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How to spend a day in Freiburg, Germany

Top-ten free and cheap things to do during your next visit to Freiburg.

Since moving to Freiburg, Germany my favourite thing to do here is simply wandering the streets and enjoying the sites of this beautiful city. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has put a screeching halt to my leisurely strolls and all I'm left with are the memories. So while I'm daydreaming about simpler times I have put together a collection of some of my favourite free and cheap things to do in Freiburg.

You may not be able to travel right now, but it's the perfect time to start planning your next trip.

1. Head to the Münsterplatz market in the city centre

Large, red-stone cathedral surrounded by market stalls.

The Münsterplatz, or Minster Square in English, surrounds the beautiful and imposing Freiburg Münster. The cathedral dwarfs the market stalls below with its spire reaching an impressive 116 metres. Local vendors set up their shops outside the cathedral everyday, but Saturdays are certainly when you'll see the most action. Be sure to come by early to get your pick of freshly baked bread and produce. Grab a grilled sausage and savour the tastes and smells of the city as you browse the local goods. The city's signature sausage is the lange rote, literally translated to the long red, and is not to be missed.

While you're strolling through the market make sure to take notice of the Münster's gargoyles - they're known to be especially mischievous!

2. Marvel at the Freiburg Münster

Entrance of a large cathedral.

I mean, there's no way to go to the market and NOT marvel at this work of art. The cathedral is absolutely breathtaking both inside and out, making a visit inside a must on your itinerary. A church can say so much about a city, and it's clear that this church is well-loved by the people of Freiburg - it's both the literal and figurative heart of the city. As you enter you'll be greeted my hundreds of carvings that fill the arches of the main entrance. Like many grand cathedrals the Münster was built in sections over hundreds of years with its oldest section dating back to the 1200s. Remarkably the Münster sustained very little damage during the air raids of WWII giving us the opportunity to appreciate it in all its glory.

3. Go shopping at a second-hand store

Thrift shop filled with vintage furniture.

Thrift shopping is one of my ALL time favourite hobbies and Freiburg thrift stores do not disappoint. There's just something about finding a diamond in the rough that keeps me coming back to some of my favourite shops here in the city. Some of my favourites are:

KUNZENHOF20 - pictured above, this store has one of the BEST selections of vintage pieces with a varied price range. I'm always on the lookout for a bargain and this store is great because while you can get some really high-end, expensive pieces there are plenty of items suited for bargain shoppers like me.

Spinnewebe - this store has total Salvation Army thrift store energy. They have a little bit of everything and the cheapest prices. This is definitely a store you'll want to keep coming back to as they're constantly rotating inventory. The best part about this place? Usually your final total is less than the sticker price as each worker tends to decide their own final price. My favourite deal? A hiking backpack for €3.

Schlepprock - this place should be high on your list if you're looking to freshen up your wardrobe on a budget. They carry a ton of clothes with lot's of really funky old-school pieces like high-waisted jeans and 80's wind breakers. The prices are super reasonable here so you'll be sure to find something that your wallet loves just as much as you do.

Ok, this could easily turn into a blog post all about thrift shops so I'll move on.

4. Walk or cycle along the Dreisam River

Woman biking along a river.

There are so many beautiful foot and bicycle paths in Freiburg and those along the Dreisam are a go-to for me when the sun is shining. For a quick stroll during your visit head west where you'll walk just south of the city and past Ganter Brewery, one of the city's largest and oldest breweries. The river banks offer the perfect place to relax and slip away from the hustle and bustle of the city. During warmer months you'll find locals and tourists alike cooling their feet in the river, enjoying a beer or some local wine in the grass.

5. Take a hike in the Black Forest

The enchanting Black Forest acts as a backdrop to the city and makes for some breathtaking vistas. There is an infinite amount of trails to be found throughout the Black Forest, many of which can be accessed in the surrounding areas of Freiburg. Some popular nearby trails and hikes include Schauinsland, Kandel, Schneeburg and my personal favourite Kybfelsen - all marked on the map below.

6. Visit the medieval city gates

Medieval city gate.

Two gates from the city's medieval fortification still remain today, Martinstor and Schwabentor, with much of their original structure from the 1200s still intact. Schwabantor, pictured above, stood watch over an essential trade route which carried salt from Swabian salt towns - hence its name. The painting on the Schwabentor is of Saint George, the city's patron saint. As the city evolved to incorporate modern transit the gates were raised to make way for the tram system.

7. Get a bird's-eye view of the city from Schlossbergturm

Woman overlooking a cityscape.

Set just behind Freiburg's old town and the Schwabentor you'll find the Schlossberg, known as Castle Hill in English. At the very top of the hill sits a 35 m tall observation deck providing a perfect panoramic view of the city below. Along the way the route is dotted with viewpoints like the one pictured above. You'll get a full appreciation for the grandeur of the Münster from up here. If you're looking to treat yourself after the 153 steps to the tower's perch stop by the Kastaniengarten beer garden for a beer and a pretzel with a view.

8. Unwind at one of Freiburg's many beer gardens

Concrete wall with brewery name spray painted on it.

Beer gardens, or Biergartens as they're called here, can be found all over this gorgeous city and are quite popular as the warm weather starts to settle in. To really get a taste of the city try a local beer or better yet head to the beer gardens at Feierling or Ganter, Freiburg's two largest and oldest breweries. If it's local craft beer you're after find a spot at a beer garden who's menu includes beers from Deker Bier or the Braukollectiv Freiburg.

9. Try some flammkuchen at a traditional German restaurant

Flammkuchen is a regional specialty and is essentially bread dough rolled thin and stone fired, topped with crème fraishe and your choice of toppings. A common topping combo here is Speck (bacon), Pils (mushrooms) and Zwiebeln (onions). Harmonie is nestled in Freiburg's old town and serves more than 50 varieties of flammkuchen. Stop by for lunch and take advantage of their €7 specials.

10. Check out Freiburg's night-life

Dive bar with street art covering its walls.

There is certainly no shortage of things to do at night in this vibrant, university town. From metal at CRASH to classical at the symphony and everything else in between there's something for every taste. A great way to find out what's happening in the city is visiting the website Fudder which reports on local news and events. My favourite thing to do at night in Freiburg? Checking out dive bars, like Borso pictured above. Dive bars and their laid back attitude and funky decor choices are simply irresistible.

Want to add all these spots to your map?

Simply hit the star button next to the map title to save to your Google Maps. To use even more features of the map download the Google My Maps app. If you have any questions about using the map just let me know in the comments!

Save to Pinterest for later.

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Shaylyn MacAulay
Shaylyn MacAulay
Apr 29, 2020

Thanks Chelsey! Yes, you should definitely add Freiburg to your list of places to visit :D


Chelsey Dakai
Chelsey Dakai
Apr 29, 2020

This is a great read! Very informative and beautiful photos. I think I know where my next vacation will be. I need to get me some of that flammkuchen.

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