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Day 1

 Welcome to Freiburg. We look forward to welcoming you on your first day at the Tourist Information office in the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall).

The story behind this historic building dates back to the 15th century, when King Maximilian I convoked the Reichstag. He complained about the cramped conditions in the Gerichtslaube (Old Court House), saying the rooms were too small and “awkward” for the planned meetings. The Old Town Hall was then completed in 1559 and most of Freiburg’s city government moved into the building.

The historic entrance hall of the red sandstone building leads you directly to us in the Tourist Information office. We would be happy to provide you with a map of the city or brochures on Freiburg’s attractions and activities. Would you like to attend a concert or book a guided tour? We can also help you with these activities any day of the week. You can find our office hours here.

Did you know that Freiburg has not just one town hall but several? Just next to the Old Town Hall is the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), which is, surprisingly, 20 years older than the Old Town Hall. The building was owned by the University of Freiburg until 1891, and was not used as a government building until much later, hence its name.

Opposite the two town halls is the former Franciscan monastery in which the monk Berthold Schwarz allegedly discovered gunpowder by chance. You can read more about the story here (Martinskirche link) at the monument to the monk, at what is now Martinskirche (St. Martin’s Church), which is also worth a look inside.

From here, continue along Franziskanerstrasse to possibly one of the most beautiful 'Sparkasse' bank buildings, the Haus zum Walfisch (The Whale House). Magnificent Late Gothic ornamentation adorns the lovely 16th century building. The building’s most famous resident was the scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam, who moved here in 1529. The theologian and church critic was apparently not very easy-going. He did not like Baden cuisine, was irritated by his roommates, and thought the rent was much too high. After several quarrels, his lease was terminated just two years later.


Now head for Kaiser-Joseph-Strasse. Freiburg’s main shopping street, also known as the KaJo, leads you across Münsterstrasse or Marktgasse directly to Freiburg’s iconic landmark, the Münster (Cathedral).

Every day (except Sundays and public holidays), the surrounding Münsterplatz transforms into the colorful Münstermarkt farmer’s market, open from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The air is filled with wafting aromas of fruits and herbs, and of course, the “Lange Rote,” a hearty sausage, which you should definitely try at least once. If you make it to the market in the morning, we recommend picking up some fresh bread and cheese for a simple picnic snack.

During your leisurely stroll around the Münstermarkt, take time to admire some of the architectural legacies of past eras, such as the Basler Hof (Regional Council), a 15th century secular building, or the Late Baroque rooms of the Wentzinger Haus. The sumptuous studio and living quarters of the Breisgau artist Johann Christian Wentzinger are home to the Museum für Stadtgeschichte (Museum of Municipal History). The exhibition comprises various works of art by the painter and an impressive mural by Wentzinger, along with numerous exhibits and models offering visitors an overview of the city’s 900 years of history. The museum is open daily (except Mondays) from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

On the east side of the Münsterplatz, you will see a yellow building, the Alte Wache, built in 1733. This listed historic landmark once served as the quarters of the Austrian Guard, but is now home to the House of Baden Wines. So take a short break and recharge before you begin your afternoon! Enjoy the splendid historic backdrop with a view of the Cathedral, accompanied by a glass of one of the Breisgau region’s award-winning wines. How about a light Freiburg Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) or a sparkling Pinot Rosé Brut from Etztal?

Afterward, you have the chance to admire the Cathedral from the inside. It is open to visitors on weekdays from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 4:00 p.m., and on Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Or join a guided tour, which can be booked in the Tourist Information office. The climb up to the Cathedral spire is also worth the effort (from March 2018, daily until 5:00 p.m.). This vantage point gives you a bird's eye view of Freiburg and an up-close look at the Cathedral’s ornamentation.

The Alte Münsterbauhütte (Cathedral Workshop) is located on the next corner, on Herrenstrasse. In the Middle Ages, the term “Bauhütte” described the organization of all workers involved in the construction of the Cathedral. Stonemasons, stone technicians and sculptors were highly regarded individuals who, in an era of strict guild regulations, had almost complete freedom in their work. The most important prerequisites for working on Freiburg's landmark monument were precision and attention to detail, both then and now. For more than 800 years, maintenance, renovations and cleaning of the Cathedral have been carried out nearly every day. Are you interested in taking a look over the shoulder of a stonemason at work and learning about the challenges faced by the builders in the Middle Ages? Then consider booking a guided tour of the Alte Münsterbauhütte (Old Cathedral Workshop), where you can also buy attractive Freiburg souvenirs.

Diagonally across from the Alte Münsterbauhütte, on the corner of Herrenstrasse and Schoferstrasse, is the Erzbischöfliches Ordinariat (Archiepiscopal Ordinariate). Although you can only see the inside of the majestic building if you have an appointment with the archbishop, the friendly reception staff allow visitors to take a look at the imposing entrance area. Impressive arches and colorful paintings decorate the stairwell from the entrance up to the third floor, but the ornamentation outside on the building’s monumental facade is also quite impressive.

Herrenstrasse leads to Münzgasse on the right, which connects with Konviktstrasse. One of Freiburg's oldest streets, this picturesque narrow lane, adorned with enchanting strings of lights in winter and a canopy of tendrilled flower vines in summer, leads to the Baroque 'Marienbrunnen' fountain in front of the Schwabentor (Swabian Gate). The 60-meter-high city gate from the Middle Ages was built as part of the city’s defense system to protect its citizens. The only way to see the inside of the Schwabentor is to visit the Zinnfigurenklause (Tin Figure Cabinet), which is itself worth seeing. The exhibition cases present almost 10,000 tiny tin figures, artistically painted and finely crafted, depicting events that took place in Baden and the vicinity throughout the ages. The Tin Figure Cabinet is open every day from May to October (except Mondays).

From the Schwabentor, continue along Salzstrasse, This is one of Freiburg’s oldest commercial streets, and a picturesque sight with its nostalgic street lamps and historic facades and windows decorated with flowers. On your way to the 'Bertoldsbrunnen' fountain, the end point of your tour today, you’ll see the Gasthaus “Zum Roten Bären,” the oldest inn in Germany. Grab a bite to eat or a drink and enjoy the inn’s charm of yesteryear.