Aachen is always busy. The city in the border triangle of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany is famous for its World Cultural Heritage, the cathedral, Charlemagne, and its quaint old town. One of the region’s most beautiful Christmas markets spreads the scent of printen pastries and mulled wine here in winter, while residents and tourists alike enjoy the colourful trendy districts with their old buildings, cafés, and small shops in summer.
The Aachen cathedral
Germany’s first UNESCO World Heritage site
History and stories abound in Aachen: Legend tells us that the devil’s thumb is supposed to be locked in the lion-headed doorknob of the Aachen cathedral. The hands of all the visitors striving to touch it have polished its metal brightly by now. After centuries of serving as the place of coronation for German kings and emperors, the Aachen cathedral has now become the city’s landmark, containing one of the most important ecclesiastical treasuries north of the Alps.
Mulled wine, printen pastries & starlight
Christmas market in the old town
A warm light is shining from the windows of the quaint little houses in Aachen’s old town. Cosy cottages are distributed across the cobblestones, and the fragrant smell of mulled wine and printen pastries permeates the air. A very special atmosphere envelops Aachen’s Christmas market in the squares and alleys around the cathedral and the city hall. The “Oecher Glühwein-Treff” right by the Katschhof is the market’s oldest stand, run by Marcel Schmitz in the second generation.
Aachen’s trendy districts
Colourful and individual
The Pontstraße stretches from the Ponttor gate to Aachen’s market square. The restaurants, cafés, bars, and pubs here are mostly frequented by students, while visitors can enjoy a stroll wherever the tide takes them. The Frankenberg district with its impressive old buildings, small stores, shops, and cafés, is worth a visit as well and will never grow boring.
Bad Aachen and the water
Wellness in the imperial city
Aachen’s thermal springs are some of the hottest springs in Central Europe. Owing their temperature to the Eifel volcanoes that heat the water bubbling out of the ground to up to 74 degrees, they were highly popular among the Celts and Romans already. The beneficial powers of the thermal water turn Bad Aachen into a spa resort, with the Carolus-Thermen continuing the Roman tradition. It is said that the thermal baths where what originally drew Charlemagne to Aachen, where he spent most of his time, making Aachen the centre of the European Empire. Modern visitors can follow in the Emperor’s footsteps on the Route Charlemagne.
Secret tip: The Elisabethhalle
A very special secret tip: Although the Elisabethhalle has no thermal water, the art nouveau swimming hall is one of the most beautiful facilities of its kind in the region and one of the few preserved and still-active swimming halls from the art nouveau era. Visitors can feel like time travellers here.
The most beautiful viewpoints
Classics and secret tips
The Lousberg, at 264 metres, is one of Aachen's three local mountains and offers plenty of opportunity for jogging, walking, or simply spending some time in the fresh air. Its visitors are treated to a great view of the city up there, along with a hammock. The view from the Haarberg is magnificent as well, and the striking summit cross on the 240-metre-high mountain is easily visible from Aachen in reverse.
Historical town centre of Kornelimünster
The gateway to the Eifel
Kornelimünster, Aachen’s most picturesque district, captivates first and foremost with its near-entirely preserved historical town centre and the medieval provost church of St. Kornelius. A stroll through the town is certainly worthwhile. Kornelimünster also forms the gateway to the Nationalpark Eifel. No matter if they want to go on a mountain bike tour on the Vennbahn or a hike on the Eifelsteig, both hikers and cyclists can start out on great excursions and tours of the surroundings here.