10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Augsburg
Augsburg, the third largest city in Bavaria after Munich and Nuremberg, lies north of the Lechfeld, a flood plain that lies along the confluence of the Wertach and Lech Rivers. This ancient and famous imperial city, home of the two great medieval merchant dynasties of the Fuggers and the Welsers, is now the chief town of the administrative region of Bavarian Swabia (Bayerisch-Schwaben). Once connected with Verona by the Via Claudia, an ancient Roman road, Augsburg's favorable location promoted it as a center of commerce. The city has a very active cultural life, and the new University of Augsburg opened its doors in 1970. One of the most popular tourist routes in Germany, the Romantic Highway - Romantische Strasse - runs from the main valley via Augsburg to Füssen on the Austrian frontier.
See also: Where to Stay in Augsburg
1 Augsburg Cathedral
Augsburg Cathedral, a Roman Catholic structure built in the 11th century with features added in the 14th century, is the city's top tourist draw. It's one of Europe's more unusual cathedrals, largely due to its lack of a true façade, as well as its twin choirs. Notable features include its large bronze door. Dating from the 11th century, the door is now located in the neighboring Diözesanmuseum and is famous for its 35 relief panels depicting Old Testament scenes. Other highlights include the five windows on the south side of the nave containing the oldest figural stained glass in Germany dating from around 1100, and four of the side altars have altarpieces by Hans Holbein the Elder.
Address: Frauentrostraße 2, D-86152 Augsburg
2 The Augsburger Rathaus and Golden Hall
In the center of Augsburg stands the old Town Hall, or Rathaus. Completed in 1624, this massive Renaissance building is popular as much for its spectacular interior as for its exhibits relating to the city's rich and fascinating past. Notable rooms include the Lower Fletz with its huge marble columns and vaulted ceiling, and the stunning Golden Hall, or Goldener Saal. Widely regarded as one of the most impressive examples of the German Renaissance, this massive hall with its 14-meter-high, richly-decorated ceiling was completed in 1643. Afterwards, nip over to the 70-meter-high Perlachturm, a 10th-century watchtower with commanding views over the city (open May-October), and the 16th-century Augustus Fountain.
Address: Rathausplatz, 86159 Augsburg
3 Editor's Pick The Fuggerei
The Fuggerei, a little "town within the town" in Augsburg, is a wonderful area to explore on foot. Entering through one of the community's four gates, these picturesque old homes were originally built to house the town's poorer Catholics. Founded by the Fugger family in 1521, the community consists of 67 buildings, 142 residences, and a church, and is the oldest social housing scheme in the world. Today's occupants are still only required to pay an annual rent of one Rhenish guilder, the equivalent of €1, along with three daily prayers. In addition to the excellent museum and display home with its original furnishings, visitors also have access to a WWII bunker. Also of interest is Fugger Palace, constructed in 1512 and with charming and attractive inner courts built in Italian Renaissance style (only the courtyards are open to the public).
Address: Jakoberstraße 26, 86152 Augsburg
4 Mozarthaus Augsburg
Mozarthaus, in the historic Fuggerei area of Augsburg, was where Leopold Mozart, the great composer's father - an accomplished musician himself - was born in 1719. Now a fascinating museum, the attraction offers a glimpse into the life of the Mozart family. Exhibits include engravings, books, letters, and original musical scores, as well as a fine collection of historic musical instruments. English audio tours are available. If visiting in late August to early September, be sure to catch the superb Mozart Summer, a two-week festival that features performances of chamber music by Mozart and his contemporaries. Another former "celebrity" residence is the home where Bert Brecht was born in 1898. On a canal connected to the Lech, the home is worth visiting for the Bert Brecht Memorial.
Address: Frauentorstrasse 30, D-86152 Mozart, Germany
5 Maximilianstrasse and the Maximilian Museum
Maximilian Street - or Maximilianstrasse - lies in the heart of Augsburg where the old Roman road connecting Germany and Italy began. It's a marvelous old street to wander along, especially if you're in the mood for a little shopping or dining to accompany your gallery and attraction hopping. A highlight is the Maximilian Museum with its vivid portrayal of the history, art, and culture of Augsburg. Located in a palatial 16th-century merchant's house, the museum's exhibits include sculptures, work by local gold and silversmiths, and artifacts from the town's rich history.
Address: Fuggerplatz 1, 86150 Augsburg
6 The German Baroque Gallery and the Schaezler Palace
Schaezlerpalais, a lovely old Rococo mansion with a large banqueting hall dating back to 1765, now houses the German Baroque Gallery and the State Gallery. Highlights of these two excellent collections include early German masters such as Holbein the Elder, Hans Burgkmair the Elder, and Albrecht Dürer, as well as works from the Augsburg and Swabian schools dating from the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance. In front of the palace is the ornate Hercules Fountain. Another gallery of note - and in a much more modern building - is the Glaspalast, home to the Walter Art Museum and its more than 600 modern works of art.
7 St. Ulrich's and St. Afra's Abbey
St Ulrich's and St. Afra's Abbey is an old Benedictine structure built around 1500. Together with the quaint little Protestant St. Ulrich's Church, built in 1458, it forms an attractive architectural ensemble well worth exploring. Built in the Renaissance and Baroque styles, highlights include its Gothic furnishings and décor, along with the tombs of Saints Afra, Ulrich, and Simpert in its crypt. Another nearby landmark is Rotes Tor, the Red Gate, with its 17th-century tower. Here, you'll also see two old water towers, the 17th-century Heilig-Geist-Hospital, an open-air theater, and the famous Augsburger Puppenkiste puppet theater. Also, be sure to visit St. Ann's Church, a medieval structure built in 1321 that's famous for its elaborate interior.
8 Augsburg Botanical Gardens and Zoo
The Augsburg Botanical Gardens is a public space covering 25 acres and is perfect for a pleasant stroll. Highlights are the Japanese Garden, a rose garden with more than 280 different varieties, a medicinal herb garden, and a vegetable and crop garden. More than 3,000 species are found here, ranging from perennials to wild herbs and grasses. Particularly enjoyable are the 1,200 plant species under glass, as well as more than a million onion plants, cacti, climbing plants, and a sage garden. Nearby, Augsburg Zoo is also worth checking out, and boasts 80 species of mammals; more than 200 species of birds; and numerous reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
9 The Augsburg Eiskanal
The Augsburg Eiskanal is well known as the world's first ever artificial whitewater river and was built for the 1972 Summer Olympics in nearby Munich for the canoe and kayak slalom events. A model for numerous Olympic whitewater venues, as well as more than 50 similar facilities around the globe, Eiskanal is still often used for World Championship and World Cup events. Even when not in use, it's wonderful as a backdrop to a stroll through one of the greenest areas of Augsburg.
10 Internationales Maskenmuseum
The fun and fascinating International Mask Museum features more than 3,500 traditional and modern masks from across the globe. This amazing collection includes 1,300 masks from Europe, 1,200 from Africa, 500 from the Americas, 500 from Asia, and 150 from Oceania. Guided tours are available, and entrance is by request only. Another interesting small attraction is the MAN Museum, dedicated to the creator of the first diesel engine, Rudolf Diesel. Also worth checking out is the State Museum of Textiles and Textile Industry in one of Bavaria's first factories, which includes exhibits of historic machinery such as spinning wheels.
Address: Lindenstrasse 1, 86420 Diedorf
Where to Stay in Augsburg for Sightseeing
We recommend these centrally located hotels in Augsburg near top attractions like the cathedral and town hall:
- Steigenberger Hotel Drei Mohren: luxury old town hotel, fantastic location, 18th-century building, rooms and apartments with kitchenettes, Asian-style spa.
- City Hotel Ost am Ko: mid-range pricing, modern room decor, free tasty breakfast, sauna and relaxation zone.
- Dom Hotel: 3-star hotel, comfortable rooms, suites and apartments with kitchenettes, exposed beams, indoor pool and sauna.
- Ibis Budget Augsburg City: budget hotel, sleek decor, free parking.