First up on this list of the top things to do in Freiburg is to check out this historic city’s gates. Yes like many old cities in this part of Germany, Freiburg was once a walled city and large gateways helped protect the population, as well as make clear the entrances, exits and boundaries of the city. Seeing the City Gates is a good introduction to the historic nature of this town, and strolling the cobbled streets between them is another delightful walk back through time, as some parts date as far back as 1202! The most famous, and probably impressive gate in my opinion is Martinstor (Martin’s Gate in English), which is clearly marked on Google maps if you’re looking to find it.
The Freiburg Munster, which is the Cathedral in the heart of this city, is an absolute masterpiece and stopping to marvel at it in the central square is certainly one of the top things to do in Freiburg. The Gothic religious icon, with its famous square tower, has beautiful Black Forest views from the top, as well as an impressive chiming show seemingly hourly! The nearby beautiful and historic Merchants Hall is also worth a snap. You can also enjoy drinking or eating around both these buildings, especially in the summer months, which is very fun and no way as near as expensive as you’d think!
But if you really want the best views of the Black Forest, then forget the church tower, it’s all about climbing the Observation Tower, which lies just beyond the city gates, on top of a hill located right next to the city. Known as the Aussichtsturm Schlossberg, which means the Castle Tower, this 35m towering giant sits atop of Castle Hill (unsurprisingly) and offers the most epic of views! Do not miss it! Either you can climb the hill and the tower, as I did, stopping at the Kanonenplatz viewing area on the way and perhaps the Kastaniengarten for a stein on the way down! Otherwise, if you’re not up to the walk, the Schlossbergbahn or funicular can carry you up there.
Another great outdoors number to enjoy when you’re in this city, and absolutely one of the best things to do in Freiburg, is head to the massive Seepark. In fact, this is where I spent my first evening after arriving in the city, strolling around, having a pretzel (obvs!) and enjoying a beer with a view of the lake. Strolling, boating and people watching are the top things to do here as it offers a great slice of local life that you shouldn’t miss, even if it is a little way out of the centre.
And within the Seepark is also the lovely Japanese Garden. However this place is so cute, I really thought it warranted its own mention on this list, especially given the story of how it came to be here. Freiburg is actually twinned with the Japanese town of Matsuyama and this garden was built in the 1990s by the Japanese landscape architect Yoshinori Tokumoto as a gift for Freiburg’s citizens. How lovely is that! The park is open from 9am to 5pm, is free to enter and is wonderfully peaceful.
And sticking with the nature theme, but perhaps leaning towards a rather more wild version of it, you simply cannot come to the city of Freiburg and fail to take in the mighty Black Forest that sits all around it. A day’s hiking is the best way to enjoy this landscape in my opinion, with tons of trails within easy reach of the city. The 2 free hiking apps – AllTrails and Komoot – both list a ton of great walks to choose from.
If you like your nature served in a rather more leisurely fashion however, then instead of heading for a hike, why not head out of Freiburg for a fun day in the Black Forest town of Titisee. This place is very popular with locals, especially during holidays and weekends, there’s even a fairground here, but the jewel in the crown is the Titisee Lake – the perfect place to cool down in summer.