The right flair is essential for a leisurely stroll through German pedestrian zones.
What sounds so simple is still not to be found everywhere. Germany has a lot of small towns which are perfect for pedestrians. The following 10 pedestrian zones will make you fall in love with the city, lose yourself in the shops and just daydream.
1. Hauptstraße in Heidelberg
Heidelberg’s main street was declared a pedestrian zone in 1978 and has been one of the most beautiful shopping streets in Germany ever since. Instead of the motorists, many colorful half-timbered houses and shops line up in the medieval street.
Visitors can stroll through boutiques and at the same time pass the most beautiful buildings of the Baden-Württemberg city such as the town hall, the Heiliggeistkirche or the Providenzkirche.
2. Friedrichstrasse in Bonn
For a long time, Friedrichstrasse was considered the “backyard” of Bonn’s city center and was only opened in 2007 as the newest section of the pedestrian zone after ten years of renovation. Since then, modern fashion houses have been lined up alongside exquisite delicatessen shops and beautiful antique shops, offering visitors a very special shopping experience.
Once a year the red carpet is rolled out here as part of the Friedrichstrasse Festival: In June, residents and holidaymakers can stroll through the modern pedestrian zone to live music, taste regional wine and take advantage of the anniversary offers in the surrounding shops.
3. Wettergasse in Marburg
Marburg’s pedestrian zone picturesquely spans the Schlossberg above the Lahn. In addition to numerous shops and restaurants, the oldest houses in the city also gather in Wettergasse – some of the lavishly decorated buildings date back to the 14th century. The core of the old town is the lively market square, which artfully stages the medieval half-timbered houses as well as the Gothic town hall. Residents can do their weekly shopping here every Wednesday or Saturday and find fresh food from the region at good prices.
4. Brandenburger Strasse in Potsdam
While many of the most beautiful pedestrian zones in Germany gain in charm due to their narrow streets, Potsdam’s car-free zone impresses with its spacious streets, which are lined with magnificent type houses. Brandenburger Strasse forms the heart of the pedestrian zone and is often referred to as the “boulevard” by locals.
Around the Sankt-Peter-und-Paul-Kirche there are a number of cozy cafés, ice cream parlors, specialty shops and restaurants that extend to the Brandenburg Gate on Luisenplatz. The imposing atrium of the Karstadt city palace is a special highlight. The color-glazed ceiling is a special feature from the era of department store architecture.
5. Am Sande in Lüneburg
Historic patrician houses, the water district and the medieval flair prove: Lüneburg has an old town straight out of a picture book. The place where the ancient Christmas market invites you to stroll through the lights in winter is the year-round starting point for the winding pedestrian zone of the quaint town: From the Am Sande square, for example, you can comfortably stroll along the Kleine and Große Bäckerstrasse to the town hall.
If you want a good coffee, turn into Glockenstrasse and pay a visit to Bell & Beans. Only a few meters further, tea and music lovers come to the Samovar Tea and Records. But no matter in which direction the streets drive you, in Lüneburg it is always worth taking a look at the numerous small alleys and enchanted inner courtyards.
6. Spitzgasse am Dom in Aachen
The medieval atmosphere in Aachen’s old town can still be felt today and can best be experienced in the pedestrian streets around Aachen Cathedral. In the many small alleys, retail outlets, restaurants and cafes nestle against one another and are only occasionally interrupted by historical marketplaces or fountains. One of the smallest but also most charming pedestrian streets in the city is Spitzgässchen, which connects Münsterplatz with the fish market.
7. Grüner Markt in Bamberg
The Bamberg pedestrian zone is not only one of the most beautiful shopping streets in Bavaria, but also serves as the center of urban life. Between the Jesuit church and the baroque town houses, visitors will find rustic restaurants, delicatessen shops and modern department stores. The eye-catcher of the elongated market square and one of the city’s landmarks is the Neptune Fountain, which locals refer to as the “Goblmoo” or fork man.
There is hustle and bustle here in every season of the year: In the summer months, restaurants and shops as well as market stalls open and offer fresh fruit and vegetables. In the run-up to Christmas, hundreds of people gather here at mulled wine stands and sales booths.
8. Anger in Erfurt
The spacious square has been the central hub of Erfurt since the 12th century and has since developed into the most important shopping mile in the Thuringian capital. This is where tradition and modernity meet: in addition to urban shops, Gothic facades and magnificent town houses still bear witness to times gone by.
A popular example of the gathering of different eras is the “Anger 1” shopping gallery, which once originated in Art Nouveau and has since been expanded to include an elaborate new building. At the same time, the Anger is not only the core of Erfurt’s shopping landscape, but also the hub for local public transport.
9. Niederburg in Constance
Konstanz is not only attracted by Lake Constance and the Alpine panorama, but also some of the most beautiful pedestrian zones in Germany. In the historic buildings of the old town, not far from the waterfront, visitors will find small artists or charming boutiques and can ultimately stop in cozy cafés, wine bars or traditional restaurants.
The oldest quarter of the city is the Niederburg, and although the listed alleys are not officially a pedestrian zone, they are repurposed as such every summer. The town festival is called “Gassenfreitag” and takes place on the first Friday of the month from May to October, and visitors can stroll through the shops until 10 p.m.
10. Holzmarkt in Tübingen
On the northern side of the collegiate church, the Holzmarkt is surrounded by colorful half-timbered houses and the gold-decorated Georgsbrunnen in the heart of Tübingen’s old town. It is one of the most important meeting places in the city and is considered the center of public life: in the morning hours, people meet here for their first cup of coffee.
At lunchtime, they stroll through boutiques or rummage in the Heckenhauer bookstore, where Hermann Hesse was already an apprentice. And when the sun hangs low over the old town, students gather on the stairs to the collegiate church and enjoy the relaxed after-work atmosphere.