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Welcome to Kempten in the Allgäu, a charming town in south Germany that combines history, culture and breathtaking natural beauty.
Kempten is the town where I have lived for more than 25 years, one of the oldest towns in Germany, and a true paradise for nature lovers.
In this article, we would like to introduce you to the town’s history and sights.
Where is Kempten?
Kempten is located in the Allgäu, directly on the A7 motorway. Memmingen (40 km) is the nearest airport, and Munich Airport is 155 km away.
The history of Kempten
As one of the oldest towns in Germany, Kempten is rich in history and architecture.
Kempten’s history dates back to the Romans and, thus, over 2,000 years. For a long time, two rival settlements named Kempten were next to each other. It was not until 1818 that the two towns were united.
What are the most important sights in Kempten?
Kempten Residence and St. Lawrence Basilica
Visit the Kempten Residenz, a magnificent Baroque palace once the seat of the prince abbots of Kempten. Admire the impressive façade and opulent interiors, which provide an insight into the former residential culture.
Basilica of St. Lorenz
Just a short walk from the Residenz is the Basilica of St. Lorenz, an impressive sacred building with a history of over 1,600 years. Its magnificent interior, ceiling paintings, and stucco work are worth admiring.
Cambodunum Archaeological Park
Take a trip into the past. The Cambodunum Archaeological Park is a fascinating open-air museum that presents the remains of a Roman city from the 1st century. Immerse yourself in ancient history and explore the well-preserved ruins of buildings, baths and an amphitheatre. The park also offers informative exhibitions and guided tours that bring Roman life to life.
Kempten Museum in the Zumsteinhaus
Delve deeper into Allgäu history and culture at the Kempten Museum. This museum offers an impressive collection of artefacts, artworks and exhibitions illuminating the region’s history from the Stone Age to the present day. Here you can learn more about the traditional life, folk art and customs of the Allgäu.
The museum is housed in the beautiful Zumsteinhaus, which is located opposite the basilica and the residence. This prestigious, middle-class palace was built in 1802 and lavishly restored.
Historic town hall and town hall square
The Town Hall, an architectural highlight, was built in the 14th century and extended and rebuilt several times over the centuries. It consists of several building sections and is distinguished by its magnificent Renaissance and late Gothic facade.
On the adjacent Rathausplatz (town hall square), there are numerous restaurants and cafés, and the Christmas market is held here in the pre-Christmas period. The listed octagonal town hall fountain with a bronze column on the east side of the town hall dates back to 1601.
Relax in the tranquil atmosphere of Burghalde Park, located on the former castle grounds. With a magnificent view of the city and the surrounding mountains, the park is the perfect place to enjoy nature, picnic or unwind. You will also find the Allgäu Castle Museum and a fragrance and medicinal herb garden here.
In summer, cinema evenings are held on an open-air stage.
Guided tours of Kempten
Go on a time travel through Kempten’s varied history. Kempten Tourismus offers many different guided tours with certified guides. Check out the website; everyone will find the tour that suits them.
Historic house facades
Take a walk through Bäckerstrasse and admire the well-preserved house facades. You will also find the Ankergässle with the only remaining passage through the city wall.
Other beautiful facades can be discovered in Kronenstrasse. House numbers 29 and 31 have baroque facades with unique paintings.
On Rathausplatz, you will find some beautiful patrician houses, and of course, there are other great facades throughout Kempten’s old town.
Kempten is the Allgäu metropolis, and not only in terms of culture, it is also the shopping town in the Allgäu. It offers a wide range of specialist shops, department stores, boutiques, etc.
My favourite shop in Kempten’s city centre is Kaufhaus Reischmann. Here you can find the latest fashion in timeless style on six floors. At the bar and on the roof terrace, you can enjoy a drink with a view over the roofs of Kempten.
If you are looking for sporting goods, you will find what you are looking for at Sport Reischmann, the largest sports store in Allgäu. On an area of over 5,000 m2, everything a sportsman needs is available, and expert staff will advise you on your choice.
Restaurants in Kempten
There are several recommendable restaurants in Kempten. The list would be too long, so I would like to introduce you to the ‘Zum Stift’ restaurant, which offers the best Bavarian cuisine. The ‘Stift’ was just voted one of the best beer gardens in Germany by the readers of the renowned gastronomic magazine Falstaff.
First mentioned in 1556, the inn “Zum Stift” is located in Kempton’s city centre with a view of the Kornhaus, the basilica and the Residenz. In addition to Bavarian specialities, vegan dishes are also on the menu.
As one of the oldest cities in Germany, it offers a mix of historical heritage and modern vibrancy. The historic old town with its well-preserved buildings and alleys invites you to stroll around, while modern shopping centres and shops offer a varied shopping experience.
The surrounding nature of the Allgäu also offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing and cycling.