Considered the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest, Freiburg’s narrow streets are paved in cobblestone and its buildings are a mix of old & new. There are plenty of things to do in Freiburg, Germany so make sure you give yourself a full day to explore.
When you arrive in Freiburg, it will probably be hard for you to imagine that this city was once mere rubble after the extensive bombing in World War II.
When the Germans decided to rebuild, they used old medieval street plans and rebuilt the city, including landmark buildings.
The one and only landmark that remains as it exactly was prior to the war is Freiburg Minster.
You will want to make sure that you visit this beautiful cathedral along with a few other sites during your day trip.
8 Things to do in Freiburg Germany on a Day Trip
1. Take a Guided Walking Tour
If you really want to learn the history and details of a city, nothing beats a guided walking tour. There are several different kinds you can take in Freiburg, but one that is most popular is the Guided City Tour with an Actor.
On this tour, you will be guided through town with a historic figure who will explain what the town was like during the time in which they lived. It could be a witch, a harlot or the night watchman!
2. Freiburg Minster
You can’t help but be in awe of the Freiburg Minster. Constructed in the 13th century, it took nearly 300 years to complete this church.
Because of its lengthy construction, you will find that the cathedral is a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles.
The ornate spire was built in an open lattice structure and was the first of its kind and for many years it was the highest in the world.
The tower can be climbed and offers a picturesque view of the city.
Take time to walk around the cathedral. You will find 91 gargoyles adorning the facade.
While the purpose of the gargoyles was to redirect rainwater, they were also thought to keep evil away from the church.
Inside the cathedral, you will find beautiful stained glass windows (these are not original) and a Renaissance altarpiece designed by Hans Baldung Grien.
Monday, Saturday, Sunday 2pm
Fee: €5 (children €3)
The Münsterplatz is the square that lies adjacent to the Minster. It contains the city library, the Historical Merchants’ Hall, and the Wentzinger House along with small shops and restaurants.
Much of the original square was destroyed during WWII. After the war, the city was rebuilt based on its medieval design.
The red Medieval building in the above photo is the Historical Merchants Hall (Historisches Kaufhaus). It is one of the few original buildings from the mid-16th century and was once the center of financial life.
Be sure to check out the farmers market that is at the square every day except Sundays.
One of the two fortification gates, the Martinstor is the oldest dating back to 1202.
Next to the archway, facing the city center, there is a marker memorializing the burning of witches in Freiburg (1599). You will see three names engraved on the plaque: Marghareta Mößmer, Catharina Kadelmann and Anna Wolffart.
5. Augustiner Museum
One of the best things to do in Freiburg is to visit the Augustiner Museum. Located on the site of a former Augustinian monastery, this art gallery features works from the Middle Ages to the Baroque period.
While there is quite a bit to see, some of my favorite pieces were the original Medieval stained glass from Freiburg Minster.
Another space worth exploring in detail is the room featuring religious sculptures of prophets taken from Freiburg Cathedral.
You can view the statues from the floor and from above. The viewing point above will also allow you close views of the numerous display of gargoyles.
The focal point and main feature is the original organ case from the abbey church of Gengenbach. To say it is massive is an understatement. It takes up one wall and more than 2 stories.
Open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 – 17:00
Fee: €7 (children €3)
6. Hausbraueri Feierling
One of the top things to do in Freiburg is to check out the local beer garden.
Hausbraueri Feierling opened at this location in 1989, but the actual brewery itself goes back to 1877. It has a rich history of using only the freshest of ingredients and is certified organic.
You can choose to go inside the 3 story pub or across the street in the outdoor beer garden (when weather permits).
We visited Freiburg in the summer, so we couldn’t wait to enjoy the beer garden.
The Hausbraueri Feierling beer garden is secluded, shaded by beautiful chestnut trees, and a great place to sit, relax and enjoy the afternoon.
You may (or may not) be surprised to know that there is only one beer on tap: Inselhopf, which is an Organic Pilsner (5.2%). The beer is cold and crisp and is best paired with a pretzel or sausage (which is also available).
On occasion, you might find a seasonal beer, but typically it is only at certain times of the year.
7. Eat an Authentic German Meal
One restaurant we often visit when wanting an authentic German meal in Freiburg is Grosser Meyerhof.
It’s small, and quaint and the food is out of this world!
You’ll know this is true if you show up without a reservation because there will be a line.
They serve a full German menu but you really should get the pork schnitzel with spaetzle.
And of course, you have to get the local beer!
8. Freiburg Bachle
As you are walking through Freiburg, you will probably notice small ditches of water flowing through the town.
Historically, these small streams of water were reverted from the Dreisam river were used to prevent fires from crossing street to street.
Today, they are a source of enjoyment for kids who will float their boats along the currents or dip their toes in on a summer day.
Where to Stay in Freiburg
Designhotel am Stadtgarten: 4 Star Hotel with a restaurant on-site and within walking distance to all tourist attractions.
Motel One Freiburg: Great location in the heart of Freiburg
StayInn Freiburg – Hostel: Budget-friendly with a private bath & the building has a rooftop terrace.