Freiburg is a very interesting city only an hour drive away from our holiday apartments in Riquewihr. A day out not to be missed. Saturday is a good choice since in the morning there is a beautiful market taking place near the cathedral.

Freiburg im Breisgau, a green city

Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.
Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.

Freiburg is a German city with a population of about 230,000 people. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain. One of the famous old German university towns, and archiepiscopal seat, Freiburg was incorporated in the early twelfth century and developed into a major commercial, intellectual, and ecclesiastical center of the upper Rhine region. The city is known for its medieval university and minster, as well as for its high standard of living and advanced environmental practices.

Der Münstermarkt (market near the cathedral) in Freiburg

The market takes place on all working days in the morning – with one exception: On 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption, patron saint of the cathedral, the place remains free from market stalls. On weekdays you will find 80 food stalls, as well as arts and crafts and souvenirs. On Saturdays there will be up to 180 stalls! On the north side of the minster, you have the so-called farmer’s market, where you will find beautiful fruit, vegetable and other products grown and sold by the local farms. Do not hesitate to take some home. For many visitors to the city of Freiburg’s Münster market is a special attraction.

The Historisches Kaufhaus (Historical Department Store) is one of the most outstanding buildings near the cathedral. It is located on the south side of the cathedral square, which it dominates with its red facade. It is nowadays mostly used as a concert hall.

A visit to the cathedral

The last duke of Zähringen had started the building around 1200 in romanesque style, the construction continued in 1230 in Gothic style. In the Middle Ages, Freiburg lays in the Diocese of Konstanz. But in 1827 the Freiburg Minster became the seat of the newly erected Catholic Archdiocese of Freiburg and thus a cathedral.

Inside of the cathedral of Freiburg, Germany
Inside of the cathedral of Freiburg, Germany

It is the only Gothic church tower in Germany that was completed in the Middle Ages (1330), and miraculously, has lasted until the present, surviving the bombing raids of November 1944, which destroyed all of the houses on the west and north side of the market. The tower was subject to severe vibration at the time, and its survival of these vibrations is attributed to its lead anchors, which connect the sections of the spire. The windows had been taken out of the spire at the time, and so these also suffered no damage.

The tower has 16 bells, the oldest being the “Hosanna” bell from 1258, which weighs 3,290 kilograms. This bell can be heard on Thursday evening after the Angelus, on Friday at 11:00 am, on Saturday evenings, and each year on 27 November in remembrance of the air raid.

A savoury lunch under the protection of the Holy Spirit

After having visited the market (finishes at 2 pm) and the beautiful cathedral you will for sure feel hungry. What about a lunch at one of the local traditional inns surrounding the cathedral? We like the Holy Spirit Inn most for the quality of its food and warm welcome. The Heiliggeist Stüble (the Holy Spirit little inn) is facing the cathedral on the north side of market square. We always had a warm welcome.

Although their website is in German only people there speak English and even French. And they have their menus in English as well. You will have a choice of some typical and good local specialities according to the season. Do not miss the desserts.

Afternoon stop at Burkheim in the Kaisertuhl vineyards

Wine tasting at the Burkheimer Winzer Wine Estate - Kaiserstuhl, Germany
Wine tasting at the Burkheimer Winzer Wine Estate – Kaiserstuhl, Germany
From the left to the right side: With my wife Martine and American friends Chuck and Connie (Edwards), Nancy and John (Seattle) and Vickie (Dallas)

In the afternoon, on your way back, do not miss the drive through the beautiful Kaiserstuhl vineyards (about 16 km northwest of the city of Freiburg) and make a stop in Burkheim. The Kaiserstuhl hills are the remains of an ancient vulcano. It can be spotted from Riquewihr when the weather is clear (our guests staying in the White Stork or Alsatian Hart apartments can see the Kaiserstuhl and the Black Forest from their windows). Burkheim is a beautiful medieval village in the German Kaiserstuhl vineyards. Weather and season permitting you can have a drink at one of the terraces in the center of the village. But in any case you need to pay a visit to the Burheimer Winzer wine cellar. They make beautiful white wines and a stunning Spätburgunder dry red.

Practical hints and tips

Freiburg is only an hour drive away from our holiday apartments in Riquewihr. Depending on how early you will start you will be able to make an interesting stop en route. If you start your day a little earlier you may stop for a coffee in the old medieval city of Breisach overlooking the river Rhine.

If your car has a GPS search the points of interest for one of the car parks near the city center of Freiburg. You will not be allowed to drive into the historical center of Freiburg. But there is a ring all around with several underground parking. Number of available spaces for each parking lot is displayed on electronic screens along the streets with sign posts so there is no difficulty at all.

A good timing would be to arrive in Freiburg at 10 o’clock. You will have time to park your car and walk to the cathedral, visit the market, have a meditation inside the beautiful cathedral and end with a lunch at one of the local inns surrounding the cathedral. We like the Holy Spirit Inn most for the quality of its food and warm welcome. But there are some others.

In the afternoon, on your way back, do not miss the drive through the beautiful Kaiserstuhl vineyards (about 16 km northwest of the city of Freiburg) and make a stop in Burkheim (see above).

Vineyards in the Kaiserstuhl, near Freiburg, Germany
Vineyards in the Kaiserstuhl, near Freiburg, Germany

Expect an hour drive to get out of Freiburg and reach Burkheim with a scenic drive through the hills and the vineyards. Another hour in Burkheim (a little more if you wish to have a little walk around the village) and one hour to drive back to Riquewihr.

Support the Freiburg minster rescue works

SOS – After 700 years of a sometimes stormy history the tower of minster of Freiburg is in danger and needs urgent care. Several million euros are invested each year in the care and maintenance of the building and its interior. At the moment there are heavy restoration works carried out on the tower and outside walls. Everybody’s help is welcome. As a support you may buy a souvenir or join the official list of the donators. Their website is in German but automatic translation into English is possible if you use Google Chrome browser.

Useful links

This page is brought to you by Les Remparts de Riquewihr – new luxury holiday apartments created in an old historical winery facing the vineyards in Riquewihr.

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