Hello everyone! I went to Freiburg im Breisgau in March this year mainly for the minster and black forest. In this post I’d like to share with you some sights in the city (the minster in particular), the Schlossberg (Castle hill) and of course, the main purpose of this trip, the Schwarzwald (Black Forest).
Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany with a population of about 220,000. In the south-west of the country, it straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain. A famous old German university town, and archiepiscopal seat, Freiburg was incorporated in the early twelfth century and developed into a major commercial, intellectual, and ecclesiastical center of the upper Rhine region.
The city is known for its medieval minster and Renaissance university, as well as for its high standard of living and advanced environmental practices. The city is situated in the heart of the major Baden wine-growing region and serves as the primary tourist entry point to the scenic beauty of the Black Forest. According to meteorological statistics, the city is the sunniest and warmest in Germany and held the all-time German temperature record of 40.2 °C from 2003 to 2015, but still less than all over the world.
Black forest (Schwarzwald) (Schauinsland)
First of all, I’d like to show you what you the famous and beautiful black forest covered in snow.
The Black Forest is a large forested mountain range in the state of Baden-Württemberg in southwestern Germany. It is bounded by the Rhine valley to the west and south. Its highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 meters. The region is almost rectangular in shape with a length of 160 km and breadth of up to 60 km.
I went from Freiburg to Schauinsland (in the black forest mountain range) by tram, bus and the the cable car. The way to the Schauinsland by bus and tram is easy: take tram No. 2 in the direction of Günterstal until the terminal station and then take bus No. 21 directly to the lower station (Schauinslandbahn-Talstation). From Bertoldsbrunnen in the city centre of Freiburg, it takes you about 20 minutes – and then you can lift up.
- For more info about the timetable of the cable car please click here.
- For more info about different tickets and prices please click here.
When you’re at the top, don’t forget to go to the upper station restaurant to have a black forest cake and climb up the mountain to the Eugen-Keidel tower and enjoy the view of the vast black forest from the top of it. Please wear special shoes if there is much snow on the mountain. I remember I went there in March and there was quite a lot of snow and ice and when I was going down I was basically sitting on my shoes and sliding and of course, I damaged my shoes……
Freiburg Minster (Freiburger Münster)
Freiburg Minster is the cathedral of Freiburg im Breisgau, southwest Germany. The last duke of Zähringen had started the building around 1200 in romanesque style. The construction continued in 1230 in Gothic style. The minster was partly built on the foundations of an original church that had been there from the beginning of Freiburg, in 1120. In the Middle Ages, Freiburg lay in the Diocese of Konstanz. In 1827, Freiburg Minster became the seat of the newly erected Catholic Archdiocese of Freiburg, and thus a cathedral.
The Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt once said that the church’s 116-meter tower will forever remain the most beautiful spire on earth. His remark gave rise to the frequently heard misquote of the most beautiful tower in the whole of Christianity. The tower is nearly square at the base, and at its centre is the dodecagonal star gallery. Above this gallery, the tower is octagonal and tapered, and above this, is the spire.
It is the only Gothic church tower in Germany that was completed in the Middle Ages (1330), and miraculously, has lasted till the present, surviving the bombing raids of November 1944, which destroyed all of the houses on the west and north side of the market. The tower was subject to severe vibration at the time, and its survival of these vibrations is attributed to its lead anchors, which connect the sections of the spire. The windows had been taken out of the spire at the time by church staff led by Monsignor Max Fauler, and so these also suffered no damage.
The tower has 16 bells, the oldest being the “Hosanna” bell from 1258, which weighs 3,290 kilograms. This bell can be heard on Thursday evening after the Angelus, on Friday at 11:00 am (a time consequently known as “Spätzleglocke”), on Saturday evenings, and each year on 27 November in remembrance of the air raid. There are two important altars inside the cathedral: the high altar of Hans Baldung, and another altar of Hans Holbein the Younger in a side chapel. The nave windows were donated by the guilds, and the symbols of the guilds are featured on them. The deep red color in some of the windows is not the result of a dye, but instead the result of a suspension of solid gold nanoparticles.
Cathedral visitor info
- Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 10.00 – 17.00. Son and Holidays: 13.00 – 19.3o.
- Entry ticket: Free.
Tower visitor info
- Opening hours of the tower: Mon – Sat: 09.30 – 16.45. Son and Holidays: 13.00 – 17.00.
- Entry ticket: Adult 2€, Student 1,50€, Child under 12 years old 0,50€.
For more info about tours or concerts etc. please click here.
Schlossberg (Castle hill)
The Schlossberg (Fortified Castle) is a tree-covered hill of 456 meters located in the area of the city of Freiburg im Breisgau. It is directly to the east of Freiburg’s Old Town and belongs to the Black Forest.
Fortified structures had been built on the Schlossberg since the 11th century. Remains of some of them are still visible today. For a few years now the board of trustees has tried to make the historical past of the Schlossberg in Freiburg more visible. To achieve this, the remains of the old, overgrown fortifications are being carefully uncovered to make them available to interested visitors. The tower located on the hill (Schloßbergturm) offers a unique panoramic view over the whole town and its vicinity, and was built in 2002 as a project of the board of trustees. However, when I went there it was blocked for some reason and I’m not sure whether it’s open again now to the public or not.
The Burghaldering (literally the Motte ring) also offers a good view over the city, especially from the Kanonenplatz right above the historical centre. The Burghaldering, which circles the hill at half height is partly a hiking trail and partly a forest road closed to motor traffic. It can be reached by foot or car and, since July 2008, also via the new Schlossbergbahn, a funicular railway built to replace the old Schlossberg cable railway.
- Every day from 9:00 to restaurant close (Last mountain trip at 22:00). Thursdays from 9:00 to 18:00. From 1. November – 28. February: closed on Thursdays!
- For more info about special timetables at holidays please click here.
- One-way: Adult: 3 Euros. Round-way: Adult: 5 Euros.
- For more info about reduced prices and group tickets please click here.
I suggest you should have a walk to the top. It takes around 30 mins from the Stadtgarten (city garden) to the tower (closed when I visited in March) but the view is quite nice. However, if you are interested in and wanna experience the funicular train maybe you can buy a one-way ticket and go up by train and go down by foot or the other way round.
In the city
The University of Freiburg
The University of Freiburg, officially the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg, is a public research university located in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
The university was founded in 1457 by the Habsburg dynasty as the second university in Austrian-Habsburg territory after the University of Vienna. Today, Freiburg is the fifth-oldest university in Germany, with a long tradition of teaching the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. The university is made up of 11 faculties and attracts students from across Germany as well as from over 120 other countries. Foreign students constitute about 16% of total student numbers.
Named as one of elite universities of Germany by academics, political representatives and the media, the University of Freiburg stands amongst Europe’s top research and teaching institutions. The University of Freiburg has been home to some of the greatest minds of the Western tradition, including such eminent figures as Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, Rudolf Carnap, David Daube, Johann Eck, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Friedrich Hayek, Edmund Husserl, Friedrich Meinecke, Max Weber, and Paul Uhlenhuth. In addition, 19 Nobel laureates are affiliated with the University of Freiburg and 15 academics have been honored with the highest German research prize, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, while working at the University of Freiburg.
The new town hall
The new town hall was only created from 1896 to 1901 due to modification of a semi-detached house from the Renaissance. For many years, it served as Kollegiengebäude (university building) and administration building of the university founded in 1457. Later it was an anatomy and polyclinic and now it has become the new town hall.
The old town hall
It was assembled from 1557 to 1559 from many old houses. The façade was originally completely painted. Since 2007, tourist information centre can be found in this building.
Between 1520 and 1532, Lienhart Müller constructed the department store located on Münsterplatz for the municipal market management. The emblems and the statues on the main façade created by Hans Sixt von Staufen depict a reverence to the house of Habsburg.
Martinstor (Martin’s Gate)
The Martinstor is the oldest of the two of the surviving gate towers from Freiburg’s first fortification, which were built at the beginning of the 13th century.
The Freiburg Bächle (Small canals)
The Freiburg Bächle are an integral part of the historical old town. Originally they were most likely used for the provision of water for industrial use and as sewers. Today the canals cater for a pleasant climate and are a popular play area for adults and children alike. But watch out, it is said that visitors who come to Freiburg and who step into one of the canals will come back and visit Freiburg again.
Other attractions you might like
The other attractions include the Freiburg Theater, Bertoldsbrunnen, Herz-Jesu-Kirche etc. and you are interested you should also have a look.
This was my one-day trip to Freiburg and the black forest. To be honest it’s a little bit intense, so if you have time I suggest you divide this trip into two parts and plan two days here. Anyway, I personally think the black forest is a must-go and don’t forget to have a bite of the black forest cake in the black forest. 🙂