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In Ulm and around Ulm Ulm there is so much to discover, which makes a visit to the picturesque university town absolutely worthwhile! Here I present my top 15 destinations in Ulm – from classic sights to insider tips..
The medieval old town, the scenic location in the Swabian Alb and on the banks of the Danube, and not least the world-famous cathedral with the still highest church tower in the world make Ulm one of the most attractive cities in Baden-Württemberg for tourists.
With approx. 125,000 inhabitants, it is currently the seventh largest city in the federal state, roughly on a par with Heilbronn and Pforzheim. But together with the Bavarian Neu-Ulm just on the other (eastern) side of the Danube, Ulm forms a so-called two-country city. This metropolitan area has almost 200,000 inhabitants, which implies a wide cultural offer. In addition, the status as a university city and the attractiveness for tourists from near and far by the cathedral, the old town and many other attractions.
Last but not least, the city of Ulm is also closely interwoven with the lives of some great personalities, first and foremost Albert Einstein, who was born here in 1879. But Hildegard Knef was also born in Ulm. And although the siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl were not born in the city, they grew up in Ulm and also began their commitment against National Socialism there.
Ulm offers today’s visitors a variety of attractive sights: there is something for every taste and every weather. This city wants to be discovered and explored!
By the way, the order of these destinations in Ulm does not represent a ranking list. However, it is roughly divided from well-known or obvious sights to those that may rather be considered an insider tip.
Construction of the cathedral began in 1377; however, it was not completed until over 500 years later in 1890. The reason: in 1543, the money ran out. Today, the cathedral towers triumphantly over the old town of Ulm and is visible from almost everywhere. From a viewing platform at a height of 143 m, one also has a fabulous view of the entire city. The way there leads over no less than 768 steps.
On Münsterplatz, medieval and contemporary architecture meet and create an urban meeting space. Incidentally, the house where the Scholl siblings were born is also located here, and today houses a bank. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, a weekly market from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. ensures hustle and bustle on the square.
The blue of the water glistens between ivy-covered gables, tanner’s houses and dripping mill wheels. Or also: the water of the blue – because that is the name of the small river whose two arms meander through the fishermen’s quarter to finally flow into the Danube.
Tip: This is the ideal place for lunch, as today there are many good restaurants in the fishing district where you can enjoy the idyllic view while eating.
The impressive-looking inclination of almost 10 degrees is due to the enormously wide, diagonally braced cantilever over the water of the Blau. In the 17th century, however, the “Leaning House” was in danger of collapsing because of this, which was averted by reconstruction measures.
If you want, you can even spend the night in the “Leaning House” today, because it has been accommodating guests as a hotel for about 20 years.
A particularly eye-catching detail is the richly decorated astronomical clock, which was placed on the front of the town hall around 1520.At the same time, the opulent painting of the facade was extended to the old building. It shows allegorical representations of virtues, commandments and vices. Unfortunately, it had already been badly damaged by weathering in the 19th century and was therefore restored as far as possible or recreated where necessary in 1900.
Despite a fire as a result of the bombing in World War 2, most of the town hall was preserved.
In the stairwell you can admire a replica of the flying machine of Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger, the legendary “tailor of Ulm”.
Most people, however, had only mockery for the visionary and urged him to publicly prove the airworthiness of his device. In 1811, he launched a flight test from the Adlerbastei, where a 20-meter-high platform was erected – the goal: to sail like a bird over the Danube to the other bank. Due to unfavorable weather conditions and falling winds, however, this turned out to be a disaster: Berblinger crashed his apparatus into the Danube. Although he was rescued, he was now the laughing stock of the people and was known as a fraud.Today, the people of Ulm are proud of their misunderstood genius and have erected said Berblinger Tower for him at the former jumping-off point. Here, at an angle inclined by 10°, a dizzying spiral staircase spirals upward, step by step. Six loudspeakers attached to the tower also turn the climb into a special listening experience. From the top you have a great view, but you should definitely be free of giddiness for this experience, especially since the metal steps are translucent…
“The city of birth is attached to life as something as unique as the origin from the biological mother. We also owe a part of our being to the city of birth. So I remember Ulm with gratitude, as it combines noble artistic tradition with simple and healthy nature.“
In his honor, the city of Ulm has created an absolutely unique monument in the form of the whimsically designed Einstein Fountain. The Einstein Fountain stands in front of the city’s historic old armory and, strictly speaking, is not a fountain at all, since no water flows here. In the fascinating sculpture by sculptor Jürgen Goertz, a snail shell grows out of a rocket stump, from which in turn Albert Einstein sticks out his head and mischievously his tongue, just like in what is probably the physicist’s most famous photo.
The Museum Ulm houses numerous art objects, as well as utilitarian objects and historical relics from numerous eras, literally from the Ice Age to the present. The Archaeological Collection alone spans a period from the time of the Neanderthal man, through Ulm in the Middle Ages, to the early modern era. The highlight of this collection is the Ice Age “Lion Man”, which I will discuss in a moment due to its significance.But also the collection “Old Art” and the graphic collection, which alone contains approx. 25,000 works from the 19th and 20th centuries alone are worth a visit. In addition, the museum curates ever-changing exhibitions and offers innovative cultural events such as a “smell tour”.
The largest preserved sculpture of Ice Age art, the oldest plastic representation of a mythical creature, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017… – The Lion Man of Ulm is such an exceptional exhibit of the Ulm Museum that it deserves to be treated as a sight in its own right!
The Lion Man is a scuplture made of mammoth ivory, just over 30 cm tall, depicting an upright standing human with the limbs of a lion. In 1939, its fragments were discovered by archaeologists in the caves of the Swabian Alb – a sensational find, of all things, on the last day of the excavations, which were abandoned due to the outbreak of World War 2.
Since then, the mysterious 40,000-year-old relic has fascinated not only scientists and stimulated the imagination of viewers. Does it represent a god? A shaman? A transformation of man? The Lion Man of Ulm leads the thoughts back to the origins of art and culture, to the beginnings of human thought, spiritual experience and creativity.
Those who are particularly interested in modern and contemporary art will find an absolutely top-class collection of works of art at the Weishaupt Art Gallery. This private museum was donated by the entrepreneur Siegfried Weishaupt and his wife.
In ever-changing constellations, this cubic temple of art made of steel and glass presents European and American classics of 20th and 21st century art, from Rothko and De Kooning to Warhol and Lichtenstein.
The majestic complex, as it can be admired today, dates back to the 18th century and presents itself to the visitor as an impressive Baroque ensemble. Particularly noteworthy highlights are the interior of the monastery church and the library hall in the style of the Rococo.
As the largest green space in Ulm and Neu-Ulm, the Friedrichsau is a popular recreation area for Ulm residents of all generations as well as for all visitors to the city. The Augärten are also a great place to stop for a bite to eat. These cozy beer gardens are a remnant of 19th century club life. But the range of possible leisure activities in the Friedrichsau also includes beach volleyball, climbing on a climbing wall, a tree nature trail or simply sitting comfortably on the banks of the Danube.
In addition, the Animal Garden Ulm, which also includes a tropical house as well as an aquarium, is also located in Friedrichsau. The visit is a good contrast to the cultural program of most other destinations in Ulm and is worthwhile for all animal-loving people, but especially for families with children.
A highlight here is also a glass tunnel that leads under the Danube and in which you can study the underwater world of the river up close. All in all, you can admire a variety of about 500 swimming, crawling, running, fluttering, screeching, squeaking and other animal species in the Ulm zoo – from native to completely exotic.
The building closes off the Weinhof to the north and adds a modern architectural accent to the surrounding stately town houses, including the particularly striking “Schwörhaus”.
It is hardly surprising that the Blautopf, located on the eastern edge of the Swabian Alb, is surrounded by legends and myths. In popular belief, the Blautopf was even considered bottomless and inhabited by mermaids. The best way to explore this natural wonder is on the 400-meter-long circular hiking trail that leads around the spring. This only takes 20 minutes, but those who would like to hike more will find further beautiful hiking routes through picturesque landscapes, such as the Blaubeurer Felsenstieg and the Eiszeitjägerpfad.
Have fun exploring these destinations in Ulm and around Ulm!
For Escape Game fans, it is also worth visiting the provider TeamEscape in Ulm, where there is, for example, the exciting Escape Room Biohazard, which I have already tested.
Are you interested in more destinations in Baden-Württemberg and Bayern? Then browse a little on our regional pages for these states! You’ll also find tips for Berlin and Brandenburg, as well as numerous leisure tips for location-independent activities with friends, for couples and for families.
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