Augsburg is the third largest and one of the oldest cities in Bavaria, Germany, and is located between Munich and the Memmingen, a city with surprisingly much to see. The Romans discovered this imperial city in 15BC. It was the home of two of Germany’s most prominent merchant dynasties, The Fuggers, and the Welshers, during the early modern age. Augsburg is now the chief administrative town of Bavarian Swabia.
The city’s cultural life grew exponentially after 1970 as it became the center of commerce and trade. The galleries and churches in Augsburg are an embodiment of Renaissance art. Those interested in the history of this city would love the magnificent Maxmillian museum, which is full of historic facades.
Explore the city on foot through the Fuggerei or take in the exemplary views of some of the famous churches like St. Anne’s Church or Basilica of St.Ulrich and Alfra. Augsburg is the ideal place to see a fusion of culture, art, and music in the architecture, lifestyle, and scenery.
Let us look at the 19 best things to do and see in Augsburg.
19. Rotes Tor
The Rotes Tor means ‘Waterworks at the Red Gate.’ It is said to be the oldest existing waterwork in Central Europe. The inner city of Augsburg got its freshwater supply through this waterwork from 1416 to 1879.
It is one of the oldest and majestic sites in Augsburg, which is a testament to how humankind used the energy of water to provide clean water to an entire city.
By 1879, the older waterwork was decommissioned after the Wasserwerk am Hochablass was built, which used steam-pumping technology. In 2019, UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site.
18. Römisches Museum
The Römisches Museum in Augsburg is a place worth visiting for all those history lovers who want to glimpse the Roman culture in the city. The museum is in the church of St. Magdelena that was built in 1515. Later in the 18th century, the church was remodeled using Baroque styles.
Some exquisite artifacts that you can see at the museum are coin hoards from the 3rd century, a 2nd-century bronze horse, Roman Altars, architectural pieces of Roman houses, etc. The museum showcases exhibits that will give you a glimpse of Roman archaeology and history.
17. WWK Arena Augsburg
For any football lover, watching a match at this arena would be like a beautiful experience. The WWK Arena is a football stadium in Augsburg that hosts the games of FC Augsburg.
The stadium was opened to the public in 2009 with a seating capacity of around 40000 spectators. The WWK Arena became the first football stadium with a climate-neutral feature. This feature allows the stadium to have a specific temperature.
16. Jewish Museum Augsburg Swabia
The Jewish Museum is within a synagogue, and it beautifully depicts the Jewish culture and history of Augsburg. It also gives a glimpse of the rural Bavarian Swabia culture and other religious collections.
The artifacts and religious pieces show the turbulent past of the Jewish community of Augsburg and Swabia. The exhibitions include objects that were common in rituals in the 17th and 20th centuries. These artifacts represent the intermingling of the Christian and Jewish cultures.
15. St. Anne’s Church
St. Anne’s Church is a medieval church originally part of a monastery built in the 14th century. In the 15th century, the church was part of a critical moment of Reformation. Martin Luther visited the church and stayed there when he came to Augsburg to see the papal legate.
In 1545, the church turned Lutheran. Almost 200 years after that, it got a transformation by Johann Georg Bergmuller. The ceilings in the church are done in Baroque and Rococo styles.
In 1509, the Fuggers started the Fuggers chapel, which still stands as one of the first Renaissance architecture done in Germany.
You can enjoy the exquisite interiors, stained glass, choir stalls, and the tomb of Jacob Fugger.
14. Kuhsee lake
If you want a day out amid nature, then the Kuhsee will be the perfect spot to have a simple picnic and soak in the sun. The Kuhsee lake in Augsburg is a quiet and great place for swimming and rowing, just like many other family-friendly lakes in Germany!
There are play parks for kids, restaurants, snack bars, and public toilets.
13. Perlach Tower (Perlachturm)
Right across the Town Hall is the Perlachturm, a 70-meter tall watchtower built in the 10th century to save the city from intruders. If you are ready to climb the 261 stairs that lead to its deck, you would be able to enjoy a beautiful view of the city. The Perlachturm is a part of the St. Peter church and is used as a viewing platform.
The tower was an important monument for reading out official announcements to its citizens for centuries. Even today, it has become the focal point of festivals and celebrations when citizens rejoice.
12. Augsburg Textile and Industry Museum
A visit to the Augsburg Textile and Industry Museum is a must for those who want to learn about the city’s rich industrial past. The museum lies in an old spinning mill and gives a fantastic overview of the 19th-century primary industry in Augsburg. It was built in 1836 and was in operation until 2004.
Some highlights of this textile museum are the massive collections of textiles which range from the 18th to 20th centuries. It can also be an excellent place for kids to learn about the manufacturing of fabrics as they show the entire process up close.
A guided tour of the museum will help you to know about every specific feature of the place. And in case you get hungry at the end of the tour, enjoy a delicious meal at the on-site restaurant that comes with a lovely outdoor patio.
11. Maximilian Museum
To know more about the art and culture of this city, you can visit the Maximilian Museum. It is housed in a 16th-century stately building and has an extensive collection of artwork. Some of these works include sculptures, gold, and silverwork of local artisans and artifacts that show the rich history of Augsburg.
The Weberhaus or the Weavers’ House is right in the center of Augsburg. Earlier it was a Guild House of the weavers. Augsburg put this historic building on auction in 1863 but rebought it in the 20th century and then remodeled it. Even after many restorations done on the building, it still stands as the most famous landmark in Augsburg.
9. Basilica of St. Ulrich and St. Afra
The 16th-century Basilica of St. Ulrich and St. Anne is an old Benedictine structure. Initially, it was an independent enclave within the city.
Along with the beautiful St. Ulrich’s church built in 1458, it combines to become an architectural feast for visitors’ eyes.
The most noticeable feature is that the abbey’s architecture portrays Baroque and Renaissance styles. And it also has Gothic designs from the 15th century, including décor and furnishing.
As you travel through a 93.5-meter nave, you will be able to see the intricate star vaults and patterns. The church also houses the tombs of Anne, Ulrich, and Simpert, who were former Bishops of the city.
8. Augsburg Railway Park
The Augsburg Railway is a popular destination for those who love railways and steam trains, just as the Deutsche Bahn Museum in Koblenz. You can freely wander around the railway park with around 29 diesel, steam, and even electronic locomotives from all around Europe.
If you are lucky enough, you may also be able to go on their unique railway excursion, where a few locos head out for tours. An exciting feature is the century-old giant turntable that moves the locomotives in and out.
The park also hosts events based on themes of the places where a locomotive belongs and regular Jazz concerts.
7. Augsburg Cathedral (Dom Mariä Heimsuchung)
One of the top tourist attractions is Augsburg Dom St. Maria, founded in the 11th century. This majestic German catholic church has Romanesque elements that date back to the 1000s, but it also influences late 14th-century Gothic styles.
The cathedral itself is unique in entire Europe as it doesn’t have a proper façade and twin choirs.
The large bronze door of the cathedral is eye-catching as it depicts 35 scenes from the Old Testament. At present, the door is located at the Diocesan Museum of the cathedral.
Some notable highlights of the cathedral are the five stained glass windows with figures from 1100 AD, the Bishop’s Throne, the four side altars, and a 10th-century crypt.
6. Botanical Garden
The Augsburg Botanical garden or Botanisher Garten Augsburg began as a nursery in 1930s. And now, it is a 10-hectare area that encompasses flora from all around the world.
The garden has around 3100 species of flora that includes grasses, perennials, or wild herbs. Some 1200 species grow in greenhouses as they are tropical or sub-tropical.
A few highlights of this botanical garden are the themed gardens, a rose garden with hundreds of roses, a Japanese Garden, and a medicinal herb garden.
It is a haven for all plant lovers. The perfect time of the year to visit would be from February to March when the butterflies hatch and fill up the greenhouses.
The Schäzlerpalais was the former home of famous German banker Benedikt Adam Liebert in the 18th century. This Rococo mansion is a treasure on its own because of its exquisite architecture and interiors.
The mansion is known for its exquisite Baroque ballroom, which dates back to 1765, and now it’s under the State Gallery and German Baroque gallery. The gallery has an extensive collection of art pieces by 18th-century artists such as Georg Philipp Rugendas, Johann Heinrich Schonfeld. The famous Hercules Fountain can be seen in front of the palace.
The Glaspalast is another marvelous gallery which is in a modern building. It is home to the Walter Art Museum, which has around 600 pieces of art pieces.
4. Augsburger Puppentheatermuseum
If you are looking for a unique experience for your kids, the Puppet Theater is the perfect place in Augsburg. The Augsburger Puppenkiste is an entire museum that is dedicated to the art of puppetry. Ever since its opening in 1948, it has been showcasing various displays that include marionettes and puppets.
To make visitors understand the art of puppetry, they also have a workshop that shows the entire process as to how these puppets are made.
The Theater was in the limelight in the 20th century when a regular television series showed the historic puppets and sets to enact contemporary children’s books and fairytales.
Some famous puppet characters loved by Germans on display are Urmel, Lukas der Lokomotivführer, Kater Mikesch, Jim Knopf.
3. Augsburg Town Hall
Right at the city center is the Augsburg Town Hall, which is also known as Augsburger Rathaus. After the completion of this spectacular building in 1624, it became famous for its exhibits which give a glimpse of the rich culture of Augsburg.
The Town Hall is an outstanding monument that represents German Renaissance Architecture. The hall has a 14-meter high ceiling richly decorated with beautiful golden walls to complete the décor. The significant part of the town hall that will mesmerize you is the Lower Feltz or the ground floor full of exhibits that show the city’s rich past.
2. Zoo Augsburg
Since the 8th Century, Augsburg is known for having exotic animals since Charlemagne brought his pet Asian elephant.
And 1300 years later, Augsburg Zoo is almost 80 years old. It is home to 2000 animals that belong to 300 different species. The zoo is spread across a 55-acre site that houses animals like elephants, lions, meerkats, zebras, and many more.
A visit to the Augsburg Zoo is a must-have experience if you are traveling with kids. It is fun to walk through the shady walkways leading to the ponds, meadows, and enclosures. An on-site restaurant and adventure park are some of the extra perks that you can enjoy at the zoo.
Tickets: Children €7, adults €13
The Fuggerei is the number one thing to do in Augsburg according to tourists.
It’s a beautiful housing complex that you can explore on foot. It is the oldest housing complex in the world and was started by Jacob Fugger in 1521. It was initially meant to be a housing society for the more impoverished Catholics.
As you enter through any of the four picturesque gates, you will be able to see beautiful homes that are centuries old. With 67 buildings and around 142 residences, the Fuggerei has stood the test of time.
The occupants of this society pay a rent of only one Rhenish Guilder, but they have to abide by the community’s rules, such as a daily prayer and locking of gates at 22:00 every night.
Apart from the beautiful houses, the Fuggerei also has an excellent museum, a WWII bunker, a catholic church, and the Fugger Palace.