AACHEN

Germany

Aachen is a historically important city, spa and university centre in North Rhine-Westphalia, situated at the "three lands corner" where the borders of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands meet. Known as Aix-la-Chapelle in French and Aken in Dutch, the city has played a prominent role in early Medieval Europe, when it became the favoured residence of Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor who created the empire in the late 8th and early 9th century and built the city's impressive cathedral, where he is now buried along with a succession of later German rulers, many of whom were also crowned in the city.

Info Aachen

introduction

Aachen is a historically important city, spa and university centre in North Rhine-Westphalia, situated at the "three lands corner" where the borders of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands meet. Known as Aix-la-Chapelle in French and Aken in Dutch, the city has played a prominent role in early Medieval Europe, when it became the favoured residence of Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor who created the empire in the late 8th and early 9th century and built the city's impressive cathedral, where he is now buried along with a succession of later German rulers, many of whom were also crowned in the city.

Apart from its medieval significance and a wealth of preserved artifacts, Aachen is also known for its springs, which have been attracting visitors since the Ancient Roman times and continue to do so today, with a number of historic baths and hotels sprinkled around the city. Contributing to the city's wealth and prominence is also the technical university, which made Aachen a hub for modern technologies and provides a sizeable student population (over 40 000 of the total 250 000 inhabitants). With all this, Aachen is now a multi-cultural, popular tourist destination.

Historically this spa-town was a prominent city, the place where the German Kings were crowned, and a famously favoured residence of Charlemagne who still lies buried in the impressive cathedral he himself had built. The city is packed with historic sights that remind of those days, including medieval buildings, city gates and beautiful fountains.

info
POPULATION : 243,336
FOUNDED : 
TIME ZONE : CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
LANGUAGE : German
RELIGION :
AREA : 160.85 km2 (62.10 sq mi)
ELEVATION :
COORDINATES : 50°47′N 6°5′E
SEX RATIO : Male: 49,08%
 Female: 50,92%
ETHNIC :
AREA CODE : 0241
POSTAL CODE :  52062–52080
DIALING CODE :+49 241
WEBSITE : www.aachen.de

History

Early history

Flint quarries on the Lousberg, Schneeberg, and Königshügel, first used during Neolithic times (3,000–2,500 b.c.), attest to the long occupation of the site of Aachen, as do recent finds under the modern city's Elisengarten pointing to a former settlement from the same period. Bronze Age (ca. 1600 b.c.) settlement is evidenced by the remains of barrows (burial mounds) found, for example, on the Klausberg. During the Iron Age, the area was settled by Celtic peoples who were perhaps drawn by the marshy Aachen basin's hot sulphur springs where they worshiped Grannus, god of light and healing.

Later, the 25-hectare Roman spa resort town of Aquae Granni was, according to legend, founded by Grenus, under Hadrian, in ca. a.d. 124. Instead, the fictitious founder refers to the Celtic god, and it seems it was the Roman 6th Legion at the start of the 1st century that first channelled the hot springs into a spa at Büchel,adding at the end of the same century the Münsterthermespa, two water pipelines, and a likely sanctuary dedicated to Grannus. A kind of forum, surrounded by colonnades, connected the two spa complexes. There was also an extensive residential area, part of it inhabited by a flourishing Jewish community. The Romans built bathhouses near Burtscheid. A temple precinct called Vernenum was built near the modern Kornelimünster/Walheim. Today, remains have been found of three bathhouses, including two fountains in the Elisenbrunnen and the Burtscheid bathhouse.

Roman civil administration fell apart in Aachen between the end of the 4th and beginning of the 5th centuries. Rome withdrew its troops from the area but the town remained populated. By 470, the town came to be ruled by the Ripuarian Franks and subordinated to their capital, Cologne.


Middle Ages

After Roman times, Pepin the Short had a castle residence built in the town, due to the proximity of the hot springs and also for strategic reasons as it is located between the Rhineland and northern France. Einhard mentions that in 765–6 Pepin spent both Christmas and Easter at Aquis villa ("Et celebravit natalem Domini in Aquis villa et pascha similiter."), which must have been sufficiently equipped to support the royal household for several months. In the year of his coronation as King of the Franks, 768, Charlemagne came to spend Christmas at Aachen for the first time. He went on to remain there in a mansion which he may have extended, although there is no source attesting to any significant building activity at Aachen in his time, apart from the building of the Palatine Chapel in Aachen (since 1929, cathedral) and the palatial presentation halls. Charlemagne spent most winters in Aachen between 792 and his death in 814. Aachen became the focus of his court and the political centre of his empire. After his death, the king was buried in the church which he had built; his original tomb has been lost, while his alleged remains are preserved in the shrine where he was reburied after being declared a saint; his saintliness, however, was never very widely acknowledged outside.

In 936, Otto I was crowned king of East Francia in the collegiate church built by Charlemagne. While Otto II ruled, the nobles revolted and the West Franks, under Lothair, raided Aachen in the ensuing confusion. Aachen was attacked again, this time by Odo of Champagne who attacked the imperial palace while Conrad was absent. Odo relinquished it quickly and was killed soon thereafter. The palace and town of Aachen received fortifying walls by order of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa between 1172 and 1176.[17] Over the next 500 years, most kings of Germany destined to reign over the Holy Roman Empirewere crowned in Aachen. The original audience hall built by Charlemagne was torn down and replaced by the current city hall in 1330.The last king to be crowned here was Ferdinand I in 1531.During the Middle Ages, Aachen remained a city of regional importance, due to its proximity to Flanders, achieving a modest position in the trade in woollen cloths, favoured by imperial privilege. The city remained a free imperial city, subject to the emperor only, but was politically far too weak to influence the policies of any of its neighbours. The only dominion it had was over Burtscheid, a neighbouring territory ruled by a Benedictine abbess. It was forced to accept that all of its traffic must pass through the "Aachener Reich". Even in the late 18th century the Abbess of Burtscheid was prevented from building a road linking her territory to the neighbouring estates of the duke of Jülich; the city of Aachen even deployed its handful of soldiers to chase away the road-diggers.

As an imperial city, Aachen held certain political advantages that allowed it to remain independent of the troubles of Europe for many years. It remained a direct vassal of the Holy Roman Empire throughout most of the Middle Ages. It also was the site of many important church councils. These included the Council of 837,and the Council of 1166, a council convened by the antipope Paschal III.


16th through 18th centuries

In 1598, following the invasion of Spanish troops from the Netherlands, Rudolf deposed all Protestant office holders in Aachen and even went as far as expelling them from the city. From the early 16th century, Aachen started losing its power and influence. It started with the crowning of emperors occurring not in Aachen but in Frankfurt, followed by the religious wars, and the great fire of 1656. After the destruction of most of the city in 1656, the majority of the rebuilding utilised the Baroque style. It then culminated in 1794, when the French, led by General Charles Dumouriez, occupied Aachen.

Aachen became attractive as a spa by the middle of the 17th century, not so much because of the effects of the hot springs on the health of its visitors but because Aachen was then – and remained well into the 19th century – a place of high-level prostitution in Europe. Traces of this hidden agenda of the city's history is found in the 18th-century guidebooks to Aachen as well as to the other spas; the main indication for visiting patients, ironically, was syphilis; only by the end of the 19th century had rheumatism become the most important object of cures at Aachen and Burtscheid. Aachen was chosen as the site of several important congresses and peace treaties: the first congress of Aachen (often referred to as the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in English) on 2 May 1668, leading to the First Treaty of Aachen in the same year which ended the War of Devolution. The second congress ended with the second treaty in 1748, ending the War of the Austrian Succession.In 1789, there was a constitutional crisis within the Aachen government, and in 1794 Aachen lost its status as a free imperial city.


19th century

On 9 February 1801, the Peace of Lunéville removed the ownership of Aachen and the entire "left bank" of the Rhine from Germany and granted it to France. In 1815, control of the town was passed to Prussia, by an act that was passed by the Congress of Vienna. The third congress took place in 1818 to decide the fate of occupied Napoleonic France.

By the middle of the 19th century, industrialisation swept away most of the city's medieval rules of production and commerce, although the entirely corrupt remains of the city's medieval constitution were kept in place (compare the famous remarks of Georg Forster in his Ansichten vom Niederrhein) until 1801, when Aachen became the "chef-lieu du département de la Roer" in Napoleon's First French Empire. In 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars, the Kingdom of Prussiatook over and the city became one of its most socially and politically backward centres until the end of the 19th century. Administered within the Rhine Province, by 1880 the population was 80,000. Starting in 1838, the railway from Cologne to Belgium passed through Aachen.The city suffered extreme overcrowding and deplorable sanitary conditions up to 1875 when the medieval fortifications were finally abandoned as a limit to building operations and new, less miserable quarters were built in the eastern part of the city, where drainage of waste liquids was easiest. In December 1880, the Aachen tramway network was opened, and in 1895 it was electrified. In the 19th century and up to the 1930s, the city was important for the production of railway locomotives and carriages, iron, pins, needles, buttons, tobacco, woollen goods, and silk goods.


20th century

After World War I, Aachen was occupied by the Allies until 1930. Aachen was one of the locations involved in the ill-fated Rhenish Republic. On 21 October 1923 an armed band took over city hall. Similar actions took place in Mönchen-Gladbach, Duisburg, and Krefeld. This republic lasted only about a year. Aachen was heavily damaged during World War II. The city and its fortified surroundings were laid siege to from 12 September–21 October 1944 by the US 1st Infantry Division with the 3rd Armored Division assisting from the south. Around 13 October the US 2nd Armored Division played their part, coming from the north and getting as close as Würselen, while the 30th Infantry Division played a crucial role in completing the encirclement of Aachen on 16 October 1944. With reinforcements from the US 28th Infantry Division the Battle of Aachen then continued involving direct assaults through the heavily defended city, which finally forced the German garrison to surrender on 21 October 1944. Aachen was the first German city to be captured by the Allies, and its residents welcomed the soldiers as liberators. The city was destroyed partially – and in some parts completely – during the fighting, mostly by American artillery fire and demolitions carried out by the Waffen-SS defenders. Damaged buildings included the medieval churches of St. Foillan, St. Paul and St. Nicholas, and the Rathaus (city hall), although Aachen Cathedral was largely unscathed. Only 4,000 inhabitants remained in the city; the rest had followed evacuation orders. Its first Allied-appointed mayor, Franz Oppenhoff, was assassinated by an SS commando unit.


History of Aachen Jews

During the Roman period, Aachen was the site of a flourishing Jewish community. Later, during the Carolingian empire, a Jewish community was found near the royal palace. In 802, a Jew named Isaac accompanied the ambassador of Charlemagne to Harun al-Rashid. During the 13th century, many Jews converted to Christianity, as shown in the records of the Church of St. Mary. In 1486, the Jews of Aachen offered gifts to Maximilian I during his coronation ceremony. In 1629, the Aachen Jewish community was expelled from the city. In 1667, six Jews were allowed to return. Most of the Aachen Jews settled in the nearby town of Burtscheid. On 16 May 1815, the Jewish community of the city offered an homage in its synagogue to the Prussian king,Friedrich Wilhelm III. A Jewish cemetery was acquired in 1851. 1,345 Jews lived in the city in 1933. The synagogue was destroyed during Kristallnacht in 1938. In 1939, after emigration and arrests, 782 Jews remained in the city. After World War II, only 62 Jews lived there. In 2003, 1,434 Jews were living in Aachen. In Jewish texts, the city of Aachen was called Aish, or Ash (אש).


21st century

The city of Aachen has developed into a technology hub as a by-product of hosting one of the leading universities of technology in Germany with the RWTH Aachen (Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule), known especially for mechanical engineering, automotive and manufacturing technology as well as for its research and academic hospital Klinikum Aachen, one of the largest medical facilities in Europe.

Climate

As the westernmost city in Germany (and close to the Low Countries), Aachen and the surrounding area belongs to a temperate climate zone, with humid weather, mild winters, and warm summers. Because of its location north of the Eifel and the High Fens and its subsequent prevailing westerly weather patterns, rainfall in Aachen (on average 805 mm/year) is comparatively higher than, for example, Bonn (with 669 mm/year). Another factor in the local weather forces of Aachen is the occurrence of Foehn winds on the southerly air currents, which results from the city's geographic location on the northern edge of the Eifel.

Because the city is surrounded by hills, it suffers from inversion-related smog. Some areas of the city have become urban heat islands as a result of poor heat exchange, both because of the area's natural geography, as well as from human activity. The city's numerous cold air corridors, which are slated to remain as free as possible from new construction, therefore play an important role in the urban climate of Aachen.

The January average is 3.0 °C (37 °F), while the July average is 18.5 °C (65 °F). Precipitation is almost evenly spread throughout the year.

Climate data for Aachen

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)16.2
(61.2)
20.2
(68.4)
23.1
(73.6)
28.7
(83.7)
32.8
(91)
34.5
(94.1)
36.7
(98.1)
36.8
(98.2)
32.2
(90)
26.9
(80.4)
22.1
(71.8)
16.8
(62.2)
36.8
(98.2)
Average high °C (°F)5.4
(41.7)
6.2
(43.2)
10.1
(50.2)
14.1
(57.4)
18.2
(64.8)
20.8
(69.4)
23.3
(73.9)
23.0
(73.4)
19.2
(66.6)
14.8
(58.6)
9.3
(48.7)
5.9
(42.6)
14.2
(57.6)
Daily mean °C (°F)3.0
(37.4)
3.2
(37.8)
6.4
(43.5)
9.5
(49.1)
13.6
(56.5)
16.2
(61.2)
18.5
(65.3)
18.0
(64.4)
14.6
(58.3)
11.0
(51.8)
6.6
(43.9)
3.7
(38.7)
10.4
(50.7)
Average low °C (°F)0.7
(33.3)
0.6
(33.1)
3.2
(37.8)
5.5
(41.9)
9.2
(48.6)
11.8
(53.2)
14.1
(57.4)
13.9
(57)
11.2
(52.2)
7.9
(46.2)
4.3
(39.7)
1.5
(34.7)
7.0
(44.6)
Record low °C (°F)−16.4
(2.5)
−15.8
(3.6)
−9.9
(14.2)
−4.7
(23.5)
0.4
(32.7)
3.9
(39)
5.8
(42.4)
6.7
(44.1)
3.8
(38.8)
−3.7
(25.3)
−7.6
(18.3)
−14.3
(6.3)
−16.4
(2.5)
              
Source: Data derived from Deutscher Wetterdienst

Geography

Aachen is located in the middle of the Meuse–Rhine Euroregion, close to the border tripoint of Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. The city of Heerlen in the Netherlands lies nearby, as does Eupen, the capital of Belgium's German-speaking Community, both located about 20 km (12.4 mi) from Aachen's city centre. Aachen lies near the head of the open valley of the River Wurm (which today flows through the city in canalised form), part of the larger basin of theRiver Meuse, and about 30 km (19 mi) north of the High Fens, which form the northern edge of the Eifel uplands of the Rhenish Massif.

The maximum dimensions of the city's territory are 21.6 km (13.4 mi) from north to south, and 17.2 km (10.7 mi) from east to west. The city limits are 87.7 km (54.5 mi) long, of which 23.8 km (14.8 mi) border Belgium and 21.8 km (13.5 mi) the Netherlands. The highest point in Aachen, located in the far southeast of the city, lies at an elevation of 410 m above sea level. The lowest point, in the north, and on the border with the Netherlands, is at 125 m.

Economy

There have been a number of spin-offs from the university's IT technology department.

Aachen is the administrative centre for the coal-mining industries in neighbouring places to the northeast.

Products manufactured in Aachen include electrical goods, textiles, foodstuffs (chocolate and candy), glass, machinery, rubber products, furniture, metal products. Also in and around Aachen is the production of chemicals, plastics, cosmetics, and needles and pins. Though once a major player in Aachen's economy, today glassware and textile production make up only 10% of total manufacturing jobs in the city.

Subdivisions

The city is divided into seven administrative districts, or boroughs, each with its own district council, district leader, and district authority. The councils are elected locally by those who live within the district, and these districts are further subdivided into smaller sections for statistical purposes, with each sub-district named by a two-digit number.

The districts of Aachen, including their constituent statistical districts, are:

  • Aachen-Mitte: 10 Markt, 13 Theater, 14 Lindenplatz, 15 St. Jakob, 16 Westpark, 17 Hanbruch, 18 Hörn, 21 Ponttor, 22 Hansemannplatz, 23Soers, 24 Jülicher Straße, 25 Kalkofen, 31 Kaiserplatz, 32 Adalbertsteinweg, 33 Panneschopp, 34 Rothe Erde, 35 Trierer Straße, 36 Frankenberg, 37Forst, 41 Beverau, 42 Burtscheid Kurgarten, 43 Burtscheid Abbey, 46 Burtscheid Steinebrück, 47 Marschiertor, 48 Hangeweiher
  • Brand: 51 Brand
  • Eilendorf: 52 Eilendorf
  • Haaren: 53 Haaren (including Verlautenheide)
  • Kornelimünster/Walheim: 61 Kornelimünster, 62 Oberforstbach, 63 Walheim
  • Laurensberg: 64 Vaalserquartier, 65 Laurensberg
  • Richterich: 88 Richterich

Regardless of official statistical designations, there are 50 neighbourhoods and communities within Aachen, here arranged by district:

  • Aachen-Mitte: Beverau, Bildchen, Burtscheid, Forst, Frankenberg, Grüne Eiche, Hörn, Lintert, Pontviertel, Preuswald, Ronheide, Rosviertel, Rothe Erde, Stadtmitte, Steinebrück, West
  • Brand: Brand, Eich, Freund, Hitfeld, Niederforstbach
  • Eilendorf: Eilendorf, Nirm
  • Haaren: Haaren, Hüls, Verlautenheide
  • Kornelimünster/Walheim: Friesenrath, Hahn, Kitzenhaus, Kornelimünster,Krauthausen, Lichtenbusch, Nütheim, Oberforstbach, Sief, Schleckheim, Schmithof, Walheim
  • Laurensberg: Gut Kullen, Kronenberg, Laurensberg, Lemiers, Melaten,Orsbach, Seffent, Soers, Steppenberg, Vaalserquartier, Vetschau
  • Richterich: Horbach, Huf, Richterich

Internet, Comunication
  • Post OfficeKapuzinergraben 19, 52062 (When on Kapuzinergraben, go through the entrance to Kapuziner Karree. You'll see the Post Office on your right.). Monday-Friday: 09:00-18:00; Saturday: 09:00-14:00; Sunday: Closed. This is probably the most convenient Post Office for tourists as it's located in the city centre. The service is operated by Deutsche Post.

Prices in Aachen

PRICES LIST - USD

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€0,65
Tomatoes1 kg€2,40
Cheese0.5 kg€4,00
Apples1 kg€1.85
Oranges1 kg€1.75
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€0.90
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€7.00
Coca-Cola2 liters
Bread1 piece
Water1.5 l€0.60

PRICES LIST - USD

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€20.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€35.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€6.50
Water0.33 l€1.60
Cappuccino1 cup€2.25
Beer (Imported)0.33 l
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€3.00
Coca-Cola0.33 l€2.15
Coctail drink1 drink

PRICES LIST - USD

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€16.00
Gym1 month
Men’s Haircut1 haircut
Theatar2 tickets
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.11
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€5.00

PRICES LIST - USD

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack
Tampons32 pieces
Deodorant50 ml.
Shampoo400 ml.
Toilet paper4 rolls
Toothpaste1 tube

PRICES LIST - USD

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1
Leather shoes1

PRICES LIST - USD

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.30
TaxiStart€3.00
Taxi1 km
Local Transport1 ticket€2.60

Tourist (Backpacker)  

53 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

189 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Aachen shares its own airport with Maastricht, but Maastricht-Aachen airport (located some 40 km outside the city centre, in the Netherlands) is connected to only a limited number of international destinations and served by budget carriers. There's an Airport Express shuttle which runs regularly to and from the main Aachen bus station. It's called Gilbacher AirportXpress and leaves from platform 4. Tickets can only be purchased from the driver and costs €10. There are no trains between Aachen and the airport.

The nearest large airports are Düsseldorf (IATA: DUS) and Cologne-Bonn (IATA: CGN). Both airports can be reached by train, via the Düsseldorf and Cologne central stations respectively. Other small airports within reasonable distance are Weeze (IATA: NRN, trains) and "Brussels" South Charleroi Airport (IATA: CRL, trains). Also Liège (Lüttich) airport in Belgium is around 45min car journey away. Antwerp airport, also in Belgium, requires a 90 minute car ride. Finally, Eindhoven airport in the Netherlands is at 1 hour car ride distance. Probably Aachen is quite unique in having a total of 8 airports in 3 countries within 140 km.

If for some reason none of the nearby airports are feasible or affordable, the airport in Frankfurt (IATA: FRA), Germany's main hub, has a direct ICE connection and offers a number of trains to Aachen with one interchange or less. For some airports the rail&fly programme the German railways offer together with several airlines might be an option. For more on that see rail air alliances.

Transportation - Get In

By Train


From France and Belgium

Both Thalys and ICE-Trains connect Aachen Hauptbahnhof with Liège and Brussels with Thalys trains continuing to Paris. There are also local trains from Liège every two hours.


From elsewhere in Germany

Local trains (Regionalexpress) from Cologne and Düsseldorf run every half hour and take around 55 minutes from Cologne, 85 to 110 minutes from Düsseldorf. Ten times per day, high speed trains go from Cologne to Brussels via Aachen (around 35 minutes), either Inter City Express (coming from Frankfurt) or Thalys (continuing to Paris).

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

eurolines travel to and from Aachen. There are direct journeys to London (approximately 10 hours), Brussels (3 hours), Paris (6.5 hours) and Prague (11.5 hours), among others. Coaches depart from Wilmersdorfer Straße, on the outskirts of the city. The selection of domestic routes is surprisingly less extensive, although Aachen is not far from Cologne, which is served by many more routes.

Transportation - Get In

By Car

Being on major routes from the Netherlands and Belgium to Germany, easily reachable via the A4 and A44.

Parking in the town centre costs around €2 per hour. There is also park and ride available around the outskirts of the town.

If you don't have your own vehicle, car-sharing is a possibility. Car-sharing is very common in Germany, but you should of course be cautious when booking a trip nonetheless. blablacar.de and mitfahrgelegenheit.de are good resources for finding rides to Aachen, although you're less likely to be successful if you're looking to book far in advance. Payment is expected.


From The Netherlands

  • Bus line 50 from Maastricht serves Aachen every 15 minutes and passes through Margraten and Vaals. Bus line 44 runs between Heerlen and Aachen (45 min, €3.95) For €8 you can buy a ticket, which allows all-day travel on South Limburg bus routes, including those to local cities such as Heerlen, and selected train routes. It is 1 h 15 min from Maastricht. See Veolia Transport for timetables (Regio: Limburg).
  • From Heerlen there's also a direct train connection.
  • By car, you can just drive in via Vaals or take the highway. The A76 connects to the German A4. Take exit 2 to Aachen/Laurensberg.


Transportation - Get Around

  • ASEAG Customer-CentreSchumacherstraße 14, 52062. Monday-Friday: 07:30-18:00; Saturday: 08:30-14:00; Sunday: Closed. On arrival in Aachen, it may be worth visiting the ASEAG Customer-Centre (ASEAG operate the city's bus system) opposite the bus station. Here, you can pick up timetables for all bus routes run by the company and you can of course speak to an adviser as well. There are no timetables available for services run by Veolia, such as the number 50 to Maastricht, or for bus services run by Deutsche Bahn, such as the number 66 to Monschau.
  • By train: Whilst Aachen does not have an U-Bahn or S-Bahn network like many other large German cities, it is still possible to travel through the city by train. The euregio-Bahn is a local line that stops at the stations Aachen West (not far from RWTH Aachen University), Aachen-Schanz, Aachen Hauptbahnhof (the most convenient for the city centre) and Aachen-Rothe Erde. A single ticket for a journey within the city is €2.55; ticket machines are available at all stations.

The old town is best explored on foot and orientation signs can be found all around. Aachen at a whole is a fairly large city. A car can come in handy but parking can get expensive, especially in the center of town. Fortunately, Aachen has an excellent city bus system, operated by ASEAG, including a few night bus lines. You can get tickets from the bus driver. You can rent a bike at the "fahrrad station", in the central train station. Although it is not the most biker-friendly town in Germany, there are a number of bike routes and getting around on bike is increasingly popular. Taxis are readily available on the train stations but also on streets.

Hotels

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Hotels

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Shopping

German opening hours have a lessened effect in Aachen, as just across the border in the Netherlands, all shops are open in the small town of Vaals, which can be reached by bus lines 25, 33, 35 and 50.

  • Aachen Christmas Market (Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt) (Located in the city centre. Parking nearby can be an issue some days, so it may be wise to make use of the Park & Ride system organised especially for the market. See the website for more information.), e-mail: . 11:00 – 21:00 daily. From late November until 23 December, Aachen's Christmas market takes over Katschhof, Münsterplatz and the market square. Traders offer a wide variety of gift ideas, such as cosmetics, jewellery and ceramics, and there are plenty of opportunities to eat and drink your fill - a trip here wouldn't be complete without a glass of Glühwein! If you need a break, take in a performance at the rear of the town hall (see the website for a detailed programme). The market looks particularly spectacular when lit up at night, set against the magnificent cathedral and town hall. Free entry.
  • Adalbertstraße. Multiple shops and cafes in one of Aachen's pedestrian zone shopping areas.
  • Krämerstraße and Market. Small shops in a very touristic area.
  • Großkölnstraße. The second big pedestrian zone shopping area in Aachen, where you´ll find clothing and more.
  • Jakobstraße. Smaller shops and boutiques.
  • Lindt Factory Outlet (Lindt Werksverkauf), Süsterfeldstraße 130, 52072.Monday-Friday: 09:00 - 18:00; Saturday: 09:00 - 16:00. Stocks a wide range of Lindt chocolate products, at low prices, which have been produced in the neighbouring factory.
  • Labertz Factory shopRitterstraße 9. gingerbread and biscuits

Aachener Printen are a type of Lebkuchen (gingerbread) originating from the city.

Restaurants

Aachen offers many different cuisines, from traditional German food to exotic cuisines. The centre offers restaurants of all categories, prices being relatively cheap in comparison with other German cities. Students prefer the snack bars and light meals offered at Pontstraße.


Budget

  • Pont GrillPontstraße 119. Very cheap and good Chicken, Pizza and Turkish food.
  • PoloniaMarienbongard 24. Polish bistro. Has lunch offers. Four to six different Polish beers.
  • FrietnessePontstraße. Fries with over 50 different sauces. Also hamburgers and Dutch specialities.
  • SarayPontstraße 118. Turkish food besides döner kebab.
  • JakobsimbissJakobstraße 75. Chinese and Thai fast food.
  • Del NegroJakobstraße 73. Best ice cream in town.
  • Sultans of KebabPeterstraße 23. Döner Kebab, Turkish desserts.
  • BabylonKönigstraße / Karlsgraben. "The Kebab Cube" if you have only €2,20 left.

Mid-range

  • Goldener SchwanMarkt 37 (Opposite Rathaus), +49 241 31649. 15th century building where you can now get local and German meals. For example Aachener Puttes a type of Blutwurst similar to English black pudding.
  • MaredoReihstrasse 10,  +49 241 21408. Delicious Argentinian food chain based in Germany. Good food, not expensive. Open late and offer late-night specials as well as lunch specials.
  • Estado SteakhausSeilgraben 39+49 241 23800. Great steakhouse with a salad bar and wide variety of dishes.
  • Carlos IRennbahn 1 (next to the Cathedral),  +49 241 29666. This Spanish restaurant offers authentic Spanish cuisine like Tapas, the perfect food for sharing, Paella etc. at medium prices
  • San ShengPontdriesch 13. Open only during weekday lunch hours.. Authentic Chinese food.
  • OishiiPontstraße 83,  +49 241 900 8360. Great Japanese restaurant. Reserve your table in advance.
  • MaranelloPontstraße 23,  +49 241 51574433. Italian Pizza from a real stone oven.
  • KaribikSandkaulstraße 5+49 1573 5570933. Colombian restaurant.
  • KnossosTemplergraben 28,  +49 241 30511. Greek restaurant frequented mostly by students.
  • Bacchus (Restaurant Bacchus), Roermonder Str. 28 (With Buslines 24, 27, 33, 44 und 47 from Aachen BusCentral station towards Pontstreet and Bendplatz. Get off at Ponttor and follow the road straight through the Ponttor and then through the underpass direction Bendplatz. On the other side of the underpass, go straight ahead. After about 50 meters you will find us on the right handside. For car drivers, parking lots are available in the Rütscher Straße, in Turmstraße, on Roermonder Straße, as also around the Bendplatz which is just 350m away.), +49 241 155545, e-mail: . Mon - Fri: 16:00–23:00, Sat - Sun: 12:00–23:00. Great Greek Restaurant with a wide variety of dishes. Absolutely recommendable Gyros and Grill dishes

Splurge

  • La BécasseHanbrucher Straße 1,  +49 241 74444. French restaurant

Sights & Landmarks

  • Aachen CathedralDomhof 1+49 241 477090. Opening times of the Cathedral: Jan-Mar: Daily 7AM-6PM, Apr-Dec: Daily 7AM-7PM. Note that during mass access is restricted to attending in the services. Touristic visits are recommended for Mon-Fri after 11AM; Sat-Sun after 12:30 PM. Aachen Cathedral is one of the most famous examples of occidental architecture. Around 800, the core building of the Palace Chapel was built. During the 14th and 15th centuries, the Gothic choir (the "Aachen glasshouse"), the north and south chapel were added. Through the centuries, many other constructions and decorations were completed. Today, it is a unique and beautiful two-storey cathedral of classical pillars, bronze railings, golden masterpieces, glassworks, etc.
    The cathedral is the memorial and funeral place of Charlemagne (+814). During 936-1531, 30 kings and 12 queens were anointed, crowned and enthroned here. In the Middle Ages, it was one of Christendom's most important venues for pilgrimage, together with Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago de Compostela.Heiligtumsfahrt (the Aachen pilgrimage) takes place every year since 1349 (the next one will be in June 2014). In 1978 it was the first German building to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Cathedral Treasury(Domschatzkammer), Johannes-Paul-II.-Straße. Opening times of the treasure grove (Schatzkammer): Jan-Mar: M 10AM-1PM; Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. Apr-Dec: M 10AM-1PM; Tu-Su 10AM-6PM; closed on 24 and 25 Dec, 31 Dec, 01 Jan, and some days around carnival.Ecclesiastical treasures from Antique, Carolingian, Ottonian and Staufian epochs,including Cross of Lothair and the Bust of Charlemagne.
  • RathausMarkt,  +49 241 4320.The medieval town hall. The mayor of Aachen still has their office in there.
  • Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst (Ludwig Forum for International Art), Jülicher Strasse 97-109, 52070(Slightly outside the city centre, in between Stadtgarten andEuropaplatz),  +49 241 1807 104, e-mail: . Monday: Closed; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 12:00 - 18:00; Thursday: 12:00 - 22:00: Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 - 18:00.While the building looks less than impressive from the outside, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst houses a grand collection of contemporary art, including works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring. Text accompanying the works is given in both German and English. Adult €5; Child €3.
  • International Newspaper Museum (Internationales Zeitungsmuseum), Pontstraße 13,  +49 241 4324910.
  • Elisa Fountain(Elisenbrunnen), Friedrich-Wilhelm-Platz.Built 1827, thermal waters of the spa town.
  • Couven-Museum, Hühnermarkt 17,  +49 241 4324421. 18th century house and furniture.
  • Belvedere rotating water tower(Drehturm), Belvedereallee 5,  +49 241 9188043. Park above the town.
  • GrashausFischmarkt. Original town hall, completed in 1267, is one of the oldest buildings in Aachen.
  • Haus Löwenstein. 14th century building
  • Suermondt-Ludwig-MuseumWilhelmstraße 18+49 241 4798. German and Dutch sculpture and painting collection.
  • Ponttor. 14th century city gates.
  • Marschiertor. 13th century city gate.
  • Zollmuseum FriedrichsHorbacher Straße 497 52072 Aachen-Horbach (Bus 44),  +49 241 997-0615. 1st and 3rd Sunday 11:00 and 14:30. Museum about border crossings and the border Phone To Reserve.
  • RWTH Aachen University (Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen) If you are interested in architecture, you can find all building styles from 1900 till today concentrated at the city-campus around Templergraben.
    • Main building
    • Kármán Auditorium
    • Audimax
    • Mogam
    • Super-C The reception building of the RWTH-Aachen. Build to resemble the letter C. Nicely illuminated at night.
    • Reiff Museum
    • Rogowski building
    • Department of mining
    • Semi 90
    • Heizkraftwerk (now lecture halls)
  • Uniklinik. The university's hospital. One striking example of post-modern architecture like the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Things to do

  • Lousberg. A recreational area situated just north of the city centre that offers stunning views of the city below.
  • Sit on the Market place (central city) on a summer evening, watch students strolling by, listen to guitar players and have a beer, bought at a small Turkish or Chinese diner around.
  • Walk through the Frankenberger Viertel (Frankenberg Quarter), an alternative area in the south of Aachen; have lunch or dinner in a Turkish or Arab diner.
  • Carolus ThermenPassstr. 79. Large and very well known spa, sauna and wellness place.

Nightlife

There's no need to order your drinks at the bar when in Aachen - simply take a seat and a member of staff will come over to take your order. They'll write down what you've ordered on your coaster. When you've finished your drink, someone will soon come along and ask if you'd like to order another. When you're ready to pay, hand over your coaster to a member of staff. It's expected that you leave a small tip when paying; 5 - 10 % is expected, typically by rounding up to the nearest Euro. You should make it clear you want to leave a tip before handing the money over by saying, for example, "I'll pay €8".

The Pontstraße begins at Markt facing the historic city hall and ends at the Ponttor, part of the medieval city walls. Pontstraße is the main student hangout and offers a large variety of restaurants and bars, from pizzerias to late night hangout spots and a cinema (Apollo). A special treat are public fiestas happening at Karneval and important football matches. Don't miss it if you have the chance! Reached by a number of bus lines from Bushof; park near University.

  • Molkerei. Pub suitable for younger crowd, near Ponttor.
  • Cafe Madrid. Pub/Bar better for an older crowd, posher, near Ponttor.
  • Pontgarten. Cheap Cocktails and nice food.
  • Sowiso / Oceans. Typical student-inn.
  • EgmontPontstraße 1–3 (Right at one end of Pontstraße, close to theRathaus),  +49 241 40 77 46, e-mail: .Monday–Saturday: Open from 8AM; Sunday: Open from 9AM. A delightful bar/café that occasionally hosts live music. Food can be ordered from the Lebanese restaurant next door and brought to your table without you having to get up!

Nice pubs elsewhere:

  • Guinness HouseNeupforte 6, 52062 (Despite the address to the left, the entrance is actually located just around the corner on Mostardstraße. It's situated between the city centre and the Pontstraße.),  +49 241 40 22 11. A stereotypical Irish Pub, just like you'd find in any other big city. However, it's one of the few places in Aachen that sells cider, so it's definitely worth checking out if beer isn't your thing! There's also live music (more often that not traditional Irish music) here on a regular basis.
  • KisteBüchel 36. Small pub. Has a discount on different drinks each day.
  • Buddha BarBüchel 14 (Close to the old town square),  +49 2414012590.Nice food, has a non-smoking area upstairs with restaurant and bar plus a cool smoking area downstairs with an impressive Buddha statue.

Safety in Aachen

Stay Safe

Very High / 8.8

Safety (Walking alone - day)

High / 7.3

Safety (Walking alone - night)

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