It is impossible not to fall in love with Freiburg. Maybe it’s the curving cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, and beautiful cathedral. Or maybe it’s the city’s progressive mindset—Freiburg shows a remarkable commitment to the environment and the development of sustainable technologies. Either way, we invite you to study abroad in Freiburg and discover all there is to love about this enchanting university town.
Freiburg im Breisgau, located in southwestern Germany near the French and Swiss borders, is a lively, picturesque university city renowned for its heritage of learning, distinctive medieval architecture, varied cultural life, and the natural beauty of the countryside. Inside the 13th century city gates, the famous Gothic Freiburger Münster (cathedral) dominates the city center. Bächle, the small streams used during the Middle Ages for cleaning and extinguishing fires, still flow alongside the narrow streets.
Freiburg exudes a friendly provincial charm with its many reminders of a rich past as a flourishing medieval city, but in an unhurried way Freiburg is also a modern, cosmopolitan, future-oriented university city. It is small enough that almost everything is within walking distance, yet large enough to offer a rich cultural life.
Modern Freiburg is a young city; students comprise one-sixth of the population of around 215,000. This, together with its proximity to the French and Swiss borders, makes for a tolerant, easy-going, open-minded, and very liberal attitude towards foreigners. Freiburg is also known as the environmental capital of Germany. Its public transportation system, many environmental research institutions, and architecture and the high proportion of Green Party voters have earned it this reputation. Since 2002, Freiburg has become one of the few cities in Germany with a Green Party Mayor (Oberbürgermeister), who was actually an IES Abroad tutor in the ‘80s!
Freiburg statistically has the most sunshine of all German cities. This agreeable climate, combined with the natural beauty of the Black Forest and Upper Rhine Valley, makes Freiburg's location ideal for easy access to excellent hiking and winter skiing.
An entire day can be devoted to exploring Schlossberg. Originally a French fortress, Schlossberg today is a serene and beautiful area to climb, relax, eat, or drink in the famous beer garden. The Schlossberg tower was built in 1997, and allows for beautiful views 1300 feet above the city.
"My favorite Landmark in Freiburg would have to be the Schlossberg. From that hill you can sit in the most peaceful atmosphere and see the whole city and its beauty." -Lidija G., Elmhurst College
The Münster is a magnificent late Romanesque and Gothic cathedral that rises 116m over the city. Intricate stained glass, hundreds of candles, and a depiction of the Last Supper are just a few of the treasures inside. Climb 335 stairs to the top of the tower to hear and see the historic bells.
"The daily market at the Münster, the cathedral in the middle of town, was a great place to go after classes to just walk around and enjoy. There were always so many fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables to see and buy, as well as people watching!" -Amanda C., Susquehanna University
Expanding to the east of Freiburg, the famous Black Forest is home to quaint, fairy-tale villages and a wealth of hiking trails and slopes for winter skiing.
Sustainability and green technology are important parts of Freiburg's culture and have inspired several sustainable communities in the city, including the innovative Vauban neighborhood and the solar estate of Schlierberg.
Located in the former St. Augustine church, the Augustinermuseum holds more art than any other museum in Freiburg. Some of the objects are older than 1000 years. The original statues from the Munster Cathedral are housed in Augustinermuseum.