The city of Freiburg (or Freiburg im Breisgau, to give it the full name which distinguishes it from another Freiburg in Switzerland) is without question one of the most attractive destinations in Germany, combining the charm of a medieval village with the worldly allure of a small, prosperous city.
A tour of Freiburg’s historic center is distinguished by winding cobbled lanes, gingerbread facades and a unique system of tiny canals which served as a fire-fighting measure in the Middle Ages. Local lore holds that anyone who falls in one will marry a Freiburger, so cross with care (or not, depending on your preference!)
The Gothic cathedral, or Münster, dominates the old town. Gargoyles get up to all sorts of stony mischief on the exterior, while the interior boasts a Holbein altar. Elsewhere the old Town Hall, the deep red Historic Merchants’ Hall, the glowing white Martinstor and Schwabentor – original gates to the city – all contribute to this showcase of medieval architecture.
What’s more, Freiburg enjoys a superb location. It lies in the south-west corner of Germany and basks in the sunniest, warmest weather in the whole country, which also makes it an important wine-producing area. The Black Forest is on the doorstep, with wooded hills rising dramatically right behind the old town and many scenic spots within easy reach. Freiburg is also an ideal starting point for excursions into neighboring France and Switzerland: the refined Alsace centers of Mulhouse, Colmar and Strasbourg can all be reached within an hour or so, as can the sophisticated Swiss city of Basel.