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Leipzig

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Travel Guide Europe Germany Sachsen Leipzig

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Introduction

Leipzig is a city in Sachsen (Saxony in English) in the east of Germany. Roughly half a million people live in Leipzig. It is the economic center of the region, known as Germany's "Boomtown" and a major cultural center, offering interesting sights, shopping and lively nightlife. The Gewandhausorchester is the biggest and one of the most prominent classical orchestras in Germany, and Leipzig Zoological Garden is one of the most modern zoos in Europe. The Neuseenland outside of Leipzig is a huge lake district.

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Sights and Activities

  • Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus), Markt 1, ☎ +40 341 9651320. Tue-Sun 10:00-18:00, Mon closed. Built in 1556 in the Renaissance style and remains one of Germany's largest. The position of the tower follows the ancient ideal of "golden mean". Located on the pretty main square of the city, it is a good orientation point. The Old City Hall was built 1556 by Hieronymus Lotter on basements of two Patrician houses. It is a beautiful Renaissance style building, 90 meters long with arcades (1906–09), six gables and a tower. In the 18th century the tower was enlarged and it received a Baroque spire. Until 1904 the Old City Hall was home of the city administration. Then it became home of the city museum. Most impressive is the huge Banquetting Hall with Renaissance interior (open fireplaces). Many fine works of medieval religious art: altars, paintings, wood-carved sculptures etc. Most of them were saved from churches which were deconstructed in Leipzig's surrounding. Very impressive are the rooms with interior from old Patrician houses. Also interesting: the treasure chamber (steep and narrow staircase!). This Renaissance building was erected in just nine months in 1556–57 under the direction of the architect Hieronymus Lotter. The municipal government moved into the New Town Hall in 1909. If you have a bit of luck you are allowed to visit the cellar of the building. Here you find the chamber of torture and the jail. Leipzig's Renaissance City hall contains a museum of city history which possesses the original of the only confirmed painting of Bach produced in his lifetime. It contains interesting information regarding the public executions that previously took place in the market in front of the city hall. The most famous execution was that of Woyzeck later made famous by the Büchner play and the opera of Alban Berg. The interior of the Old City Hall (built in 1556) is far more interesting than the outside view. Inside there's an interesting museum covering the history of Leipzig from the very beginnings (in the 12th century) till our days. One of the most touristy places of the whole city. €6 adults, €4 concessions.
  • St. Thomas Church (Thomaskirche), ☎ +49 341 22224-0. Daily 09:00-18:00; churchtower is open weekends only. The church where Johann Sebastian Bach worked as a cantor from 1723 until his death in 1750. His remains are buried under a bronze epitaph near the altar. The Bach Museum is right next to the church. Regular concerts are given by the St. Thomas Boys Choir Fridays and Saturdays (see do section for details). Church: free; church tower: €2.

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Weather

Leipzig has an oceanic climate. Winters are variably mild to cold, with an average of around 1 °C. Summers are generally warm, averaging at 19 °C with daytime temperatures of 24 °C. Precipitation is around twice as small in winter than summer, however, winters aren't dry. The amount of sunshine differs quite between winter and summer, with around 51 hours of sunshine in December (1.7 hours a day) on average and 229 hours of sunshine in July (7.4 hours a day).

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max3.2 °C4.1 °C8.7 °C13 °C18.6 °C21.5 °C23.7 °C23.9 °C19.3 °C13.7 °C7.2 °C4 °C
Avg Min-1.9 °C-2 °C1.2 °C3.7 °C8.1 °C11.4 °C13.3 °C13.3 °C10.2 °C6 °C1.8 °C-0.7 °C
Rainfall30.9 mm26.7 mm36.5 mm42.4 mm42.1 mm55.1 mm58.2 mm58.6 mm44.5 mm35.8 mm37.1 mm38.9 mm
Rain Days8.16.687.68.59.48.88.17.67.37.98.9

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Getting There

By Plane

Leipzig/Halle Airport (LEJ) has flights with about 20 airlines, mainly to destinations within Europe. The main connections include flights to/from Antalya, Fuerteventura, Madeira, Crete, Faro, Hurghada, Kos, Lanzarote, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife, Thessaloniki, Paris, Malta, Vienna, Moscow, Rhodes, Dubrovnik, Split, Nuremberg, Cologne/Bonn, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf and Monastir (Tunisia).

By Train

Leipzig was one of the most important rail travel hubs in Germany as early as the 1830s when the first long distance railway in continental Europe linking it to Dresden was built and it has regained this position after German reunification. Once the new Leipzig Nuremberg route is opened in December 2017 Leipzig will have high speed ICEs traveling to every direction, making Leipzig main station one of the most important in the German train network. Currently some of the ICEs have to use legacy tracks on routes west and south of Erfurt that slow them down to 160 km/h or less. Leipzig's Hauptbahnhof is the largest terminal railway station in Europe with 26 platforms (18 plus two tunnel platforms still operating), and also includes a large shopping mall, a good way to waste away an hour or two between connections.

Deutsche Bahn (DB) operates regular train service between Leipzig and nearby cities such as Halle (€9, 25 minutes), Magdeburg (€20, 75 minutes), Erfurt (€28, 60 minutes), Jena (€24, 60 minutes), Weimar (€25, 60 minutes), Dessau (€11, 50 minutes), Lutherstadt Eisleben (€13, 80 minutes), Lutherstadt Wittenberg (€12, 30 minutes), Potsdam (€47, 2 hours), and Berlin (€43, 80 minutes). High speed express trains are available to major cities in Germany including Frankfurt (€72, 3.5 hours), Munich (€89, 4.5 hours), Hamburg (€93, 3 hours), and Dresden (€20, 90 minutes). Prague (€50, 4.5 hours) can be reached with a transfer in Dresden. If you book well in advance reduced-fare (limited refunding, set date and train) tickets are available starting at 29€ (21,75€ with Bahn card 25, no Bahn card 50 discount). Your best chance on reduced fares are off-peak hours on weekdays. Even if you buy your ticket one day prior to departure on an ICE, you have a good chance of finding a reduced fare that is cheaper than the full prices (called "Normalpreis" in German) quoted above. However unlike with the Normalpreis you will have to use the train you booked and can't change it. If you aren't traveling alone, it might make sense to see whether there is a discount for the second person traveling the same route or for groups.

By Car

Leipzig lies just south of the A14 Halle–Dresden autobahn and 15 kilometres east of the A9, which links Berlin to Nuremberg.

By Bus

Eurolines connects to several German cities, including Leipzig. The stop is at the Central Station. You can't make reservations here, you need to make the reservations on internet.

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Getting Around

By Car

Leipzig suffers from the same traffic problems as all cities of its size. Access to the city center is restricted, so don't plan to go anywhere inside the inner ring of main streets.

If you still like to use a car within the city, be prepared to pay a fee for parking around the center. Car parks are available at Hauptbahnhof, Augustusplatz, Burgplatz, and several other locations. A parking guidance system is installed on the main streets. Around the inner ring, signs point you to the different car parks and display the current number of unused parking spots. Signs are color-coded, each color representing a car park location. Since the city center is pretty compact, for most purposes it won't matter much where you leave your car. When you visit the Gewandhaus or the opera, the car park underneath Augustusplatz is the most convenient option with exits to both buildings.

Watch for the trams when making turns. They are stronger than your car and sometimes come from behind beside the street. At marked tram stops, if the driving lane is to the right of the track, you have to wait behind a stopping tram and let passengers get on and off. After everyone is off the street, you may pass slowly.

Most of the city of Leipzig is a designated low-emission zone (Umweltzone). Cars operating within city limits must comply with strict emission standards and have a special green sticker (Feinstaubplakette). If you enter the city without the sticker, or with a yellow or red sticker, you risk being fined.

By Public Transport

The primary means of public transport is the tram. LVB operates trams and buses in Leipzig. Most lines run every 10 minutes during the day and at least hourly at night. A single-trip ticket costs € 2.40. A full day bus & tram ticket, valid until 4am the next morning, costs € 6.00; a day ticket for 2 - 5 people traveling together costs € 8.90 - € 17.60. A weekly pass costs € 21.10. After 8pm, you must enter buses through the driver's door and show/purchase your ticket.

The tram network is structured like a star with a circle in the center. Tram lines generally lead from the outskirts into the city, which they half-circle on the ring, and continue to someplace else in the outskirts. Bus lines provide additional direct connections that often do not touch the center.

Trains ("S-Bahn") are crossing the city center in north-south direction though the city tunnel, connecting Hauptbahnhof and Bayerischer Bahnhof via underground stations at Markt and at Wilhelm-Leuschner Platz. From both ends of the tunnel lines branch off into several directions towards Leipzig suburbs like Connewitz, Stötteritz, Thekla, fair area and Miltitzer Allee and beyond. Please note that the city tunnel provides fast connections north - south, but is not of great help in the east - west direction.

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Eat

Try specialities of Leipzig:

  • Lerchen - a sweet dough-wicker filled with marzipan, sold in bakeries.
  • Quarkkeulchen - served in traditional restaurants as a dessert
  • Leipziger Allerlei - a vegetables dish
  • Reformationsbrötchen - a pastry, sold in bakeries in October prior to Reformation Day

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Drink

A local beer specialty is Leipziger Gose, a top-fermented brew with a characteristic, slightly sour flavour, that originated from Goslar but was immensely popular in Leipzig during past centuries. It has however become rather rare and is only served in a few specialised breweries and pubs nowadays. Today, most Leipzigers prefer more mainstream Pils beers and if you just order "a beer" you will most probably get a Pils by default. Ur-Krostitzer, for example, is brewed just a few kilometers north of Leipzig and was purportedly favoured by the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus during his stay in the region. Leipzig's Sternburg Export is one of the cheapest among German beer brands (c. 50 cents a bottle in most supermarkets) and is prefered by the young and poor who want to get lit for little money, while only a few enthusiasts actually appreciate its taste.

A local liquor specialty is Leipziger Allasch, a kümmel (caraway-flavoured liquor), and a variety of liquors of Horn's destillery.

You can find a lot of pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants and also some smaller dance clubs along the multicultural Karl-Liebknecht-Straße ("Karli"). The street starts in the south of the inner city and leads you to Südvorstadt and Connewitz (student and alternative quarters). Many pubs, bars and cafés can also be found on Barfußgässchen, a narrow lane in the old town.

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Sleep

When planning your visit to Leipzig, do note that it is a major trade fair location, and occupation and rates at hotels may starkly rise during fair periods.

Upscale

View our map of accommodation in Leipzig or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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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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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 51.3396802
  • Longitude: 12.3713006

Accommodation in Leipzig

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Leipzig searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Leipzig and areas nearby.

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This is version 17. Last edited at 3:23 on Aug 2, 17 by sleepBot. 13 articles link to this page.

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