Freiburg Sightseeing and Tours
Ever since the 1980s (or possibly even earlier), the city of Freiburg im Breisgau has published the best tourist-office guidebook that we've seen anywhere. The paperbound book is called Freiburg Official Guide, and the "Getting to Know Freiburg" chapter contains a detailed walking guide to the Altstadt (Old Town) with a three-dimensional map that lists 52 places of interest.
A free brochure titled Experience Freiburg is also available from the tourist office; it includes a larger version of the three-dimensional map in the Freiburg Official Guide.
If you're in Freiburg for more than a day, we'd suggest buying an even more detailed map at the tourist office or a bookstore. The city's Amtlicher Stadtplan: Freiburg im Breisgau (1:15000) is useful if you're driving or venturing beyond the Altstadt, and it includes a 1:7500 detail map of the city center. An inexpensive pocket-sized map, Freiburg im Breisgau Citymap (1:2250) offers a detailed, almost pictorial view of the Altstadt..
Another useful resource is City Guide Freiburg im Breisgau, a low-cost guidebook that's available in English (look for the version with a Union Jack on the cover). The 80-page book is organized as a walking tour, with plenty of color photos and just enough information to make your sightseeing more rewarding. It also makes a nice souvenir.
What to see in the Altstadt
Freiburg's main tourist sights are in or near the, the medieval center of the town, which is about a five-minute walk from the Hauptbahnhof or main railroad station. Most of the area is a pedestrian zone (except for trams, taxis, and delivery vehicles at certain hours).
Any good map will identify the major attractions, but here are a few things you'll want to see:
Theis in the center of the Altstadt, past the department stores of the Kaiser-Joseph-Strasse, in the Münsterplatz or cathedral square. The Gothic cathedral of red sandstone is topped by a stone lacework spire above the bell cage; you can see the bells and stand inside the spire by climbing up a spiral staircase from an entrance on the church's side side. (The views--see photo at left--are well worth the climb and the small admission fee.)
Also on the cathedral square are the red stone(once a merchants' hall and customs house), the (formerly the city's guardhouse, now a tasting center and salesroom for Baden wines), (the city's history museum), and other houses--such as the , or Public Library--that were reconstructed or built to fit the Altstadt's medieval scale after Allied bombing destroyed existing houses in World War II.
If you head south from the Münsterplatz, you'll passon your way to Gerberau, Fischerau, and Insel, where small houses, shops, restaurants, and beer gardens are huddled together by a fast-moving canal. The (shown at left) has straddled the rushing water since 1460. As you walk along the canal, look for the sculpted head of a crocodile peeking out from the rapids.
Allow time for a walk to the, where you'll be in the Black Forest as soon as you cross the footbridge to the hillside park. If you don't mind a hike, follow the signs to the , an observation tower on top of the hill. (Admission is free, and the views are spectacular.)
Local sightseeing tours
The Freiburg im Breisgau Tourist Office and its local partners offer local tours in various languages, including English. You can also hire private guides through the tourist office. (We can personally recommend Helike Jurina, shown in the photo at left.)
For more information, see the official Freiburg Guided City Tours page.
Next page: Day trips from Freiburg
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