what to do in Freiburg

Weekend in Freiburg Im Breisgau: Germany’s Warmest City

I recently paid a visit to Freiburg Im Breisgau. Never heard of it? This student city sits on the edge of the Black Forest and serves as the perfect hub for both cultural activities and exploring the surrounding nature. Freiburg seamlessly combines traditional German architecture with the stunning vistas of the Black Forest, all with a southern laissez-faire vibe.

Did you know that Freiburg is Germany’s warmest city? Situated so close to the borders of France and Switzerland, the city is blessed with delightful warm temperatures, even in spring and autumn. 20 degrees Celsius in April and May? Not unusual at all! On one of these warmer days, you’ll see locals rushing outside to settle on the sidewalk with a glass of wine in hand, perched over the numerous Bächle, or small canals, that crisscross the city.

In no time, you’re amidst nature with breathtaking views, easily accessible even by public transportation. Because, yes, Freiburg is also one of Germany’s most sustainable cities. It boasts numerous zero-waste and organic stores, sustainable clothing shops, and vegetarian and vegan eateries. On Rathausplatz, you might stumble upon the tents of a climate movement actively advocating for more political involvement in the city. You could almost say that sustainability is in the Freiburgers’ DNA!

Did I pique your curiosity? Below, discover the coolest attractions you must see during a weekend in Freiburg!

Note: this blog post was sponsored by South West Germany. It contains my honest experience discovering the city of Freiburg.

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase through one of my links I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Read more in my Disclosure Policy.

what to do in Freiburg

Best things to do in Freiburg

Grab something tasty at the market

Every morning until 2 p.m., the Münsterplatz hosts a genuine farmers’ market. Farmers from all over the region come to sell their fresh products. What can you find here? Fresh vegetables, homemade cheese, the tastiest cheesecakes in the region, mushrooms grown in caves, and much more. Make sure to save room in your stomach to taste some of these goodies or take some home. Keep an eye out for:

  • Stephan’s Cheesecake – These are unbelievably delicious! What started as a small venture in Freiburg has now grown into a chain found in many German markets.
  • Delicious spring asparagus – A local specialty available at the beginning of spring. You can also try it in one of the many restaurants.
  • Local organic cheese – Nearby farms produce various delicious kinds of cheese with the help of their cows, entirely local and organic! Feel free to ask for a taste at the market and, of course, take some home.
  • Lange Rote, a long red Freiburg sausage – A local specialty. For a little extra, you can also buy “eine spendierte” and give a sausage to someone in need.
  • Schwarzwälder Schinken, Black Forest ham – A regional specialty abundantly available at one of the butcher stalls in the market. Make sure to grab a pack to take home!
  • Steinchampignons, stone mushrooms – These mushrooms are grown in a nearby cave. You’ll find them in all shapes and sizes at the market, from giant portobellos to smaller mushrooms.

Konviktstrasse: Freiburg’s prettiest street

This small street in the city center was once avoided like the plague because the hangman lived there. But now, it’s one of the most sought-after streets in the city. And with good reason. When the wisteria blooms, the alley turns completely purple, and you can stroll beneath the fragrant flowers. For this reason, it’s also one of the best photo spots in the city!

Admire the view from Schlossberg

Nothing is as breathtaking as a beautiful view over the city. And that’s exactly what you’ll find atop Schlossberg, the hill just beside Freiburg’s city center. You can easily walk up a few meters to admire the view. Or simply take the cable car starting in the city park. For just €3.5, you’ll get a one-way ride up. From there, it’s a 5-minute walk to the viewpoint Kanonenplatz. This balcony already offers a beautiful view of the region. Sit on a bench here for a moment and enjoy the cityscape.

My favorite view? It’s just a little higher. Climb up from Kanonenplatz until you see a flag waving. Next to the flagpole, you have an almost 360-degree view of the city and the hill. Trust me when I say it’s definitely worth it! Want to go even higher? Walk all the way to Schlossbergturm. Here, you’ll be at the highest point on Schlossberg!

On the hill, you’ll also find many hiking trails. You can follow four different routes ranging from 1.4 to 14.1 km. One recommendation is the 4.4 km Festungstour. This takes you to the old ruins of the castle that once stood on the hill. A walk that shows you just about all facets of Schlossberg.

Tip: Afterward, grab a bite to eat or drink at Kastaniengarten. Here, you’ll enjoy the atmosphere in an authentic German beer garden and a phenomenal view of Freiburg.

what to do in Freiburg

Day trip to Schauinsland

In Freiburg, the Black Forest is never too far away. The closest mountain you can visit there is called Schauinsland, standing at about 1200 meters tall. And guess what? You can easily get there from Freiburg using public transportation. In just about 25 minutes, you’ll find yourself at the base of the mountain, where you’ll hop on the oldest cable car in Germany for a ride up.

How to get there? Hop on tram 2 from the station (or start from Bertoldsbrunnen) heading towards Günterstal. When you arrive, it’s the end of the line, a small village outside of Freiburg. Just across from the tram stop, you’ll catch bus 21 heading towards Schauinsland, departing just 5 minutes later. Since this is the end of the line too, it’s super easy to find. Get off at the cable car station, and you’re ready to hop on the oldest (and maybe also slowest) cable car in Germany to head up.

Tip: A round trip on this cable car is included in the Freiburg Welcome Card. You can grab this card from the tourist office, and it’s valid for 3 days. It gets you free rides on public transportation and access to a bunch of museums around town. Definitely worth it!

Once you’re at the base of Schauinsland, there are plenty of different hiking trails to explore the mountain. These range from short walks just a few kilometers long to full-day hikes of over 15 km. The real highlight is the Schauinsland Tower. With its 360-degree view, it’s totally worth the climb. On a clear day, you can even spot the snowy mountain peaks of the Swiss Alps in the distance!

Before you head back down on the cable car, take some time to grab a drink or a snack at the cable car restaurant. You’ll get a great view of Freiburg in the distance while you chill out.

Important! Make sure to check the lift’s opening hours. The last descent on the cable car is usually around 5 p.m. or even earlier!

Swing on the Dreisam Swing

One of the most adventurous things to do in Freiburg? Probably swinging on the Dreisam Swing. You’ll find it under one of the pedestrian bridges spanning the Dreisam River. There’s a swing hanging in the middle of the bridge from two ropes. How do you get there? Just wade through the river! Make sure to wear shorts or a skirt and preferably water shoes as you hop from stone to stone through the current.

Tip: The best route is to walk straight from the shore to the swing. It’s the least deep route with the easiest stones. Trying to dodge the current might end up with you, like me, taking an unexpected dip!

Don’t forget to snap a photo here because, trust me, it’s totally Instagram-worthy!

Dreisam Swing

Stroll through the Wiehre District

Once you cross the Dreisam River, you’ll find yourself in the Wiehre district. Here, you’ll discover avenues lined with tall trees and stately Art Nouveau-style townhouses. It used to be (or still is) one of the wealthier neighborhoods in Freiburg, and you can totally see it in the architecture and colorful buildings. While you’re wandering through this neighborhood, be sure to check out these spots:

Schwarzwald Couture: Kim Schimpfle has made it her life’s work to transform traditional Black Forest attire into modern haute couture pieces. Each piece is handmade in the workshop connected to her shop. You’ll find traditional dirndl clothes with modern prints and other pieces that you could call “daring” (especially for the area). For about €1,200 to €1,400, you can snag one of these dresses for yourself. Pop into the shop and watch Kim work – she’s happy to chat about her process.

Förster Max: This patisserie and ice cream shop is hailed as the best in the region. They whip up their own creations, from beautiful pastries to delicious pralines, and of course, traditional Freiburg specialties. Their ice cream is especially noteworthy for its texture, unlike anything else you’ll find. They make it in a special way with fresh fruit. Grab a pastry in the shop or relax on their terrace with an ice cream cone in hand and soak up the sun!

Climb the tower of the Münster

The most striking building in Freiburg is definitely the Münster. This nearly thousand-year-old church has become a mix of different styles over the centuries. You’ll see elements of Romanesque, early Gothic, late Gothic, and Renaissance styles. Plus, there’s a bunch of unique gargoyles decorating the outside of the building. If you look closely, you’ll even spot one in a really bizarre pose, showing its butt. This one points to the former home of the Archbishop, who apparently forgot to pay the masons. A clear message in his direction, I’d say.

Also, check out the markings on the front of the church, right next to the main entrance. These indicated the exact measurements for goods that were sold at the market back in the day. You’ll see how big a standard loaf of bread had to be and how long a Freiburg “el” was.

Every day at noon, you can expect a full-on chime show. It’s even called the “Spätzleklokke” because it was the signal for every good housewife to rush home and put the Spätzle on the stove.

Tip: Head up to the tower just before noon to catch the bells and enjoy the view. You’ll get to watch the bells play for a few minutes! The entrance to the tower is on the right side of the building and costs about €5. To reach the top, you’ll climb a super narrow spiral staircase.

Visit the Augustinermuseum

If there’s one museum you absolutely have to see in Freiburg, it’s the Augustinermuseum. From the outside, the building hints at a collection of religious artifacts saved from churches in the surrounding area. Think impressive life-sized statues and ancient stained glass windows. It’s like stepping into a church and marveling at the religious art of centuries past.

On the top floor of the museum, you’ll find an exhibition of paintings all featuring the same subject: the idyllic village of Gütach. This little hamlet in the heart of the Black Forest attracted a bunch of painters at the end of the 19th century, all capturing traditional German village life on canvas. What helped was the local tradition of wearing hats adorned with red or black balls – unmarried women wore red, and married women wore black. You’ll see these balls and references to them all over Freiburg and the region.

Admire the University Library

It’s a building like no other, the university library. You could even say it sticks out like a sore thumb in Freiburg with its mirrored surface, sloping walls, and striking appearance. What was supposed to be a piece of beautiful architecture to house the most important books of Germany’s third oldest university turned into an architectural nightmare. The reflections from the mirrored walls blind passersby, rain drips in through the roof, glass windows fall out… just a few of the problems the building faces.

But that doesn’t make it any less impressive to look at. The best view is probably not outside but inside. Because inside the building, you’ll gaze out through giant windows on all sides, overlooking the surrounding streets and even the rooftops. The library is open to the public, so be sure to step inside and take the stairs up to the top floor.

Check out a festival

Freiburg boasts a lively events calendar, offering something for everyone, from music to sports. During my visit to the city, I checked out a gin festival and cheered on the runners participating in the Freiburg Marathon. To find out what events are happening, it’s best to check out the Visit Freiburg website.

Chill by one of the Bächle

When you visit Freiburg, one thing will immediately catch your eye: small channels called Bächle run through every street, providing water to the locals. Once essential for city residents, today they’re more of a superstition, offering some relief during the hot summer months. What superstition? Legend has it that if you accidentally step into one of the Bächle, you’re doomed to marry a Freiburger.

As soon as the first rays of sunshine appear and the temperatures allow, you’ll see the inhabitants rushing outside with a glass of good local wine to sit by or dangle their feet in one of the channels. You’ll also find charming improvised terraces on the sidewalks and window sills. Got some time to spare? Find yourself a cozy spot too!

Freibrug Bächle

Shop sustainably

I’ve already mentioned that Freiburg is one of the greenest cities in Germany. With a young, progressive mayor focused on making the city greener, an active climate movement highlighting Freiburg’s climate needs, and plenty of sustainable shops, it’s no wonder.

You’ll find all these sustainable shops around the university district of the city, particularly in the streets between the new university library and the train station. Be sure to check out Zündstoff (where I picked up a few clothing items), Blickfang (this clothing store is in a beautiful building), zero-waste shop Glaskiste, and vegan supermarket Venoi.

Hit the dance floor

Since Freiburg is a student city, it’s got a lively nightlife scene too. Known as the Bermuda Triangle, there’s a lot happening here on weekends. The intersection of Niemensstrasse and Löwenstrasse used to be infamous, but these days, it’s a safer hotspot to explore the nightlife.

For a truly authentic experience, head to the “pit” on the university campus. On weekends, spontaneous salsa dance nights are held here. Music plays, everyone brings a drink, and there’s plenty of dancing. It’s a unique experience!

Restaurants in Freiburg

Hausbrauerei Feierling

When in Germany, you’ve gotta check out a brewery for a meal. Hausbrauerei Feierling is one of Freiburg’s city brewers and has been brewing exclusively organic beer since 1999. You can only get their organic house beer there. Besides beer, their menu also features other German specialties. Don’t miss the Rahmschnitzel with Spätzle, a local favorite definitely worth trying! Expect hearty portions of food and tasty beer.

Hausbrauerei Feierling


Everything potato? You’ll find it at Kartoffelhaus. This restaurant offers plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and lactose-free options. The menu has something for everyone, with meat being more of an afterthought here.

Adelhaus Restaurant

This vegetarian restaurant serves up buffet-style meals only. Load up your plate with delicious vegetarian dishes and choose an organic drink. At the checkout, your plate is weighed to determine how much you pay. Then, find a spot on the outdoor terrace or at one of the indoor tables.


For the widest selection of international cuisine, head to Markthalle. As the name suggests, these halls are packed with stalls offering delicious treats, from Turkish sweets to Brazilian delicacies and Indian curries. There’s no shortage of choices here. Pick your favorite cuisine and settle into one of the corners of the hall.


With a cocktail in hand and a stunning view of Freiburg’s skyline, that’s the experience you’ll find at Skajo. If you look up from Münsterplatz, you’ll spot the rooftop for sure. Enter the building from below and take the elevator to the top floor. While the view is stunning, they say it’s not a spot for photographers, but it’s perfect for enjoying a drink.

Weinhaus Alte Wachte

Next to the Münster, you can’t miss the yellow building of Alte Wachte and its striking terrace. In the past, this was where the city guards and the Münster’s builders stayed, but today, it’s a wine house where you can sample the region’s best wines. You’ll often find local celebrities or soccer stars on this terrace. When the weather warms up, you can also try their homemade cooling drink, wine slush, where wine is run through a slush machine.

Weinhaus Alte Wachte

Where to stay in Freiburg

During my stay in Freiburg, I stayed at Boutiquehotel – Hotel am Stadtgarten. As the name suggests, this hotel is conveniently located next to the city park, where you can easily take the cable car to Schlossberg. In just a 5-minute walk, you’ll be in the historic city center. And 20 minutes later, you’ll be at Freiburg’s train station. The rooms are spacious, with simple but cozy furnishings. The breakfast buffet is also delicious and has everything you need to start your day with a full stomach.

You can find more hotels in Freiburg on the map below.

Where is Freiburg?

Freiburg im Breisgau should not be confused with Freiburg on the Elbe. The city is located on the edge of the Black Forest, between the French city of Strasbourg and the Swiss city of Basel. By train, you can get there from Brussels in about 6 hours with just one transfer in Cologne. It couldn’t be easier!

Is Freiburg worth visiting?

Yes! Freiburg is definitely worth visiting. The city is super picturesque, full of architectural gems, close to the Black Forest and with a lively atmosphere that you should visit it!

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