What can you do with 48 hours in Freiburg? Turns out, quite a bit!
Sitting on the edge of the Black Forest and surrounded by vineyards, Freiburg is a charming town complete with half-timbered houses, small streams that crisscross the city known as Bächle, and twisting back streets with hanging ivy. The fairy tale practically writes itself, and yet because this is a university city, it also has a very youthful energy.
We spent our 2 days in Freiburg sampling local wines, eating our way through local markets, soaking in the history in museums and cathedrals, partaking in a few local traditions, and doing a bit of hiking to enjoy those city views.
Here’s how we spent 48 hours in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany:
48 hours in Freiburg, Germany for Visitors!
Visit Freiburger Münster
One attraction that you simply cannot miss on a trip to Freiburg is Freiburger Münster, better known as Freiburg Cathedral.
Its construction took over 300 years and what makes it even more special is it’s the only Gothic church tower in all of Germany that was completed in the Middle Ages and has managed to survive until the present day.
The tower, which is built in an open lattice style, has been described as “the most beautiful spire on Earth”. That may be just a tad dramatic, but I concede it’s a beautiful structure.
I don’t know how we lucked out so much, but we happened to visit while the organist was practicing, and I don’t think there’s anything more magical than walking into a medieval cathedral and hearing those dark, dramatic notes echo across the stone building. I sat on a pew and let it transport me back a few centuries.
Admission to Freiburg Cathedral is free of charge, though it is closed to visitors during the daily service.
Take a guided walking tour
One of the highlights of our 48 hours in Freiburg was joining a guided walking tour of the Old Town.
One of my favourite things about guided tours led by locals is that you end up hearing all sorts of anecdotes, plus you have someone to point out all the details you’d otherwise miss.
For example, even though we visited Freiburg Cathedral on our own, we went back briefly with our guide who pointed out that each of the stained glass windows had been donated by different medieval guilds at the time. And sure enough, you can see the symbols for each of the guilds – scissors for the tailors, pretzels for the bakers, boots for the shoemakers and so on.
While we were a the cathedral, our guide also pointed out some markings we had missed just outside the main entrance. Because the local food market has been setting up here since medieval times, there were marking to measure the size of bread loaves sold in the market; a larger loaf when the harvest was plentiful, and a smaller loaf when times were lean.
It’s little things like this that we would’ve had no way of knowing unless we had a local to share Freiburg’s secrets with us.
Guided tours are a great way to get a bit of local insight into a place and I love it when it’s a conversation that goes back and forth.
Street food at Münstermarkt
We indulged in quite a bit of street food in Freiburg, and honestly, it was enough to make a proper meal out of it!
If you’re in the mood to try a little bit of everything, then Münstermarket, the market that surrounds Freiburg Cathedral is the place to go. One side of the market focuses on fresh seasonal produce from local farms, and the other side has a lot of food trucks selling things like deli meats, regional cheeses, baked goods, and fast food.
Of course, one classic item we had to try in Freiburg was their famous Lange Rote, a sausage whose name translates to ‘long red’. Like the name suggests, this is a long, red, skinless, grilled sausage that measures 35 centimetres. It barely fits in a bun!
We also tried some Black Forest ham, known as Schwarzwälder Schinken. This is a dry-cured smoked ham that is salted and typically seasoned with garlic, coriander, pepper, and juniper berries. Very tasty and a nice option if you want to pair it with some fresh bread rolls and pack a little picnic.
And we also got a Pretzel coated in coarse salt. A nice little snack to enjoy on the go while we continued our walk around Freiburg.
I’d say we managed to get a nice taste of the street food scene with only 48 hours in Freiburg.
Mid-morning drinks at Rädle Feine Kost
During our walking tour of Freiburg, we stopped at Rädle Feine Kost. This is a wine bar that also serves small bites like paninis and cheese platters to go along with their wines.
The cool thing about this wine bar is that it has outdoor seating right on the Bächle. These small water canals are something unique to Freiburg. They were documented as far back as the 13th century, when they used to serve as a water supply and a way to help fight fires.
There’s even a local saying that if you accidentally step in the Bächle, you will marry a Freiburger, so keep that in mind when you visit!
Visit the Augustiner Museum
If you only have time for one museum in Freiburg, I would make time for the Augustiner Museum.
This museum is set in a former Augustinian Monastery and it focuses on works ranging from the Middle Ages up to the Baroque period.
The most impressive part (for me) was the Main Hall where you can see some of the original stone figures from Freiburg Cathedral. These stone sculptures would have been in high places that made them difficult to see, but here in the museum you can admire them up close.
The same goes for some of the original stained glass windows which are housed in this museum. You can see the colours and the details, and even the passing of time on the paint itself, in a way that isn’t possible from a distance.
Aside from that, if you make your way to the museum’s attic, which is an architectural work of art in and of itself, you can view 19th century paintings by German painters who favoured Italian country scenes and even a bit of court portraiture.
Afternoon coffee at Adelhaus
Adelhaus is a plant-based cafe that offers outdoor seating in a beautiful little square that’s tucked away from the busy streets.
If you’re in the mood for a little something sweet, I would recommend trying their Eisschokolade, which is “hot” chocolate poured over ice cream and topped with whipped cream. You can order it with vanilla or chocolate ice cream, or make it an Eiskaffee if you want that shot of caffeine.
I also tried their Kirschstreusel, a cherry crumble cake that is the perfect mix of sweet and tart.
But it’s not just coffee and cakes here. They’re also well-known for their vegetarian buffet which is by the weight and features lots of healthy, savoury options.
Ride the Schlossbergbahn
Another fun thing to do in Freiburg is to ride the Schlossbergbahn, a funicular railway that takes you up the mountain where you can enjoy city views.
It takes less than 3 minutes to reach the top via the funicular and you then have various hiking trails to choose from to continue further on.
You can hike up to Schlossbergturm, a 153-step observation tower that offers views over Freiburg and the surrounding area. Alternatively, you can make your way over to Kanonenplatz, another lookout spot that offers city views from a slightly different vantage point – it’s especially nice for sunset.
If you’re up for a bit of a hike, one option is to take the funicular up and then walk down so you can get a taste of the Black Forest without even leaving the city.
Wine tasting at Alte Wache
Another fun activity we enjoyed during our visit to Freiburg was a wine tasting at Alte Wache – Haus der badischen Weine.
This wine bar is centrally located in Münsterplatz with an outdoor patio that offers views of the impressive Freiburg Cathedral and the Historic Merchants’ Hall. The perfect spot to enjoy a drink and do a bit of people watching!
We visited during the summer months, so we tried their signature drink Kalte Sophie, a wine slushy that you can get with either red wine or white wine. It’s very refreshing, but it’s also easy to forget you’re drinking wine because it goes down a little too easy!
Aside from being a wine bar, Alte Wache also has a wine shop upstairs in the second floor, which is where they offer wine tastings.
Fun fact: did you know Freiburg is surrounded by over 1,600 acres of vineyards?
Dine around the World at Markthalle
Our 48 hours in Freiburg gave us just enough time to sample some of the local food scene at Markthalle. This 19th-century building was once a newspaper printing press, but today it is home to a covered food market and dining hall featuring cuisines from around the world.
You can find everything from Afghan food to Brazilian drinks, and freshly-baked pizzas to assorted sushi boats. Everything looked so appetizing that it was genuinely hard choosing just one spot!
I ended up getting the fresh spring rolls with tofu in a peanut sauce from a Vietnamese food stand. The spring rolls were so fresh and loaded with cilantro, mint, and Thai basil – a wonderful explosion of flavours and the perfect summer meal. Meanwhile, Sam opted for a delicious pad Thai with shrimp.
The nice thing about this type of set up (especially if you’re visiting with a group of friends) is that everyone can get whatever they feel like having from a different vendor, and then you can enjoy a meal together under the same roof.
Stay the night in Freiburg, Germany
During our visit to Freiburg, we stayed at the Boutiquehotel am Stadtgarten.
The hotel was a very short walk into Freiburg’s Old Town, which made it ideal for getting around on foot. It was also just one block from the Stadtgarten, a beautiful 19th-century park featuring ponds and gardens.
They had a German-style breakfast buffet with lots of fresh fruits, muesli, deli meats, cheeses, fish, breads, and lots of coffee. It was a nice stay.
And that’s a wrap for our 48 hours in Freiburg! I hope this blog post gave you a few ideas of some of the things you can see, do, eat and drink with just 2 days in the city.
And if you’re looking for some more travel inspiration, here are some other places to consider visiting in Germany.
This trip was made possible in partnership with the German National Tourist Board.