By Ron Stern, Travel Photojournalist
Situated at the edge of the Black Forest, Freiburg is a vibrant university town in southwestern Germany. With a temperate climate, old world charm, large farmers’ market, and culinary treats, this city is becoming known as one of the best offbeat tourist destinations.
Part of the portfolio of alternative historic German towns, Freiburg was founded during medieval times in 1120 AD. The 14 th century cathedral towers over the city and is its most recognizable landmark. A mix of both Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles, its unique open spire design has been called the most beautiful in Christendom.
Sometimes known as the capital of the Black Forest, Freiburg sits right on the western edge of this massive outdoor playground. Day trips might include nature hikes, cycling, shopping for cuckoo clocks, visiting picturesque small villages, and trying locally produced foods.
Any visitor will invariably end up at the Münsterplatz (Cathedral Square) for one of the largest farmer’s markets you are likely to encounter in Europe.
On the side nearest the cathedral is where you will find hungry patrons looking for what has to be one of the best selections of sausages this side of, well, sausage heaven. You can find one stand after another with bratwurst and other meats of various lengths, colors, and textures all sizzling away on a grill. The specialty here is Lange Rote (long red), and this one is so large, the vendor has to bend it twice to fit into a bun.
While at the market, be sure to try another local delicacy: Stephan’s Cheesecakes. This rich and creamy handmade confection is something of an institution, and their small stand sells out quite frequently.
Freiburg offers some of Germany’s best foods, markets, and historical sites, all in a relaxed, inviting atmosphere.
Resources: Historic Highlights of Germany.