Freiburg im Breisgau (is the correct German name) is a city in Baden-Württemberg Germany. It’s a small city with a population of about 220,000. Freiburg is located in the south-west of Germany and sits close to the borders of both France and Switzerland.
Freiburg is one of the best places to visit in Germany in the summer with its great climate, food, wine, attractions and proximity for some amazing day trips. Let’s explore some great things to do in Freiburg and its surrounding areas.
Freiburg’s location has made it the centre of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest. Freiburg was founded by Konrad and Duke Berthold III of Zähringen in 1120 as a free market town. This is where Freiburg gets its name which translates to “free (or independent) town”. Freiburg’s history has ebbed and flowed with the times in Europe, from a town dominated by Nobles who relied on the silver mines in the 13th Century to a town that refocused itself in the 15th century to a centre of learning.
As a base for Catholicism in the 15th century, to forgettable activities such as witch burning and being caught in the thirty-year war. Throughout history, Freiburg has been controlled and influenced by Austrians, the French, the Swedish, the Spanish, and various German independent states at times.
Freiburg was heavily bombed during World War II. A large portion of the city centre was destroyed, with the notable exception of the Münster, which was only lightly damaged. Thankfully after the war, Freiburg was rebuilt on its medieval plan into the beautiful city that we see today.
Freiburg is a university town which gives it a young, cosmopolitan and energetic feel. Freiburg University is the fifth-oldest university in Germany, with a long tradition of teaching the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Named as one of the elite universities of Germany by academics, political representatives and the media, the University of Freiburg stands amongst Europe’s top research and teaching institutions.
Today Freiburg is the model of a green city. Freiburg started as far back as the late 70’s incorporating sustainable practices that today position it as a leader in this approach. Freiburg promotes itself as a Green city—especially in the areas of transportation, energy, waste management, land conservation, and green economics—and the city has won various national and international environmental awards. Sitting in one of the green spaces would be one of the most relaxing things to do in Freiburg on a beautiful day.
Today Freiburg is located in the heart of the major Baden wine-growing region and serves as the location for tourists exploring the Black Forest.
Freiburg’s location adjacent to the Alsace Region of France with towns such as Colmar and Strasbourg makes it an unbelievable location to base yourself to explore this region of Europe.
Things to do in Freiburg – Freiburg Minster
The Freiburg Minster (cathedral or Munster in German) began construction around the year 1200. The Minster was partly built on the foundations of an original church that had been there from the beginning of Freiburg, in 1120. The Freiburg Munster is the only Gothic church tower in Germany that was completed in the Middle Ages (1330) and survived to the present day.
The Freiburg Cathedral survived the bombing raids of November 1944, which destroyed all of the houses on the west and north side of the market. The 116-meter high cathedral has 16 bells the oldest dating back to 1258.
The inside features some nice chapels and stain glass windows. Tours up the belfry tower are not possible at the moment as the tower is closed for renovation but once it is completed it should be on your list of things to do in Freiburg.
OPEN CATHEDRAL TOUR
Monday, Saturday, Sunday 2 pm
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Things to do in Freiburg – Minster market of Freiburg
Minster Square in the central district of Freiburg is the area surrounding the Freiburger Minster. The square was once a cemetery in the 15th century but has been used as a market area since.
The Münstermarkt (Minster Market) is a large outdoor collection of local farmers and craftsmen selling their local produce and crafts. You will find on most days over 100 stalls at the market. The market is open from 8:00 to 13:00 Monday to Saturday.
Saturday is the best day to visit the market as you will find extra market stalls on the weekend. One thing is for sure any product you buy is local as only local growers can sell their wares at the Minster market. This space quickly turns into the Freiburg Christmas market in December.
We experienced the Freiburg Christmas market in December of 2016 and enjoyed the Mulled wine, food and products on sale it was one of our best things to do in Freiburg.
What to do in Freiburg – See the Bachle
One of the unique features of Freiburg is the Bachle. The Freiburg Bächle are small water-filled runnels or channels that run along the streets in Freiburg. They are supplied with water by the Dreisam river which runs through Freiburg. You will find The Freiburg Bächle in most streets and alleyways of the old city. It truly is a feature I have never come across anywhere else in the world.
The legend goes if you fall into the Bachle you will marry a Freiburger. It is believed the Bachle has been in existence since the 1100’s first as irrigation channels for farmlands then as a drinking water system and now to transport rainwater out of the town. The water seems to keep the streets cool on hot days and certainly entertains kids.
Our kids loved jumping over them and fighting the desire to paddle in them, after all, it was winter, very cold and it would not have been one of the best things to do in Freiburg at that time! It was like a game to the kids with every corner we approached where would the water channels head.
Museums to visit in Freiburg im Breisgau
Augustiner Museum: This museum is housed in a former monastery and church of the Augustinian monks. This museum is home to an art and cultural collection from the Middle Ages to the Baroque era. There is a focus on the stone original figures, glass windows of the Freiburg Minster, and medieval wood sculpture. This makes the museum an important culturally significant thing to do around Freiburg.
For more information visit the Augustiner Museum website
Archaeological Collection of the University of Freiburg: The archaeological collection has over 650 original pieces of history on display from more than 2,500 years of Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquity. The pieces are aged from the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. To the 5th century AD. This is a must see of Freiburg attractions for history lovers.
For more information visit the Website
Things to do in Freiburg – Seepark in Freiburg
The Seepark is the most popular green spaces in Freiburg. The park area is about 35 hectares and offers numerous opportunities for recreation and relaxation for both young and old. The large lake invites you to walk around it and enjoy the peace and relax. Use the park benches for a rest or just to admire the scenery. On hot days swimming is allowed to cool yourself off.
You can hire paddle boats and check out the surrounds of the lake from on the water. The Japanese garden will inspire you while the sounds of the created waterfall will soothe you. The kids can play on the adventure playground or play mini golf. Maybe take a frisbee or football? There is a beer garden that serves beer and food, a great place to relax on warm summer days.
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What to do in Freiburg with kids
The Freiburg Cable Car
The Freiburg cable car is Germany’s longest cable car (3.6 km) It brings you up to the top of the 1284 meter high Schauinsland for a gorgeous panoramic view of Freiburg. The trip to the top takes 20 minutes and is one of the best things to do in Freiburg for kids. At the top of the mountain, there are activities for the whole family.
The Mine Tour: The mine has over 100 km of tunnels on 22 levels. The mine was developed over the last 800 years to mine silver, lead and zinc. There are 3 different tours of different lengths depending on age and height. The basic tour for any age runs for 45 minutes.
Schniederlihof: The Schniederlihof Museum offers a deep glimpse into the Black Forest history. This museum shows you what life was like on the mountain for early pioneers of the Freiburg region. The Schniederlihof building was built in the 15th century.
Scooting: For kids and adults over 12 you can ride a scooter down specially made paths from the top of the Schauinsland to the base of the mountain. The 8 km track down the hill will take you around 1 hour. You will be given instructions and fitted with safety equipment for the trip. This would have to be one of the most exciting things to do in Freiburg for the whole family!
All this and more is available on the mountain. Throw in Mountain biking and hiking in the summer months and cross-country skiing, sledging and snowboarding in the winter there is a never-ending list of Freiburg things to do.
Freiburger Puppenbühne is a puppet theatre. The Theatre puts on shows featuring classic hand puppet play. The sort of thing that kids love. When visiting Freiburg with kids this attractions offers wonderful entertainment for the whole family. The shows are performed on the first Sunday of every month and every Wednesday during the months of October through April.
Check out this page for the Puppet show Schedule for Freiburg with kids.
Places to stay in Freiburg
Freiburg places to stay include everything from luxury properties to hostels. You will find the usual hotels in Freiburg such as Novotel, Mercure, Hilton and Holiday Inn. .
Freiburg Black Forest location
Freiburg in itself is located in the Black Forest. Freiburg is situated on the western edge of the Black Forest. People often refer to Freiburg as the capital of the Black Forest. From an elevated location in the City of Freiburg, look left, or right and you will the Black Forest. In any case, Freiburg is the best base for making journeys into the Black Forest
Places to visit near Freiburg
Titisee near Freiburg Black Forest
Titisee – Neustadt is one of the most popular Freiburg Black Forest day trips. Titisee is in the municipality in the district of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald. It is made up of the six communities of Neustadt, Langenordnach, Rudenberg, Titisee, Schwärzenbach and Waldau Deep.
We visited Titisee in the Black Forest. It’s your typical town built on tourism. You will find shops selling cuckoo clocks and souvenirs, you will find cafes selling black forest cake and coffee. In the summer you can go swimming, hire paddle boats or go for a cruise on the lake.
You can relax at one of the many waterfront establishments, have a meal and try the local wine and beer. Titisee is marketed as a wellness centre with a number of spa type hotels offering packages.
A trip on the Black Forest railway from Freiburg will take you past fairytale houses and amazing scenery before arriving at Titisee. A little further away is Heidelberg. There are plenty of amazing things to do in Heidelberg Germany
Freiburg Black Forest travel tip: From Titisee take the panorama bus to Triberg
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Things to do in Freiburg Black Forest – Rothaus Brewery
Distance from Freiburg to Rothaus Brewery is approximately 1 hour 12 minutes/65 kilometres
Located in the Black Forest is Rothaus Brewery. This local Black Forest brewery is widely popular in Baden Wurttemberg. We went on a tour of the brewery with our kids in tow.
The tour started with a video about Rothaus beer and brewery history followed by a tour of the factory. We were shown where the beer was made and bottled. The girls found the packing line very interesting with the bottles flying along with belts being labelled and put into boxes.
At the end of the tour, you were able to sample some Rothaus beer and have a pretzel. There is a Rothaus shop that you can buy souvenirs from, we walked away with a t-shirt. and a tote bag. There is also a traditional restaurant located onsite where you can eat and drink more Rothaus beer if you like! We settled for a coffee and some Black Forest cake in the Black Forest!
For all of us who love good wine whether it be red, white or sparkling you have certainly come to the right region of the world. Badischer Winzerkeller is a co-operative that produces, bottles and markets the wines of the region bringing together the grapes from many small wine growing plots in South Baden. Badischer Winzerkeller markets its wine under many different brands including Martin Schongauer, Castle Munzingen, Baden Trocken and more. We took a guided tour that lasts 2.5, that is available daily in the am and pm.
The tour starts off with a short film before you enter the factory and see the wine being made, stored and bottled. The highlight of the tour for the kids anyway was a small train ride that takes you underground past all the cellars and brings you out in a big storage room.
Here you will see massive wine barrels that each small vineyard used to use to store their wine in over the last few centuries. At the conclusion, you get to sit down with your expert guide and open a few bottles for tasting. Your guide will talk you through each bottle and tell you about its smells and tastes. The kids had an orange juice but they really enjoyed the tour as well. Badischer Winzerkeller is located in Breisach am Rhein
Distance from Freiburg to Staufen: 25 minutes / 19 Kilometers
Staufen Germany these days is a small town with a population a little over 7000. Staufen is one of this fairy tale picture-perfect towns with winding streets and cobblestones. Shops selling local wines, beers and crafts in all directions and archways leading into secluded little courts. Staufen Germany is stunning.
The Staufen Castle (or Staufen Burg) sits 300 meters above the town. The Staufen Burg was most likely built in the 11th century and some say even earlier there was a Roman tower in this position. There is a tower at the north-western corner that can still be climbed to give superb views across the Rhine Valley towards France and the Vosges mountains some 30km (50 miles) to the west.
Day trips from Freiburg – Konstance
Distance from Freiburg to Konstanz: 125 kilometres / 1 hour 37 minutes
Konstanz much like Freiburg is a university city with approximately 83,000 inhabitants located at the western end of Lake Constance in the south of Germany. Lake Constance holidays are very popular in the summer months and its Christmas market in winter is well known throughout the region.
Konstanz played a big part in religious history as the only town north of the alps to hold a papal conclave. It was held to elect a pope in the middle ages. Konstanz has a history dating back to the stone age and Romans. Konstanz old town is rather large considering the size of the town with the highlights being the Cathedral and the Town Hall. The town hall is unique as its painted with frescos.
The frescoes painted in 1864 show scenes and people from the city’s history. The cathedral as we see it today started construction in 1020. In 1955 Pope Pius XII raised the Cathedral to a papal Basilica Minor. Being located on lake water sports such as swimming and boating are very popular as the local sealife aquarium for kids. We attended the Christmas market and found it to be one of the best we attended in Germany.
Nearby Konstanz you will find 2 UNESCO world heritage sights:
Monastic Island of Reichenau, Germany
Three Romanesque churches located on an island in Lake Constance are considered a perfect example of Early Medieval architecture in Central Europe. The interior of these churches has been meticulously restored. The interior showcases murals from the 10th and 11th centuries.
Lake Dwelling Museum, Unteruhldingen, Germany
The oldest open-air stone-age museum in Europe. At this site, you will find 23 reconstructed pile dwellings from the Stone Age and Bronze Age. Like I mentioned earlier the history of this area dates back thousands of years.
You can walk a Stone Age circuit for families and view exhibitions with original pile dwelling finds. There is a multimedia show called ARCHAEORAMA that explains the history and significance of the site.
Things to do near Freiburg – Chateau Haut Konigsburg
Distance from Freiburg to Chateau Haut Koenigsbourg 1 hour / 65.7 Kilometers
Chateau Haut Koenigsbourg sits up on its mountains at an altitude of 800 meters like a king overlooking his kingdom. This occupier had a 270-degree view over all his lands and can see any challengers coming from kilometres away. The afforded view reaches as far as the Black Forest in Baden Wattenberg Germany.
These days all that is surveyed is tourist streaming up the roads of the Vosges Mountains that lead to Chateau Haut Koenigsbourg. Chateau Haut Koenigsbourg through the centuries has fallen under the banner of the Habsburgs and Wilhelm II the last of the German Emperors.
We opted to for a self-guided tour with an audio guide so we could explore at our own pace. You will see some amazing decorated rooms, armoury and learn about the history of the castle. Koenigsbourg has 3 levels to explore on your self-guided tour. Take your time to stroll the castle some of the views are amazing.
We took 2 plus hours to wander the castle but much longer could be spent without time restrictions. The castle has a restaurant, souvenir shop and toilets on site. Visit Koenigsbourg visit Alsace France. Click HERE for a more detailed article on our visit to Chateau Haut Koenigsbourg.
Distance from Freiburg to Kaysersberg 1 hour 3 minutes / 64.4 Kilometers
Kayserberg is located between Colmar and Ribeauville. Kayserberg is generally considered to be one of the most attractive small towns in the Alsace region. For us, this was my favourite town in the region.
The ruins of Chateau de Kaysersbergs sits on a hill on the outskirts overlooking this amazing little town. The chateau was built in the 13th century when an important trade route used to pass through this valley. This route has been protected since Roman times. You can walk up to the ruins for an amazing view of the area.
The town sits in a valley with hills full of grapes raising around it. The Weiss river runs through the town. You cross over the river on a beautiful 16th century stone bridge which adds more charm to this already mesmerising picturesque town.
Make sure you have plenty of room left of your SD card for pictures here. The main street is full of amazing colourful wood and stone houses dating back to the 16th century.
The Keysersberg Christmas markets rank among the most popular in Alsace. Kaysersberg features on the Alsace Wine Route. The wine route plays a big part in Alsace tourism The wine route is popular with many tourists as it passes through many picturesque villages and vineyards that cover the hills of this region of France. And yes do buy the wine and local produce you won’t be sorry.
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Distance from Freiburg to Basel 52 minutes / 75 kilometres
Basel is in Switzerland but lies in the meeting of the German-French and Swiss borders. The Rhine River runs directly through the middle of town. There are plenty of things to do in Basel.
Basel is a town of Museums and bridges. You will find over 40 museums in the city and 6 bridges that span the Danube River. Some of the best museums include topics like history, The Basel Jews, toys and contemporary art.
The Basel is one of the most beautiful towns in Switzerland. The Basel old town features cobblestones and historic landmarks such as the large market square with its one of a kind decorated red sandstone town hall and the late Romanesque-Gothic cathedral.
If the Romans are your thing you will find some impressive ruins at nearby Augusta Raurica. For the kids, you will find the Basel Zoo featuring 600 animal species housed in eleven hectares of grounds in the heart of the city.
Basel Travel Tip: As Switzerland is not in the European Union carry your passport with you. The prices in Switzerland are also way more expensive than in Germany or neighbouring France.
Distance from Freiburg to Europa Park 25 minutes / 38 kilometers.
Germany’s biggest leisure park is located just up the road from Freiburg in Rust Germany. There are 14 themed areas of Europa Park featuring different aspects such as architecture, vegetation and culinary highlights typical of the different areas in Europe. The kids will love this place actually so did the adults, you could easily spend a few days here. For the thrill seeker, you will find over 100 thrilling attractions and many fascinating shows to watch.
We watched a medieval jousting show and it was amazing. Much like Disney land, there is accommodation at Europa Park. You can choose from five hotels or the adventure camp resort. We stayed in a tippee at the camp resort, cooked our own bbq and went for a few drinks in the saloon.
It was amazing especially for me as I always loved western movies as a kid. There is also a campground for caravans and a campsite for tents. If you have plenty of time in Freiburg we highly recommend a day trip to Europa Park as one of the best things to do in Freiburg.
Where to eat in Freiburg
There are many Freiburg Restaurants, Breweries and Gasthaus to eat at while visiting the City. Restaurants in Freiburg include many international restaurants and traditional German establishments. Below you will find a few places we have eaten at and can recommend while staying in Freiburg
Martinsbrau: The Martin’s Bräu brewery is located in the heart of Freiburg at Martinstor under the Freiburg market hall. The brewery has been pumping out beers since 1989. At Martinsbrau you can expect hearty German cuisines such as Pork Knuckle, Sausages, chicken and regionally influenced cuisine.
The beers available are brewed on the premises and served fresh. For a bit of novelty try their banana Weiss bier it is amazing! The food on the menu changes to suit the season as does your seating options from inside in front of the fire in winter to outside in the summer months on the terrace. Martinsbrau is on the top of our list of things to do in Freiburg when we return next time.
Martinsbrau Freiburg address: Kaiser-Joseph-Straße 237, 79098 Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Restaurant Dimitra: Dimitra is a family-owned restaurant serving amazing Greek food. We attended with friends who regularly eat here and were greeted warmly by the staff. We had some amazing tzatziki dip with some bread followed by grigios which melted in your mouth. You will find many freshly made traditional Mediterranean dishes on the menu. There was both inside and outside eating area depending on which season you visit in. Dimitra is a great place to eat in Freiburg
Restaurant Dimitra Freiburg address: Stühlingerstraße 34, 79106 Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Located in the city centre of Freiburg is Markthalle. This market hall is an indoor food court, similar to the type you find in shopping malls. All different types of food are served here. Each stall offers a different nationality of food. Italian, Persian, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, German and more are available. At nights there will sometimes be music played and alcohol served to make it a pleasant atmosphere to spend some time in. Never again will you need to ask where should I eat in Freiburg.
Markthalle Freiburg address: Grünwälderstraße 4, 79098 Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Traditional foods in the Freiburg area are greatly influenced by both Germans French cuisine. You most likely to find any number of the dishes below served in Freiburg im Breisgau restaurants
- brezeln : pretzels.
- Spätzle: egg noodles.
- Kässpätzle : like macaroni cheese.
- Fellchen: a white lake fish from Lake Constance.
- Flammkuchen: a quiche-like onion and bacon tart.
- Maultaschen : Swabian ravioli, filled with minced meat, onions, spinach.
- Ofenschlupfer : apple pie.
- Rostbraten : steak and onions, with a red wine sauce.
The Freiburg Tourist Information Centre is located in the Old Town Hall at Rathausgasse 33, 79098 Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. The Tourist Information Centre Freiburg is open 7 days a week. Times vary and can be checked by visiting the website
Freiburg Germany Weather
Freiburg holds the “top positions” in Germany when it comes to both sunshine and warmth. The winters can be cold, foggy and snowing. We have visited Freiburg in both seasons and can attest to the warmth and cold of Freiburg Germany weather. This type of weather means great options for things to do in Freiburg with both summer and winter sports
What to do in Freiburg in bad weather
Like all cities, the weather can turn bad at any time. Freiburg suffered through cold and foggy winters and even rainy days in summer. It’s important there are things to do in Freiburg in bad weather.
Cinemas in Freiburg – Freiburg has a large number of cinemas for you to choose from showing the latest blockbusters in a wide range of languages.
Some of these cinema include ( please click for current program )
10 pin bowling in Freiburg – Bowling is favourite of couples, families and friends on wet days. Freiburg 10 pin bowling scene happens at a few good Bowling alleys around town. Check out the lanes listed below
Escape rooms in Freiburg – For those who don’t know n escape room, also known as an “escape game“, is a mental and physical adventure based game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to win and escape the room. You will find some great escape rooms in Freiburg. Check the listing below
Tourist Infomation Freiburg
Tourist info Freiburg can be found at here online. Once in the city, you can visit the Freiburg tourist information office at Rathausgasse 2-4, in Freiburg. You can also email them at email@example.com and they will have even more tips on what things to do in Freiburg.
We hope this has encouraged you to visit Freiburg and make it a base for exploring the Black Forest and Alsace region. We are sure you will enjoy your time and find many things to do in Freiburg.
We will be back to Freiburg again in the future that’s for sure and we will share so much more of our adventures there with you. Who knows we may find even more amazing things to do in Freiburg next time!.
How to get to Freiburg
- Freiburg is serviced by Europa Airport in Basel Switzerland and Strasbourg Airport in France. Book your tickets to Freiburg today
- Connections on the Basel to Freiburg train can be booked here
- Strasbourg to Freiburg requires a transfer of trains on the way
- Suntransfers can take you from both Europa Airport and Strasbourg Airport to Freiburg. Check for the latest prices with Suntransfers.
- Freiburg is connected by the TGV with Paris. Check train prices today
- Freiburg is an Intercity Express (IEC) station between Frankfurt and Basel, it is readily accessible by rail from all directions
- You can drive to Freiburg in under 1 hour from both Basel and Strasbourg Check rental car prices here.
- Freiburg lies on the A5 Frankfurt am Main – Basel motorway, which runs north-south from Frankfurt through the Rhine Valley and all the way to Milan
How to get around Freiburg:
- Freiburg has an extensive integrated network of trams, buses, and commuter-rail lines such as the Breisgau S-Bahn. The region’s 17 transportation companies have joined together to create a system in which one ticket will get you anywhere in the region.
- For more information, including maps and timetables, see the VAG transit site or the RVF regional transportation authority’s Web pages.
- Although bikes aren’t allowed in the pedestrian zone, they’re useful for getting around the city as there is more than 450 km (300 miles) of bike paths outside the Altstadt.
Where to stay in Freiburg:
- You will find plenty of accommodation options in Freiburg
- Find the 5 best hostels in Freiburg through Trip Advisor.
- You can search Airbnb for there Freiburg offerings. If you have never used Airbnb before get yourself $50 credit by signing and booking a stay right HERE
- Hotels in Freiburg generally start from around $147 a night for a double room 3star and increase incrementally as the luxury rating rises towards the 5-star average price of $379.00.
- You can compare and book your stay on Agoda and Expedia
Below is another great article on things to see just over the border from Freiburg in Alsace France
About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, Husband and traveller. Having been to over 30 countries worldwide I think I know a thing or 2 about travelling with kids. I have been writing about travel on our website for the last 4 years and have featured on numerous other websites. When I am not talking, dreaming and planning travel I can be found working in disability support