Strolling around the scenic streets of Aachen is like discovering a page of the medieval history of Germany. The city is welcoming and the gathering of points of interest around its old town makes it very intimate. Here you find everything you need to know for exploring Aachen in one day.
What to See & Do
Aachen is like a page of history with several points of attraction which are well preserved for the story of the city to be well told. You should not miss the following places:
The cathedral is the central piece of the old town and it is the first German building which was included on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Aachen Cathedral is also known as the “Kaiserdom” (the Imperial Cathedral) and its paladin is dating from Charlemagne’s times. The interior is breathtaking and you can have an individual visit or a guided tour.
The Cathedral Treasury
Make sure that you buy your ticket from the Dom Information (opposite the Treasury building) where you can find also maps with the city. The Cathedral Treasury is displaying important relics, religious artifacts and treasures. Also, here you can see the bust of Charlemagne where parts of his scalp and brain are currently exhibited and several bones are shown in golden reliquaries decorated with precious stones.
Focused on the life of Charlemagne, this modern center makes a tour through the history of Aachen. The Centre Charlemagne has interactive and diverse ways of media and there are several languages used across the displays. A moment of relaxation at the café and a German pie is a delicious way of ending the tour.
This square located the old town has several points of attractions among which the impressive Town Hall and the International Newspaper Museum which hosts many first editions from newspapers edited around the world.
The Couven Museum
The museum was created in this family house which used to be a pharmacy in the 1600s. The Couven Museum shows elements of the former apothecary and displays around its rooms the life of the middle class and home decoration of the 18th and 19th century. I got there very short before the closing hour, so I did not have time to fully enjoy the visit of this house, but will definitely like to go back.
Go for a shopping spree
After a stroll on the city’s scenic cobblestone streets, shopping can cover up for a full day in Aachen. Around the Cathedral there are several small boutiques with cloths and useful objects, whereas between the Marketplace and the train station there are the bigger stores and retailers, as well as shopping malls.
Where & What to Eat
Aachen has a perfect combination between the German traditional restaurants, the French cozy cafes and the European cuisine pubs and terraces.
If you want to taste German food, you should go for the traditional bratwurst, pretzels, sauerkraut. For dessert, try the Aachener Printen which is a 500-year-old specific spicy biscuit.
No matter what cuisine you choose, you should definitely try a Riesling wine or a German beer fresh from the barrel.
In and around the Marketplace there are several restaurants, whereas in the area of the Couven Museum are plenty of bars and terraces. The shopping malls also offer a variety of more affordable restaurants with international cuisine such as Thai, Japanese, and Italian.
Getting There & Around
Aachen has a prime location and this makes the city a great option for one day trip.
Car / bus: Aachen is reachable by car or bus from Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and France due to its proximity to the Western German border.
Plane: The following airports are the closest to Aachen: Maastricht (41 km), Liège (60 km), Cologne-Bonn (85 km), Düsseldorf (112 km), Einthoven (112 km), Brussels (143 km), and Frankfurt (254 km).
Train: The trains are very well-connected to Aachen mainly due to Deutsche Bahn and to Thalys from any of the above mentioned airport and from multiple other cities located in Germany’s bordering countries.
Everything in the city is within walking distance and the old town can be done entirely by foot. From the train station to the center is a 15 minute walk which can also be done by taking the bus for 2 stations.
If there are any other spots or activities you really enjoyed while in Aachen, please share with the other readers. Also, I’m looking forward to hear your future plans of visiting this charismatic city.