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Freiburg im Breisgau

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Travel Guide Europe Germany Baden-Württemberg Freiburg im Breisgau

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Introduction

Freiburg

Freiburg

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Freiburg im Breisgau, or Freiburg for short, is a German city in the southwestern area of Baden-Württemberg, on the edge of the Black Forest and just a short drive away from France and Switzerland. Picturesquely located on the river Dreisam, in between green mountainsides, it enjoys one of the sunniest and warmest climates among German cities.

Freiburg was founded in 1120 and has been a city of importance ever since, which is reflected in the rich medieval and renaissance architectural heritage of its Altstadt. That said, being a university town for centuries, it also has a very forward-looking outlook, and is a centre of sustainable development. There are many solar-energy-related businesses headquartered there, and much of the city, especially the newer quarters, is arranged using cutting-edge sustainable development ideas.

Freiburg is actually closer to France and Switzerland than most of Germany, being situated at a corner where the borders of the three countries meet. This is reflected by the city sharing its airport with Basel in Switzerland and Mulhouse in France - the unique EuroAirport whose grounds straddle national borders. Do note that while this is THE Freiburg most probably referred to when the name is invoked, it is actually one of many places sharing that name. When ordering train tickets and similar items online, be careful not to confuse Freiburg (im Breisgau) with Freiburg (an der Elbe) in Saxony or Fribourg in Switzerland.

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Sights and Activities

  • Freiburg Minster (Münster Unserer Lieben Frau), Münsterplatz 1, ☎ +49 761 208 59 63, e-mail: info@c-punkt-freiburg.de. Mo-Sa 10:00-17:00; PH,Su 13:00-19:30. The cathedral is Freiburg's biggest sight in the city, one of the oldest and most beautiful in all of Europe. The gargoyles are not to be missed - be sure to study every corner of the Munster. Make the effort to climb to the top of the tower for the fabulous views (1.50€). A guided tour is offered every day at 2:00pm (€5). Every day in the morning until 1:00pm Mon-Fri and 1:30pm Saturday, there is a market on the square surrounding the church. Visit on Saturday morning, as it then will be the biggest and nicest. Vendors are pleasant and sell local produce and goods. Buy a Bratwurst mit Brötchen (Bratwurst in a bun) or Currywurst for around 2,20€. It will be an inexpensive, authentic, and delicious lunch or snack.

Day Trips

Less than an hour away by train through the Southern Black Forest and into Switzerland is Basel.

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Weather

Priding themselves on being the sunniest city in Germany, Freiburg has more hours of sun annually than any other city in Germany.

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Getting There

By Plane

EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (IATA: BSL) is the only airport in Europe that is jointly operated by three countries. It is located entirely on French soil, but has excellent connections to Basel (in fact, much better than to farther-away Mulhouse and Freiburg).
Although the airport is on French soil, there is a special Swiss customs area connected to Basel by a border road.

The airport receives flights from all major European airports, a few intercontinental flights and numerous smaller cities in Europe. Easyjet flies to/from Berlin, London, Porto, Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bordeaux, Cagliari, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Istanbul, Lisbon, Madrid, Málaga, Marrakech, Naples, Nice, Olbia, Palma de Mallorca and Rome. Places served further away include Algiers, Montreal, Istanbul and Reykjavik, though most cities are located in central, western and southern Europe.

The airports connects to the A3 Motorway. Basel's BVB bus No. 50 connects the Swiss sector of the airport to the Bahnhof SBB, which is the main Swiss and French railway station in Basel. French Distribus bus No. 11 connects the French sector of the airport to the Saint-Louis railway station.

By Train

The Freiburg Hauptbahnhof is situated close to the inner city. Frequent connections run to the north towards Frankfurt and south to Basel, with fast ICE trains leaving in each direction each hour. Again, planning ahead can get cheap fares of 29€ each way. From the Hauptbahnhof, you have direct access to the Tram (Straßenbahn) which runs directly overhead the main station and offers an easy route into the city. The Hauptbahnhof is also within easy walking distance of the inner city and several good hotels.

There are dozens of direct connections to other German cities and, with a change, to lots of international cities as well.

By Car

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. Lake Constance is reachable in two hours via the B31.

By Bus

Freiburg is served by all major operators, including Flixbus, Eurolines, Berlin Linienbus and Deinbus. Due to the very volatile market, exact routes and prices can change on very short notice, so search those websites for more details. You will find international connections to and from Freiburg from Italy (Milan), Switzerland (Zurich, Berne, Geneva, Basel), France (Paris, Strasbourg), Belgium (Brussels) and Czech Republic (Prague).

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Getting Around

The best way to get around Freiburg is by use of public transit and walking. Freiburg has an excellent, but slightly expensive, bus and tram (Straßenbahn) system.

The public transportation network is operated by several companies, but ticketing is unified among the local RVF transportation association. Tickets can be used on all buses, trams & local trains in the area. The RVF area is divided into three zones on which the ticket price depends. A single ride is 2.20 € for Zone A (Freiburg city area), 3.80 € for Zone A/B and 5.40 € for Zones A, B, and C. You can buy a pack of 8 tickets for 15.40 € valid within Zone A from the VAG Pluspunkt shop, located near the Martinstor downtown. In the shop you can also pick up tickets using a point system; 20 points costs 13.70 € and in each direction you will use 3 points in Zone A, 5 points if you cross into Zone B, and 7 points if you cross into Zone C. You will most likely only use the tram and bus systems in Zone A for the majority of your stay. If you come for a short stay or a weekend, buy a Regio 24 which will give you 24-hour unlimited travel within Zone A for one person for 5.50 € and up to five people for 9.90 €. The Regio 24 is also available for 2 or 3 zones. These cards will allow you to use all of the public transport within Freiburg, and also take the DB Regio trains that service the greater region free charge. Timetables and tickets can be found on the VAG Freiburg website.

Biking is another convenient way of getting around, and Freiburg's sidewalks and streets have dedicated bike lanes. Many of Freiburg's citizens use their bikes and you can easily get a real feel for the city this way. Bikes can be rented at various shops, the most convenient for tourists being the Mobile at the main railway station (Hauptbahnhof).

Most of Freiburg's 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 or by riding the tram. Although passengers are rarely controlled, riding without a valid ticket (Schwarzfahren or "Black riding") incurs a 60€ fine! Passengers without tickets have been witnessed being forcibly restrained and removed from the train. The same applies for regional trains, which are controlled about 25% of the time. Those repeatedly caught without a valid ticket can face court orders, as it is considered a criminal offence.

If you have rented a car or drive to Freiburg, you will be able to quickly access most areas with your car. Be aware that parking is relatively expensive but there are many garages available where you can park and then walk to nearby destinations. Like most European cities, use of automobiles is limited in some parts of the inner city, and bike riders must walk their bikes.

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Drink

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, named after 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.

Grace is a stylish bar in the city center, also serving lunch and dinner. Maria is serving for a student clientele nearby.

The Feierling brewery in the heart of the Altstadt 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.

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Sleep

Budget

The Black Forest Hostel offers the most reasonable lodging in the city, however, you may end up in a mixed dorm with 20 other people so ask around before deciding to stay here.

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Hotel - Landgasthof RebstockHotel - Landgasthof Rebstock Wirtstrasse 2Hotel85
Hotel ClassicGundelfinger Straße 27ahotel-
Hotel ParadiesMathildenstr.28 Friedrich-ebert-platzhotel-
Hotel Schwarzwälder HofHerrenstrasse 43Hotel-
Hotel Sonne FreiburgBasler Str. 58Hotel-

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Learn

The University of Freiburg is one of the most famous German universities. Founded in 1457, it attracts 22,000 students to Freiburg, giving it the flair of a student town. This is a good destination to study in Germany as an exchange student or for language classes. Additionally there are several other schools which contribute to the student image of the city. The biggest of these is the Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg, located in Littenweiler to the east of the city. There is also a Goethe-Institut in Freiburg, where foreigners can learn German.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes (rates €1.50 to €5 per hour) are starting to become less common due to widespread offers of free wifi by shops, restaurants or cafes. Sometimes it requires minimum consumption but usually it's free within the premises. Phone shops will often offer internet access, too. In general hotels offer internet access. In several cities, projects exist to provide free "community" hotspots for wireless networking. Passenger lounges at some airports and central railway stations also provide internet access to their customers.

Several pre-paid SIMs allow Internet access for a monthly flat fee, for example those available at Tchibo coffee stores (o2 network, €10/month limited to 500 MB, €20/month for 5 GB) or Aldi (E-Plus network). A regular O2 sim card, which can be used for calls and text messages, is €15 and another €15 buys 1GB of data valid for 1 month. Vodafone offers a prepaid sim card for €25 which includes €22.5 of credit, out of which you can get 300 MB of data for 2 days for €15 and be left with €7.5 of credit.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international call prefix in Germany is 00. To dial out of Germany, dial 00, followed by country code, area code, and the telephone number (for example 00 44 1234 567890). If you're using a mobile phone, simply add the plus sign "+" before the country code to call out of Germany (for example +44 1234 567890). The general emergency number is 112 and the additional number for less emergent issues for police is 110.

Mobile phone coverage on the four networks (T-Mobile, Vodafone, E-Plus and o2) is excellent across the whole country. UMTS (3G data and HSDPA) and EDGE is also available. UMTS is still somewhat limited to urban areas. All mobile providers use GSM technology on the 900 and 1800 MHz frequency ranges. If you stay for a longer period of time, consider buying a prepaid phone card from one of the mobile phone companies; you won't have trouble finding a T-Mobile (in a "T-Punkt"), Vodafone, E-Plus or O2 store in any major shopping area. In most supermarket chains (for example ALDI), there are prepaid SIM cards from their own virtual providers available. These are normally quite cheap to buy, but expensive for international calls (around €1–2/min), but incoming calls are always free and SMS cost around €0.09–0.19. They are available at: Aldi, Lidl, Penny, Netto, Tchibo, Rewe, toom. A registration via Internet or (expensive) phone call is necessary after buying to activate the SIM card.

The cheapest way to call abroad from Germany is to use the internet cafés run by immigrants. They sell special calling cards that give the best rate to certain countries as well as offer cheap international calls from phone booths. It is also the cheapest way to call landlines in Germany.

Post

Germany's postal system is very efficient, their logistics branch DHL is one of the best companies in this field world-wide, with domestic post or within a radius of 400 kilometres, send within a day. The website of Deutsche Post has an online calculator for postage fees as well as a post office finder. Stamps are available at post offices and sometimes at newsagents or shops selling postcards. Also stamp vending machines can be found at a lot of places around the cities. You can purchase every stamp you need from this machines. They are unique as they accept every coin from 1 cent to 2 euro but change is only given in stamps. It costs about €40 to send a small package to Australia and €1.70 to send an old-fashioned letter to any place in the world outside of Europe. Within Germany, sending postcards costs €0.45 and standard letters €0.55, within Europe it is €0.65 for a postcard, standard letters to places in Europe cost €0.75. Outside Europe, the prices for sending a postcard or standard letter are €1 and €1.70 respectively. Although you will find the old post offices (mainly in the city centre), most of the smaller neighbourhood post offices are part of a small tobacco shop or grocery store. For larger package, you might consider competitive private companies like UPS, DHL or TNT.

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This is version 12. Last edited at 9:44 on Jul 7, 17 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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