Icecream in Freiburg

What to see in Freiburg Germany

On the edge of Bavaria’s Black Forest, Freiburg Germany, the sunniest city in Germany, has modern architecture, medieval history, gourmet food and breathtaking scenery. This makes it one of the  must see towns to visit in Germany.

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Discovering Freiburg, Germany

On the edge of Bavaria’s Black Forest, Freiburg Germany, the sunniest city in Germany, has modern architecture, medieval history, gourmet food and breathtaking scenery. This makes it one of the  must see towns to visit in Germany.

Lonely Planet Munich, Bavaria & the Black Forest (Travel Guide) available from Amazon may be useful when planing your trip to Freiburg.

Passing modern, environmentally sustainable buildings, step back 500 years through Martinstor, one of two remaining medieval city gates, into the old town centre.

Explore cobblestoned streets inlaid with guild crests denoting the trades of the buildings’ former occupants. Here you will find medieval squares flanked by frescoed buildings, ancient fountains and shady cafe umbrellas inviting you to stop and people watch as you enjoy a coffee or icecream sundae.

Exploring Freiburg Medieval history

The sleek, modern architecture of this university city is starkly contrasted with the frescoed buildings of the 11th century medieval town centre.

Medieval town square in Freiburg
Solar panels incorporated into the design of this Freiburg building make it totally self sufficient
Medieval town square in Freiburg
Medieval town square in Freiburg
Medieval town square in Freiburg
21st century design, such as the self sufficient building incorporating solar panels in its design sits side by side with medieval architecture

Here we spent a Sunday morning meandering along the narrow, deserted cobblestone streets enjoying the magnificent old town buildings, passing through Martins Tor, one of two remaining medieval city gates, which have survived both wars and surrounding development in modern history.

If you wish to soak in the history without hordes of tourists, Sunday is definitely the day to visit, however all the shops are closed.  We were quite content to enjoy a window shop as we explored the streets and alleyways.

 Lonely Planet German Phrasebook & Dictionary available from Amazon would be useful during your trip to Germany

Freiburg “Bachle”

Crystal clear water streams through the “Bachle” gutters which run along the cobbled footpaths, providing welcome relief to the scorching heat reflected from the stone buildings.

Originally constructed as early as the 11th century, the gutters formed a water and irrigation supply, and were used to fight fires.

Today children and tourists splash through the cooling water.  It is local superstition that if you accidentally step in the Bächle, you will marry a Freiburger, so I guess we’ll be heading back to Freiburg in the next 20 years or so for my nephew’s wedding.

Frescoed buildings surround the old town squares of Freiburg
Frescoed buildings surround the old town squares of Freiburg
Medieval Bavarian village Freiburg Germany
Exploring the medieval town centre of Freiburg
Freiburg Bachle
Superstition has it that if you accidentally step in the Bachle you will marry a Freiburger
Martinsor, one of the remaining town gates in Freiburg
Martinsor, one of the remaining town gates in Freiburg
Freiburg Streets
On a Sunday morning the streets are deserted and we can enjoy a peaceful stroll through the streets of Freiburg

Old town squares.

In Rathausplatz the 14th Century Old Town Hall is now the Freiburg tourist office,which should be your first stop. Around midday you can hear the “glockenspeil” chime the hour.

In Augustinerplatz, the Augustiner museum, a former monastery now houses a collection of medieval and baroque artworks.

Historic Schlossberg

We then headed several km UP the mountain to Schlossberg, the 11th century castle ruins and a panoramic lookout over the city.

An inclinator car took us to the top. Sort of.  But the remaining steep uphill hike to the top was well worth the effort for the breathtaking panoramic views across the Vosges mountain range, with the Swiss Alps on one side and the French Alps on the other,

The village of Freiburg is nestled below amid the hills of the Black Forest, with the iconic Munster spire towering over the village.

It was on this site that the dukes of Swabian nobility built their first fortified castle nearly 1,000 years ago, giving the Schlossberg its name (in German, ‘Schloss’ means castle and ‘Berg’ means mountain or hilltop).

The castle was then successively taken over by the counts of Freiburg, the Hapsburgs and then the French occupiers, who in the 17th century incorporated the medieval castle into the city’s fortifications. Today, the Schlossberg boasts ample evidence of its eventful past, such as the ruins of Baroque walls, the Bismarck Tower built in 1906 and the Cannon Square.

Freiburg
Freiburg nestled in the forest below Schlossberg
freiburg 5
Freiburg Munster from near the top of Schlossberg

Munsterplatz

Making our way to the bottom, we found our way to Munsterplatz. Tired, hot and thirsty, we more than happy to join the locals in the traditional summer Sunday afternoon activity….eating ice cream sundaes.

Wandering through the Munsterplatz markets you can sample the produce stalls and local delicacies,such as Freiburg wurst. Here the 14th century Merchant’s Hall is adorned with ancient coats of arms and statues honouring four Roman Emperors.

Medieval town square in Freiburg
Medieval town square in Freiburg
Icecream in Freiburg
When in Freiburg- eat icecream sundae on Sunday!
Old water pump in Freiburg square
Old water pump in Freiburg square
Fountains are a feature in every town square in Freiburg
Fountains are a feature in every town square in Freiburg

Freiburg Munster

We then strolled through the magnificent Gothic 12th century Freiburg Munster (Cathedral). Construction took over 300 years. Most of the builders never saw the finished project simply trusting that the Cathedral would be completed as they had imagined.

The 116-metre west tower, built in an open lattice structure is a landmark on the Freiburg skyline today.

The three ton 750-year-old Hosanna bell is one of Germany’s oldest Angelus bells, which are rung before the traditional Roman Catholic Angelus prayer service.  The Hosanna’s ring is unmistakable: melancholic, loud and clear.

Miraculously, Freiburg’s Cathedral was spared in the bombings during the war and now bears witness to over 800 years of Freiburg’s history.

Freiburg Munster
Freiburg Munster
Ornate doors to Freiburg Munster
Ornate doors to Freiburg Munster
Freiburg Munster
Freiburg Munster

One day in Freiburg only gave us a taste of what this historic town has to offer. During the week, you can browse through market stalls sampling local produce, or take the longest cable car ride in Germany to Schauinsland, 10 kilometres from the town centre.  At an altitude of 1284 metres, you can enjoy hiking around the peak while taking in the magnificent scenery.
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Medieval buildings Freiburg
What to see in Freiburg Germany

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