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Top 3 city sights in Aachen
A visit to the city of Aachen
Aachen, the city in the border triangle, imperial city and student city.
I was born and raised in Aachen but left my hometown 30 years ago. However, my family still lives in Aachen, so I am regularly drawn back.
Where is Aachen?
Aachen is located in the very west of Germany, on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands. This makes it the perfect starting point for excursions to these countries and the “Hohes Venn” National Park, located in the border area between Germany and Belgium.
Unique facts and attractions in Aachen
Aachen is a student city with two large universities and a student population of more than 50,000 students. Interestingly, this figure makes up almost 20 per cent of the total population of Aachen.
This historical city is also home to the legendary and patent-protected Aachener Printen, developed in the early 1800s and today still produced and exported from Aachen. Printen is a type of gingerbread (Lebkuchen) that is richly spiced with a caramel flavour and has a hard cookie-like texture. These delicious cookies contain a unique combination of flour, sugar molasses, honey, cinnamon, anise, cloves, cardamom, coriander, turmeric, dried oranges, and lemons. Aachen’s bakers are estimated to produce around 4 500 tons of Printen annually. You can read more about the authentic Aachener Printen by clicking here.
Streusel rolls, or Streuselbrötchen as it’s known in German can also only be found here. If you had to translate this word, it would mean ‘crumble roll’. It is a very delicate bread roll with a sweet taste. In Aachen, this delicious bread is often eaten during Easter. If you want to try baking this light bread, click here for the recipe.
Another interesting fact about Aachen is that Emperor Charles chose Aachen for his Winter Palace because of its hot springs and due to this, it made the city a kind of capital of Europe. Emperor Charles was crowned here in Aachen in 800 AD, better known as the Late Iron Age.
Finally, Aachen also hosts the annual CHIO World Equestrian Festival, known as the Wimbledon of equestrian sport. This is the best-attended equestrian event in the world, attracting around 350,000 spectators annually.
Here are my 3 top sights to visit in Aachen
1. The cathedral
The cathedral, Charlemagne’s palatine chapel, was completed in 813. Because of its spectacular architectural and historical significance, it was the first German monument on the UNESCO world heritage list since 1978.
3. The Cathedral Treasury
The treasury is the most important ecclesiastical (belonging to the Christian Church) treasury north of the Alps.
In the Cathedral Treasury, you can exhibit 130 extraordinary themed works of art over three floors, informing you of the various functions and aspects of St. Mary’s Church and the 1200-year impressive history of this treasury.
I highly recommend that you try to view the ‘Lothar cross, Golden book cover, Crown Margaret and the Locks of the Marian Shrine’ as these pieces deserve special attention and are some of my favourite art pieces from the exhibit.
Activities in and around Aachen
A walk up the Lousberg is worthwhile in good weather because you have a great view of the city from here.
On rainy days I enjoy visiting the awe-inspiring Carolus Thermen with its most incredible historical architecture. This thermal spa dates back centuries to when Romans relaxed in these therapeutic waters. The warm water comes from Aachen’s healing springs and is of significant quality.
Around Aachen are several scenic hiking routes in the neighbouring Eifel region. In addition, the national park “Hohes Venn” offers excellent terrain for hiking and mountain biking.
You can make short day trips from Aachen to Maastricht in the Netherlands and the picturesque Monschau. Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in Holland and is known for its bustling squares that combine modern amenities and historical architecture. For me, Maastricht is about André Rieu, who was born here! Every Summer, he performs with his Johann Strauss Orchestra at the Vrijthof Square. This is something not to be missed.
If you have ever wished to do traditional pub crawling, the Pontstraße in Aachen is the perfect place. One pub follows the next here, and the other couldn’t be nicer. Pontstraße leads you from the market square to many restaurants and cafés over ancient cobblestone streets to lovely designer stores and traditional German boutiques.
For families with children, I highly recommend the labyrinth at the Dreiländereck. This is a uniquely designed maze where you can enjoy magnificent views from the highest point of the Netherlands while finding your way to the heart of the green paradise.
Accommodation in Aachen
The Aquis Grana City Hotel is located in the middle of the old town, only 200 metres from the cathedral and has its parking garage.
A fabulous terrace with a magnificent view over Aachen awaits you at the new INNSiDE by Meliá. The old town is also just a few minutes walk from this hotel.
A cheaper option is the Bestprice Hotel Aachen Hauptbahnhof .
I often get the question, “How long should we stay in Aachen?”. My answer is always the same “As long as possible”! Aachen is a diverse city with so much to see and do; you definitely will not get bored. After living in Aachen for almost 20 years, I still discover beautiful parts of the city that I have forgotten about. No wonder I keep visiting every second month (Ok, my family still lives there… ), but this city never leaves your heart. Next time you’re in Aachen, please tag us in your posts or send us a photo. I would love to know what is for you the best thing about Aachen.
Until next time
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