Freiburg im Breisgau Things to Do Tips by Kathrin_E
Freiburg im Breisgau Things to Do: 186 reviews and 288 photos
Main university building
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.
Crocodile in the waters of Gewerbebach
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.
Directions: Walk past Augustinermuseum and then downhill into the side lanes
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.
Market in Münster square
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.
Address: Münster square
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.
The sidewalks in the old town are paved with small stones and pebbles, partly even with patterns in different colours. Many buildings have a mosaic in front of their door with a picture that corresponds with the function of the building, the kind of shop or other business located there. The photos show five examples, and I’m not telling you where these are... Keep your eyes open; you will have to watch your steps anyway because of the Bächle.
Adelhausen monastery, baroque wing
Adelhausen, located on the southern edge of the old town, used to be a Dominican nunnery until it was closed down in the 19th century and turned into a school for girls. Later, museums moved in.
The nunnery was originally located in the village of Adelhausen outside the city but had to seek refuge in the French wars of the 17th century. The nuns were offered grounds in the Southern suburb within the city’s fortification. The monastery was built in the 1690s. The complex consists of the rather plain convent buildings and a more representative baroque wing, and the church. The church can only be visited one afternoon per week with a guided tour, date and time are announced by the door.
The surrounding quarter is worth a stroll. The quaint streets with old houses, little shops and pubs and small gardens are a pleasant off the beaten path area.
New (left) and old city hall (right) with square
Freiburg’s city hall consists of several buildings, erected from the middle ages to post-war times. The red renaissance building on the right, seen from the square, is the old city hall. Already in the middle ages the city’s civil servants worked in this place. The present building is a work of the 16th century, it was built in 1556 – 1561.
The white wing on the left underwent several changes in its history and its present appearance looks much older than it is. The core consists of two medieval houses which were turned into the main building of the university in the 16th century. The baroque former university aula is preserved inside. The baroque main portal has been transferred to the back wall of the courtyard. The building was used by the university until the 19th century. Then the municipal administration next-door needed more room, so it became part of the city hall. The building was extended and redecorated and got its historistic neogothic face. I recommend a look into the courtyard.
Old and new city hall are connected by a covered bridge. Don’t miss walking through the arch underneath. In the yard behind the old city hall, among the post-war office wings, you’ll find the third old building, named Gerichtslaube , where court trials were held since 1480. The building, changed several times in history, was destroyed almost completely except the archive wing in 1944. It was rebuilt in the 1970s and is now used for receptions and meetings.
By the way, the square in front is a pleasant place to sit, people-watch and relax with a drink or an icecream during the warmer months. In Advent, the Christmas market is located here.
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