Europe for Visitors - Home
Home Germany Index Main Europe Index

Restaurants and Food

From: Volkswagen's Autostadt

Currywurst photo

ABOVE: You can order a Currywurst with fries, a staple of the VW factory workers' lunchroom, at TachoMeter in the Customer Center.  INSET BELOW: The Metropol shop features "international trends."

Restaurants

The Autostadt has a long list of restaurants, cafeterias, and snack bars, which range from the Aqua Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg (which has three Michelin stars) to the EspressoBar at the entrance to the GroupForum, where you can buy newspapers and lottery tickets with your latte.

During my visit, I had an excellent dinner of lamb chops at the Beefclub (don't miss the Rote Grütze for dessert), a gooey slice of cake with coffee at the Lagune Foodhalls (where you charge purchases to a "smart card" and pay on your way out), and a lunch of Currywurst with pommes frites at the TachoMeter in the KundenCenter. (If your fellow customers at TachoMeter look distracted, there's a good reason: They probably have their eyes on the computer displays that show the status of their new cars.)

As I mentioned on our Factory Tours page, the Volkswagenfabrik has its own butcher shop, and the factory's 23,000 workers devour a significant percentage of the 1.5 million Currywurst sausages that are produced each year. (During his term as Germany's chancellor from 1998 to 2005, Gerhard Schröder invariably lunched on VW's  signature Wurst during official and unofficial visits to the Autostadt.)

Shopping

photoIn an era of rising fuel prices, shopping may seem cheaper than driving--and at the Autostadt, which is mostly a pedestrian zone, you can park your car and spend your fuel savings on Volkswagen souvenirs, Sabatini vases, and everything in between.

Two of the most appealing shops are:

  • ZeitReise (Time Travel), in the ZeitHaus museum. Here, you can buy inexpensive models of Volkswagens and classic cars, books, magazines, and even replacement parts for vintage VWs.

  • Collection, in the KundenCenter, which offers Volkswagen car accessories and souvenirs, VW-branded bicycles, and other goodies for car buffs.

Used VWs

photoIf you'd like to buy a secondhand Volkswagen, you can attend the weekly VW employee car market on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Volkswagen factory's R&D department. Most of the cars have been used nine months or less and are in excellent condition.

In addition, the employee-run Jahreswagen Web site has a free matchmaking service for VW employees and car buyers. (According to the Autostadt's official guide, anywhere from 7,000 to 8,000 slightly-used Volkswagens are usually available for private transactions.) Note: VW employee cars are built to German specifications, so you won't be able to take one home to Toronto or Topeka.

Next page: Getting to Wolfsburg


What to see and do:
Volkswagen Autostadt VW factory tours
GroupForum - Piazza Driver training
ZeitHaus museum Car towers, delivery center
Brand pavilions Restaurants, shopping

Practical advice:
Getting to Wolfsburg Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg (hotel)

Related article:
Phaeno - Wolfsburg's science museum

"Best of the Web"
- Forbes and The Washington Post



Photo (c) iStockphoto.com/Arosoft

Need a car in Europe?

If you live outside the EU, a tax-free Renault or Peugeot tourist car lease can be cheaper than renting for visits of 21+ days. Minimum driver age is 18, there' s no upper age limit, and rates include insurance.

  arrow Short-Term Car Leases

For car rentals under 21 days:

  arrow Auto Europe


image

Traveling by train?

Get free schedules, maps, and guides for 50+ European railroads. (Residents of North and Central America can buy tickets and rail passes online.)

 arrow Rail Europe


image

From Durant and Cheryl Imboden:

 arrow About Europe for Visitors