As you stroll around Freiburg, you might notice a section of the old wall emblazoned with a McDonald's logo. Aside from the Golden Arches, the architecture is quite appealing, while a stone arch allows a busy street and tram line to pass beneath.
The actual name of the structure is Martinstor, but the locals call it "McDonalds Tor," and it's rather easy to see why.
Cathedrals in Germany are known by many names. In this part of the country, it is called a "Münster." While the word makes many Americans think of a type of cheese or a campy 1960s TV show, it is definitely worth your while to take a look at this church. It's possible to climb the spire and get a view of the city if you want (cost EUR 1.50).
The Black Forest is very accessable from Freiburg im Breisgau. You can see the hills of the forest from just about anywhere in the city, but for a closer look, you can take Tram #4 from the City Centre in the Guenterstal direction and connect up with the Schauinsland Cable Car.
Another option is to take a train to Freudenstadt and from there you may have to catch a local train or bus to the Black Forest.
The scenic train to Donauschlingen is another way of seeing the forest or if you pass through the Schwabian Gate and over the covered bridge and walk up the Sclossberg hill, you won't be disappointed.
The Kornhaus, as the name suggests was a grain storage depot in centuries gone by. Today it houses a very popular cafe where people can sit and enjoy a drink or coffee in full view of the Muenster. It is another of those architecturally very intresting buildings of mediaevel times, which make Freiburg im Breisgau, like so many other German towns and cities, wonderful places to visit.
The university in Freiburg was founded in 1457, thus belongs to the old traditional universities in Germany. The first university building is now immerged in the “new” city hall which was extended and redecorated in the 19th century.
The presence of 21,000 university students shows in the city. Young adults want cafes and pubs, nightlife, alternative culture, adequate shopping opportunities. Freiburg is a vibrant young city.
The present main building of the university is an art nouveau building with some interesting details. Being a public building, it is open on weekdays and walking in to see the halls and corridors is no problem.
The modern side wing is, like many new university architectures, a horror in concrete.
Attention, watch out and take care... there is a crocodile in the waters of Gewerbebach. Keep away from the edges...
The reason why I am not posting this as Warnings and dangers tip is very simple: the croc is not alive, it is a stone sculpture.
The southeastern corner of the old town is probably its cutest quarter. This area has not been hit by World War II as severely as other parts of the city centre, so a lot of old houses are preserved. A small canal, a branch of the Dreisam river, is running right through the town. In former times it was used by craftsmen's workshop as both source of power and water supply, as its name "Gewerbebach" tells. The lanes have many little shops and pubs and are pleasant to explore. This is a quarter to relax, shop, take photos, enjoy a rest after sightseeing.
This is a very interesting old building located right next door to the Muenster.
It was originally built as a local guardhouse or police station, but today it is a storehouse for wines and there is a cafe included in the complex.
The church can be found in the shade of many lovely trees in the Rathausplatz. It dates back to the 13th century and was built for the Franciscan order. It has been renovated and added to many times during its 800 year existence and was very badly damaged by Allied bombs in WWII. It has since been restored. It is an unimposing structure, but a very comfortable church which I found to be quite lovely.
In the old city, there are still many street signs, which are printed in very old style German which, I'm told, even some of the younger locals have difficulty reading. I was warned about them before going to Freiburg, so I was able to get a couple of pics.
There are many wonderful old buildings in Freiburg im Breisgau. Many of them steeped in history. This one, however, more than any other sets the cameras clicking every day. The striking red colour I guess, is the first drawcard, closely followed by the two spires topping off the circular closures for the spiral staircases.
Built as a trade and customs centre in the 16th century, it is now used for classical concerts.
You will find the Kaufhaus in Muensterplatz right opposite the cathedral.
Freiburg’s best art museum is located in the former Augustine monastery. The focus of the collection is church art from the cathedral and other churches in and around the city, and a collection of paintings by regional artists.
Augustinermuseum has been closed for years due to renovation works and redesign of the entire collection. The museum has just reopened in March 2010 with a new permanent exhibition in the church wing. A modern entrance and staircase has been added to the façade. In May the museum café in the cloister is scheduled to open; this café can also be visited without paying the entrance fee for the museum. Further exhibition rooms will follow later on.
Even in its present state I highly recommend visiting the museum. The works of art on display, especially the medieval ones, are already worth seeing: sculpture, paintings, stained glass. The correspondence between exhibits and architecture is what makes it special, though. The former church has been divided in two main halls that extend over three storeys. The first floor has a gallery with medieval art. From the stairs and the upper floors you have surprising views into the halls. The landscape paintings are displayed in the attic of the church underneath the timberwork of the roof. A lookout allows the view over the roofs of the old town to Münster steeple and the Black Forest hills.
More photos of the exhibition in the travelogue
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday 10:00 - 17:00
Entrance fee: adults 6 €, children and concessions 4 € (day ticket valid for all museums in Freiburg)
Kaiser-Joseph-Straße, the main shopping street, has the big department stores, the chains and also some locally owned large shops.
In the small streets around Schwabentor, Augustinermuseum, Adelhausen you’ll find many small shops and boutiques, fashion and crafts, interesting knickknack. In between there are little cafes and pubs.
Sure, this is a tourist hotspot and merchants know. However, the market cannot be accused of being a tourist trap. It is not exactly cheap, but quality is good and most products sold are indeed local products.
Merchants sell fruit and vegetables, local food products like honey, jam, ham and sausage, and also local souvenirs.
Take into consideration that the market takes place daily (except Sunday) but in the mornings only! Around 1 a.m. they all close and pack their stuff. In the afternoon the stalls will be gone and the square empty.
The small palace on a hill west of the old town was built for a noble widow, Countess Maria Colombi, around 1860. The neogothic architecture was designed after English models by architect Jakob Schneider. The palace now hosts the archaeological museum.
The hill used to be part of the city ramparts before. Its slopes have been turned into a small pretty park. As there is not much green in Freiburg’s centre, this is a welcome place to relax.
The southern slope has been turned into a small vineyard with educational purposes. The Institute of Viticulture have planted the vines and put up some information boards that explain a bit about viticulture.
Location: corner Rotteckring/Eisenbahnstraße. You will pass here when walking from the train station to the old town.