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Magdeburg is a has-been industrial town. Has-been because while the heavy engineering tradition remains strong and is an important economic factor many of the factories have closed. Companies that used to employ thousands of people are nothing but bleak ruins. The job situation is relatively dire, many young well-educated people leave the city in search of a better future elsewhere. In the last 20 years since reunification Magdeburg has lost over 30,000 inhabitants, going down from 280,000 to a mere 250,000 people.
Having said that there is one spark of hope: Both the University of Magdeburg as well as the Hochschule Magdeburg, University of Applied Sciences bring a lot of vibrant student life into the city. The graduates of both institutions are an important factor in attracting investors and employers like to grab up students for part-time work. Keeping with tradtion Engineering and Mathematics is still strong at both institutions.
If you come to Magdeburg as an international tourist it will most likely be because you are a student at one of the universities, are visiting somebody who is a student there or because you are a cyclist riding along the Elbe river.
From north to south and east to west:
Most desirable areas to be in (in terms of renting a flat) are Mitte, Buckau, Sudenburg, Neustädter See and Herrenkrug. Herrenkrug especially is very popular with students because of the parks and the Campus of the University of Applied Sciences.
In terms of partying the best places are Mitte (especially the bars around Hasselbachplatz) and the clubs in Sudenburg and Buckau.
Least desirable areas are Nordwest, Olvenstedt and Reform. Lots of social welfare housing there and it can get iffy after dark.
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Magdeburg is the driest city in all of Germany. Rainfall is relatively sparse. This is because the prevailing westerly winds that usually bring rain to this part of Europe hit the Harz mountains on their way to Magdeburg and leave their rain on the southwestern part of that mountain range. That said, it does rain in Magdeburg, so don't be surprised if you find yourself in need of an umbrella.
Magdeburg has a small local airport, but only very small private planes land there. If you are looking for regular passenger service or international airports fly into Berlin, Hannover or Halle-Leipzig and take the train.
Magdeburg is an important hub of transport. There are frequent services to Berlin, Brunswick, Halle, Leipzig and into the Harz mountains as well as long-distance trains to other destinations.
Magdeburg is located at the intersection of the A 2 and the A 14. It is about a 2 hours drive to Berlin.
Some freighters and private yachts ply the Elbe river, but there is no regular passenger service.
Magdeburg is an important stop on the Elbe Cycling Trail from Prague to Hamburg. Other cycling tourists stop in the city on their way from Amsterdam to Berlin. Consequently there are many cycling tourists hitting the city, especially in summer.
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Stretching up to 20 kms from north to south and 10 kilometers from east to west car is a viable option of getting around in Magdeburg. But since few visitors will ever need to travel from one end to the other there is no need to rent a car just to get around the city.
Public transport is excellent in Magdeburg. The backbone of it is the excellent tram system, supplemented by buses and the S-Bahn train line from Schönebeck to Zielitz. You can get almost everywhere in Magdeburg by public transport. Between 6 am and 8 pm buses and trams run every 10 minutes between Mon-Fri and every 20 min during Saturdays. During the night and on holidays there are night lines operating every hour.
If you stay in just one quarter of Magdeburg walking is a good idea, but try to cover more of the city and you'll soon find that you need other ways to get around.
Bicycle is is probably the best way to see Magdeburg. The city is almost completely flat and an effort has been made in the last years to renew or establish bicycle pathways. Often you are faster than the tram or the bus with your bicycle, especially when you have to switch between bus and tram to get where you want to go.
During summer there are regular cruises on the Elbe River operated by Weiße Flotte Magdeburg. Most popular is a visit to the Schiffshebewerk Rothensee and to the Wasserstraßenkreuz, which is essentially a canal bridge over the Elbe river. The same company also operates a small ferry from Buckau to the Rothehornpark, the island in the middle of the Elbe.
There are many restaurants in Magdeburg, so you won't be starving for lack of choice.
- Bingöl Grill at Breiter Weg 231 (near Hasselbachplatz) and at other locations around the city.
The place is legendary among lovers of Turkish food and Döner. Clean, with decent service, real silverware, porcellain plates and prices that rival big fast food chains. Open until late at night, so ideal if you need to grab something solid after a night of partying.
- Ratskeller, Alter Markt 1. Authentic German with moderate prices.
Tip: If you want good food and a relaxed atmosphere without worrying too much about the bill look into one of the all-you-can-eat brunches that are organised by the hotels Maritim, Raatswaage and InterCity Hotel. Especially recommended is the one at Ratswaage. It is held every Sunday from 11:30 to 14:30.
- La Bodega, Domplatz 10. Authentic Spanish food. Prices are reasonable for what is on offer.
- Hotel Restaurant Maritim
- Hotel Restaurant Ratswaage
|1.Magdeburger Hostel||Zum Bahnhof 7||Hostel||90|
|Sleep & Go Hotel Magdeburg||Rogätzer Strasse 5a||Hotel||85|
|Magdeburger Hof||Leiterstraße 10||Hostel||-|
|City Hotel Magdeburg||Konrad-Adenauer-Platz 1 (ZOB)||Hotel, Budget||0391 744 88 88||-|
|Pension Alte Wache||Brandenburger Str. 2||Pension||0391 56 39 166||-|
|Maritim Hotel Magdeburg||Otto-von-Guericke-Str. 87||Hotel, 4 Stars||0391 5949-0||-|
|Hotel Ratswaage||Ratswaageplatz 1-4||Hotel, 4 Stars||0391 5926-0||-|
|Hotel in der Grünen Zitadelle||Breiter Weg 9||Hotel, 4 Stars||-|
|Hotel Residenz Joop||Jean-Burger-Straße 16||Hotel, 4 Stars||0391 6262-0||-|
|Herrenkrug Park Hotel||Herrenkrug 3||Hotel, 4 Stars||0391 8508-0||-|
|City Inn Magdeburg||Carnotstrae 5||HOTEL||66|
|Sleep & Go Hotel Magdeburg||Rogätzer Strasse 5a||HOTEL||-|
Since Magdeburg is a university town, it is a heaven for couchsurfers. Supply far exceeds demand here, there are far more people offering couches than there are tourists coming into the city.
Also, you can contact the Magdeburg Tourist Information at Ernst-Reuter-Allee 14, 39104 Magdeburg, Tel 0391 19433. They have a long list of private rooms, pensions, guest houses and small hotels that they will happily reserve for you at no extra cost.
The work situation is relatively dire in Magdeburg. It is difficult to find a job, especially without contacts. Biggest employers in the city are several heavy engineering companies such as Enercon, the city administration and a bunch of call centers. If you have a very good command of German you can try finding work as a call center agent, people who also know English, Russian or other European languages are in demand in some call centers. Teaching English is also an option, but to have a decent chance to make money on this you should try to get a contract with the Volkshochschule or place ads in the local newspaper offering to tutor German children and teens.
There are several internet cafes around Hasselbachplatz.
See also International Telephone Calls
Local access code for Magdeburg is (0)391. To call abroad try the internet cafes around Hasselbachplatz. They offer the cheapest rates for calling landlines in Germany as well as mobile and landline phones abroad. To buy cheap SIM cards check out City Carré and Allee-Center shopping malls.
The main post office is at Breiter Weg 203-206, right across the street from the Grüne Zitadelle. Opening hours are Mon-Fri 09:00-19:00, Sat 09:00-12:00.
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. 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 €0.70. 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.
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