As the jumping off point to many Black Forest excursions, Freiburg is a very outdoorsy city. In fact, as I write this, we have a guest staying with us during what might be the rainiest week of the year, and we find that we have no suggestions for her as far as activities in Freiburg go. It seems as though if you can’t be outside, there isn’t much left to do.
With that said, and with summer finally here (I hope), here are my favorite things to do in Freiburg im Breisgau when that famous Schwarzwälder sun shows her face.
1. Schlossberg Hill and Kastienen Biergarten
Just east of the city center is a forest-covered hill that was once home to Freiburg’s castle (since destroyed so many times, the city stopped rebuilding it in the 1700’s). A favorite pastime of nearly all Germans is to go walking outside on Sundays, and this is Freiburg’s favorite spot to do so. It only takes about 25 minutes to reach the top of hill, and once there, you will find excellent views of the city on both sides of the hill, as well as a (currently closed) observation tower.
And I would probably have my visa revoked if I didn’t mention the beer garden about one-third of the way up the hill, conveniently located in perfect position for post-hike relaxing. It easily qualifies as my favorite place to have something to drink, with it’s extensive outdoor seating, numerous trees to provide shade, your choice of a view of the historic city center or the suburbs in the valley, and of course, beer.
2. Münstermarkt (Cathedral Market)
Freiburg’s biggest market takes place every day except Sundays, until 2pm or so, and features organic fruits and vegetables, flowers, handmade woodworks and toys, baked goods, various oils, butcher shops, and an astonishing number of bratwurst vendors. You will also find literally every person in Freiburg there on Saturdays, so if you can, try to go on a working day.
Is this a shameless plug for my very own tour company? Yes, definitely. But: I truly think this tour is a great way to learn about Freiburg’s history, and my current Trip Advisor rating legitimizes that claim. People seem to like it, so check us out when you’re in town!
4. Blauebrücke (Blue Bridge)
Freiburg has no shortage of places to just sit and enjoy the sunshine. Among a list that includes Augustinerplatz, Colombipark, and Herz-Jesu-Kirche, my favorite is Blauebrücke (Blue Bridge). This bridge crosses the railroad tracks near the main train station, and features blue tresses that can be (mostly) safely climbed. From the top, you can watch the trains pass underneath and look out at the various church spires and medieval city gates that dot Freiburg’s skyline, with the Black Forest providing the background.
If you can brave the height, it’s a cool place to just hang out. Can you spot the person walking along the top of the bridge in the photo below?
5. Münster Turm
When you’ve had enough of the crowds at the Münstermarkt, escape to the sky! For only 2€, you can climb the spiral staircase to the top of the Münster’s main spire, where you’ll be treated to the view from directly above the main square. And if you’re lucky, you’ll be startled by the large and extremely-loud-from-a-distance-of-less-than-3-meters bells going off at seemingly random times (they don’t always wait for the hour). And if you’re really lucky, the scaffolding that currently covers the spire will be gone by the time you arrive, so you’ll get to climb even higher! Don’t count on it soon though; the scaffolding has been in place for 7 years already, though the rumor is that renovation work will be completed by the end of 2014.
With a large lake, an observation tower, beautiful landscaping, and plenty of grass for relaxing or throwing a frisbee, this park located away from the city center is an excellent place to get away from the noise and crowds of downtown. It also features a small soccer stadium, an outdoor cafe right on the water, and a space for small concerts during the summer.
What do you think makes Freiburg great in good weather? Did I miss anything?