Tourist’s guide to Aachen City, Germany’s oldest spa and healing resort

Aachen (Germany) is one of the oldest cities in the country, located on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands. Known for the unique Aachen Cathedral and the treasury of Charlemagne.

Aachen view

General information

Aachen is a city in the western part of Germany, near the border with Belgium and the Netherlands. The nearest major German cities are Düsseldorf and Cologne.

The city covers an area of ​​160.85 km². The population is 250 thousand people. National structure: Germans (50%), Belgians (19%), Dutch (23%), other nationalities – 8%. Unlike most German cities, the population in Aachen is constantly increasing. First of all, thanks to the students, of whom there are a lot.

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Aachen Street

Aachen is famous for the Eiffel National Park and balneological resort. The resort has 38 thermal springs with sodium chloride water, which treats skin diseases, diseases of the joints, nervous and cardiovascular systems.

sights

Aachen (Imperial) Cathedral
Aachen (Imperial) Cathedral

Aachen Cathedral is the main Catholic church of the city. It was built in the IX century, and is considered the German “wonder of the world.” For a long time, the emperors of the Roman Empire were crowned here, and then Charlemagne was buried here (though the exact burial place is unknown).

Aachen Cathedral has a number of important Christian relics: the yellow dress of the Virgin Mary, the veil of the Infant Christ and the belt of Christ. All of them were once brought from the East to Europe by Charlemagne. It is not known for certain whether these things are real, but hundreds of people visit the attraction every day in order to at least look at these relics.

In addition to these cathedral exhibits, the Royal Charles Chapel in Aachen has preserved the royal marble chair, a crown with precious stones and a bronze lamp in the cathedral, which is 12 meters wide.

If you leave the Chapel in Aachen, you can see that the territory of the cathedral is richly decorated with sculptures and stucco molding. Among the most famous monuments are a sculpture of the first Christian king and patron saint of Hungary, Istvan, as well as a sculpture of the crucifixion of Christ.

The core of the palace chapel in Aachen is a glass octagonal dome with a height of 31 meters.

  • Address: Klosterplatz 2, 52062 Aachen, Germany.
  • Opening hours of the palace chapel of Charlemagne in Aachen: 9.00 – 18.00.
Treasury of Charlemagne at the Cathedral of Aachen
Treasury of Charlemagne at the Cathedral of Aachen

The treasury of the city of Aachen in Germany is perhaps the most important building in the city, which, without exaggeration, holds relics from around the world.

The most famous exhibit is a marble sarcophagus, in which, according to legend, the relics of Charlemagne were resting. It dates back to the III century BC. In the 19th century, they nearly broke the tomb, trying to place it in one of the halls. But everything ended happily, and there was not even a scratch on the ancient exhibit.

The Treasury of Charlemagne

Another rare exhibit is the Carolingian Gospel. Dated to the first millennium AD. The Gospel depicts scenes with the appearance of the risen Christ, a meal at Emmaus and the meeting of Christ and the Apostles. Next to the Gospel is a large, gold-colored stone – citrine, set in gold. The uniqueness of this mineral lies precisely in its size.

Olyphant or a hunting horn is one of the few sacred objects in the treasury. And again, the exhibit dates back no later than the 1st millennium AD. Historians believe that during the hunt Roland trumpeted him, urging Carl to come to the rescue. The horn is made of an elephant’s tusk.

The bust of Charlemagne, who occupies an honorable place in the exposition, is much more pompous and bright than the classic busts familiar to us. Karl’s hair and beard are covered with gold, the robe is decorated with eagles and lilies (these are symbols of the Holy Roman Empire).

Another famous exhibit of the treasury is the Lothar cross, which is made of gold and decorated with pearls, emeralds, opals and gems. In the center is the image of Emperor Augustus. At the bottom of the exhibit is a cameo with the image of King Lothar, in whose honor the cross is named.

Treasury of Charlemagne, Aachen

Among the more “new” exhibits, the rod of the choir regent, dated to 1470, should be highlighted. A little thing is made of gold and bronze. The rod was used during Sunday and holiday services in the temple.

In addition to the above attractions, you can see in the treasury: a hand (used for ablution), altar panels with the Apostles (performed a decorative function), a relic with three spiers, a relic of Charlemagne (valuable relics of the Passion of the Lord are stored here).

It is also worth recalling a number of liturgical objects of the 16th century: a Reutlingen brooch, a sculpture of the Madonna and Donor, the figure of the Virgin Mary with a baby, the crown of Margarita of York, a reliquary in the shape of a disk and medallions depicting Christ.

  • Address: Klosterplatz, 52062 Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
  • Opening hours: 10.00 – 17.00 (January – March), 10.00 – 18.00 (April – December).
  • Cost: 4 euros.
Puppet Fountain (Puppenbrunnen)
Puppet fountain

Puppenbrunnen or the Puppet Fountain is one of Aachen’s most visited destinations. The attraction is a stone’s throw from the famous Aachen Cathedral.

The fountain, contrary to the opinion of tourists, has a rather important meaning. The attraction symbolizes the life of the city and the main hobbies of citizens. Thus, a horse and a knight mean that horse tournaments are held annually in the city, the figure of a priest symbolizes church life, a merchant is a symbol of flourishing trade in the city.

That doll, in whose honor the fountain was named, means the developed textile industry of the city. Harlequin and professor are symbols of culture and science, and theatrical masks are the main element of the Aahim carnival. A rooster sitting on top indicates that the French army once occupied the city.

It is important to note that the attraction is mobile – both masks and figures can change their position and move their limbs.

Address: Krämerstrasse, 52062 Aachen, Germany.

Main (Market) Square (Markt)
Market Square

Market Square is the very center of Aachen. The main historical attractions of Aachen are located here, and every Thursday a farmers market, traditional for European cities, is open. Here you can buy fresh vegetables, delicious sweet pastries, traditional German dishes. Before Christmas and Easter, large fairs open here.

If you want to see how people live in Aachen, go here.

As for the sights, there are enough of them: the Charlemagne Fountain (installed on this site in 1620), the main Aachen Cathedral, the puppet fountain, the Aachen Town Hall.

Address: Markt, Aachen, Germany.

Aachen Zoo (Tierpark Aachen)
Bird in the zoo

Among the main attractions of Aachen in Germany, it is worth highlighting the zoo – a relatively new building, erected in 1966. The main task of the architects was to combine entertainment and science – it was important that not only kids but also students and schoolchildren came to the zoo, who could observe the life of wild animals for scientific purposes.

Animal in the zoo

Now more than 70 species of birds and more than 200 species of animals live in the zoo. In addition, you can see reptiles, marine life.

The zoo has playgrounds for children and adolescents, recreation areas for adults and the elderly. You can also book a sightseeing tour by bus. At 15.00 you can ride a pony or horse.

  • Address: Obere Drimbornstr. 44, 52066, city of Aachen.
  • Opening hours: 9.00 – 18.00
  • Cost: 15 euros – for adults, 12 – for children.
  • Official website: http://euregiozoo.de.
Black table magic theater
Black table magic theater

Black Table Magic Theater – a theater of tricks. The main difference of this institution is that they do tricks only on the table. Two wizards (Christian Dzhidinat and Rene Vander) will show their best tricks with cards, balls, coins, books, and also offer to participate in the action to the audience.

On Mondays, guest magicians perform with their programs at the theater.

Black Table Magic Theater Hall

Tourists who visited the show note that they would love to go more than once: in the theater, time flies by, and amazing tricks are remembered for a long time.

  • Address: Borngasse 30 | im Kino Cineplex 1. Stock, 52064 Aachen, Germany.
  • Opening hours: 19.30 – 23.30.
  • Cost: 45 euros for adults and 39 for children.

Food in the city

Berlin-style iceberg
Berlin-style iceberg

Aachen has over 400 cafes and restaurants with both national and European, Asian cuisines. It is clear that the farther from the sights, the lower the prices on the menu. Average cost of dishes:

Name of dishPrice (Euro)
Berlin-style icebergsixteen
Moultashen14
White Weisswurst Sausagesfifteen
Beef rolls14
Labskaus8
Dresden Stollen (piece)2.5
Black Forest Cherry Cake (slice)3.5
Cup of cappuccino2

Where to stay

Hotel in Aachen

Aachen is not a tourist city, so there are not so many hotels and hotels (about 60 accommodation options). Reservations should be made very early, because in the high season (May-August), usually everything is busy.

The average cost of a double room in a high season per day at a 3 * hotel will cost dearly – 70-90 euros. There are several options for 50 euros, but the conditions here are much worse. The standard 3 * hotel room includes free parking, a good breakfast (European), free Wi-Fi and all the necessary equipment in the room.

A 4 * hotel for two in the high season per day will come out at about the same price. There are no 5 * hotels in the city.

Almost all hotels are close to the center, so there will be no problems getting to the sights.

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How to get there

Aachen is located almost on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands, so getting to this city is more convenient and faster not from German airports, but from neighboring countries:

Airport Maastricht
Airport Maastricht
  • Airport Maastricht in Maastricht (Netherlands). Distance to the city – 34 km;
  • Airport Liege Airport in Liege (Belgium). Distance – 57 km;
  • Cologne Airport in Cologne (Germany). Distance – 86 km;
  • Dusseldorf Airport in Dusseldorf (Germany). Distance – 87 km;
  • Eindhoven Airport in Eindhoven (Netherlands). Distance – 109 km;
  • Essen Airport in Essen (Germany). Distance – 110 km.

Thus, the choice of airports is very large. In total there are 15 airports within a radius of 215 km in the territory of three countries.

From Cologne

If you are traveling in Germany, you will surely travel to Aachen from Cologne. They are separated by 72 km, and you can overcome them:

By bus
Eurolines Bus

You must catch the Köln ZOB station on the Eurolines direct bus. Travel time is 1 hour 15 minutes. The cost is 25 euros. Buses run 5 times a day (at 10.00, 13.00, 15.00, 19.00, 21.00). You can purchase a ticket on the official website of the carrier: https://www.eurolines.eu

By train

You must take the Re1 train (carrier – Bahn DE) at the Köln, Dom / Hbf station. Travel time is 52 minutes. Cost – 20-35 euros. Trains run 2 times a day (at 10.00, 16.00). You can buy a ticket at the central railway station of the city.

Taxi in Aachen
By taxi

It will take 45-50 minutes to get from Cologne to Aachen. Cost – 140-180 euros.

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Interesting Facts

  1. The Aachen Knight Tournament originated in 1869 at Kalkhofen Manor. Since then, it takes place every year, gathering more than 150,000 guests.
  2. Aachen Zoers (competitions are being held here) for riders is about the same as Wimbledon for tennis players.
  3. The most famous resident of the city is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. This is one of the most talented and influential architects of the 20th century.
  4. To travel to Aachen should not take too much time – 1-2 days will be enough to make up a general impression of the city and visit the main attractions.

Aachen (Germany) is not a very popular city for tourists, but it is definitely worth a visit, because unique exhibits and some of the main Christian relics have been preserved here.

A walk through the center of Aachen:



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Aachen City