas in a baroque atmosphere can be found at the St. Johanner Markt with its surrounding alleys and courtyards. Cozy cafés, quaint pubs and French-influenced restaurants make the stroll perfect.

Beer gardens and cozy backyards

Also as a night out the Nauwieser Viertel is a popular meeting place. The alternative scene neighborhood is known for its dedicated art and music scene. The numerous pubs, bars and cafés provide a relaxed atmosphere. The backyards in the neighborhood's restaurants are also ideal for a relaxed end to the evening. For example, in the restaurant Café Kostbar or at a club concert.

Relaxed it goes at the St. Johanner Markt with its boutiques, pubs, bistros and restaurants. From here you can also reach Fröschengasse. The former craftsmen's and workers' houses in this side street were once part of the former city wall. In the meantime, the alley has been restored mainly in the Baroque style. Restaurants with idyllic courtyards await you here. Alternatively, you can picnic along the extensive riverside promenade "Am Staden" in the middle of the greenery with a view of the Saar or enjoy a cool drink in the beer garden "Ulanen Pavillon" while the children romp on the large playground.

The Völklingen Ironworks - culture at your fingertips

When in Völklingen one of the most important sites in the iron and steel industry was shut down on July 4, 1986, the calm did not last long. The country transformed the Völklingen Ironworks into a meeting place under the themes of industrial culture, art and nature. On an area of more than 600,000 square meters, a visitor path over seven kilometers long now opens up a theme park where touching and experiencing are the order of the day. In addition, the Völklingen Ironworks as a distinctive stage for exhibitions of contemporary art and for top-class classical, jazz and rock concerts.

Cover photo: Baroque beauty - the Ludwigskirche in Saarbrücken © Kevin Ehm

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