Göttingen, located in the heart of Germany in the state of Lower Saxony and close to Kassel and Harzen, is a vibrant, cultural university town. In fact, many cultural celebrities like Gerhard Schöder and Otto von Bismarck studied in Göttingen and its famous university produced several mathematicians like Gauss and Riemann.
Known for its many festivals and music, the city offers rich history lessons due to the fact that the city was merely affected by the bombings in WW2. The city itself dates back to the 7th century, which makes it among the oldest cities in Germany!
When visiting Göttingen, you’ll find it easy to get around by foot, car, or excellent public transport. It’s also a bike-friendly city and several tourists recommended taking a bike instead, in order to really experience the city in the fresh air.
We spent 4 hours researching what to do in Göttingen and concluded 12 tourist attractions you’ll need to see while visiting the city.
11. Stadtwald Göttingen
Contrary to other major cities, Göttingen offers rich nature, which gives you the option of taking a day off from the many cultural sightseeings in the city.
The City Forest covers a +1,000 hectare area, consisting mainly of beech. There is rich animal life and if you’re lucky, you can spot wild cats, woodpeckers, and foxes!
It’s not just all forest though. Within the forest, you’ll find the Kerstlingeröder Feld, which is an open land area, dating back to the Middle Ages where it was used as farm land.
This attraction is for everyone. There are many different routes and they vary in terrain.
10. Burgruine Hardenberg
Just 30 minutes north of Göttingen in the small town of Nörten-Hadenberg, you’ll find Burgruine Hardenberg, an impressive German castle ruin situated on a hill above the town. It takes 30 minutes to get there by foot, but once you reach the castle, it’s all worth the hike.
Dating back to the early 12-th century, the castle served was home to two lines of the Hardenberg family. Because of a dispute, the castle was devided in two parts where each family lived. It is however still owned by the familiy as of today.
The castle was built to surveil two trade routes. Today, it serves as a favourite excursion among students of the university, and if you got kids, then they should experience the yearly knight-festival.
9. Die Kinderstadt
Got kids? Then we’ve found the perfect place to spend your afternoon!
Enjoy the great indoor playground full of trampolines and climbing walls and slides, and watch your kids have a time of the lifes. They even have mini formula one cars!
Die Kinderstadt covers and area of 3,500 square meters, so you kids should be entertained for a couple of hours. While the explore the playground, you can enjoy a coffee or other refreshments in the restaurant.
8. St. Jacobi Church
Rising above all other buildings in the old part of Göttingen, the gothic church of St. Jacobi has the highest reach.
Built in the late 12th century, the church as three aisles and have been rebuilt several times. Inside the church you’ll find the impressive golden altar built in 1,402
Like most german churches, you can visit St. Jacob which is open daily. If you wish to get a breathtaking view 72 meters above the city, it’s possible to walk the top of the church tower and get a panoramic view of Göttingen.
7. Bismarckturm Göttingen
Built in 1892 to honor Otto von Bismarck, the Bismarckturm is one of several towers built throughout Germany, like the one you’ll find in Hagen.
This tower meassures 31 meters in height and you’ll find it in the forest of Kleperberg.
The tower is accesible during Summer where you can take the stair to the top, and enjoy yet another panoramic view of the city. You can acces the tower from the parking lot, or you can walk one hour from the city center in total.
Its a tourist destination for all ages, and kids would enjoy the challenge of climbing the tower along with the hike through the forest.
6. Badeparadies Eiswiese
Badeparadies means “swimming paradise”, and Badeparadies Eiswiese surely lives up to its name. Just half a mile south of the old city, you can relax in the many swimming pools in the area.
There is something for all age grounds, and toddlers are able to swim in 32 degree luke water with their parents. For older kids, there are water slides and larger pools in “Wasserwelt”, and you shouldn’t miss the Whitewater slide at 71 meters long.
If you’re not with kids, you can relax in the sauna area, visit the midnight sauna, or enjoy a well-deserved meal at the restaurant.
5. St. Johannis Church
When visiting Götting, you’ll notice the distinct twin gothic church towers in the skyline. Those tower belong to the oldest church in Göttingen, St. John’s Church.
The church, standing next to the old town-hall, was built in the 16th century. The two massive tower each served a purpose; the south tower had the main church-bell while the north tower housed the local janitor.
Impressively, the church has survived riots, wars and arsons, and stands today as one of the best things to see in Göttingen.
During summer, you can book a guided tour to the top of the tower.
Care to take stroll in the Göttingen nature? Visit the Kiessee on a sunny afternoon. Today it serves as a break in a busy workday for locals, but tourists can enjoy the lake as well.
Not really a natural lake, it began its life a a gravel mining area. However, a channel was dug from a bi-river in 2003, and forms the lake.
Tourists like the quietness and animal life at the lake, and the many options for kids to play.
3. Altes Rathaus
No trip to Göttingen without visiting the old town-hall. It’s not everyday you get the chance to visit an almost 1,000 year old townhall.
Altes Rathaus served as the center of local trade and the city council would meet to discuss important topics.
Today, you can see exibitions, get married in the medieval Dorntze (wedding room) if you need a beautiful backdrop for you wedding pictures, or just learn something new about the city.
2. Old Botanical Garden of Göttingen University
If nearby forests seem to challeging to reach when you’re wondering what to see in Göttingen in a hurry, the Old Botanical Garden is close. Located in the Old City, this beautiful garden is maintained by the local university and is free to visit.
Established almost 300 years ago, the garden hosts thousands of plant species, and is considered to be among the largest in Germany – which is quite impressive given the fact that all plants was destroyed during the WW2.
Tourists recommend bringning a blanket and make a picnic while being there. And if you don’t have your own food and drinks, visit the Café Botanic in the park for refreshments.
We’ve reached the best thing to do in Göttingen according to tourists, and there is common agreement that you should visit the fountain of Gänseliesel (Goose Girl).
Located in front of the City Hall, Gänseliesel has served as the most important landmark in Göttingen for the last hundred years. The sculpture represents the Goose Girl from the fairytale from Brothers Grimm.
Fun fact: When local students graduated as doctors, it’s tradition to climb the sculpture and kiss the girl on her cheek. That makes her “the most kissed girl in the world”