Augsburg rarely tops the travel wish lists of tourists from around the world, but it certainly deserves your time. It’s the oldest city in Bavaria and the second oldest in Germany, and when in Augsburg, you get the chance to explore a city that shaped the history of Europe and enjoyed a very wealthy past, a city with superb architecture, rich culture, and offerings for the entire family.
Fuggerei, the town within a town, is unique in two ways, and by itself is enough to make a trip to Augsburg worthwhile. Firstly, it’s the very first social housing complex in the world, and secondly, residents here pay a rent of just US$1 per year. Thanks to a contract drawn out by an immensely successful entrepreneur from these parts, the rent has remained the same for over five centuries.
Something is always happening in Augsburg. In honor of the celebrated Mozart family, who called Augsburg their home for many years, the city hosts an outstanding Mozart Festival every year. Musicians and fans from all over the world converge in Augsburg to pay tribute to the legendary family, and every corner of the city resonates in their melodies. Also, every summer, the city celebrates a delightful youth pop culture gala for three days, marked by music, poetry, workshops, and discussions. The locals look forward with great anticipation to the folk festival Plärrer, which is held twice a year and features rides, parades, and great food.
Augsburg’s skyline boasts a range of mindblowing historic architecture. The most significant among these are the 10th-century Perlach Tower that offers great views over the city, the 14th-century Weberhaus, with beautiful façade painting, the sprawling Renaissance Rathaus, and the remnants of ancient fortifications.
Though it may not seem so at first glance, Augsburg is a good choice for a family holiday. Augsburg Railway Park promises hours of fascination for train-loving families, and children and adults alike are consistently delighted by the unbeatable range of puppets from all over the globe at Augsburger Puppentheatermuseum. Also, you can’t go wrong with a family day at Augsburg Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in Germany and home to over 1,600 creatures across 300 species.
Augsburg boasts a series of great museums to add a dose of culture to your holiday. The German Baroque Gallery and the State Gallery house an admirable collection of paintings by Holbein the Elder, Hans Burgkmair the Elder, and Albrecht Dürer, alongside artwork from the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. The Textil- und Industriemuseum traces the unprecedented flourishing of Augsburg’s textile industry in the 19th century and its subsequent downfall. After a visit to Maximilian Museum, you are bound to emerge wiser about the history, economy, culture, and politics of Augsburg. The Fugger und Welser Erlebnismuseum educates visitors about two famous sons of the soil who rose to become some of the most successful merchants in the history of the city. Internationales Maskenmuseum boasts a collection of over 4,000 masks from all over the world.
Eiskanal, the artificial white-water river built for the 1972 Olympics, is a wonderful spot to stroll, picnic, or swim in the midst of nature. The 25-acre (10-hectare) Botanical Gardens, the green lungs of Augsburg, are home to 3,000 species of plants, plus hundreds of thousands of greenhouse plants and various themed gardens. The most popular section of the botanical gardens is the Japan Gardens, done up in traditional Japanese style.
The simple, elegant 11th-century Augsburg Cathedral wows visitors with its huge bronze door made of 35 relief panels, beautiful decorations, and the oldest figural stained-glass windows in Germany. St. Ulrich’s and St. Afra’s Abbey is worth visiting for its rich gothic decor and the rare harmony of baroque and Renaissance styles of architecture.
Which are the most beautiful towns in Bavaria?