Freiburg is known as the "Jewel of the Black Forest". It is a major city in the southwest of Germany, situated not in but on the edge of the Black Forest.
Lying in the secluded south western corner of Germany, Freiburg is a very laid back, beautiful university town. Known throughout Germany for its university, good weather and soccer club, Freiburg is a desired town among Germans to live in. Due to its secluded location in the "Dreiländereck" (Three countries corner) and fairly removed from any other larger German cities, the mentality in Freiburg has often more in common with Alsace in France and Switzerland. Locals often go shopping to France and Switzerland for their respective native products and go to museums and theaters in Basel or Zurich. Everything above Frankfurt is "North Germany" and very far away. Hence, there is a strong local patriotism, which shows in the anthem of Baden (the former independent state) being sung more often than the national anthem and there being a semi-serious despising of the neighbours to the east, the Swabians.
The closest airport with international destinations is Basel. Buses run frequently from the airport to Freiburg. However, very good choices are either Frankfurt Airport or Zurich Airport, both about a 2 hour train ride away with direct connections. Recently, the airport Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden has started to be a destination for cheap Intra-European Airlines like RyanAir. It is a 40 minute train ride to the north of the city. Another possible airport is Stuttgart, with less convenient train connections.
The Freiburg Hauptbahnhof (main train station) is situated close to the inner city. Frequent connections run north-south, with fast trains leaving in each direction each hour. Main direct destinations include:
Freiburg is connected to the German highway system via the A5, running along the Rhine Valley from south to north, starting at the Swiss border. It also is accessible through the Black Forest via the B31 (Ost). To France it takes about 30 minutes by car. To Switzerland it is about 40 minutes. Heidelberg is a 1.5 hour car ride to the north, using the A5. The Lake Constance is reachable in two hours, using the B31.
The best way to get around Freiburg is by bike. You will see scores of people using their bikes and this way you can really get a feel for the city. However, Freiburg also has an excellent yet pricey bus/tram system. That said, all important sights are situated close to each other in the inner city. You can cross the inner city by walking in about 10-15 minutes. Additionally, in the inner city cars are not allowed and neither are bikes.
- Muenster (Main cathedral) is, next to the Black Forest, the main draw for Freiburg. Every day in the morning (until approx. 2 pm), except on sundays, there is a market on the square surrounding the church. Go on saturday mornings as it then will be the biggest and nicest.
- Bächle. The city is crisscrossed by small canals in the streets of the inner city. These canals used to be the irrigation system of medival Freiburg.
- Schwabentor. One of two remaining old city gates.
- Martinstor. The other old city gate. Interesting here is the location of the only McDonalds in the inner city of Freiburg.
- Altes Kaufhaus. It is located on the square surrounding the Muenster.
- City halls(old and new). They are about a five minute walk from the Muenster.
- Hike up the Schlossberg to get to the tower on top of it. Takes about 15 minutes from the old city and offers you an amazing view of the Black Forest, Freiburg, the Kaiserstuhl and the Voges mountain range in France.
The University of Freiburg is a big and famous German university. With its 20000 students it gives Freiburg the flair of a student town. This is a prime destination to go study in Germany as an exchange student or for language classes.
As in most other German cities, the inner city is the place to go shopping. There you will find everything from H&M to shops selling Armani.
- Three Italian restaurants situated just outside the inner city have acceptable Pizza for 2 euros up. They are called Firenze, Milano and Laubfrosch, with Laubfrosch being the most popular and situated close to the river Dreisam. Bella Italia just across the street has similar prices.
- For fast food, check out the area around the Martinstor (sometimes known as McDonald's-Tor because of the McDonald's sign defacing the historic landmark). In that area, you will also find many other fast food places, ranging from Chinese to Turkish, as well as some cafés.
- A very interesting and cheap place to eat is the Markthalle also close to the Martinstor. During the day, various small stores from all around the world offer cheap but good dishes. Check out the Indian place. It has good curries. Kabul is also great featuring Afghani food.
The Greifenegg Schlössle is one of the top culinary destinations in Freiburg. Situated next to the Kastaniengarten, it offers an excellent view over the city to accompany dinner. Other very good restaurants are: Wolfshöhle, Villa Thai (Thai food) and the restaurant in the Colombi Hotel
- The Kastaniengarten (beer garden) lies perched on the slope of the Schlossberg, overlooking both the city and the valley leading into the Black Forest. On nice summer days, this is the best location to relax over a cool beer, and enjoying the views of the Munster, the old city gates and the inner city. Additionally, in good weather conditions you can see as far as the Vogesen, the mountain range in France. To get there, head to the Schwabentor, one of the old city gates, then cross the bridge on its left and head up the mountain a bit.
- The Grace and the Wiener are stylish bars in the city center.
- The Feierling brewery close to the Augustiner Kloster has excellent selfmade beer and is famous for it among the locals. In summer it also has an enjoyable beer garden outside. However, for the experience of the beer garden, go to the Kastaniengarten. For good beer, Feierling is the best option.
- Drifters is a nice location for House music. It is situated in the same building as the club Cräsh, a hang out for alternative people.
- Waldsee is a nice location a bit out of the way. It features "Rootdown" once a month and "Montage", both nice clubs for electronic music. It is excellent during the summer months, as the location offers open space next to a lake.
If your looking for camp grounds, try "Hirzberg". The owners are extremely friendly and helpful. They have an good knowledge of things to see in the city and local walks in the Black Forest.
The "Colombi Hotel" is the best address in Freiburg.
There is not much to worry about in Freiburg. It probably is one of the safest cities in all of Europe. However, always take the same precautions as you do travelling anywhere else. No need to provoke a pickpocket.
- Nice daytrips include:
- Staufen: With its castle ruin and nice old city, Staufen is a pretty, small German town. Note that the devil took the real life Faust (from Goethe's Faust) in one of the local hotels. So watch out for any weird guys with horns. Staufe lies about 30 minutes by car south of Freiburg.
- Colmar: Situated across the border in France, Colmar is a beautiful small city. Many locals from Freiburg like to take visitors there for a quick taste of France, as it is only about 1 hour by car.
- Alsatian villages: gorgeous, unspoilt villages in the Alsatian wine region: Riquewihr, Ribeauville, Haut Königsberg.
- The Black Forest: Go hiking or skiing or biking. Just go.
- There are night trains to Italy. Main destinations include Florence, Rome, Milano. In Italy you can also get connections to the south of France fairly easily. Within 15 hours you can get from Freibrug to Nice, Monaco or Cannes.
- Cross the Black Forest and head to Lake Constance. Ride a bike around it.
- Head to Basel, Bern or Lausanne in Switzerland. From Bern, head on to Interlaken and Brienz. Instead of the train, take the boat across Lake Thun. Same ticket, twice the scenery.
- Go to Heidelberg.