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12 Top Things To Do In Tubingen Germany

Sunset at Neckar river iin Tubingen Germany

Sometimes the best travel experiences are found in lesser-known places, like Tübingen. Tucked away in the beautiful Baden-Württemberg region of southwest Germany, this charming university town is steeped in history and bursting with youthful energy. With its picturesque medieval architecture, vibrant riverside setting, and prestigious background, Tübingen offers a delightful blend of old-world charm and modern allure. Let’s explore 15 fantastic things you can do to experience the best of this captivating town.

1. Stay at Hotel Krone

As you start planning your Tübingen adventure, one of the first recommendations is to stay at the iconic Hotel Krone. This historic gem dates back to the 16th century and embodies the town’s fairy-tale essence with its exposed wood beams, cozy guest rooms and atmospheric vaulted dining areas.

Hotel Krone offers more than just a place to sleep – it’s a gateway to the town’s authentic charm. Here’s why travelers choose Hotel Krone:

  • Unbeatable Location: Step out your door and you’re amidst Tübingen’s most picturesque streets, vibrant cafes, and historic landmarks. Explore the bustling market square, the iconic Hölderlinturm, and the Neckar River just minutes away.
  • Historic Charm, Modern Comfort: Hotel Krone beautifully blends its centuries-old heritage with stylish, contemporary rooms. Enjoy cozy interiors, comfortable amenities, and delightful reminders of the building’s rich past.
  • Delicious Dining: Discover the flavors of the region in the hotel’s welcoming restaurant. Savor expertly prepared local specialties and enjoy a warm, inviting atmosphere.
  • The Warmth of Tradition: Family-run for generations, Hotel Krone embodies the genuine hospitality that makes Tübingen special. Experience friendly service and a personalized touch that makes you feel like a welcomed guest, not just a customer.

Book your stay at Hotel Krone or choose from other great hotels in Tübingen – find the best deals here:

2. Explore the Medieval City Center

Of course, the highlight of any Tübingen visit is simply wandering the quaint, pedestrian-friendly Old Town. Stroll along the scenic Neckarfront riverside promenade lined with colorfully frescoed buildings reflecting in the water. Duck into the winding network of alleyways to discover hidden architectural gems like the Renaissance Rathaus (City Hall) and Gothic Stiftskirche church tucked between the half-timbered facades.

The joy of Tübingen’s Altstadt is simply getting lost in its old-world ambiance. With no set route, you can meander from one picturesque scene to the next:

  • The lively Marktplatz square hosts lively markets
  • Quaint artisan workshops tucked into historic buildings
  • Sidewalk cafes perfect for people-watching over a beer
  • Flower boxes bursting with blooms lining the romantic lanes

To uncover Tübingen’s rich history and hidden gems, you can hire a local tourist guide for a personalized exploration of the city.

3. Walk Along the Neckar River

For a relaxing change of scene, take a relaxing stroll or bike ride along the Neckar River promenades that connect Tübingen’s two sides. Admire the views of the Old Town’s half-timbered houses on one side and the verdant hillside vineyards on the other.

I visited Tübingen during the holiday season. While the town was charming, the colorful flowers and lush greenery were hidden. I recommend visiting during warmer months to see the city in full bloom.

Stop for refreshments at one of the riverside beer gardens like Gasthausbrauerei Neckarmüller with its lovely terrace right on the water.

Alternatively, you could rent bikes or take a leisurely river cruise to soak up the scenery from the water’s perspective.

4. Visit the Holderlin Tower

One of Tubingen’s iconic landmarks is the hilltop Hölderlinturm, offering 360-degree panoramic views over the city’s red-tiled rooftops and surrounding vineyards.

Getting there is part of the fun, you need to hike up through the vineyards on the Schlossberg Hill to reach the iconic hilltop Hölderlinturm tower. This 16th-century medieval stone tower offers panoramic views over Tübingen’s red-tiled rooftops.

It’s connected to the town’s literary heritage as a favored meeting spot of the Romantic poet Friedrich Holderlin. Take in the sweeping vistas from the summit over the Stiftskirche church, Hohentübingen palace, and surrounding vineyards.

5. University of Tübingen

As an acclaimed university town, no visit to Tübingen is complete without exploring its prestigious 16th-century campus. The Eberhard Karls University was founded in 1477, making it one of the oldest and most respected higher education institutions in Germany and even Europe.

Strolling through the architectural jewels nestled amidst green parks and gardens, you’ll be enchanted by a scenic blend of Renaissance, Baroque, and Gothic buildings housing the various colleges and faculties. Don’t miss highlights like:

  • Alte Aula – This Renaissance gem was the original main auditorium, now a museum
  • Collegiate Church – The onion-domed Stiftskirche is one of Tübingen’s iconic landmarks
  • University Library – This palatial Baroque wonder contains over 3 million volumes
  • Burse Building – With its astronomical clock and ornate Renaissance sculptural decor

You may spot students in traditional Stocherkahnrennen boat races or other longstanding university traditions like colorful pennant waving. The lively beer gardens and halls make for an atmospheric setting to soak up the campus’s scholarly ambiance over a refreshing brew.

6. University’s Museum of Ancient Cultures

I recently visited a university’s Museum of Ancient Cultures situated inside the Schloss Hohentubingen or Hohentubingen castle and it was like stepping through a portal into the past! They have the most amazing collection – think 40,000-year-old ice age figurines (UNESCO World Heritage, no less), treasures from ancient Greece and Egypt, and even archaeological discoveries from their own backyard.

But the coolest part? They have this massive 16th-century wine barrel, a Guinness World Record holder! And get this – DNA was first discovered in the castle the museum is housed in. This place is a total must-see for any history buff!

7. Admire the Burse Building and City Hall

Two of Tübingen’s architectural crown jewels sit side-by-side on the central Marktplatz square – the Rathaus (Town Hall) and Renaissance Burse building. Marvel at the intricate masonry on these grand, half-timbered civic landmarks adorned with carved stone details and vibrant frescoes.

The Burse was originally a warehouse and economic hub for the city’s weavers and merchants. Today it houses the tourist information center along with restaurants in its picturesque arcaded courtyard. Be sure to check out the astronomical clock and sculpted figures on its facade.

Just next door, the palatial Rathaus that serves as Tübingen’s city hall, anchoring the square with its imposing bell tower.

Step inside to admire the lavish interiors with vaulted ceilings and artistic flourishes in an ornate Gothic style reflective of its former prosperity as a trade hub. It is a popular place for civil wedding ceremony where bride and grooms poses under the iconic clock that has been there since 1811.

8. Dine in a Historic Restaurant

Experience a delightful journey through time as you savor regional dishes in a protected historic monument! Immerse yourself in the charm of a restaurant dating back to 1890, once a hub for celebrated minds.

Admire the original decor, including exquisite wall murals and etched glass, as you savor the aroma of your meal.

Indulge in specialties such as lentil curry, classic apple strudel, or regional delicacies like Black Forest deer with cranberries.

9. Shop for Design Finds and Local Handcrafts

Discover hidden treasures in Tübingen, a town brimming with unique, independent shops. Explore a curated world of design finds and handcrafted goods, and maybe even stumble upon one of Germany’s only feminist bookstores! Support local artisans, immerse yourself in a haven designed for women, and find special pieces that tell a story.

10. Visit a Master Watchmaker’s Shop

Make a point to visit the workshop of one of Tübingen’s celebrated master watchmakers to see their intricate craft in action. Step into a world of precision and artistry at Marcus Holdermann’s Watch Shop, a Tübingen institution for 30 years.

Witness the craftsmanship of a master trained in the Black Forest as you admire unique clocks with antique movements and unusual time displays. Discover limited-edition, handcrafted wristwatches exclusive to this very shop.

11. Explore the Tubingen Christmas Market

Immerse yourself in the Tübingen Christmas Market, and in my case it did not disappoint! Imagine stepping into a world of twinkling lights and the enticing aromas of spiced wine and roasted treats. I discovered stalls brimming with handcrafted treasures – think unique ornaments, cozy knitwear, and maybe even a hand-carved wooden toy.

The smells of regional specialties like the famous red sausage, exclusive to this area of Germany, had my mouth watering. As I sipped on a mug of warm spiced wine, I was delighted by the sound of carols performed by locals, their voices echoing through the market and filling me with the joyful spirit of Christmas.

At the centrum, admire the soaring Christmas tree surrounded by an illuminated Nativity scene. Carolers and musicians provide the soundtrack as you explore the merry markets nestled between Tübingen’s half-timbered facades. The Tübingen Christmas Market is the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind gifts, experience authentic German festivities, and create memories to last a lifetime.

12. Wine Tasting at Weinhaus Schmid

At Weinhaus Schmid, I got a true taste of Tübingen’s local charm! This cozy spot isn’t just a wine shop – it’s where locals gather to unwind with a glass of wine and good company. The owner, a vineyard master, is a wealth of wine knowledge.

I felt welcomed as I joined locals with their picnic spreads, ready to savor the wine and conversation. It was like being invited into someone’s home, complete with shared snacks and laughter. Weinhaus Schmid is a must-visit for an authentic taste of Tübingen’s social scene and delicious wines.

How to Get to Tubingen

Tübingen is located in the state of Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany, about 30 km (18 miles) south of Stuttgart. Here are some of the best ways to reach this charming university town:

By Air: The closest major airport is Stuttgart Airport (STR), located about 35 km (22 miles) away. From there, you can take a train or rent a car to reach Tübingen in about 40-60 minutes.

Another option is flying into Frankfurt Airport (FRA), which is a 2-2.5 hour drive or 2.5-3 hour train ride away from Tubingen.

By Train: Thanks to its compact size and central location, Tubingen is easy to reach by train from many parts of Germany and Europe. Direct regional trains run from Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof in around 40 minutes.

If coming from further away like Frankfurt or Munich, you’ll likely need to change trains in a hub like Stuttgart. Check Rail Europe for schedules and tickets.

By Car: Driving to Tübingen is easy with its proximity to major autobahns like the A8 (from Munich) and A81 (from Stuttgart/Heilbronn). Follow signs for the B27 and B28 roads.

Parking can be a challenge in the historic Old Town, so it’s recommended to use one of the park & ride lots on the outskirts and walk or take public transportation the rest of the way.

Check out Rental Cars here:

Getting Around Once in Tubingen’s compact city center, the best way to explore is on foot. The Old Town is fully pedestrianized with walking trails connecting the key sights and attractions.

You can also take advantage of an efficient bus and rail network that connects to area vineyards, viewpoints and other destinations a bit further out.

More Tubingen spots to add to your buket list:

FAQ’s About Top Things To Do in Tubingen Germany

When is the best time to visit Tübingen?

The summer months are ideal for enjoying outdoor activities, markets, and beer gardens, though spring and fall offer mild temperatures too. Winter provides cozy Christmas market charm.

How do I get around Tübingen?

The compact Old Town is easy to experience on foot. There’s also a bus network, bike rentals, and river boat tours in summer.

What is there to do for families?

The Museum of Ancient Cultures, riverside trails, swimming holes, playgrounds and kid-friendly restaurants cater to families.

Where is the best area to stay?

To soak up the medieval atmosphere, book a hotel or rental in the Altstadt or just outside the historic center.

With its irresistible blend of half-timbered charm, storied heritage, outdoor beauty, and youthful energy, Tübingen offers a true taste of quintessential Germany. Use this guide to plan an unforgettable visit experiencing the very best of this enchanting Swabian gem!

Picture of Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a freelance writer living in Orlando, Florida with many published bylines in magazines, newspapers, and multimedia sites. As a professional lifestyle writer, Karen specializes in art, architecture, design, home interiors and personality profiles. Karen is the writer, producer and host of the streaming series, The Design Tourist (www.TheDesignTourist.com) that brings viewers a global dose of design inspiration with episodes featuring the latest looks and trends from the world’s premiere design events and shows. She also publishes a quarterly magazine on design travel that you can read by clicking the link: https://thedesigntourist.com/the-magazine/ Her journalism background includes seven years on-air experience as a TV news reporter and anchor covering a range of issues from education to politics. Her educational credentials include a Master of Arts in Mass Communications from Northeast Louisiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Louisiana State University. Throughout her career, Karen has written and produced dozens of documentaries and videos for educational, commercial, corporate, and governmental clients and appeared in many TV and video productions as a professional host.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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