Trier, Germany is SO amazing because of its Roman ruins, friendly people and cosmopolitan atmosphere. My friend Jenny and I took a week to travel by train around the western part of Germany. We started in the Rhineland-Palatinate town of Mainz, went up to Koblenz and then back to Trier—close to Luxembourg, France and Belgium.
Historic Highlights of Germany provided us with the tools to explore small historic cities in Germany, and in Trier, they provided a knowledgeable English speaking guide that helped us see the town through its long and colorful history.
We’ve put together some of our favorite things we did, listed below. And please add your favorite things to do in Trier in the comments section!
1. Take a guided tour with Historic Highlights of Germany and see the famous Porta Nigra, an immense black Roman wall that survived the WWII bombs. Don’t miss the ancient Roman Baths. Trier is the oldest city in Germany, founded in 17 BC by Augustus, and it has eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Trier is known as the “Rome of the North” because of its number of important well-preserved Roman buildings and because of its significance to the Romans. While I was there, an excavation was underway. Apparently they find ancient ruins so often, that they uncover them, take notes and sometimes cover them back up to make room for new buildings.
2. Have lunch or dinner at Weinstube Kesselstatt. Enjoy the cuisine and the fantastic wines that all come from the surrounding area. The Mosel and Rhine rivers are the wine-producing areas in Germany and visiting a wine bar that serves the local cuisine is a must. We loved their sparkling Riesling Brut 2011 Majorat Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt.
Our guide Patricia told us that the vintners produce the sparkling wine in the exact same way that champagne producers do in France. The regional platter of local cheeses, olives and family-farmed cured meats was a special introduction to the type of foods favored by western Germans. I had to try the herring in cream sauce because of my German and Danish ancestry and because it’s not something found in my neighborhood. It was interesting!
- Hotel Weis, Eitelsbacher Str. 4, 54318 Mertesdorf (about 10 km from Trier)
- Winery Willems-Willems, Mühlenstraße 13, 54329 Konz (about 8 km from Trier)
- Winery Stephan Kohl, Brückenstr. 1, 54347 Neumagen-Dhron (about 35 km from Trier)
4. See the immense Trier Cathedral or Dom St. Peter, the oldest cathedral in Germany that happens to be right across from Weinstube Kesselstatt. Spend time with a guide or alone in the sacred and sublime Dom and the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)—both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
5. Visit the Karl Marx House—his birthplace and now a museum about his life as a vintner’s son in Trier, his life in Paris and Brussels, and the road that led him to his way of thinking.
6. See the markets in the spring, summer and fall—or the exquisite Christmas Market held during December in the Church Market Square. The Farmers Markets are where Germans like to socialize and do their shopping. In December, a little coffee shop called Christi’s sells the best gluhwein—proven by the congregation of people having a party right outside on the stone walkway. Hang out with the locals and enjoy the street party.
7. Stay at the Hotel Deutscher Hof, a family-run small hotel close to everywhere in Trier. The owners are hands-on, making it feel like visiting a distant relative. They have snacks in the lobby at tea time, wonderful breakfasts and a very impressive sauna, steam room and adjacent relaxation room with an indoor fireplace and outdoor balconies.
8. Have dinner at one of the wonderful downtown restaurants in old Trier. We picked Oechsle for wines by the glass from a selection of 120 local wines! It is a seafood restaurant with a fish market. You can pick out the fish, talk to the fish monger about where the fish was caught, decide on how you want it prepared and will be brought to your table.
9. Wander in the City Museum Simeonstift, which is at the entrance of Porta Negra and the abundant Roman Archeological Museum.
We reluctantly left Trier, via DB train, heading to our next destination (Osnabrück) and vowed to come back real soon. City guides can be booked on the Historic Highlights of Germany homepage, or through the town’s tourist offices. The guides are so worth it and cost only 6 Euros. Booking in advance is recommended as is traveling “off season. You can also check out Historic Highlight’s of Germany’s Facebook page.
For more on Historic Highlights of Germany, visit their site here or ToEurope.com.