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Rhineland : Aachen
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Aachen [1] is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, at the point where Germany borders on Belgium and the Netherlands. It has a population of 246,000. In French (including crossborder train services from Brussels and Paris), the city is known as Aix-la-Chapelle or Aquis Gran, whereas its Dutch name is Aken.


Aachen was the winter capital of Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor from 800 to 814 AD. The city lies at the borders of Germany with the Netherlands and Belgium, forming the economic region called the Euregio.

Get in

Aachen central station (Hauptbahnhof)

By train

From France and Belgium

The Thalys high-speed train [2] connects Aachen with Brussels and Paris. There are also hourly local trains from Liege. ICE-Trains [3] also connect Aachen with Brussels.

From elsewhere in Germany

Trains from Cologne and Düsseldorf run every half hour; express trains (Regional Express) take about an hour and local trains (Regional Bahn) take 90 minutes. Several times per day, high speed train (Inter City Express) goes from Cologne to Brussels/Paris via Aachen. German railway company Die Bahn [4]

By plane

The nearest large airports are Düsseldorf [5] and Cologne-Bonn [6]. Both airports can be reached by train, via Düsseldorf and Cologne central stations respectively. Small airports served by budget airlines such as Ryan-Air are Maastricht(MST, bus 50), Weeze (NRN, trains) and Brussels Charloi (CRL, trains).

By bus from Netherlands

  • Bus 50 from Maastricht (Netherlands) serves Aachen on an half-hourly basis. Generally, travellers pay €7,00 for a ticket, which actually allows all-day travel on South Limburg bus routes, including those to local cities such as Heerlen, and selected train routes. Travel time is one hour and fifteen minutes from Maastricht. See Veolia Transport for timetables (Regio: Limburg). [7]

Get around

Aachen has an excellent city bus system [8] including a night bus system. You can get tickets from the bus driver.


Opening times: Jan- Mar: M 10AM-1PM; Tu-Su 10AM-5PM; 1st Th/month 10AM-10PM. Apr-Dec: M 10AM-1PM; Tu-Su 10AM-6PM; Th 10AM-9PM

Aachen Cathedral is one of the most famous examples of occidental architecture. In around 800, the core building of the Palace Chapel was built. During the 14th and 15th centuries, the gothic choir (the "Aachen glasshouse"), the north and south chapel were added. Throughout centuries many other constructions and decorations were completed. As of today it is a unique and beautiful two-storey cathedral of classical pillars, bronze railings, golden masterpices, glass works etc.

The cathedral is the memorial and funeral place of Charlemagne (+814). During 936-1531, 30 kings and 12 queens were anointed, crowned and enthorned here. In the Middle Ages, it was one of Christendom's most important venues for pilgrimage, together with Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago de Compostela. Heiligtumsfahrt(the Aachen pilgrimage) takes place every year since 1349 (the next one will be in June 2014). In 1978 it was the first German building to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Rathaus
Couven Pavilion in Aachen


  • Sit on the Market place (central city) on a summer evening, watch students strolling by, listen to guitar players and have a beer, bought at a small Turkish or Chinese diner around.
  • Walk through the Frankenberger Viertel (Frankenberg Quarter), a sort of alternative area in the South of Aachen, have lunch or dinner in a Turkish or Arab diner.


  • Adalbertstraße- multiple shops and cafes in one of Aachen's pedestrian zone shopping areas.
  • Krämerstraße and Market- small shops in a very tourist area.
  • Großkölnstraße- the second big pedestrian zone shopping area in Aachen, where you´ll find clothing and more.


Aachen offers many different cuisines, from traditional German food to exotic cuisines. The city's center offers restaurants of all categories, prices being relatively cheap in comparison with other german cities. Students prefer the snack bars and light meals offered at Pontstraße.

  • Cafe Maredo [9] - Delicious Argentinian food chain based in germany. Good food, not expensive. Located in Blondelstr 11. They're open late and offer late-night specials as well as lunch specials.
  • Cafe Extrablatt - Sports bar style cafe offers food during the day and a place to hang out at night. They offer breakfast a buffet on a daily basis and a variety of lunch and dinner alternatives, especially the burgers! they're located in front of the Rathaus in the Market street (Markt str.)
  • Estado Steakhaus - Great steakhouse with a salad bar and wide variety of dishes. Estado Steakhaus, is on Seilgraben 39, 52062 Aachen.
  • Chicken Point, Very cheap and good Chicken, Pizza and Turkish food, Pontstraße.
  • Carlos I- This Spanish restaurant offers authentic Spanish cuisine like Tapas, the perfect food for sharing, Paella etc. at medium prices. Located in Rennbahn 1, next to the Cathedral.


  • The Pontstraße begins at Markt facing the historic city hall and ends at the Ponttor, part of the medieval city walls. Pontstraße is the main student hangout and offers a large variety of restaurants and bars, from pizzerias to late night hangout spots and a cinema (Apollo [10]). A special treat are public fiestas happening at Karneval and important football matches. Don't miss it if you get the chance! Reached by a number of bus lines from Bushof; park at the near University.
    • Molkerei - Pub suitable for younger crowd. Located near Ponttor.
    • Cafe Madrid - Pub/Bar better for an older crowd, more posh. Located near Ponttor.


  • Hostel Aachen [11] - Close to the city center; Mauerstraße 116, 52064 Aachen, phone: +49(0)241/4305288 fax: +49 (0)241 / 47588090
  • Youth hostel Aachen (Jugendherberge Aachen - Euregionales Jugendgästehaus). [12] Maria Theresia Allee 260, 52074 Aachen; phone +49(0241)71101-0
  • There are various hotels in and around Aachen, for room reservations see HRS [13]


Religious services

St. Michael, Aachen-Burtscheid

Overview of christian churches in downtown Aachen: [14]

Catholic churches:

  • Hohe Domkirche, Domhof (15 min from central station). [15], [16] Sun: 07:00, 08:00, 10:00, 11:30; Mon-Sat: 07:00, 10:00; Sat: 08:00
  • St. Foillan, Ursulinerstr. 1 (just behind Aachener Dom). [17] Sun: 10:00, 19:30; Mon-Fri: 08:30, 18:30; Sat: 18:30
  • St. Marien, Wallstraße 48 (3 min from central station). [18] Sat: 18:30; Sun: 09:45, 11:15 (pol.), 16:00 (pol.); Tue, Thu: 18:30; Fri: 18:15 (pol.)
  • St. Peter, Peterskirchhof 1 (20 min from HBf; near bus depot). [19] Sat: 15:00 (vietn.); Sun: 11:15; Mon-Fri: 12:15
  • St. Michael, Michaelsbergstr. 6 (Burtscheid). [20] Sat: 18:15; Sun: 19:00; Wed, Fri: 18:00

For protestant churches in Aachen see also: [21]

  • Annakirche, Annastraße 35 (15 min from central station). [22] Sun: 11 Uhr
  • Auferstehungskirche, Am Kupferofen 19-21 (south from station Aachen-Rothe Erde). [23] Sun: 9:30 Uhr
  • Jewish community Aachen, Synagogenplatz 23, 52062 Aachen; Tel. (0)241-47780-0.
  • Bilal Mosque, Prof.-Pirlet-Str. 20 (near railway station Aachen-West); Tel. (0)241-88906. [24] Friday prayer: 13:15

Get out

  • World War II Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial [25]: 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the city near Henri-Chapelle, Belgium. From Aachen, take N3 southwest toward Liege, Belgium. Turn right onto Rue du Mémorial Américain. Open daily except for December 25 and January 1; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The cemetery is the final resting place for 7,992 American military dead lost during the drive into Germany the Battle of the Bulge. A monument is inscribed with the names of 450 Americans whose remains were never found or identified. A museum and a chapel are located on the grounds. Free.
  • Dreiländereck- The three-country border of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Just a 10-minute drive out of Aachen in the general direction of Vaals (Netherlands). Walk on the soil of three different european countries in just about under a second. Free.
  • Zülpich is a small town dating from Roman times on the road to Bonn. It has a newly opened museum focusing on Roman baths and bathing culture. It is also a gateway to the Eifel region.
  • Maastricht in the Netherlands with its beautiful city centre is where the Maastricht Treaty of the European Union was signed in 1992
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