10 things that make Aachen a must-visit city

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Aachen has a rich culture! Find out the 10 reasons why you should visit Aachen.

Aachen: It is estimated that people from almost 150 countries live in Aachen. This is also a reason why Aachen is rich in culture because it has a culture from 150 countries. It is located in North Rhine-Westphalia and is the westernmost city in Germany. Find out the 10 reasons why you should visit Aachen!

This is what makes Aachen Germany very special!

  • Area: 160 square kilometers
  • 250,000 residents from 164 nations
  • Four million inhabitants in the Meuse-Rhine Euregion
  • Four universities with 19 research clusters
  • 16 clusters are planned for the RWTH Campus Melaten/West, six of which are currently complete
  • Over 60,000 students in around 150 courses
  • Ten percent of all engineering degrees related to the whole of Germany
  • 25 percent of all engineering PhDs in Germany
  • An exemplary combination of research and business
  • More than 7,000 scientists contribute to a highly qualified transfer of knowledge
  • The top region for successful spin-offs with experienced financial partners
  • An efficient bundling of economic core and future fields in networks, eg electromobility

1. Sights in Aachen

Aachen Cathedral

Aachen

The Aachen Cathedral is number 1 in our top ten most popular Aachen sights. After all, it is not only part of the UNESCO World Heritage List but is also known far beyond the Aachen city limits.

The most important landmark of the city

The construction history of the impressive sacred building began almost 1,200 years ago under the guidance of Charlemagne. As an image of the heavenly Jerusalem, it is intended to symbolize earthly and heavenly contact.

The architecture of the Aachen Minster, as the church is also called, is impressive. Antique columns, bronze lattices, colorful glass windows, and an oversized Barbarossa chandelier characterize the image of the church.

Restaurant tip at Aachen Cathedral:

You will find the restaurant “ Hans Wurst ” on Münsterplatz, right by the cathedral. Sausage lovers will get their money’s worth there and vegetarians won’t go home hungry either. If you want to try the regional cuisine with a modern twist, you can try the Aachen “ Puttes ” and order “HansAachen”.

Those who like it more dignified will find what they are looking for on Schmiedstraße, where there is a variety from roasts to pizza. The ” Rose am Dom ” offers home-style cooking within historic walls.

Cathedral treasury

Aachen

A visit to the treasury in the Imperial Cathedral

The ecclesiastical treasure is not located directly in the cathedral but is exhibited in a museum in the cloister of the cathedral.

The exhibits include works from late antique, Byzantine, Carolingian, Ottonian, Staufer, and Gothic times. The unique collection was only renewed in 1995 and now shows more than 100 works of art on 600 m² and different levels.

Some of the exhibits go back to royal donors, others show the history of the cathedral, including the golden altar panel, the golden pulpit, and the Barbarossa chandelier.

Historic Town Hall

Town halls are usually the heart of a city. Aachen, with its historic town hall, is no exception.

The German model town hall

As early as 800, Charlemagne used the area to build a monumental palace, in which he ruled for the next few years. In the 13th century, after the Carolingian royal hall had fallen into disrepair, a baroque palace was built, which was also to serve as a model for other countries’ town halls.

Since then it has been repeatedly rebuilt, renovated, and partially rebuilt after the Second World War.

Today it is still considered one of the most impressive buildings in the city and one of the most beautiful German townhouses. Behind the Gothic facade, vacationers will find the Council Hall, the Hall of Peace, the Ark’sche staircase, which offers magnificent views of Aachen Cathedral, and the Coronation Hall.

Also worth seeing is the Graunusturm, which is not open to the public but is also impressive from the outside.

Elisenbrunnen

Aachen

The westernmost city in Germany is inextricably linked to Charlemagne. It was he who made the city his Palatinate in the Middle Ages and had other sights built in addition to Aachen Cathedral.

Healing water in the middle of Augsburg

The Elisenbrunnen is no exception. The sulfurous Kaiser spring already attracted the Romans to the settlement, which they named “Aquis Grana”. And for the emperor, too, the medicinal water was the main reason for making Aachen his palace.

Today’s Elisenbrunnen, a structure by the famous architect Friedrich Schinkel, was built around the Kaiserquelle in the 19th century. Crown Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria, who often visited Aachen on vacation, served as the namesake.

The building, whose shape is reminiscent of a Greek temple, is still a magnet for visitors and Aachen residents, who can take a sip from the sulfurous spring here. It is also a popular meeting place and, with several neighboring restaurants, cafés, and bistros, ensures culinary delights.

Next door is also the Theaterplatz, named after the city’s theater located here. An Aachen sight that you should not miss.

Frankenberg Castle

Aachen

Citizen and cultural center Burg Frankenberg

The history of this Aachen sight goes back to the year 1261. Since then it has changed hands a few times, has been destroyed and rebuilt.

The last renovation was only completed in 2014 and the new Burg Frankenberg civic and cultural center was opened with a big celebration. Today, citizens and associations can use the rooms for their events, exhibitions, and music. Conference and seminar rooms are also available here.

Lord of the rings

From the outside, however, the castle still impresses with its historic walls and towers. They are said to have drawn Charlemagne to the castle again and again. A legend even claims that there is a magic ring in the castle pond. The emperor received it from a snake as thanks for a judgment to his advantage and should forever bind it to the person to whom he hands the ring.

Charlemagne chose his wife Fastrada. When she died and he was in deep mourning, the archbishop took the ring from him and threw it in the water.

Visitors can find out for themselves whether there is any truth to the legend by visiting Frankenberg Castle.

Puppenbrunnen (Doll fountain)

Aachen

This Aachen sight can hardly be overlooked, as the doll fountain is located at the back of Aachen Cathedral. Anyone exploring the city center should therefore also plan a short stop at this attraction.

The special thing about the fountain work of art: All figures are movable and can therefore be played with. Children, in particular, are therefore drawn to this attraction in Aachen’s pedestrian zone.

The city and its history in a fountain

Like many other sculptures and bronze statues, the fountain was designed by the Aachen artist Bonifatius Sternberg. Each of the characters created in 1975 has its meaning. The Roman is reminiscent of Roman times in Aachen, the rooster enthroned above everything is a reminder of the wit of the citizens, and the RWTH can also be found here in the form of a professor figure.

And the other characters refer to special events, history, and culture of the city. The “fountain you can touch” is, therefore, one of our top ten attractions in Aachen.

Kornelimünster

Aachen

The fact that Aachen is versatile is particularly evident in the city center and in the picturesque district of Kornelimünster .

Located in the valley of the Inde, in the middle of the rugged cliffs of the Voreifel, the district impresses with historical markets, museums and opportunities for active recreation.

Hiking routes

Among other things, the Eifelsteig starts here, the 313 km long hiking trail that leads from Kornelimünster to Trier and once through the most beautiful landscapes of the Eifel. The Inderoute also starts here.

Cyclists can also let off steam along the Vennbahn and explore Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany at the same time.

Kunsthaus NRW Kornelimunster

In the Kunsthaus NRW Kornelimünster, visitors then gain insights into the present and future of the North Rhine-Westphalian art scene.

Historical fair

Every summer, Aacheners are drawn to the historic fair, which transforms the center of the district into a colorful scene with carousels, show booths, and jugglers. Plan a trip to Kornelimünster during your Aachen city trip and see for yourself what this attraction has to offer.

Dreiländereck near Aachen

Aachen

In Aachen, vacationers not only have the opportunity to discover the beauties of the Eifel, but from here it is also only a stone’s throw to Belgium and the Netherlands.

Short visit to the neighbors

However, the exact three-country point is not in Aachen, but a few kilometers away, on Dutch soil. More precisely in Vaals in the province of Limburg. The border triangle is a popular destination for Aacheners and Aachen visitors. To do this, it goes up to the 322-meter high Vaalserberg, one of the few mountains in the otherwise rather flat neighboring country.

Viewpoints in the border triangle

Once you have mastered the hiking trails, you can enjoy the view of the surrounding landscape from the Wilhelmina Tower. You have an even better view from a height of 34 meters from the Balduin Tower . On the German side, the Eifel spreads out in front of you, in Belgium you can see the High Fens and in Holland you can see the city of Maastricht.

Bahkauv

Aachen

The Bakhauvsaga is probably one of the best known statues in Aachen.

The Legend of Bahkauv

The background to the story about the “Bachkalb” are the many sulfurous springs in Aachen, which have always inspired storytellers. The bakhauv is said to have been up to mischief in the city, scaring children and drunken returnees with its long claws and sharp teeth, preferably at night.

It later turned out that it wasn’t a monster, but the town’s gatekeeper, who snuck up disguised as Bakhauv to take the drunken residents’ money.

Even today, however, a monument commemorates the legend of the fountain monster. Many still believe that the Bakhauv hunts drunk men at night. Either way, an Aachen attraction worth seeing.

Aachen Tierpark Euregiozoo

Aachen

An animal delight

This Aachen sight is also animalistic. Founded in 1966, the Aachen zoo attracts visitors with its variety of species and some special features.

On almost 8.9 hectares there are 1,000 animals and 200 species, from monkeys and camels to zebras, African ostriches, and other exotic birds. No wonder then that the “ Öcher Zoo ” has developed into one of the most popular sights in the city in recent years.

2. Most beautiful place in the city center

Aachen

Aachen has so many squares in the city center… The Münsterplatz, right by the cathedral (great with its magnolias in spring), the market square with the Kaiser Karl fountain, the Elisengartenthe courtyard (it’s called that) with its (not quite original) Roman portico very well. You will find the courtyard near the cathedral. Just make yourself comfortable there for a while on the steps and watch the hustle and bustle – preferably with a coffee or a delicious piece of cake from Café zum Mohren.

Aachen

Restaurant tip:

During the day, especially when the weather is warm, you can enjoy the delicious ice cream cakes from Café zum Mohren in the courtyard. In the evening there is a cozy beer on the terrace of the cathedral cellar.

3. Best festival in Aachen

Aachen

Many would now call the Aachen Carnival or the CHIO (the ultimate event for horse lovers), but for us, it’s the September Special. A series of open-air concerts lasting several days, in which open-air stages are set up on all the larger squares in the city center and music of all kinds enchants the city. Highly recommended!

You will also be well supplied with culinary delights from the local gastronomy stands at the SeptemberSpecial and on the Katschhof you can get a bird’s eye view of the cathedral and town hall from the Ferris wheel.

4. Best view in Aachen

That’s not particularly difficult: The Aachen Lousberg. You can easily drive up there by car, but it’s not stylish… Depending on the route, it takes  20-45 minutes to get to the top of the city. It can be steep but doesn’t have to be, because you can climb the “mountain” in wide loops – everyone as he likes. Once at the top you can reward yourself with the beautiful view and if you like, refreshment in Restaurant MundArt inside the Drehturm (rotating tower).

Aachen

There is also – typical for Aachen – a devil’s legend about the origin of the mountain, which you can read here. To make it short for you: The people of Aachen have always been a pretty clever bunch and have fooled the devil not just once!

5. Regional specialties from Aachen

Yes, of course: The Printen. But my experience: Don’t touch the hard herbal prints. Take the soft chocolate mops, they are really tasty and can be found everywhere in various flavors.

What else is there? The rice cakes – actually from Belgium, but meanwhile also at home in Aachen. It consists of a yeast dough base and creamy rice pudding on top. 

Coffee lovers can enjoy the Aachener Plum’s Kaffee at Germany’s oldest coffee roastery. There is a shop in the yard.

6. Best breakfast in Aachen

Yeah – this breakfast deserves its point! For the best breakfast in Aachen, you have to make yourself comfortable in the spa part of the city, which is also called Bad Aachen: to Burtscheid. After you have enjoyed the view of the abbey church, you go comfortably into the café of the confectionery Lammerskötter!

Reserve a table beforehand, especially on weekends, and then enjoy the great breakfast there. If you also want to get to know Aachen better from a culinary point of view, you can order the Aachen breakfast and everyone else can enjoy New York, London, Stockholm, or other metropolises. No matter what: everything was very tasty, freshly and attractively prepared! If you still have room in your stomach afterward: the cakes are not to be scoffed at either…

If you don’t have any more space, go to the other side of the small square and stock up on cakes, prints, and biscuits to take away in the confectionery shop.

7. Best dinner in Aachen

I would particularly like to recommend “La Becasse” to friends of excellent cuisineAachen’s first-star chef conjures up simply unique dishes using every trick in the book! The restaurant is run with a personal and humorous touch and leaves nothing to be desired.

Tip : There is also a lunch menu.

8. Evening program in Aachen

If you still have energy left in the evening or are only really waking up then, the best thing to do in summer is to roam through the city and settle down where you like it best. Many beer gardens and small parks invite you to make yourself comfortable. The Pontstraße, which leads from the market square to the old Ponttor, is not only popular with students. If you go home hungry or thirsty, it’s your fault…

If you like a rustic pub atmosphere, go to the Guinness House, the Domkeller, or the crate. For example, there is dancing in the Apollo.

If you like cinema away from the blockbuster world, you can also go there or to the newly renovated Capitol, which promises a very special cinema experience in lounge style.

9. Nature in Aachen

Go out and walk in the big Aachen forest ( forest hiking trails here ), for example over to Belgium! Hikes in Belgium can easily be organized as a day trip from Aachen. 

The city ​​center also has many beautiful green spots to offer, which invite you to relax, play, barbecue, jog, or do other leisure activities, especially in warm weather. For example: the Westpark, the Ferberpark, the Hangeweiher (with outdoor pool), the Stadtpark…

Or drive to the nearby Eifel, to the High Fens, cycle or hike along the Vennbahnweg to rustic Kornelimünster. No matter what the weather – get out in the fresh air with you! Walk across borders at the Dreiländereck (the highest point in the Netherlands, by the way), take a boat tour on the Rursee, or walk along the shore there. Whatever you feel like – apart from its river, Aachen can offer everything!

Restaurant tip:

In the Eifel, I can recommend the Eifelhaus in Einruhr. There you will be spoiled with dishes made from regional products.

Kornelimünster : The “ Bahnhofsvision ” is located directly on the Vennbahnweg . The old train station, which has been converted into a cozy little restaurant, also offers a beer garden and delicious food in summer.

10. The weather in Aachen

The best time to travel to Aachen in Germany is from June to August, as the temperatures are pleasant and there is hardly any rainfall. The highest average temperature in Aachen is 23°C in July and the lowest is 4°C in January.

Aachen has the oceanic climate prevailing. If you want to know what the average temperature is in Aachen or when most rain or snow falls, you can find it quickly here. So you are well prepared. The average monthly climate data is based on data from the last 30 years.

Climate Aachen per month

JanFebmaraprMayJuneJulyAugSepOctNovdec
Temperature (°C)45101417202322191496
precipitation (mm)382536253944414027252843

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