One of the highlights of my 28 days in Europe was visiting Leipzig! I had no idea what to expect, but the moment we got out of the train station and got a little lost in finding our hotel, we knew this place was different. A big thank you to Leipzig Travel for hosting us.
With its vibrant arts scene, fascinating history, and energetic urban vibe, Leipzig deserves to be on any German itinerary. Though lesser known than hotspots like Berlin or Munich, Germany’s 12th largest city has plenty of unique attractions to offer visitors.
From exploring its communist past to savoring local food and culture, Leipzig delivers memorable experiences. Here are 9 unique things to do in Leipzig for an unforgettable Saxon adventure.
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When to Visit Leipzig
Leipzig shines in the warmer months from May to September when cafe terraces spill onto the streets and leafy parks beckon. Summer sees markets, festivals, and outdoor events galore. But crisp and colorful fall is also a pleasant time with fewer crowds and lodging deals – despite the grayer weather.
If visiting in December, get into the festive spirit at one of Germany’s best Christmas markets amidst twinkling lights and gingerbread stalls. While January and February are the coldest months, off-season hotel rates make it affordable to explore museums and attractions in relative peace. There’s never a wrong time to visit Leipzig!
Where to Stay In Leipzig
Our hotel’s proximity to the Leipzig central station proved extremely convenient during our stay. We checked into the InterCityHotel, situated just steps from the train platforms.
Despite its transportation hub location, the hotel offered a quiet and comfortable respite after long days exploring Leipzig’s plentiful attractions.. The central station area in particular, hosts many points of interest within close walking distance.
On a practical note, the InterCityHotel provides efficiency-focused accommodations perfect for the independent traveler. Self-service kiosks facilitate seamless check-in/out, while the lively yet relaxed bar supplies a fine space to unwind at the end of the day.
With its convenient location and reasonable rates, I highly recommend the InterCityHotel Leipzig to those seeking an ideal home base while visiting this fascinating city.
Take a Scenic Canoe Tour
Leipzig may be landlocked, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take to the water! One of the most fun and unique ways to explore the city is via a canoe tour along its scenic waterways. Glide your paddle through lush parklands right through the heart of the city center for a fresh perspective on Leipzig.
Several operators like Stadthafen Leipzig offer guided canoe tours ranging from a couple of hours to full-day trips. Paddle down the Karl Heine Canal, popular for its idyllic scenery and charming Old Town views. More experienced paddlers can head to the White Elster River for a peaceful ride through Leipzig’s greener outskirts.
Canoeing is a joy for all ages – the perfect active adventure for families. Along the way, you’ll pass historic landmarks like the Federal Administrative Court, the Red Bull Arena sports stadium, and more. No prior paddling experience is needed for most tours. What better way to soak up Leipzig’s natural beauty and sights than gliding upon its glistening waters?
I was hesitant at first, to be honest, because first, we are not adventurous at all, and secondly, when I saw it would be a 2-hour canoe tour. We were given a map, which made it sound a bit complicated, but it was very easy to follow. Plus you also saw the other boats too.
My husband did the arm work, and I thought we would cut it short, but we were curious about the end of it. We saw some visitors make stops and eat lunch; we stopped a bit before turning to reapply sunscreen.
@fusetravels If you’re looking for something fun to do as a couple or even a family, you need to check out this canoe tour in Leipsic Germany. Now we were a bit anxious as we’re not adventurous, and we did not know what to expect, especially once they said it was a two hour tour, but we did it and we’re so glad we pushed ourselves to do it and it’s actually not complicated at all. Thank you Leipzig Travel for hosting us and https://www.stadthafen-leipzig.com/kanuverleih #LeipzigTravel #Lieblingsleipzig #leipziggermany🇩🇪 #visitgermany🇩🇪 #leipzigtips #visitleipzig #germanydestinations #germanyhiddengems ♬ original sound – Fuse Travels
Marvel at Panoramic City Views from the Panorama Tower
For 40 years, the impressive 142.5 meter Panorama Tower has been both the tallest office building and a landmark of the city of Leipzig. Built in 1968, this magnificent skyscraper remained Germany’s tallest building until 1972, when it was surpassed by others. Today, it stands as the 24th tallest building in the country.
The best views of Leipzig’s beautiful cityscape can be found on the Panorama Tower’s 31st-floor observation deck. Visitors can take in the panoramic vistas for just €5 per ticket.
Nestled at the base of the tower is our restaurant, “Plate of Art,” the highest eatery in all of Central Germany. Diners can feast on our seasonal menu while gazing out floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the streets below. It’s a unique chance to dine in the clouds.
Pay Respects at the Monument to the Battle of the Nations
One of Leipzig’s defining historic events was the momentous Battle of the Nations in October 1813. This decisive battle marked the first major defeat of Napoleon’s army and a critical turning point during the Napoleonic Wars.
To commemorate the coalition victory and its fallen soldiers, Leipzig erected the epic Völkerschlachtdenkmal, or Monument to the Battle of the Nations. When construction finished in 1913, this was the largest monument in Europe.
The monumental granite-clad structure rises 91 meters tall, overlooking the battlefield site. Descend into the monument’s crypt and be awed by its solemn grandeur. Statues of victorious warriors stand guard beside 6-meter-high death masks in brooding darkness. Upstairs, the Ruhmeshalle (Hall of Fame) displays imposing statues personifying the virtues and strengths of the German people.
The inspiring monument stands as a place of reverence and reflection.
Every October, Leipzig honors the pivotal 1813 battle with a festival including reenactments and pageantry.
But any time of year, visiting the Monument to the Battle of the Nations offers a glimpse into Leipzig’s storied past. I found the monument to be so beautiful and so different from any other monuments I have ever seen before.
Tip. We did have to take a bus to get to this location, but transportation in Leipzig and overall Germany is so easy and convenient.
Sip Coffee at Germany’s Oldest Coffeehouse
One thing I love to do when I visit cities in Europe is to visit the oldest cafe or bar in town. I just always think of who were the people who went through this space and the stories they told, so when I learned of Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum, I knew I had to indulge in a cup and have a seat.
One delight you can’t miss in Leipzig is sipping coffee at Germany’s oldest coffeehouse. Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum first opened its doors in 1720, making it one of the oldest continuously running cafes in the world. Steeped in history and old-world charm, this Leipzig institution is not to be missed.
Step inside the cafe’s stately historic home decorated in Rococo style. Choose from over 200 varieties of coffee sourced from around the world. The cafe’s house special Arabica bean blend has been served since the early 19th century. Pair your coffee with delicious cakes like the traditional Leipzig quarkkeulchen, a sweet curd snack.
Upstairs, visit the small coffee museum displaying antique coffee-making tools and centuries-old paintings that hung on the cafe’s past walls. Legends like Goethe and Schumann once mingled in these rooms. In the evenings, regular music performances keep the cultural conversations flowing.
Stop by this legendary cafe on Kleine Fleischergasse to sip and savor amidst wood-paneled nooks in an ambiance steeped in history. It’s the perfect place to sample Leipzig’s quintessential coffeehouse culture.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry at Auerbachs Keller
For a meal paired with great atmosphere, head to Auerbachs Keller – one of Germany’s best-known and historic restaurants. Since 1525, this cellar restaurant has been dishing up Leipzig hospitality and hearty fare. It was even immortalized in Goethe’s Faust.
It is quite ironic that it was in one of the oldest-running restaurants in the world that I would see robot bus stations! Just a cool fact juxtaposed against the historical decor as you descend into the historical stone-walled tunnels lined with oak barrels.
Choose between the rustic cellar vault or medieval tavern rooms decked with rich woodcarvings. Savor Saxon dishes like venison stew and duck breast with red cabbage and dumplings. Don’t leave without trying the famous Auerbachs Keller potato pancakes,dripping with applesauce.
The restaurant encapsulates all the best of Leipzig’s traditions – great local food, lively music, and no shortage of great beer or wine either. An evening at Auerbachs Keller is a quintessential Leipzig night out.
Stroll Down Barefoot Alley
One of Leipzig’s prettiest areas, Bärenstraße earned the nickname Barefoot Alley because the cobblestones were supposedly so even that one could walk barefoot without injury.
Today, this curving lane delights visitors with its picture-perfect charm.
Lined by medieval-style townhouses painted in warm hues of ochre, red, and yellow, the lane has a cozy old-world ambiance. Flower boxes and ivy creep up the timber-framed facades in floral splendor. It’s hard not to feel transported back in time, wandering beneath the overhanging buildings.
Duck into the small courtyards to discover hidden gems like art galleries, antique stores, boutiques, and cafes. Stop for a break at cozy watering holes like the historic Gasthaus Bayerischer Bahnhof. With students and artists mingling along the lane, Barefoot Alley epitomizes Leipzig’s youthful creative spirit.
Since we visited in September, we saw some Octoberfest events in restaurants.
Immerse Yourself in Arts and Culture
Thanks to its many universities and dynamic spirit, Leipzig is especially lively when it comes to arts and culture. This was the home of musical giants like Bach and Wagner after all!
Tour the striking modern Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of City History to soak in Leipzig’s creative spirit. Wander the hip KarLi district lined with street art, cool eateries, and indie boutiques. See a world-class performance at the acclaimed Gewandhaus concert hall.
In addition to its many museums and galleries, Leipzig offers a unique opportunity to connect with two of history’s greatest composers. Visit the Gothic-style St. Thomas Church where Johann Sebastian Bach served as a cantor in the 18th century. His remains are buried in the church’s alter along with other great composers like Schumann and Mendelssohn.
Also, see St. Nicholas Church where Bach performed and Martin Luther preached, now an important symbol of the 1989 nonviolent movement that helped trigger reforms in East Germany. Immersing yourself in Leipzig’s musical heritage at these historic churches offers an inspirational experience for any music lover.
Leipzig has cemented itself as one of Germany’s most exciting hubs for creativity and progressive thinking. Immerse yourself in the city’s inspiring culture, dynamic art, and profound history.
Go Vintage Shopping In Leipzig
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