I’ve officially been in Freiburg, Germany for three months! Since I arrived, I’ve written about mental health and everyday life, about travel and identity and making friends, but I haven’t yet talked about the city itself and all the fun things there are to do here. Posts about Freiburg and pretty much every city already exist out there on the internet. Lonely Planet and Atlas Obscura are my favorite sites, but all you need to do is search “Freiburg” or your city of choice in Google to find the right information. In an effort to gush about Freiburg in a way that hasn’t been done before, I’ve decided to borrow the “because you watched” idea from Netflix and give you some ideas of what to do in Freiburg according to your existing interests.
Because you watched The Great British Bakeoff
If you watched The Great British Bakeoff, you probably have a passion for baking and/or eating delicious breads and desserts. Since tiny dorm suite kitchens and ingredients lists auf Deutsch may make baking difficult, I’ll focus here on places to eat instead. You can find amazing bakeries on pretty much every block, and since you’re in Germany you have to try pretzels, chocolate croissants, and flammkuchen at least once because they’re local favorites. Stefan’s Kasekuchen (cheesecake) is a local favorite, and you can find their food truck at the Münstermarkt. If you’re looking for somewhere to sit with a slice of cake, some coffee, and a good book, then Confiserie Gmeiner is the place to be. It is the epitome of a European dessert shop, with an array of gorgeous cakes and pastries, tall ceilings, and marble top tables.
Bonus: Visit the local Ikea and make everyone jealous by telling them you’ve been to this iconic store in Europe. The kitchen island displays and adorable fake apartment setups will make you feel like you’re standing at your own station in the bakeoff tent, waiting for Paul Hollywood to judge your culinary creations.
Because you watched Stranger Things
Freiburg is a great place to relive your favorite Stranger Things moments. With hundreds of miles of bike lanes, you can ride with your friends to just about anywhere. While you’re out, stop by Little Tibet Vintage, one of many thrift stores where you can stock up on 80’s fashion. From there, a short walk will bring you to Cafe Süßes Leben for bubble waffles with strawberry ice cream, combining Eleven’s favorite breakfast food and ice cream flavor into one delicious package. Freiburg also has lots of old-fashioned barber shops, and while I’ve never seen someone walk out with a mullet, I’m sure they’d give you one if you asked! I’m sorry to say that I don’t know of any demogorgons living in the area, but if you want a fix of spooky, then take a walk in the Alter Friedhof (old cemetery), famous for its artistic headstones and the grave of Caroline Walter, a 16-year-old girl who mysteriously has flowers delivered daily, over 150 years after her death.
Because you watched Grey’s Anatomy
If you love Grey’s Anatomy, then I’m guessing you’re a fan of drama, hospital life, hot doctors, and/or creepy medical stuff. Luckily, Freiburg’s got you covered! For a fix of drama, buy some tickets at a reduced student price for a show at the local Theater Freiburg. They offer weekly dramas such as Macbeth and concerts with the kind of intense music that scores scenes of lifesaving procedures at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. For the hospital cafeteria experience, buy an inexpensive and delicious meal at Mensa Rempartstraße or eat at the Markthalle, a food court with cuisine from all around the world. If you love all the gory medical stuff, then visit the local Uniseum for free. They have some seriously creepy curiosity cabinets and exhibits on the history of medicine. Finally, I cannot guarantee that your doctors in Germany will be good looking, but universal healthcare will ensure some very sexy health coverage in case you end up in the hospital.
Because you watched Squid Game
You’re probably thinking “Where the heck will I find life-threatening children’s games in the Freiburg region?!” I can’t say I’ve heard of any of that around here, but I can offer you some close seconds. If you want to celebrate this popular K-thriller with a good meal, find a friend and take them to Jeju Korean Bistro for some authentic tteokbokki, bibimbap, or jjigae (my favorite). To test your problem-solving skills under pressure, visit one of Freiburg’s many escape rooms. Put your competition skills to the test with a team of friends at the Irish Pub’s trivia night. It’s a local favorite among college students and you don’t need to know German to participate.
Because you watched Gilmore Girls
If I had to sum up the Gilmore Girls vibe in one word, it would be “hygge.” Despite being a Danish word, this term for coziness is also popular in Germany, and Freiburg offers no shortage of opportunities to experience it. Even though it’s technically a city, Freiburg gives off major small-town vibes with its walkability and quaint cobblestone backstreets. If you’re obsessed with books and coffee like Rory, then you’ll love the Bookstore Rombach. It’s huge, with four levels and a sizeable English section. Five Senses Coffee, a personal favorite, has fantastic coffee and free Wi-Fi so you can get your caffeine fix while completing school assignments. The closest thing that Freiburg has to an American diner like Luke’s is Café Extrablatt, which offers a large menu of American favorites to enjoy on the banks of the River Dreisam. For a view of fall foliage and church spires like that in the Gilmore Girls intro sequence, take a hike to the Schlossbergturm, where you can see the entire old city and the Freiburger Münster (cathedral). If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see one of Freiburg’s picturesque snowfalls blanket the old city. The weather forecast here is notoriously unreliable, so you may need to rely on your nose like Lorelai does to know when the first snow of the season is coming.
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Hi there! My name is Isabel Pineo and I am coming to you this semester from Freiburg im Breisgau, a charming city in the Black Forest of sunny southern Germany. The official reason I’m here: to learn about environmental studies in a culture and urban setting known for its emphasis on sustainability. Unofficial reason: to eat amazing food, go on lots of hikes, meet fascinating people both local and foreign, and to focus on putting my physical and mental health first. I guess you could say that I’m searching for answers to the question of what it means to live rightly in the world, for the Earth and for ourselves. Since most of us have been asking that question for a very long time, I’ll be sure to update you on all the answers I find as the semester progresses!